Photo: Johnny Nunez / Getty Images
  /  08.31.2018

A few months ago, at the top of the sunny season, we launched a Search for 2018’s Song of the Summer, naming Drake’s “Nice for What” and Cardi B’s “I Like It” among our Top 5 contenders, and Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” and BlocBoy JB’s “Shoot” as honorable picks. But now that summer’s officially on its last leg, it’s high time to rethink our choices, and dissect the wealth of music that’s released through its course.

Through three months of small albums, surprise releases, and lavish album rollouts, listeners have been showered in mesmerizing songs, often times creating viral sensations in the process. Keeping all of this in mind, we set out on a strenuous journey to determine the songs of the summer, now that fall creeps into view.

Top Five

“Boo’d Up” by Ella Mai

Ella Mai’s nostalgic anthem of young love transfixed generations of listeners with its simultaneously playful and emotional nature. Its remix(es) came and went, but Ella Mai’s viral hit is here to stay.

“In My Feelings” by Drake

“In My Feelings” isn’t a song; it’s an experience. TrapMoneyBenny’s svelte production, BlaqNMild’s New Orleans-style cuts, and Noah “40” Shebib’s ambience are one-half of the atmosphere that the song generates; Drake’s raps, and internet comedian Shiggy’s now-viral dance make up the other. When taken together in full, “In My Feelings” is one of the summer’s greatest hits that has impacted the populace in both visual and sonic lanes.

“Taste” by Tyga

Tyga lives in a world where summer is endless, women are plentiful, and sun-drenched locales are abundant. “Taste” is all three of these things. Tyga’s smile is contagious from the second the video starts; each of its participants adorns one as well while the music blares and bodies shake to the beat. This summer, it’s had the same effect, revitalizing his career in ways previously thought impossible.

“Lucid Dreams” by Juice WRLD

Juice WRLD is one of summer’s most surprising successes. A SoundCloud stalwart, his unique rap styling became a public fixation with the release of “Lucid Dreams,” a Sting-sampled ode to heartbreak that captivates with a gripping narrative and sound singing. Now, you can’t turn on a radio or curated playlist and escape it.

“I Like It” by Cardi B feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin

It was time for something new. When Cardi B released her debut album Invasion of Privacy on April 5, “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi” were its biggest singles. While they captured the lightning that Cardi brought to the microphone in a jar, the sonic similarities in both songs began to bore listeners. When “I Like It” released on May 25, it quickly went on to become one of the biggest songs of the summer. Its Hispanic stylings and features from Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny and Colombian singer J Balvin attributed to its crossover appeal. It’s hard to escape this one, but you shouldn’t want to.


“Nice For What” by Drake

Drake knows how to command summertime. This year, he released an album, Scorpion, right at the beginning of the season with multiple tracks contending for song of the summer. “Nice For What” was released ahead of the album with an ambitious visual that focused on prominent women of all shades in the entertainment industry. With empowering vocals aimed at women and a bombastic use of a classic Lauryn Hill sample, it was already written that Drake would rule over the summer.

“FEFE” by 6ix9ine feat. Nicki Minaj

6ix9ine’s naughty collaboration with Nicki Minaj is as catchy as it is tantalizing. The chemistry between the two is outrageous, even if they’re separated by nearly 15 years in age. The song’s success showcases that it’s become an integral part of this summer’s hottest releases.

“SICKO MODE” by Travis Scott feat. Drake

Travis Scott’s latest album Astroworld pulled out all the stops, chiefly snagging Drake for “SICKO MODE,” one of the project’s strongest cuts. The warping beat is the first indicator of magic in the process of happening; Drake’s two scorching verses add a further layer of prestige to the mix. It may have come out in August, but it’s already become one of the season’s biggest jams.

“Big Bank” by YG feat. Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, and 2 Chainz

The endlessly playful “Big Bank” features YG, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz. That’s four verses of joyous ignorance to satisfy your thirst for contemporary party music with some angst, and it’s of the highest quality. DJ Mustard puts his foot in the production, creating something that’ll melt the speakers if played too loudly.

“If You Know You Know” by Pusha T

Enigmatic, vibrant smashes aren’t all that summer’s known for. Pusha T’s record from DAYTONA sounds grandiose enough to transcend seasons. Coming out right before summer officially hit, it’s become one of the season’s most noteworthy records for how different it sounds in comparison to other party-ready records.

“1942” by G-Eazy feat. Yo Gotti and YBN Nahmir

G-Eazy’s “1942” is one of the year’s hottest smashes. Spacy production and sound verses from G, Yo Gotti, and YBN Nahmir, make this perhaps the song to set off beach parties around the world. It may have released an April, but prominent radio and playlist placement have made this record live long into swimsuit season.

“Smile” by Lil Duval feat. Snoop Dogg and Ball Greezy

Who would have thought that comedian Lil Duval would have one of the year’s hottest records? It appears so. “Smile,” featuring Snoop Dogg and Ball Greezy, came out in the height of summer. Since then, it’s only become bigger, now garnering regular radio play on iHeartRadio stations. The feel-good instrumental, Lil Duval’s hilarious chorus, and optimistic verses from both Snoop and Greezy make this one of the most interesting, unexpected, yet appreciated, hits of the year.

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