As arguably the most popular music style on the planet, hip-hop is constantly reinventing itself in new and exciting ways, so keeping up with the latest trends and hits can be almost impossible. Just blink and the charts have changed. We’ve got you covered, though. From new breakout artists to familiar superstars, here’s a sampling of some of the hottest hip-hop tracks trending in 2021!
Polo G ft The Kid LAROI and Lil Durk- No Return
Following a recent trend of dramatic instrumental string-drenched intros dropping into a fast trap beat, this rapper’s collaboration with fellow Chi-Town citizen Lil Durk and Australia’s teenage wonder The Kid LAROI has all the melodic action of an explosive heist film.
Megan Thee Stallion- Thot Sh*t
Following up on last year’s smash hit with Cardi B, WAP, this track is fun and bouncy, with an oddly empowering and twerk-happy video showing a world dominated by women with the protagonists tormenting an older businessman.
ArrDee- Oliver Twist
Released in March of 2021 (but previewed in a Super Bowl commercial), and with a Divine Comedy -inspired take on LGBTQ liberation, this song by country-rap crossover superstar Lil Nas X was the first global hip-hop phenomenon of the year. It’s inescapably catchy and melodic chorus and driving beat is literally everywhere this year. An early contender for song of the year for sure.
Cardi B- Up
The second single off of Cardi B’s upcoming and hotly anticipated second album has a lot of self assurance and personal gravitas. With a hit video full of female ensemble dance moves and a swagger that is dripping out of every verse, this song is pure pomp and promotion and a fun, infectious beat.
Drake ft. Rick Ross- Lemon Pepper Freestyle
Going back to the roots of the mixtape, this freestyle by two of hip-hop’s biggest stars has dropped at the perfect time. With references to Tupac and Weezy and a backing track full of saturated female vocals and a sharp hitting, downtown-style beat, this is all about remembering where you came from. Introspection abounds in a song full of a sublime mix of gratitude and celebration at a time in both performer’s careers where looking back is needed to forge ahead.
Coming up in the club scene of North Carolina and dropping mixtapes for most of the last decade, DaBaby got on the national radar in 2019 with the release of his first studio album, Baby on Baby. He has since built on that success to get massive exposure and attention and when he dropped Masterpiece–a chorus tribute to a new lady in his life–in early 2021 the track quickly took off. With its hypnotic beat and melody which sounds more like Atlanta than anywhere else in the dirty south. There’s a solid groove here and enough beat drops to help anyone make some nasty moves.
A dark and brooding examination of a year under quarantine and with plenty of nods to his former hits, Gnat finds Slim back in the spotlight as an older, wiser, and possibly slightly wearier microphone assassin. But enough about the lyrics, the music is exceptional, with an acoustic guitar melody and a beat break that is just completely unexpected. This track that was released at the very end of 2020 will be remembered as one of his classics.