8. ScHoolboy Q "Yay Yay"
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment, Interscope Records
"Yay Yay" ought to be a bigger hit than it is. Lyricswise, it's in line with the material from last year's Habits & Contradictions album: ScHoolboy raps about moving Oxy and repping Figg Side. But he doubles down on another hallmark of his style: His twisted, off-kilter delivery. "Yay Yay" might be the best example yet of the South Central rapper using chaos to his advantage. It's like he pulls his voice back into himself, harnessing his energy, before unleashing it in erratic 12-bar bursts.
The best part isn't even the verses or the hook, but the bridge, when the treble percussion drops out and the song slows down into a swirling bass-heavy stew and things ought to get stagnant but the opposite happens, the tension builds as you anticipate ScHoolboy's trademark, "YAWK YAWK YAWK." Some of us who've been waving the ScHoolboy flag for a while now are surprised at the extent to which he'd been overshadowed by his Top Dawg Entertainment stablemate, Kendrick Lamar. But we're confident that the world will catch up and catch on. Like ScHoolboy says: "Ask a fiend, they will concur." —Insanul Ahmed