55 of the Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2019 (So Far)
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.