This time last year, we were recoiling in horror at the thunderstorm of awfulness that had filled 2020 and looking forward to 2021 for what we hoped would be a dramatic improvement. Well, apparently we made that wish on a monkey’s paw because any positives have been balanced out with more nonsense, but of a different breed. We were allowed outside again, but that now hangs in the balance. One of the few unmitigated upsides is that UK music has, yet again, gotten even better.

To summarise: Tion Wayne and Russ Millions scored drill’s first ever No. 1 single with the “Body” remix; grime and UK rap veterans such as Ghetts, Potter Payper and Rimzee got their long overdue flowers; underground stars like M1llionz, V9 and Unknown T reminded us you can chart without compromising on rawness; and ENNY, Little Simz and Cleo Sol gave us some of the finest songs ever written about womanhood. The thing is, picking The Best Song has never been harder, and not just because we’re spoiled for choice. Sure we got to hit the clubs again, but we also spent half the year isolated, taking in new music in our own way, going through our own stuff. So for half the year, things resonated very differently and when we did get to reconnect, we often found it was in really surprising ways. Paradoxically, the best music this year came from both the solemn, soulful jams and the irreverent party-starters—and plenty in-between. In short: it’s been a weird one, but we move.

Check out the songs we were bumping the most this year down below, and to read more or see the official videos just click through the links. The full playlist can be streamed on the flip.

30. Nammy Wams — “Terror

29. Karen Nyame KG f/ Mista Silva — “Koko

28. Nia Archives — “Headz Gone West

27. Tugz — “Nasty Drip

26. KAM-BU — “Black On Black

25. JVCK JAMES — “No Drama

24. Big Zuu f/ Novelist & Jme — “Offline

23. CASISDEAD f/ La Roux — “Park Assist

22. Unknown T — “Goodums

21. Potter Payper f/ Suspect — “Nothing’s Free

20. Pa Salieu f/ slowthai — “Glidin

19. Headie One — “2 Chains

18. M1llionz — “Mobbin

17. BERWYN— “Rubber Banks

16. Bossman Birdie, Big H, Prez T, Paper Pabs & Jme — “Man In Meridian

15. Ghetts f/ Stormzy — “Skengman” 

14. Chip f/ Parker Ighile — “Eskimo Dance

13. Swindle f/ Ghetts, Knucks, Akala & Kojey Radical — “Blow Ya Trumpet

12. Central Cee — “6 For 6

11. Tendai — “Not Around” 

10. Digga D f/ ArrDee — “Wasted

9. V9 f/ Billy Billions — “Hole In One

8. ENNY — “Same Old

7. Loski — “P.U.G

6. DC f/ Knucks — “Bobby & Rowdy

5. Tion Wayne & Russ Millions f/ Arrdee, 3x3E1 & ZT, Bugzy Malone, Fivio Foreign, Darkoo & Buni — “Body (Remix)

4. Rimzee f/ Born Trappy — “Expensive Pain

3. Adele — “Hold On” 

2. Dave f/ Fredo, Meekz Manny, Ghetts & Giggs — “In The Fire

1. Little Simz f/ Cleo Sol — “Woman

Revisit our best songs of 2020 here.