The Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2018 (So Far)

Hip-hop in 2018 is in a weird place. There’s a million miles between the narcotized beats and nihilistic rhymes of the Soundcloud set and the more nuanced lyrics and big beats of a Kendrick Lamar or Pusha T. To paraphrase Yeats, the center is pretty jacked. Still, there are some central themes that run through many of the year’s best tracks: a desperation about where we are as a country and a culture, and a desire to change this. You can hear it in Childish Gambino’s “This is America” as well as Huncho Jack’s great “Modern Slavery.” The malaise underlines everything from JPEGMAFIA’s “Baby I’m Bleeding” to Kanye’s “Ghosttown.” We’ve still got a lot of time left in this year, but though there has not been an unqualified album-length masterpiece (maybe Pusha T came closest, but that’s hardly even an album), there are new amazing singles coming out nearly every week. We’ve collected our favorites here, and we’ll be updating this throughout the year.