Hip-hop is moving as fast as ever. There’s an endless array of artists from all regions and subgenres, and they’re all — well, most of them are — vying to be known as the best and constantly feed their core fanbases. That means a consistent output across the board. With projects coming every Friday and surprise projects and songs always prime to drop out of nowhere, you never know what you’ll miss out on while vibing to your current playlist.
Luckily, we’re doing the work to compile the best singles of the past week and highlight them in one space for you. This week is defined by Meek Mill’s triumphant return to music amid legal troubles and several freestyles from favorites like Chance The Rapper and Tyler, The Creator.
“Stay Woke” — Meek Mill Feat. Miguel
After he was released from prison in May, Meek Mill pledged to devote himself to criminal justice reform and being more of a voice for his people. Along with interviews and an upcoming documentary, the harrowing “Stay Woke” is another step in the right direction. Meek delivers social commentary on how the system’s entrapping elements put people like him being the proverbial eightball from a young age. Miguel follows up with a resilient chorus in which he croons, “it was designed for us to fail, we still prevail through the hell.”
“Peach Fuzz,” “Gelato” — Tyler, The Creator
Who knew that Tyler, The Creator would turn into a freestyle king? Tyler has been burning down loosies since dropping his Flower Boy album last summer, from bars over Jay-Z’s “4:44” to his most recent exploits on two disparate tracks. On “Peach Fuzz,” Tyler showed off his musical acumen by delivering bars over funk legend Prophet’s “I Wanna Be Your Man” in celebration of Prophet’s Wanna Be Your Man album. He also remixed R&B singer Jacquees’ “No Validation” with “Gelato,” augmenting the smooth beat with flirty bars directed toward the object of his affection.
“Wombo” — Lil Yachty Feat. Valee
During a recent Reddit AMA, Valee said he had no problem with people “borrowing” some of his flows, because he had plenty more to deliver. He turned around and delivered a new one “Wombo,” a short collaboration with Lil Yachty in which they rhyme together for a pleasantly off-kilter banger. The beat’s rowdy background effects may take a couple bars to get adjusted to, but once you do (and catch Valee’s rapid fire flow), you’ll be ready to create your own dance called the Wombo.
“Forever Always” — Peter Cottontale Feat. Chance The Rapper, Daniel Caesar, Rex Orange County, Madison Ryann Ward and Yebba
Chance The Rapper is always about doing what he can for other people, including his close musical comrades. He recently joined several other artists — including Daniel Caesar — and dropped some bars over his Social Experiment partner Peter CottonTale’s “Forever Always” track. The track was a birthday present to Cottontale, who gifted his many fans with the soulful, gospel-tinged soundscape that proved the perfect canvas for Chano and the rest of the talented cast to do his thing.
“Prayer For My Lost” — 03 Greedo
Though he’s most known for head-scratching quotables and blood-pumping bangers, LA artist 03 Greedo is also adept at looking inward and creating out palpable, emotive tracks. He did just that on “Prayer For My Lost,” a doleful recollection of the toll gang life has taken on him. The melodic track is one of 27 on God Level, a final hurrah that Greedo released right before turning himself in for a 20-year sentence.
“Still New York” — Max Feat. Joey Bada$$
Joey Badass is quickly jumping into J. Cole territory when it comes to being a scarce feature. Maybe that’s what happens when you have a hand in writing Billboard number ones, like Badass did with Post Malone’s “Rock Star.” Badass recently jumped on fellow New Yorker Max’s resounding “Still New York” track, a triumphant pop track that further shows Badass’ versatility. Over pumping drums and sentimental guitar riffs, Badass reminisces on his come up in the Big Apple, from being “just a kid with that ‘Empire State Of Mind’ mindset” to being “top down on the West Side” in the luxury car of his choice.
“Best Friend” — Smokepurrp
Another week, another Smokepurrp banger. The Florida rapper most recently flouted his brash, rebellious mic persona on “Best Friend,” a typically surging trap burner where Smokepurrp gets the party going over colossal 808s. The track comes in at just over two minutes, delivering a thrashing headrush that accentuates his strengths as a musician.
“Let It Go” — 88Rising Feat. Higher Brothers & Blocboy JB
88Rising is going to rise the party vibes to 100 with “Let It Go,” an energetic track featuring Memphis rapper Blocboy JB. The Higher Brothers ride the Falcons-produced track’s intricate percussion with expertise, showing why the 88Rising collective is becoming a name to know in the rap game. MasiWei sets the tone of the track noting, “You talk about the rules, I don’t get it, I just break it.” Maybe “don’t create so much fire” was the rule in the studio for this one.
“Talk Is Cheap (Mercedes Freestyle)” — ScienZe
Brooklyn MC ScienZe has been a staple in the New York underground rap scene for years off the strength of inspiring music crafted with complex lyricism. This week, he delivered a freestyle over JMSN’s sultry “Talk Is Cheap” record with a simple mission statement: “Release your music.” He commandeers the lush track with a seer’s presence, rhyming, “I’m always humble and it’s lookin like I’m almost there.” With more tracks and projects like 2017’s Kind Of Dessert, he surely will be.