There's officially a half tank of gas left in 2019, but the first six months of the year have been driven by some strong tracks. While we’re not quite ready to cast out the old and welcome the new, it's the perfect time to evaluate the best hip-hop music to emerge this year thus far.

J. Cole started the year on a high note, coming off the momentum of Dreamville’s rap camp. The young rap legend revealed himself as the bridge to the generational gap with “Middle Child,” a T-Minus produced slapper that shouts out Drake, Kodak Black and Jay-Z. The track's success—it peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100—foreshadowed an impactful year for his Dreamville crew, which also made waves with the awesome "Down Bad" months later (starring J.I.D, Bas, Young Nudy, Johnny Venus and Cole, himself).


DJ Khaled presented his Father of Asahd album as a soundtrack to the summer months with hit singles galore. There are anthems—"Jealous," with Big Sean, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne, is a pristine hip-hop/pop crossover—and more emotionally affecting hits, like Nipsey Hussle's first posthumous release, the autobiographical "Higher." Meanwhile, DJ Mustard's Perfect Ten album arrived with its own Nipsey record, plus a bonafide hit in Migos' "Pure Water."

Several 2018 tracks found new life in 2019 via high-profile remixes, from Blueface's "Thotiana," to Post Malone's "Wow" to this year's Billboard king, newcomer Lil Nas X, whose Billy Ray Cyrus-guested "Old Town Road (Remix)" has dominated the charts for months.

Women in hip-hop have also made their mark this year, whether hip-hop's hottest hot girl, Megan Thee Stallion, breakout star Lizzo or heavyweights Nicki Minaj and Cardi B.

Other newer acts making an impact this year are 2019 XXL Freshmen Gunna, Rico Nasty, YK Osiris, YBN Cordae, Tierra Whack and DaBaby, the latter of which scored a breakout hit with "Suge."

There's lots of great music to go around so far in 2019. XXL highlights the best of the best below.

  • "Act a Fool"

    Rick Ross Featuring Wale
  • "Bacc At It Again"

    Yella Beezy Featuring Quavo and Gucci Mane
  • "Boasty"

    Wiley Featuring Stefflon Don, Sean Paul and Idris Elba
  • "Butterfly Doors"

    Lil Pump
  • "Caroline"

    Calboy Featuring Polo G
  • "Clout"

    Offset Featuring Cardi B
  • "Crowns For Kings"

    Benny The Butcher Featuring Black Thought
  • "Cut Up"

    Blac Youngsta
  • "Down Bad"

    Dreamville Featuring J. Cole, Young Nudy, J.I.D, Bas and Johnny Venus of EarthGang
  • "Earfquake"

    Tyler, The Creator
  • "Freaky"

    Tory Lanez
  • "Go Loko"

    YG Featuring Tyga and Jon Z
  • "Goddamn"

  • "Goin Dummi"

  • "Hatin"

    Rico Nasty
  • "Have Mercy"

    YBN Cordae
  • "Higher"

    DJ Khaled Featuring Nipsey Hussle
  • "HML"

    Melii Featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
  • "Homicide"

    Logic Featuring Eminem
  • "I Love It"

    Asian Da Brat
  • "Jealous"

    DJ Khaled Featuring Chris Brown, Big Sean and Lil Wayne
  • "Juice"

  • "Juicy"

    Doja Cat
  • "King James"

    Anderson .Paak
  • "Left Hand"

    Beast Coast
  • "Megatron"

    Nicki Minaj
  • "Middle Child"

    J. Cole
  • "Million Dollar Mansion"

    Lil Keed Featuring Young Thug
  • "Mixed Personalities"

    YNW Melly Featuring Kanye West
  • "No Guidance"

    Chris Brown Featuring Drake
  • "Numb Numb Juice"

    ScHoolboy Q
  • "Old Town Road (Remix)"

    Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
  • "Omerta"

  • "Only Child"

    Tierra Whack
  • "Palmolive"

    Freddie Gibbs Featuring Pusha-T and Killer Mike
  • "Pop Out"

    Polo G Featuring Lil Tjay
  • "Press"

    Cardi B
  • "Pure Water"

    DJ Mustard Featuring Migos
  • "Racks in the Middle"

    Nipsey Hussle Featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy
  • "Ransom"

    Lil Tecca
  • "Robbery"

    Juice Wrld
  • "Sanguine Paradise"

    Lil Uzi Vert
  • "Self Destruction"

  • "Shotta Flow"

    NLE Choppa
  • "Simon Says"

    Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Juicy J
  • "Speed It Up"

  • "Speedboat"

    Denzel Curry
  • "Suge"

  • "The London"

    Young Thug Featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott
  • "Thotiana (Remix)"

    Blueface Featuring Cardi B and YG
  • "Threat 2 Society"

    2 Chainz
  • "U Say"

    Goldlink Featuring Tyler, The Creator and Jay Prince
  • "Walk (Remix)"

    Comethazine Featuring A$AP Rocky
  • "Worth It"

    YK Osiris
  • "Wow (Remix)"

    Post Malone Featuring Roddy Ricch and Tyga

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