The Best Rap Verses of 2017 (So Far)

2016 was supposed to have been the crazy year for music; 2017 was supposed to be a break. But here we are, halfway through the year, and it feels like rap music is exploding. Many of the best MCs under 40—Kendrick, Future, and Drake—have released full-lengths, and no matter what you hear from the shrinking, fearful cohort decrying the rise of “mumble rap,” hip-hop is as filled with great rapping as it's ever been. This list is the peak of the year so far, the 10 verses that commanded attention, prompted multiple rewinds mid-bar, and had us quoting lines for months on ends (honorable mention to Giggs' verse on “KMT,” which fulfilled the last qualification, if nothing else). One caveat: The list couldn't be made up entirely of Kendrick verses. Here are the best verses of 2017, so far. 


  • Black Thought, “Who Want It”

    Verse: 1
    Best line: “Otis used to sing how we should try a little tenderness/But they ultra envious, crazy disingenuous like/Who need a enemy if that's what type of friend you is?”

    “I got the wordplay of Wallace, work ethic of Shakur, I was sent into the future with a message from the Moors.” Black Thought doesn’t ease into verses as much as kick in the door with them, going from zero to one hunnid instantly—then keeps the intensity all the way up, bar after bar, with internal rhymes and references flowing by so fast—”I got plans, I’m taking my revenge like Roxanne/My man swam here from Mississippi, goddamn”—you’re rewinding to the start of the first verse before the second even starts. David Banner brings it too—it is his song, after all—but you might never get that far. —Russ Bengtson


  • Joey Badass, “Amerrikkan Idol”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “So turn the kid raps loud, I'm about to spazz out/Watch out, another n**** runnin' in the White House”

    The first verse on “AmeriKKKan Idol,” the last track on Joey Badass’s All-Amerikkkan Badass lasts nearly two minutes on its own, building to a crescendo around the minute-and-a-half mark—”Got a message for the world and I won't back out/So turn the kid raps loud, I'm about to spazz out/Watch out, another n**** runnin' in the White House”—before trailing off in frustration before the chorus kicks in. When the title of your album is a nod to one of Ice Cube’s best, you’d better bring it. With this anti-white supremacy lyrical assault—”Media's got this whole thing tainted, that's all fact/Feedin' you lies like this whole thing wasn't built on our backs”—he does exactly that. —Russ Bengtson


  • Future, “Might As Well”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line:“You will never know what I was in”

    We all know that Future's life has had its valleys and peaks. But on “Might As Well” he spends less time romanticizing his rough time in the streets or providing flamboyant accounts of gluttony—instead he hopscotches over the Tarantino production, paralleling his tough past with his prosperous present.

    Due in equal parts to his clear delivery, illustrative lyrics, and self-awareness he manages to poetically portray a rags to riches story, devoid of fantasy or Mafioso cliché. In its place are bars that are honest and relatable. —Brandon 'Jinx' Jenkins


  • Rick Ross, “Idols Become Rivals”

    Verse: 3
    Best Line: “Last request, can all producers please get paid?”

    Man, Rozay sounds so disappointed in how Birdman handles business and his words hit even harder over a beat flip of Jay Z and Beanie’s deadbeat-dad ethering, “Where Have You Been.” Birdman has been, for the most part, quiet since this track dropped. We hope he can find it in his heart to make amends with the people he hurt over the years. Still can’t get over how the Boss felt when he found out the watches were fake and the cars were rented, smfh. —Angel Diaz


  • Offset, “Met Gala”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “Get to the top and we blew the ladder up”

    It's always exciting when a recent real-life flex is flipped into a song. Offset and his Migos family storming the Met Gala just a few weeks ago was a major moment on the timeline, a nice example in a half-year full of them of just how far the Migos have come and how glorious it is to watch them shine. To hear Offset, on a track with Gucci Mane, wax poetic about it so soon after feels like breaking the fourth wall, like he read our tweets about posing with Celine Dion and said, “Yeah, I can't believe it either.” Except, with Offset, it just becomes a brilliant new shortcut for flexing. How good is life? It's Met-Gala-invitation good. —Frazier Tharpe


  • Remy Ma, “Shether”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “And to be the Queen of Rap, you gotta actually rap”

    Nicki Minaj hasn’t been able to get anything to stick since Remy Ma released “Shether.” It's not the greatest song but as a verse—well, it didn’t shake up the game for an entire weekend for nothing (and 48 hours on Twitter is the equivalent of like nine human years). —Angel Diaz


  • Kendrick Lamar, “DNA”

    Verse: 2
    Best Line: “You mothafuckas can't tell me nothin/I'd rather die than to listen to you/My DNA not for imitation/Your DNA an abomination”

    The second verse of “DNA” feels like a cathartic explosion of that side of Kendrick that we all want to see. The side that took the wheel on Big Sean's “Control,” who snapped during his BET Cypher Freestyle in 2013, and resurfaced most recently on the “The Heart Part IV.”

    On “DNA” he's boisterous and superhuman, successfully distancing himself from further from his would-be peers. You can’t be him. He’s the Neo in hip-hop’s matrix. He’s dodging bullets and pulling triggers at the same damn time.

    It's such an insane display, Mike Will had to build the beat around Kendrick's words—nothing else in his library could accommodate the barrage (and Mike is known for his massive library). This is rap as Olympic sport, but it doesn't sacrifice content for the sake of remarkable form. The verse is full of striking images (“Beach inside the window, peekin' out the window/Baby in the pool, godfather goals” and quotables (“You ain't sick enough to pull it on yourself”).

    All while Rick James cries out for marijuana. —Brandon Jenkins and Ross Scarano


  • Drake, “Do Not Disturb”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: They don't know they got to be faster than me to get to me/No one's done it successfully

    “Stylin though.” A simple and catchy opening, the sort of line Drake excels at. The casual confidence in those two words is appealing; if you saw it on the rack you’d want to try it on—it’s plain, but you think you’d look great in it. Then back home, you find it doesn’t work as well as you wanted.

    Relatability is overrated beyonds its ability to lure the listener in. It doesn’t keep butts in seats. At this point, is anyone still listening to Drake because they think their life is like his, that their struggles are similar? It’s the ghost of a feeling you occasionally glimpse but at this point we’re here for the Drake show, for his logo splashed on the sound a la mode and the rare peek behind the curtain at what his true life. That’s what “Do Not Disturb” gives you. “Stylin though/Dissin but got pictures with me smilin though.” The line is a revolving door—you think you’re in only to be spun back out to the sidewalk to spectate. He’s very good at what he does, you should pay attention. Wait for the summary. —Ross Scarano


  • Young Thug, “Sacrifices”

    Verse: 3
    Best Line: “Growing up, I was a running back/You never made me ran once (goddamn)/I got shot, sweat started running/That shit was red like Hunt (ketchup)” 

    The Young Thug that emerges about halfway into “Sacrifices,” the demure posse cut on Drake’s More Life, is one we haven’t seen before. Thug’s rapping is typically elemental, it defies categorization; explaining what Thug rapping sounds like describing the weather. On “Sacrifices,” though, Thug sounds different. Sober, surgically precise storytelling. It’s such a different flow than what fans are used to hearing that it’s tough to capture how strikingly weird the language is before Thug explodes into a Technicolor croon—the Thug we’re used to, and still thrilled by. He reins it in, later, capitalizing this new, darting rapping with his inextricably melody-laced, throaty delivery. The end result is formless impressionism, a completely new delivery from a new breed of rapper that works about as well as it sounds. It’s a triumph but, because it’s Thug, it’s impossible to say if we’ll ever hear a verse quite like it ever again. —Brendan Klinkenberg


  • Kendrick Lamar, “Duckworth”

    Verse: 1
    Best Line: “Because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin' life/While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight”

    Just when you think you've seen all of K-Dot's tricks, know all of the major tentpoles of his story, this motherfucker goes and ends an already impressive album by putting his entire life into a Sliding Doors, cosmic context via the intertwined biographies of the two most important men in his life. A grand destiny fulfilled that could've easily been another banal and wasted life tossed about by the caprices of cause and effect. A tale this cinematic and unbelievably true needs John Williams on the score—9th Wonder provided the web and Kenny spun it like he was Homer delivering a myth from the heavens. Best verse on the best album of the year. —Frazier Tharpe

More from Complex

We Played Baseball in an Unreleased Pair of Yeezy Cleats and Destroyed Them

The absurdity of it all hit in the third inning. Stepping up to the plate in a scoreless game, runners on first and second with one out, one of my teammates yelled, “Let’s go, Yeezy.”

Digging into the right-hand batter’s box, trying to get comfortable for my second at-bat, I had to stifle a smile. Rocking a pair of exclusive cleats in an amateur baseball game was ridiculous enough. But to be stunting in Central Park in a pair of unreleased Adidas Yeezy 750s? This was on another level.

Complex Sneakers was laced with an ultra rare pair of Yeezy cleats not too long after they first debuted on Von Miller last September. And despite the fact they’re most definitely football cleats, I begged Sneakers for months and months to let me rock them for one of my baseball games. All in the name of content.

Two weeks ago, they finally said yes.

So I picked a day when my team had a doubleheader, that way I could compare what it was like rocking my normal cleats—Nike Huarache 2KFilth Pro Three-Quarter—in the first game to the hype, hoopla, and expectations in the second that comes with taking the field in a pair of cleats that were supposed to retail for $300 but never released.

It was going to be an exercise in indulgence, because in the league I play in—the Pancho Coimbre Baseball League—nobody takes themselves too seriously. Sure, everybody’s trying to win and not embarrass themselves. Everyone wants to perform and prove they’re a ballplayer and not some scrub. But the overwhelming majority of the guys in the eight-team league don’t really care what kind of cleats they’re wearing, or whether their batting gloves share the same logo as their footwear.

I’m way more cognizant of my ‘fit on the field than most. But still, rolling up to the plate in the first inning in a pair of Yeezys was big-timing it. I explained to my teammates what was going on—that I was laced up to write about the experience and get it on video and that the pressure was on to perform. Wearing them meant I had a responsibility to square up a few fastballs and launch a couple of moonshots. My fielding had to be flawless. The squad had to win. You can’t stunt and play like shit.

Only problem is I did.

Adidas Yeezy Cleats
Image via Complex Original

When word got around the Complex office that I’d be wearing them for a game, my colleagues told me I better gear up for a royal roast session if I didn’t get a couple of hits. So as if dropping the first game of the doubleheader and needing a win to salvage my team’s Sunday wasn’t enough, I had a handful of my colleagues’ voices in my head every time I stepped to the plate.

While I was pressing up at bat, I wasn’t worried about the performance of the cleats themselves. A size bigger than I ideally would have liked, the Yeezys were surprisingly snug and responsive. You never see suede on the diamond, but they looked better—or at least I felt like they looked better—than I expected. I thought they would stick out like a sore thumb, since I’ve never seen a high-top cleat on the diamond as tall as the Yeezys. But I tipped off my teammates in between games and didn’t get hit with a “What are those?” from our opponents.

My feet were, however, pretty toasty for an overcast day with temps hovering around 60. If it was a blistering hot and humid July day, the Yeezys would have been an oven. But I was pretty satisfied with how supportive they were and wasn’t worried about them slowing me down. They’re comparable in weight—they’re much lighter than they look—to just about any cleat I’ve played in recently. Manning shortstop, I was flawless with my five opportunities, including turning a textbook double play. I just didn’t get a chance to test them out on the basepaths.

That’s because I went a disgraceful 0-4 at the plate, with three strikeouts and grounding into a double play. After smoking a fastball down the third base line in my first at-bat, that was fielded cleanly by the third baseman on two hops and thrown around the horn for a double play, I didn’t see a fastball I could do damage to with my next three trips to the plate. Seeing curveball after curveball, I started pressing, putting pressure on myself to get a hit with the voices of my colleagues bouncing around my head. So I swung at pitches I shouldn’t have. In my last at-bat, I missed a hanger that I pulled foul down the left field line before getting called out on a suspect third strike. It was too far outside and I let the ump know before sulking back to the dugout, embarrassed and pissed. The only solace? We were three outs away from wrapping up a 7-1 victory.

For the record, with my Nikes on in the first game, I went 2-3 with an RBI double, a single, and a walk. So I’ll blame 0-4 on the Yeezys. But deep down I know I played myself. I tried way too hard to knock the cover off the ball, flash some leather, and straight up dominate because that’s what you’re supposed to do rocking the flyest gear. Then I remembered I pay to play baseball. Not the other way around.

More from Complex

Twitter Goes Off On Milo Yiannopoulos’ Dubstep Logo?

Milo Yiannopoulous has not had the best week. His #1 bestselling book on Amazon ‘Dangerous’ was just pulled by publishing company Simon & Schuster, he recently resigned from the ultra popular right-leaning news website, Breitbart News, and was most recently the victim of a coordinated political character assassination.

A video that has been online for well over a year on The Drunken Peasants Podcast, seemed to indicate that Yiannopoulos, himself a victim of sexual molestation at the age of 13 and self-proclaimed conservative provocateur, had promoted hebephilia.

Just shortly after his resignation from Breitbart, and in response to his header logo at the top of his resignation letter, Twitter lunged after Milo’s logo. References were made to various sorts of metal, nu-rave bands or even a dubstep DJ logo. See for yourself and decide!

 

h/t: FACT Magazine

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Twitter Goes Off On Milo Yiannopoulos’ Dubstep Logo?

Swedish House Mafia’s Last Show Ever At Ultra 2013 [Video]

10649084_1010627968963305_3437918529641673585_oFor this week’s flashback Friday, we are taken back to the end of an era. It’s coming up on almost two years since the disbandment of Swedish House Mafia and most of us have yet to move on from the transition. Yes, Axwell / Ingrosso are great and Steve Angello is also doing well, but I can’t help but feel a void that their individual acts cannot fill.

The reality of the situation is that for those who entered the EDM scene circa 2009-2011, Swedish House Mafia most likely played a vital role in their introduction and immersion in the EDM culture. With their departure, we are older and wiser and our tastes have changed and evolved; yet, as we look back on what it was like just a few years ago, we can’t help but get a good kick in the nostalgia feels.

Relive the end of the Swedish House Mafia below:

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Swedish House Mafia’s Last Show Ever At Ultra 2013 [Video]

Borgeous, Whoo Kidd, Wiz Khalifa, & Waka Flacka “Toast” To The Weeknd [Free Download]

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Get ready for the trillest track yet. The infamous Borgeous teamed up with Whookid, along with two of rap’s biggest stars, Waka Flocka Flame and Wiz Khalifa, for an absolute monster of a song, “Toast“. Borgeous has a knack for creating the most electrifying hits that simply turn dance floors into pandemonium. This latest track is no exception as Waka and Wiz both provide an incredible presence to this banger, making you just want to grab a drink and turn up with the crew. I couldn’t think of a better song to kick this weekend off, be sure to listen below and grab the free download as well!

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Borgeous, Whoo Kidd, Wiz Khalifa, & Waka Flacka “Toast” To The Weeknd [Free Download]

CREATIVELIVE Offers Free Production Tutorial With Ed Solo

CreativeLIve

Producers are always looking for things to learn. The internet is a great source for tips, but when a producer sits down to do a formal tutorial, you’re sure to get more from it than from your average lifeless Youtube video. One company, CREATIVELIVE, is offering a free tutorial from Ed Solo, who has worked on tracks with Krafty Kuts, DJ Fresh, as well as made sample packs for Bass Boutique and Loopmasters.

The free live tutorial will take place November 12th through the 13th between 9AM and 4PM PST. All you need to do is RSVP and be on the computer when the session is underway. For those producers who would like to partake you can reserve your spot through the following link. The focus will be on producing music with Logic Pro. Don’t worry if you don’t use that software, because CREATIVELIVE will offer more tutorials in the future that focus upon other DAWs. If you follow the RSVP link you will find the schedule with the list of other sessions.

RSVP Here

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: CREATIVELIVE Offers Free Production Tutorial With Ed Solo

Highschool Kids Steal Mat Zo’s Car

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Remember last year when Mat Zo’s album got leaked? Well apparently music isn’t the only thing that Mat Zo has trouble keeping in his possession.

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So there’s your life lesson: If you’re going to steal a car, make sure it’s not owned by a Twitter famous DJ.

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Highschool Kids Steal Mat Zo’s Car

Get Inside The Mind of Alesso With His AMA

Alesso2 - Your EDM

The Swede Alesso recently partook in an AMA on Reddit after the success of his Chime For Change benefit shows in New York City. Alesso revealed fun tidbits like his affection for Hanz Zimmer and Swedish House Mafia, his favorite plug-ins, as well as his love for drawing, and fashion. Moreover, he teased us with letting us know that his album will have some different genres on it, as well as two specific tracks that Redditors asked about. There is no date set for the album, but with his recent single being released, as well as increased press visibility, we can be sure some more details will come soon enough. For the full AMA, check the source and peruse through the many comments and questions.

Source: Reddit

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Get Inside The Mind of Alesso With His AMA

Krewella Crash Super Bowl Party for Surprise Halftime Show [Video]

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we take it back to the time Krewella absolutely destroyed a super bowl party. Lucky patrons at a bar in New York City were treated to a surprise performance from Krewella courtesy of Bud Light at the end of halftime during the Super Bowl this year.

For anyone who tuned into the big game, it should be fairly obvious that Bud Light recognizes that EDM is the wave of the present and the future (they debuted Afrojack’s new single in one of their commercials and also featured Zedd as the newest spokesman for their Bud Light Platinum promotion) so it comes as no surprise that they tapped Krewella for this secret performance in NYC.

Check out the clip from the performance below, featuring Krewella dropping the hit single “Enjoy The Ride,”

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Krewella Crash Super Bowl Party for Surprise Halftime Show [Video]

Avicii Will Return To DJing Very Soon

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2 months ago Avicii reported that he would be taking a break from DJing and proceeded to cancel all his future shows. As his recovery is still underway, Avicii’s name is back in the circuit as the EDM star is booked to play Australia’s Future Music Fest early 2015.

Reported by Billboard, Avicii will be joined by Drake, Martin Garrix and more as the popular festival will kick off this upcoming February. Last time Avicii was at Future Music Fest he was forced to cancel as he was rushed to the Hospital due to stomach problems but now that he is on the mend, we can expect a triumphant return.

You can check out the festival trailer below which reveals Avicii’s announcement:

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Avicii Will Return To DJing Very Soon