It's hard to believe we're already back at year-end list time, as it's formally referred to. The pandemic continues to affect all of our lives in disparate ways, depending on location, age, work, and living situation; meaning that, for most of us, life still hasn't necessarily returned to "normal." There is still some way in which we are grappling with the pandemic aftermath, or the virus itself, whether it be via local rules and regulations or the simple fact that we were pretty much collectively shut down all of 2020. Nonetheless, for the music business, things are resuming to "normalcy" as best they can-- that is to say, we're seeing new tour announcements pop up daily, and while the beginning of the pandemic may have brought some hesitancy as far as what's the best protocol for releasing new music, 2021 has pretty much been back in full swing, with major song releases (and album rollouts to match) from OGs like Nas, perpetually-cool artists like Drake and Tyler, the Creator, as well as newcomers like Baby Keem and EST Gee. All of these aforementioned artists make an appearance on our Top 35 Hottest Hip-Hop Songs of 2021 list below.

This year's list showcases an eclectic mix of what was popping throughout hip-hop and rap, whether it be through a TikTok or social media channel, YouTube, or the streets. These were songs that made an impact due to sheer quality and the strength of #bars, or else, there were songs that might have been simply unavoidable, growing on us due to their ubiquity. This list blends what we perceived to be the most-talked-about, longest-lasting post-release, and most impactful and hottest hip-hop songs of 2021, with a splash of our staff's opinions thrown in for good measure.

Scroll through the list below and sound off in the comments.

Ed. Note: We decided to slim down the list this year. You will get our team's in-depth write-ups by way of a "Staff Picks of the Year" round-up which we'll be dropping next Monday, December 13. Stay tuned for this more personalized year-end approach.

- Rose

35. Lil Wayne - Ya Dig

34. Tee Grizzley - "White Lows Off Designer" feat. Lil Durk

33. Doja Cat - "Options" feat. JID

32. Pop Smoke - "Bout a Million" feat. 42 Dugg & 21 Savage

31. Benny the Butcher & Harry Fraud - "Plug Talk" feat. 2 Chainz

30. Meek Mill - "Sharing Locations" feat. Lil Durk & Lil Baby

29. Key Glock & Young Dolph - "Penguins"

28. BIA - "Whole Lotta Money" Remix feat. Nicki Minaj

27. Lil Nas X - "Industry Baby" feat. Jack Harlow

26. Freddie Gibbs - "Black Illuminati" feat. Jadakiss

25. Lil Durk & Lil Baby - "Every Chance I Get"

24. Nardo Wick - "Who Want Smoke Remix" feat. Lil Durk, G Herbo & 21 Savage

23. Nicki Minaj - "Seeing Green" feat. Drake & Lil Wayne

22. Drake - "Wants & Needs" feat. Lil Baby

21. Conway - "Scatter Brain" feat. JID & Ludacris

20. J. Cole - "Pride is the Devil" feat. Lil Baby

19. EST Gee - "5500 Degrees" feat. Lil Baby, 42 Dugg & Rylo Rodriguez

18. Nipsey Hussle - "What It Feels Like" feat. Jay-Z

17. Young Thug - "Day Before" feat. Mac Miller

16. Westside Gunn - "Hell on Earth Pt. 2"

15. Polo G - "Rapstar"

14. Sleepy Hallow - "2055"

13. Lloyd Banks - "Empathy" feat. Freddie Gibbs

12. Drake - "Knife Talk" feat. Project Pat & 21 Savage

11. Lil Tjay - "Calling My Phone" feat. 6lack

10. Isaiah Rashad - "Lay Wit Ya" feat. Duke Deuce

09. Tyler, The Creator - "WUSYANAME" feat. NBA Youngboy & Ty Dolla $ign

08. YSL - "Ski"

07. J. Cole - "My Life" feat. Morray & 21 Savage

06. Kanye West - "Off the Grid" feat. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign

05. Nas - "Nobody" feat. Lauryn Hill

04. Drake - "Champagne Poetry"

03. Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar - "range brothers"

02. Kanye West - "Life of the Party" feat. Andre 3000

01. Moneybagg Yo - "Wockesha"