Best Hip-Hop and R&B Songs of 2013 (So Far)
The first half of 2013 seemed to blow by without much warning didn’t it?
If it was a speedy six months for us music fans, then it’s safe to assume that the artists who enjoyed smash hits at the top of the year are already planning the takeover of 2013’s second half.
Artists like Rihanna and Lil Wayne surprised no one, taking the first quarter by storm — as they often do — but others like Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke resurfaced at the top of music charts with their unprecedented bangers, beginning the year after being out of the spotlight for some time.
This just goes to show you, great music can come from anywhere and anyone at any given time, so pay attention. As we say farewell to the first half of 2013, TheDrop.fm highlights 10 of the year’s hottest tracks to arrive during the last six months.
Here’s the Best Hip-Hop and R&B Songs of 2013 (So Far).
‘Karate Chop (Remix),’ Future Feat. Lil Wayne
Future found himself in a situation similar to Rocko‘s when the remix to his single ‘Karate Chop’ was released. Lil Wayne jumped on the track and killed the energy with a distasteful line about Emmett Till, the young boy from Chicago who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955. The case was a major catalyst in kicking off the Civil Rights movement and Weezy’s lyric was enough to turn people off from rapping along. Epic ended up pulling the remix after its release but most places simply play the edited version. The uptempo song is pretty successful and serves as a first hit for 19-year-old producer Metro Boomin’ — a great thing despite Weezy’s insensitivity.
‘Bad,’ Wale Feat. Tiara Thomas
Wale had an unexpected hit in ‘Bad’ early this year. The song served as his lead single off his third studio LP, ‘The Gifted,’ and took off without much of a snag. The track boasts ’90s-inspired production reminiscent of something Aaliyah or maybe Babyface would have sung over about 15 years ago. The guitar riff and melody are tempered by newcomer Tiara Thomas and her throaty vocals as well as the ‘bed squeak’ sound effects peppered throughout — a hint to what the song is actually referring to. Apparently, Wale is intrigued by a young woman who’s had more “issues” than real love she can believe in. It’s a welcome change from how women are usually addressed in rap songs, the MMG signee actually gives this character some depth on ‘Bad.’
‘Love Me,’ Lil Wayne Feat. Future & Drake
It never fails, at least once a year, Lil Wayne drops a track that ends up being everywhere for months on end. For 2013, that song is ‘Love Me.’ The Mike iLL-produced track features Future on the hook and Drake coming through with the assist. The guest artists alone spell “smash hit” but the Young Money general knows exactly how to give his fan base what they want. The hook boasts, “I’m on that good kush and alcohol / I got some down bitches I can call / I don’t know what I would do without y’all / I’ma ball till the day I fall…” From the raunchy lyrics to the heavy bassline, Weezy delivers another heater with ‘Love Me.’
‘U.O.E.N.O.,’ Rocko Feat. Future & Rick Ross
Atlanta rapper Rocko is a smart guy, having capitalized off the controversial noise his single, ‘U.O.E.N.O.,’ made at the top of the year. It was a great look for Rocko and Future because it got people talking, but it was a terrible one for Rick Ross who was also featured on the track.
The lyric that put him in hot water? “Put molly all in her champagne / She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that / She ain’t even know it…” Umm, yeah. It was in bad taste and the Maybach Music head lost money that he hadn’t even had a chance to make yet as a Reebok brand ambassador. Besides that, the rapper’s tepid (and late) apology was almost as insulting as the line itself. Luckily, Rocko was able to keep it moving, taking Ross off the song and dropping three remixes featuring 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa and A$AP Rocky.
‘Suit & Tie,’ Justin Timberlake Feat. Jay-Z
When Justin Timberlake announced that he’d be making his return to music in 2013, no one truly knew what to expect from the actor-singer-songwriter after he’d taken a seven-year hiatus. His last LP, ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds,’ dropped in 2007, and JT subsequently dropped out of the minds of many in this fast-paced music industry.
But It didn’t take too much for ‘The 20/20 Experience’ creator to make a phenomenal return and Jay-Z‘s co-sign certainly helped with that on the jazzy single ‘Suit & Tie.’ The change in tempo — from screwed to bouncy and back again as well as JT’s effortless falsetto — defined ‘Suit & Tie,’ putting the crooner right back on a national platform as if he’d never been gone.
‘Bugatti,’ Ace Hood
Ace Hood should be a superstar by now, but we don’t think he’s too pressed. After all, he seems to keep one banger in the vault to be released once every couple years. His latest hit, ‘Bugatti,’ just might be the one to put him in the spotlight for good. The track, produced by hip-hop’s current golden boy behind the boards, Mike WiLL, features appearances from Rick Ross and Future. It’s a triumphant song with an infectious hook and for it to still be going strong after five months, ‘Bugatti’ may actually be one of this summer’s major anthems. What it means to wake up in a new Bugatti? We’re not sure if anyone really knows, but it sounds awesome.
‘Started From the Bottom,’ Drake
Who says Drake is incapable of reinvention? The OVO founder kicked off the promotion for his newest project in February with the release of the gritty track ‘Started From the Bottom.’ Seems like Drizzy is always about putting his whole team at the forefront — OVO’s movements within the industry redefine loyalty and “crew love.” The Toronto rapper may not be dropping too many lyrical gems over the eerie production but the message is clear — family first, from the bottom to the top — and he had everyone from prep school kids to knucklehead gangsters screaming the hook to this track, which is exactly what we believe he was going for.
‘Get Lucky,’ Daft Punk Feat. Pharrell Williams
The French electronica duo Daft Punk found the perfect formula in recruiting Pharrell Williams to be featured on their track, ‘Get Lucky.’ The song debuted in April and immediately took off worldwide. There’s a nostalgic feel to this track. It has an appeal that crosses genres clearly, with everyone from the rave crowd to the hardest dudes in the club bopping along to the funk-inspired tune. “We’re up all night till the sun / We’re up all night to get lucky…” — it’s the universal call to party hard.
‘Pour It Up,’ Rihanna
Rihanna‘s ‘Pour It Up’ is a clear example of art imitating life. Anyone who follows celebrity news knows that there’s pretty much nothing that will keep the Bajan beauty and her rambunctious friends out of the strip club. The ‘Unapologetic’ creator dropped the bass-heavy ode to dancers in January and it can still get the party jumping in July. Produced by Mike WiLL Made It and written by Planet VI — formerly known as Rock City — ‘Pour It Up’ features Rihanna taking on a whole other persona as she breaks down what makes the perfect night at the club.
‘Blurred Lines,’ Robin Thicke Feat. Pharrell Williams, T.I.
Robin Thicke could sing just about anything and make it sound appealing. In fact, when he dropped ‘Blurred Lines’ in March, no one really knew what he was talking about on the track but we all danced along anyway. On the second or third listen, it becomes a bit more clear — he’s trying to convince “a good girl” to stop playing coy and get “blasted” with him.