Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away; whether you're about to blow a check on your significant other or throw up two middle fingers to your ex, these 10 songs will make a sexy soundtrack for your February.
This column has two goals:
1. To use the many tools available to us today to get some idea of what songs were really bubbling with "the people"—in other words, to insert some science into the process.
2. To contextualize that information, because raw numbers in a vacuum would have you thinking an anonymous rapper dropped onto a stellar track was hip-hop's next big rap star when he was more like an empty, tattooed vehicle for a dope beat and a hook.
The post is obviously intended to be somewhat predictive. There's also an element, though, that is cheerleading. Many of these songs might be flourishing in certain markets but could use wider exposure. They're tracks where the metrics suggest some forward momentum, even if the clubs and radio play don't reflect that.
January is typically a slow month for new music; this month was a complete exception, with major R&B albums from Tank, Jacquees, and KING, plus an impressive major label debut from Kevin Gates, a Future mixtape, and perhaps the best EP of 2 Chainz's career. Culling from the biggest records released of late was a difficult process—after all, the traction for jams like Fool Boy Marley's "Boy Oh Boy" (2014) or Ayo Jay's "My Number" (2013!) suggest the long-building hit is back like it never left, competing with brand-new records that just missed the cut, like Tory Lanez "LA Confidential." But after a harsh decision-making process, we narrowed February 2016 down to the 10 best records you have to know. It's this month's edition of Bout to Blow: 10 Dope Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon.