Album: Trials and Tribulations 
Label: We the Best, Cash Money, Republic
Producer: Mike WiLL Made It

A few songs this year have milked the type of ominous, scything synthesizer atmosphere Mike Will cultivated on "Bugatti" (Travi$ Scott's "Upper Echelon" comes to mind.) And Ace Hood's approach to rapping has an anonymous quality that fills a function without drawing much attention to itself ($50 to the first person who heard anyone quoting a line from this song's verses) or undercutting it (an undervalued skill). Rick Ross' guest verse is a solid showing for an aging kingpin, who, despite a recent rough patch, still raps with unexpected intricacy.

But we all know at this point that the real star of the show is the hook. For a rapper who's gotten so much mileage tapping a vein of hip-hop melodicism, it's the single-tone urgency of his "Bugatti" hook that stands apart in his catalog. The hollered declarative manages to pack a bundle of emotions in seven words: confusion, terror, surprise, pride, desperation.

One could write an entire story from those words: How did he get in a Bugatti? Why was he asleep? What was the personal, moral, spiritual cost? Somehow, those seven words manage to transmit more emotion and narrative punch than entire verses from the rest of the song's cast. Thankfully, it's enough to make it one of the best songs of the year. —David Drake