Top Ten Hip Hop Songs of 2017 with the Best Beats

Martin_Canine
The title of this list is pretty self explanatory. As I already said on several other occasions, I think this year's hip hop was awesome, and while we got several songs with outstanding lyrics (e.g. from Cro, SpongeBozz,...), we also shouldn't forget about the music backing that up. Because some sick beats were dropped this year, believe me. This list solely judges the beat work, not the vocals on it, neither lyrically nor musically.

The Top Ten

1 Started From the Bottom - SpongeBozz

Produced by Digital Drama.

Big, apocalyptic, mixing choirs and wild synth lines, trap drun kits and stomping aesthetics, Drama perfectly announced SpongeBozz's return after 2 years of complete silence (his debut album topped the charts in 2015, then he completely vanished, musically and personally, no tours, no social media posts) with a big bang. Really, this is as big as it gets. It even starts off inception-like, with an orchestra of trumpets and drums, followed by strings and choir, before the fast paced electronic drum kit and synth lines begin. - Martin_Canine

2 Zombie - ApeCrime

Produced by Benjamin Bistram.

I don't know what I love more, the menacing brass during the chorus or the macabre, almost bittersweet high pitched violin during the verses. It just makes the song so awesomely dark and unsettling. - Martin_Canine

3 Sodom und Gomorrha - Bushido

Produced by Bushido, OZ, Nico Chiara, Myvisionblurry, Beatzarre & Djorkaeff.

Seriously, I wonder how it came that all these guys produced this beat. As great as it is, there were times when Bushido produced this exact type of beat all by himself (on his milestone debut album for example).

Nevertheless: wow, is this some dark material. Butchered, pitched, distorted and rearranged, the string samples on the oldschool drums create an unsettling madness rarely heard anymore. Bushido is a full blown gangsta rap, but this is a beat every horrorcore rapper dreams of. - Martin_Canine

4 Apocalyptic Infinity - SpongeBozz

Produced by Digital Drama.

"Apocalyptic Infinity" lasts 18 and a half minutes. With such a massive time to fill, you need one killer of a beat to keep it exciting. The song is divided into segments over which the rapper uses different flows, but of course the beat changes along to fit the mood. It's always extremely tense and aggressive. The main parts use the very beat you hear on the listening sample, basically as epic and blockbuster-ish as "Started From the Bottom", but there is also a more trap oriented segment and a slower, dramatic beat suitable for storytelling in the final 7 minutes. - Martin_Canine

5 Humble - Kendrick Lamar

Eh, DNA's beat was better. - AlphaQ

The bass on DNA is a bit too boosted for my taste. The kicks sound a bit like tripping over themselves. Still, it's a great song. - Martin_Canine

Produced by Mike Will Made It & Pluss.

Thanks, Kendrick, that you got rid of the pseudo-artsy experimental freejazz beats in favor of such an enjoyable simplistic one. Its premise is simple: a catchy loop of a piano sample (that awesomely sounds like a toy keyboard I had as a kid) gets repeated all over again, often accompanied by a second, identical but higher pitched one. And in the chorus there is a short synth line added, which consists of only one note. This is backed up by an 808 drum kit. How can something so simple and easy sound so mind blowing? - Martin_Canine

6 Die Letzte Gangsterrapcrew - Kollegah & Farid Bang

Produced by Joznez, Johnny Illstrument & Toxik Tyson.

Testosterone drenched drum kit? Check!
Blockbuster-ish inception sound effects? Check!
Police siren resembling yet melodious synth lines, menacingly echoing in the background? Check!
Goosebumps? Check! - Martin_Canine

7 Pop Off - Cardi B & Casanova

I did my research, but I didn't find the producer of this beat. If anybody knows, please tell me.

The beat of "Pop Off" is pure chaos. It's anarchic, freed of any kind of structure and trend, savage even. To the casual listener, it will be... well, noise. To the completely insane listener - like me - this is just brutal and sick. Not elegant, not beautiful, just brutal. And sick. - Martin_Canine

8 whack/killa - TJ_beastboy & Mary Man

Produced by Marley (aka Mary Man).

It's so cold and so heavy on bass that you start feeling evil the second this whole thing starts. TJ_beastboy & Mary Man is a side project by DatAdam members Taddl and Marley, that is equal in quality, but is neither as meditative nor as melodical, instead it just fools around with all kinds of sounds. And on here, we get a beat significantly darker and more static than we are used to from Marley. - Martin_Canine

9 Framed - Eminem

Produced by Fredwreck & Eminem.

You know, the highlights of the "Revival" albums are the oldschool rock rap and horrorcore beats. They just give you this anarchic, wild and/or unsettling vibe that's lacking a bit nowadays. Smooth, bleak or melodious trap added a certain glow and musicality, but it's very welcome that the 2000s style American beats came back on this record. I missed them. And this is great classic horrorcore. - Martin_Canine

10 Deadz - Migos & 2 Chainz

Produced by Cardo.

What can I say? Its brass sample sounds royal and proud, although a bit bleak, and its trap drums give the perfect tempo for easily flowing over it. It is just absolutely atmospheric and tense, yet still has the right pace for a catchy trap track. - Martin_Canine

The Contenders

11 Suckers - ApeCrime

Produced by Benjamin Bistram.

It is extrenely rare for German hip hop to use such a Diplo-esque beat. You know, trap, but the original electro subgenre. It has a bit of Skrillex's "Purple Lamborghini" beat, although not as focused on a drop, and a bit dreamier. - Martin_Canine

12 Range Rover Mansory - Apored

Produced by Phil TheBeat.

Dark, elegant and still sick, "Range Rover Mansory" has a bleeping chorus drop that's actually colder and calmer than the brass-heavy verses, and exactly this "reverse" structure gives the song a cool and aesthetic vibe that actually manages to make the superficial topic of bragging with an expensive car sound pretty fitting. I know my list is not about the lyrics, but on here, this sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a luxury car ride. - Martin_Canine

13 Intro III - NF

Produced by Tommee Profitt.

It's an orchestra, a choir and those Inception-like horns. No drum kits, no synth lines, no added dubstep drop sound effects. It's just a pure blockbuster score. Need I say more? - Martin_Canine

14 Untouchable - Eminem

Produced by Eminem, Batson, Haynie & Mr. Porter.

Call it rap rock, call it nu metal, call it crossover. Whatever it is, it's just plain sick. Classic hip hop and electric guitars always worked together extremely well to create a savage and rebellious sound - after all, both genres were originally pretty rebellious. Since the album was panned, it probably won't revive the trend, but still, I hope it does. - Martin_Canine

15 Machinegunflows - Spongebozz

Produced by Digital Drama.

This distorted vocal samples in the background just sound so plain great to me. I can't even put my finger on why, it just does, especially during the chorus. - Martin_Canine

16 Coogi - Fler & Jalil

Produced by Nico Chiara & Fler.

The album consists of melodious, atmospheric trap music, which in and of itself is already really great. But this sound stands out even more positively with its fast placed synth bleeps and dupstep bass lines, causing a moment of tempo and slight nervousness on an otherwise laid back album. - Martin_Canine

17 MotorSport - Migos, Nicki Minaj & Cardi B
18 DNA. - Kendrick Lamar
19 Bounce Back - Big Sean
20 Who Dat Boy - Tyler, the Creator
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