Another week dominated by Drake (but also Mike Will Made It!).
Is it just me, or have the past few weeks felt like the calm before the storm? After all of the TLOP hubbub died down (this is the first week in a long time that we haven't had a Kanye solo joint in our top ten list), we've had quite a lack of releases from rap's upper echelon. Teasers, singles, and release date announcements seem to keep flooding in, but this Friday, when A$AP Ferg releases Always Strive And Prosper, things will really get cooking. A week later, we'll get Views From The 6 and Dreamchasers 4, and then SremmLife 2, Skepta's Konnichiwa, and Schoolboy Q's album all (hopefully) in the next month or two after that (also, possibly Beyonce before the month is out). All that said, we'd be fools to overlook dope new releases from underrated vet Royce da 5'9" and ascendant youngster Lil Uzi Vert, both of whom had my weekend on lock, personally.
As far as the charts go, the immediate vibe is that of anticipation, as Drake dominates again, with pre-release drops, and the Brothers Sremmurd notch a high debut for their new single. The other surprise star of this week's edition is Mike Will Made It, who's quietly having one of the best years of any producer through quarter one of 2016. Without further adieu, bangers aweigh!
10. Meek Mill - Trap Vibes
Meek's latest release capitalizes on the success of Drake's "Summer Sixteen" and Desiigner's "Panda," and on our charts, it's done fairly well for itself. The freestyle drops four spots from 6 to 10 this week.
9. 2 Chainz Feat. Lil Wayne - MFN Right (Remix) (Prod. By Mike Will Made It & Zaytoven)
My personal vote for one of 2016's best songs to date just got better this past week. 2 Chainz's zany, reggae-esque "MFN Right" that first appeared on the Still Cappin EP, then on Collegrove, now gets a drop-in from his recent partner-in-crime, Lil Wayne. Also of note: this is the first of three Mike Will-produced joints on this week's list. Remember a few years ago when everyone was debating Mike Will vs DJ Mustard? Well, Mustard blew up after Will, and now it seems like Will's winning the endurance contest as well. 2016 has been much better for him than his one-time biggest competitor for most in-demand producer. This remix debuts at 9.
8. Jim Jones Feat. Rich Homie Quan, A$AP Ferg & Desiigner - Finesse
Off the top of my head, I can't remember the last time Jim Jones had a song in our top ten, but I'm willing to bet that Desiigner was still in high school when it happened. The Capo arrives leading a truly bizarre melange of Gucci Mane/Young Scooter interpolations, infectious "Panda" ad-libs, and traded bars between Ferg and Quan (?!?!), all of which give "Finesse" a collage-like vibe of vibrancy. It debuts at number 8.
7. Tory Lanez & A$AP Ferg - Line Up The Flex (Prod. By Play Picasso)
Ferg and Tory's "Level Up" tour kicks off in exactly a month, and with their joint track rising up two spots from 9 to 7 in the past week, it seems like anticipation is running high. The dynamic duo kill it, but how about Play Picasso here? Dude came up with something that's equal parts cinematic and turnt, which lends itself perfectly to Tory and Ferg's animated deliveries.
6. Young Thug & Lil Uzi Vert - Dope
This song just won't fall off. Thugger and Uzi's "Dope" is now in its fourth straight week on the chart, and it's just hit a new peak. Last week it was at 10, then before that 9, but now it seems to have gotten a second wind. Unfortunately, the version was unofficial, so it's been down for weeks, but it's clear people are still searching it every chance they get. Let's hope they release an official stream sooner rather than later.
5. Kid Cudi - All In (Prod. By Mike Will Made It)
Joining "The Frequency" in the category of tracks that have Cudi fans back on his side after Speedin Bullet To Heaven, the Mike Will-produced "All In" is as anthemic a track as he's ever done. Bolstered by a strong chorus and a fairly unorthodox, bubbling beat, this one seems like a sign of more good things to come, especially when you consider the "just the beginning ;)" message Cudi included on SoundCloud. "All In" debuts at number 5.
4. Rae Sremmurd - Look Alive (Prod. By Mike Will Made It)
Rae Sremmurd's last track, the Ransom 2 cut "By Chance" was a sparse, slightly menacing piano-led slice of ATL, and their latest sounds almost nothing like it. My best approximation is a deeper-voiced Justin Bieber covering Yung Lean's druggy anthem "F'd Up," with Swae and Jimmy's clear-eyed voices cutting through an impeccably trippy soundscape. The Sremm Life 2 lead single debuts at number 4.
3. Drake Feat. Jay Z & Kanye West - Pop Style
Last week's chart-topped slips down a few spots to make room for a new version. This original cut of "Pop Style" has since been taken down, but as with anything Drake touches, it's still drawing in the clicks.
2. Drake Feat. WizKid & Kyla - One Dance
The (ironically) poppier song of the two Drake released two weeks ago leapfrogs "Pop Style" to remain at number 2 for the second straight week. It's anyone's guess right now whether Views From The 6 will hew closer to the pancultural vibe of "One Dance" or the big-ticket bombast of "Pop Style," but I guess we'll all find out in a few short weeks.
1. Drake - Pop Style (New Verse)
Same song, different verse. This past week's OVO Sound Radio unveiled another version of "Pop Style" sans The Throne, with a new Drake verse in their places. Oddly enough, the new bars begin with the only two that Jay Z uttered on the first edition. Will the album version include Jay and Ye? Or is Drake arrogant/confident enough to relegate the appearance of two of the biggest rappers in the world to bonus track status? This cut of "Pop Style" debuts at number 1.