Hip-hop production has exploded into a million different directions in the last five years due to the ever percolating influence of Atlanta's trap music cottage industry, the birth of Chicago drill, the resurrection of the West Coast as a commercial superpower, new New York's growing fixation on Texas trill, the OVOXO squad's coronation in Toronto, and the valiant efforts of thousands of lesser known producers making beats in bedrooms and basements all over the world.
Where back in the day getting a beat to a rapper was a matter of luck and good connections, in the 2010s, it can be as easy as shooting a message out on social media or getting a hit on Bandcamp. Chief Keef selected a beat for his major label debut after searching the name of the then-unreleased Finally Rich on Soundcloud. 16-year-old newcomer Wondagurl landed a beat on Jay Z's Magna Carta...Holy Grail after a series of email exchanges with Canadian beatsmith Boi-1da and Kanye West protégé Travi$ Scott. The walls around rap's mainstream are thinner than they've been in over a decade, and rap's gotten delightfully weird as a result.
The following is a list of the best rap beats of the last five years, an era where a new vanguard of self-made producers like Lex Luger and Young Chop hold court on the radio with legacy hip-hop maestros like the Neptunes, Just Blaze, Kanye West, etc. Hit us up in the comments to let us know what you think should've placed differently, what should've been left out, what we missed, and whatever else comes to mind. Until then, here are The 25 Best Rap Beats of The Last 5 Years.
Written by Craig Jenkins (@CraigSJ)
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