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Spotify CLASSICS: The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the Streaming Era

20/05/2024

Reviews by Carl Chery, Kemet High, and Adrian Covert

In February, we launched Spotify CLASSICS-our first-ever program to celebrate catalog music. Our inaugural list acknowledged the Classic Hip-Hop and R&B Albums of the Streaming Era and featured timeless releases like Kendrick Lamar's DAMN., Future's DS2, Jay-Z's 4:44, and Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD, to name a few.

In April, we kicked off the second chapter of CLASSICS by unveiling the 100 Greatest R&B Songs of the Streaming Era. And today we unveil the latest chapter of our CLASSICS program: The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of the Streaming Era. Spotify defines the streaming era as a time frame that spans from 2015 until present day.

Hip-hop has been the most influential genre in pop culture for decades, but it became the No.1 music genre in the U.S. in 2017, according to Nielsen. Hip-hop's commercial ascendance coincided with existential shifts for the genre. Rap transitioned to a more melodic format, occasionally making it hard to distinguish between hip-hop and R&B. Trap became the most popular sound in music, and its practitioners started releasing music at a relentless pace. But hip-hop remains as creatively inspired as ever, marked by the emergence of an exciting new generation who have already made their presence felt when it comes to the best hip-hop songs.

Spotify's U.S. hip-hop editorial team-spearheaded by Carl Chery, Creative Director, Head of Urban Music-has taken on the ambitious task of reviewing thousands of songs, and in the end, this list offers a snapshot of hip-hop during the streaming era. Spotify CLASSICS is 100% qualitative. The criteria for the list are based on quality, impact, replay value, influence, and cultural significance. The program is driven by our editors' music and cultural expertise-not by data-meaning that big streaming numbers were not a requirement to make the list.

Note: All songs were released on Spotify after January 1, 2015. The Spotify streams are current as of May 20, 2024.

100. Coi Leray Players Uptown Records, 2022 Produced by: Johnny Goldstein

Spotify Streams: 459,472,370

Fun Fact: There's a version of Players that features Coi Leray singing rather than rapping, but she hated it and overhauled the entire song to make it what it is today.

99. Fivio Foreign Big Drip RichFish LLC/Columbia Records, 2019 Produced by: AXL BEATS

Spotify Streams: 77,303,121

Fun Fact: Big Drip was created the day that Fivio Foreign's close affiliate, Sosa Geek, was locked up. Elsewhere, it was AXL BEATS's idea to use Fivie's ad-libs as a primary-as opposed to secondary-sound.

98. Doechii Yucky Blucky Fruitcake Five 5 Records, 2020 Produced by: Unicorn Waves

Spotify Streams: 46,210,978

Fun Fact: Yucky Blucky Fruitcake was Doechii's first song to appear in our RapCaviar playlist.

97. YG ft. Nipsey Hussle FDT Def Jam Recordings, 2016 Produced by: DJ Swish

Spotify Streams: 38,857,798

Fun Fact: When YG and Nipsey Hussle were filming the accompanying video for FDT, they shot their solo parts separately to avoid mixing their respective groups.

96. Sexyy Red SkeeYee Open Shift/gamma., 2023 Produced by: DJ Meech, Banbwoi, Tay Keith

Spotify Streams: 90,942,958

Fun Fact: In an interview with Montreality, Sexyy Red explained the meaning behind SkeeYee, saying, If you see a cute girl or somebody with a big booty or you trying to holler at somebody, they call that the geek call. A geek is a crackhead, dope fiend. Like when you serving geeks where I'm from, that's a geek call.

95. Freddie Gibbs, Madlib Crime Pays Keep Cool/RCA Records, 2019 Produced by: Madlib

Spotify Streams: 43,770,445

Fun Fact: There's an unreleased, alternate version of Crime Pays that features Norah Jones on the chorus.

94. Moneybagg Yo Time Today CMG/N-Less/Interscope Records, 2021 Produced by: Real Red, YC

Spotify Streams: 187,755,749

Fun Fact: Moneybagg Yo told Genius he initially wanted to push Hard For The Next as a single, but CMG label head Yo Gotti insisted he go with Time Today instead, which proved to be a solid choice.

93. Lil Durk ft. Gunna What Happened to Virgil Alamo Records/Sony Music Entertainment, 2022 Produced by: Chop Squad DJ

Spotify Streams: 143,392,151

Fun Fact: Chop Squad DJ made the beat for What Happened to Virgil in just 25 minutes during an Instagram Live session where fewer than 100 people were in attendance.

92. Flo Milli Never Lose Me RCA, 2023 Produced by: Gerreaux

Spotify Streams: 249,249,152

Fun Fact: The beat for Never Lose Me first appeared as Babyface Ray's Ron Artest. Flo Milli's version began as a freestyle but ultimately became a bona fide hit.

91. Denzel Curry Ultimate PH Recordings/Loma Vista Records, 2015 Produced by: RONNY J

Spotify Streams: 217,371,123

Fun Fact: Denzel Curry shot the video for Ultimate in LA's Arts District just a few blocks from the Spotify offices.

90. A$AP Rocky Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2 (LPFJ2) A$AP Rocky Recordings LLC/RCA, 2015 Produced by: Nez & Rio

Spotify Streams: 330,047,035

Fun Fact: LPFJ2 first appeared in 2014 at the end of A$AP Rocky's Multiply video in a clip featuring DMV rapper Yung Gleesh dancing to it.

89. Yo Gotti Down In the DM Epic Records/Sony Music Entertainment, 2016 Produced by: Ben Billions, Schife Karbeen

Spotify Streams: 177,922,823

Fun Fact: Down In The DM was intentionally made to capture the essence of Snapchat and Instagram on the same night Yo Gotti's cuts from The Art of Hustle, General (featuring Future) and Bible (featuring Lil Wayne) were made.

88. Doja Cat ft. Rico Nasty Tia Tamera Kemosabe Records/RCA, 2019 Produced by: Doja Cat, Kurtis McKenzie

Spotify Streams: 328,481,933

Fun Fact: In an Instagram post, Tamera Mowry ranked Tia Tamera
LINK: https://newsroom.spotify.com/2024-05-20/best-hip-hop-songs-100-top-tra...
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