2017’s was not only a prolific year for notable hip-hop projects, it was a defining year for rap on a global scale. Everyone’s talking about it; rap officially surpassing rock this past year as the most consumed genre in the United States was marked by Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., the rise of Migos and the breakout success of half a dozen notable acts. And, as hip-hop continues to grow, and as the rest of pop culture becomes more flagrant in their attempts to ape our genre’s idiosyncrasies, it’s important we take note of the prominent artists in rap that are able to tackle the pop world while maintaining their integrity.

Branching out and/or breaking through to the mainstream has longbeen considered “selling out.” But that was back when we had no choice but to be marginalized. That was back when hip-hop wasn’t the most powerful platform in the medium. Nowadays, mainstream success isn’t reserved for the Vanilla Ices or MC Hammers. In 2017, crossover appeal comes in all forms: it can be gritty, it can be unfiltered and it can be politically charged.

Rappers talented enough to traverse various genres are trying to spread the good word of hip-hop. Sure, we’re sure they got a sizable bag to compensate their efforts, but when you’re able to jump from popular genre to genre and make the outsiders conform to hip-hop’s wave, you should be commended. The impact of that kind of reach and exposure shouldn’t be understated - it’s an important facet of sustaining rap’s prominence in the long run.

This past year, a handful of hip-hop artists proved to be exceedingly eccentric in their feature choices while still remaining true to their style. Regardless of the collaboration, these artists help make sure that rap’s impact isn’t marginalized and that we get our art out in front of as many people as possible. This is list is meant to emphasize and highlight some of these diversely talented artists.