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The year 2018's had magnificent collaborations. From Cardi B's embrace of reggaetón with J Balvin and Bad Bunny to the Young Thug-esque collision of Lil Baby and Gunna; here are the collaborations that we couldn't stop listening to this year. And be sure to let us know your thoughts -- we know you have plenty -- on social media!
8. "Drip Too Hard" – Lil Baby ft Gunna
Lil Baby and Gunna's explosive collaboration put the world on to their perfect unity. Lil Baby had mastery of the southern charisma, while Gunna utilized a workman's flow to captivate the masses. Together, their bombastic track became one of the year's biggest hits. The way that they passed the baton off to each other was seamless and legendary. It was like they were recording just for the hell of it. The success of the song was replicated on their joint project Drip Harder, which showcased just how thrilling true camaraderie can be.
7. "Season" - City Girls ft. Lil Baby
City Girls' debut album G I R L C O D E isn't to be listened to if you're low on money. These powerful femme fatales know their worth and have no problem flaunting it. They make great music, too. From start to finish, a vivacious Miami energy comprises the lively cuts that boil with lustful chants. "Season" isn't about City Girls being concerned with sex, though. Instead, the girls are talking about what time of year it is: summer, which is the hottest season and the time when guys spend money on the ladies they want without reason. The steamy production reflects the heatwave vibes of the lyrics. But, the best part of the song, by far, is Lil Baby's hilarious argumentative guest verse that makes it clear that he won't spend money on a woman who's not his. It just works so well with the dynamic already established by City Girls.
6. "Apeshit" – The Carters
With Migos' ad-libs being as much of a contribution as their verses, is "Apeshit" just a Beyoncé and JAY-Z collaboration? Or are the three rap stooges included? Whatever the case, the lead single from rap's leading couple's surprise album Everything Is Love kicks ass with its blown-out synths and unapologetic, badass lyricism (Beyoncé literally raps, "She a thot that you claim" and it just works). JAY-Z's verse here is actually the weaker of the two. Beyoncé steps away from loudly sung crescendos and dives into her rapper's bag for sixteens with more charisma than anything from JAY's 2006-2010 run. They took over the Louvre in Paris and delivered a six-minute video that seems designed to get the think pieces flowing. To all artists out there, good luck trying to match that level of prestige.
5. "All Mine" – Kanye West ft. Valee and Ty Dolla $ign
Ye was a steaming hot pile of garbage. But, as with real trash, there's some treasure residing underneath the foul odor (hey, who hasn't lost a key in the can and had to go sifting through stinky towels?). Ye's treasure is "All Mine," featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Valee for an absorbing and weird listen. Kanye's .WAV stream of the listening party frequently included this song, and Kanye himself went wild whenever it played. Ty Dolla $ign and Valee gave the song its heart; Valee with his captivating chorus, and Ty Dolla with his trademark growling of sensual notes. Ye's fallen into obscurity, while "All Mine" will continue to live way past 2018.
4. "King's Dead" – Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar and Future
Even if you strip away the beautifully brazen video produced by Dave Free and the Little Homies, Jay Rock's "King's Dead" is one of the year's most unforeseen hits. The song's drum pattern sounds are unlike much of anything you'll hear in the contemporary rap circuit, and all three of the artists here – Jay Rock, Kendrick, and Future – sound like they've been injected with adrenaline and hints of Xanax. Rock's wide-eyed flow contrasts with Kendrick's easygoing chorus. Future's hilarious "legs wide open with crossed arms" flow is the most memorable part. But, at the end, when all three parts seamlessly weave together, the magic is effortlessly.
3. "What's Free" – Meek Mill ft. Rick Ross and Drake
Championships is an album that's bold and boastful with an air of anxiousness brimming beneath the surface. Meek Mill's scared to return to jail because one slight misstep will give the authorities a reason to throw him in the slammer. "What's Free" is the album centerpiece that explains this lack of true freedom. He brings along Rick Ross and JAY-Z for a mesmerizing collective exploration of freedom from legal and political chains. Aside from a cringe-worthy homophobic slur from Ross, each of the three fit together with career-best verses. JAY-Z, in particular, steals the scene with a tenacious helping delivered with a steely calm energy. Anytime you can get JAY to not give a phoned-in feature, you know you have something special on your hands.
2. "Sicko Mode" – Travis Scott ft. Drake
When the world got wind of Travis Scott's tracklist for ASTROWORLD, eyes immediately snapped to the Drake feature. Once the album dropped, it didn't take long for people to realize that "Sicko Mode" was one of the strongest cuts on the album. Scott's rhymes were, as usual, subpar. But, his constant adrenaline in the form of ad libs made it bearable. But, that comes after Drake's melodic opening that makes it clear that it's going to be something special. Then, of course, there's switch-ups. Drake hops on a Tay Keith beat for a scene-stealing verse that made falling asleep after taking a half a Xanax hilarious. "Sicko Mode" plays on the strengths and weaknesses of both rappers to create a mesmerizing collective portrait of star power. And energy -- can't forget that.
1. "I Like It" – Cardi B ft. Bad Bunny and J. Balvin
Cardi B's Billboard-topping hit took seven months to make. That's 182 days -- that's 4368 hours -- for a song that's only four minutes. Cardi reportedly wasn't happy with it no matter how many times they reworked it. But, listening to the final product makes it hard to find any fault. With the contributions of Latin recording artists J Balvin and Bad Bunny, Cardi bridges the trap rap aesthetic that she's cultivated in such a short time with her Latino heritage. The result sounds mainstream, yet sensible and genuine; striking a rare balance that works much better than it would on paper. The blaring horns associated with salsa, and reggaeton and -- of course -- Cardi's effortless charm, made it summer 2018's most magnetic authentic smash. She's still chasing the success of that hit and it'll be hard to top.
Plus, be sure to check out "REVOLT Rewind" on Dec. 24 - Dec. 28 at 10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m., and then, all weekend long on Dec. 29 - Jan. 1 only on REVOLT TV! Find out where you can watch the channel here! And be sure to join the conversation using #RevoltRewind.
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