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The 50 Best Songs of 2013 Image via the9elements

3. A$AP Ferg f/ A$AP Rocky "Shabba"

Album: Trap Lord 
Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA
Producer: Marvel Alexander & Snugsworth

In Jamaica the elders talk about the concept of “Word, Sound and Power." To speak the words "Shabba Ranks" is call the name of a king and invoke ancient powers. Just ask A$AP Ferg, who went from being one of many Mob members putting in “Work” to fully verified Trap Lord status with the release of this summer scorcher. The song also features Ferg’s longtime cohort A$AP Rocky, rapping as nimbly on the menacing Snugsworth track as he’s rapped on any track ever. (Just for the record, Ferg’s the short ninja but his dick tall while Rocky’s the skinny ninja but his dick long—exactly the sort of straight-to-the-point lyrics that Shabba himself would appreciate.)

As the son of Trini parents growing up in Harlem, Ferg was raised around Caribbean sounds, so it’s fascinating to see him pay tribute to the dancehall emperor by breaking down Shabba’s essence to a mathematical equation. “Eight gold rings” x “four gold chains” x “two bad bitches” x “one gold tooth” = Shabba Ranks. Getting Shabba to appear in the song’s infectiously raucous video, and later on a remix, is more than a co-sign, it’s a coup de grace that elevates this sure-shot party-starter to more than just a simple shout-out. So when Ferg says “my yute don’t ramp with me,” trust and believe that he knows exactly what he’s talking about. —Rob Kenner 

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