Although 2016 seems so long ago, that year consisted of memorable rap moments and hit singles. That particular year still holds significance to music listeners as they feel nostalgic towards its prolific releases. Multiple publications have penned articles about why 2016 was one of the best and biggest years for music, citing many monumental hip-hop songs and albums. In fact, British comedian James Acaster once published a book that argued 2016 was the best year for music ever.
Beyond the significant albums that were released that year, from Drake's Views to Chance The Rapper's Coloring Book, 2016 was a year full of major rap hits. Looking back at the memorable year from the past decade, here are seven No. 1 rap songs from 2016. Each of these songs reached No. 1 on a Billboard chart, including the Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and Hot Rap Songs charts. Take a look at the tracks below.
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7. Drake - "Summer Sixteen"
Like many previous and subsequent years, Drake dominated the charts in 2016. His album, Views, had the highest first-week consumption out of any hip-hop album released that year. However, Drake’s biggest No. 1 songs of 2016 did not feature rapping. His biggest hits that year included the dancehall and afro-fusion chart-topper “One Dance,” as well as “Hotline Bling.” Additionally, both of his collaborations with Rihanna, “Work” and “Too Good” also reached No. 1 on the charts that year. Out of his No. 1 2016 hits, Drake’s only rap song to top the charts was “Summer Sixteen.” The single served as a victory lap following his beef with Meek Mill in 2015 and led to his tour with Future of the same name. “Summer Sixteen” also simultaneously reached No. 1 on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts.
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6. Chance The Rapper - "No Problem" Ft. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz
Chance The Rapper had achieved a massive amount of success as an independent artist but took things to a new level with his Grammy-award-winning mixtape, Coloring Book. Following his show-stopping verse on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” Chance continued to wave the flag for independence, shunning record labels on the song's chorus. He exclaims, “If one more label try to stop me / It’s gon’ be some dreadhead n****s in your lobby.” Fresh off their ColleGrove collaboration, Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz contributed guest features. Wayne’s verse particularly aligned with the song’s message as he was engulfed in label drama at the time, preventing Tha Carter V from being released. “No Problem” reached No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart for two consecutive weeks and won a Grammy award for Best Rap Performance.
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5. Tory Lanez - "Say It"
While Tory Lanez is currently in very different circumstances than he was seven years ago, 2016 was undeniably his breakout year. His debut single, “Say It” was quite successful as it was also his first song to peak at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart for four weeks and also sat atop the US Rhythmic chart. The song was released in 2015 but was the lead single from his 2016 debut album, I Told You. “Say It” remains the biggest hit of Tory Lanez’s rap career and is currently 3x platinum.
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4. Rae Sremmurd Ft. Gucci Mane - "Black Beatles"
“Black Beatles” is one of Rae Sremmurd’s biggest hits to date. The SremmLife 2 single featuring Gucci Mane conquered social media in 2016 as it became the soundtrack to the viral “Mannequin Challenge” trend. The song was a major moment for Gucci Mane, who had been released from prison earlier in the year and continued a prolific run of guest features. Not only did it top the Billboard Hot 100, marking both Rae Sremmurd and Gucci Mane's first chart-topping single, “Black Beatles” sat at No. 1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Rap Songs, and the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts for the last six weeks of 2016.
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3. G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha - "Me, Myself & I"
By 2016, G-Eazy had been on a run of releasing nonstop hits. He had just released his fourth album When It’s Dark Out, which remains his biggest album to date. While the album and its lead single, “Me, Myself & I” were both released in 2015, the hit single sat atop the rap charts during the first quarter of 2016. A collaboration with Bebe Rexha, “Me, Myself & I” is still one of the biggest hits of both of their careers. The song held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Rap Songs chart for nine weeks.
2. DRAM Ft. Lil Yachty - "Broccoli"
DRAM had released his breakthrough single in 2015 with “Cha Cha” but “Broccoli” marked a new phase in his career. The 2016 hit became the lead single for his debut album, Big Baby DRAM. It is now the biggest song of his career, achieving 7x platinum status in 2018. Also on “Broccoli” is Lil Yachty, who was in the middle of his breakout moment with the release of his debut mixtape. A feel-good pop song with a light-hearted instrumental and bubbly chorus, the song became a massive crossover hit for both artists through its production and Lil Yachty’s auto-tuned verse. While it reached No. 1 on multiple Billboard charts, “Broccoli” remained in the top spot on the Rap Songs chart for nine consecutive weeks. It was also nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2017 Grammys.
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1. Desiigner - "Panda"
The success of “Panda” in 2016 was undeniable. One of the best-charting rap songs of 2016, Desiigner’s debut single was an immediate hit. The track had the ultimate cosign from his GOOD Music boss Kanye West as it was prominently sampled on “Pt. 2” from The Life of Pablo. “Panda” introduced the world to Desiigner’s choppy flow and animated ad-libs that landed him a spot on the 2016 XXL Freshman Class, as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance. The hit record sat atop the Rap Chart for a whopping 15 consecutive weeks, not to mention its No. 1 positions on other charts for multiple weeks as well. Like each of these tracks, “Panda” was one of the No. 1 rap songs that helped define 2016 as a memorable year.