We've shared the best songs, albums, and verses of 2017 so far, but one category we've yet to highlight this year is the rap collaboration. Historically speaking, these records rise to the top when we look back at pivotal performances in years past. Think “Believe Me,” “Otis,” “Pick Up the Phone,” “Cartoon & Cereal.” No need to list off the artists involved; these moments speak for themselves.
There's a good chance a rap collab or two in 2017 joins that pantheon of greatness. With July marking the halfway point, here's a rundown of the best rap collaborations this year has had to offer.
Drake f/ 2 Chainz and Young Thug “Sacrifices”
Whenever Drake and 2 Chainz link up on a track, it's guaranteed to make waves. That said, “Sacrifices” truly takes off thanks to Young Thug's inclusion. Surprisingly enough, this song counts as Drake and Thug's first proper collaboration, and the trio of rappers don't disappoint with slick rhymes on how they finessed their situations into something better.
Wale f/ Lil Wayne “Running Back”
Wale and Lil Wayne have a history of flipping sports references and metaphors throughout their careers, so it should come as no surprise that they continue it on a record called “Running Back.” The song showcases their chemistry together, along with playful lyricism that makes “Running Back” an enjoyable listen.
Playboi Carti f/ Lil Uzi Vert “Woke Up Like This”
Playboi Carti only recently started to gain national recognition through “Magnolia” and his self-titled debut project, but if you ask the ATL rapper he's already got imitators in the game. “Woke Up Like This” embodies this narrative, where Carti and Lil Uzi Vert call out those who are jacking their style. Carti and Uzi Vert have linked up a handful of times in the past, and “Woke Up Like This” is their best collaboration yet.
Kodak Black f/ Jeezy “Feeling Like”
“Feeling Like” is a deep cut off Kodak Black's Painting Pictures that details the struggles of making it out of the streets and having a target on your back even when that takes place. It's a sobering performance that shows how well Kodak and Jeezy match up, with the younger act providing his concerns in real time while the veteran ATL native keeps his success in perspective.
DJ Khaled f/ Chance the Rapper, Quavo, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber “I’m the One”
It may have took 10 albums, but DJ Khaled finally secured his first No. 1 single with “I'm the One.” And to his credit, he put together a lineup that was tailor-made to hit the top of the charts, with Justin Bieber handling hook duties and Chance the Rapper, Quavo, and Lil Wayne delivering their animated bars over a sugar-coated melody. Respect the process.
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