The world continues to shift at a rapid pace with so many major global events happening that it’s hard to know exactly how we think about time. The only thing that’s been consistent throughout the past few years has been the good music dropping that we’re able to use as timestamps. 2023 has been progressing steadily with heat from GloRilla, Ice Spice, Boldy James, A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, RX Papi, EBK Young Joc and more.

Check back at the beginning of every month for updates and check out our other lists and our playlist below, which includes all of the songs mentioned in this article and more:

Struggling to find a list of the Hip Hop Albums that have been shifting the culture? Take a look at our lists for Hip Hop, Rap and R&B to get a complete survey of the projects that are dictating the conversation within Hip Hop.

Need some new songs to throw in the rotation but Spotify and user-created playlists are way too long? We kept it simple and added only the best of the best songs from each month to make sure you get the songs you need without a hassle. Peep the lists below.

Editor’s note: Songs from this list were released between May 2, 2021 – March 30, 2023.

Baby Keem x Kendrick Lamar – “The Hillbillies”

Kendrick Lamar carried the weight of the world on his shoulders when he released Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, but after a tour with his cousin and fellow rapper Baby Keem, it seems like he’s in a better place. “The Hillbillies” sees the two relieve the stress of being on the road with a mixture of bragging, fit checks, and comparisons to Messi and Neymar. Above all else, it’s refreshing to see them both letting loose. – Louis Pavlakos

Chester Watson – “eyes closed”

Q Da Fool – “Heisman/Out Da Jungle”

Kodak Black – “Gunsmoke Town”

Kodak Black puts his vulnerability on full display on the reflective “Gunsmoke Town.” Rapping about the numerous sacrifices he’s had to make to stay afloat, Kodak’s cracking voice sounds like he’s on the brink of self-destruction. The Florida rapper isn’t a stranger to controversy and deplorable actions, but his level of self-awareness in the song helps flesh out the enigmatic personality that Kodak is known for. – Louis Pavlakos

Lil Durk f. J. Cole – “All My Life”

SahBabii – “Lost All My Feelings”

“Underground Legend” – Jay Worthy, Roc Marciano & Bun B

The Roc Marciano-produced “Underground Legend” features a sparse menacing guitar riff and a subtle bassline but that’s plenty to work with for Jay Worthy and Bun B. Jay’s verse pulls no punches, celebrating his enemies’ death with an Adam Sandler reference. Bun B, on the other hand, raps as though he’s giving us a warning. Asserting his rap veteran status, Bun offers some precious advice for newcomers, cautioning them to move correctly or fall out of grace quickly. – Yousef Srour

“black enuff” – redveil f. JPEGMAFIA

“Motion God” – Moneybagg Yo

“Play for Keeps” – Mike Shabb & Nicholas Craven

It’s all or nothing for Mike Shabb. On the somber “Play for Keeps,” Shabb wrestles with the continuous grief set in by the untimely passing of fellow Montreal rapper and close friend Jeune Loup. Nicholas Craven’s warbly beat gives Shabb a morose runway to divulge his sadness while reassuring those closest to him that if he wins, they all win. The track might be the oldest one off the two’s collaborative EP Shadow Moses, but it accurately reflects the darkness in Shabb’s life. – Yousef Srour

“The Game” – Rick Ross, Fat Joe & The LOX

“Princess Diana (Remix)” – Ice Spice f. Nicki Minaj

“Alter Ego” – El Michels Affair & Black Thought f. Brainstory

“Fat Racks Pt. 2” – Luh Tyler & BabyTron

Florida’s Luh Tyler is arguably the coolest 16-year-old on the planet. “Fat Racks Pt. 2,” a sequel to his single from last year, continues his lightning hot streak as one of the game’s most exciting new acts. Although this is their first official collaboration, the unison of Luh Tyler and BabyTron sounds so natural, as they organically feed off of each other’s hunger and charisma. In the bar that inspired the title of the song, Tyler proudly exclaims that his stacks of cash are fat while his body type is the opposite. He ends his verse by rapping, “I been steppin’ on their neck, I got the rap game in a choke,” leaving the thumping 808s and twinkling piano loop to breathe for a brief moment before BabyTron steps in to unleash his own cannon of witty one-liners; “30 something woods a day, might catch me sparkin’ a log in church / God forgive me though / Just discovered my family tree, I came from billy goats.” – Isaac Fontes

“AIN’T GONNA ANSWER” – NLE Choppa & Lil Wayne

“All I Wanna Know” – Lil Keed & Young Thug

“2 Million Up Remix” – Peezy (feat. Babyface Ray, Icewear Vezzo & Skilla Baby)

Nearly a decade into his career as a solo emcee, Peezy finally broke through into the mainstream with his smash hit, “2 Million Up” last year. Over a sample of Dennis Edwards’ recognizable R&B hit “Don’t Look Any Further,” Peezy uses the hook to express his loyalty to his crew and proudly declare that he’s officially come too far to ever fall off now. On the song’s second official remix, he’s joined by fellow Detroit rappers and frequent collaborators, Babyface Ray, Icewear Vezzo and Skilla Baby. As each emcee brings their signature flair to the booming beat to flex their success and effortless flows, it shows the song’s versatility and endless possibilities, as well as Detroit’s collaborative spirit. – Isaac Fontes

“Fire & Ice” – Kool Keith & Real Bad Men F. Atmosphere & Ice-T

“Drums” – Money Man & Babyface Ray

“GOMD” – Veeze

“Kill Switch” – Navy Blue f. J Rocc

“Kant Nobody” – Lil Wayne, Swizz Beatz, DMX

lil-wayne-kant-nobody-dmx-new-singleDespite over 30 years as a top tier rapper Lil Wayne songs remain expansive adventures. The latest example is “Kant Nobody,” a rambunctious, yet controlled barrage of eclectic punchlines, free associative boasts and tightly wound rhyme schemes. Coasting over a DMX-sampling Swizz Beatz instrumental, Weezy F manages to mention sneezing Dracos, Jeffrey Dahmer and Oprah for quips that are as unpredictable as they are funny. He also gets props for distilling his rich hermit lifestyle in just a few bars: Don’t be on all of that, yeah, that’s my twin, shit, alright/Don’t hit my phone with all that ‘I’m just tappin’ in,’ shit, alright/Fuck that friend shit, alright, I’m on my zen shit, alright/I’m on that DMT, I ain’t on that DM shit, alright.” Precise, yet frenzied, “Kant Nobody” is electric. – Peter A. Barry

“Breakfast” – Kevin Gates

“Trappin n Rappin” – Big Scarr & Gucci Mane

“60 Days” – Alchemist, Larry June

larry-june-alchemist-60-daysAfter the song “Breakfast in Monaco,” Larry June and Alchemist rejoined for “60 Days,” a single for their upcoming album, The Great Escape, and another notch on Al’s dream collab tape tour. June comes with his usual wisdom over a beautiful sample loop, but to a surprise Alchemist picks up the mic again showing listeners that he’s still got it as he sprinkles luxury dust across his verse. With Alchemist recently collaborating with Curren$y on Continuance, and Roc Marciano on the Elephant Man’s Bones, it was only a matter of time until a full project with Larry June would happen. – Grant Robinson

“Crocadillaz” – Gorillaz, De La Soul

“Superbowl” – Conway The Machine, Juicy J, Sauce Walka

“Ron Artest” – Babyface Ray & 42 Dugg

Coming off an excellent run of music with Face and MOB, Babyface Ray is back with 42 Dugg paying tribute to one of the baddest pistons to grace the Motor City. “Ron Artest,” teased via snippets and IG livestreams finally surfaces, with Babyface Ray and 42 Dugg delivering a braggadocious and motivational collaboration. The fan service track packs a bulk of basketball references over an instrumental that reminds the listener of winning a championship. – Grant Robinson

“Zap Zone” – BabyTron & Certified Trapper

It’s a beautiful thing when two rap scenes dip into each other’s worlds. On BabyTron’s latest project Bin Reaper 3: New Testament, Tron takes his punch in expertise and joins forces with Milwaukee’s Certified Trapper. The production features up-tempo 808 claps and a serpentine flute in the background, but Tron’s niche is his ability to rap on any beat. Certified Trapper shines on this track, flaunting twin glocks and standing differently due to having thousands of dollars in his pockets. – Anthony Malone

“King Snipe” – Gucci Mane & Kodak Black

“On Wut U On” – Moneybagg Yo & Glorilla

“Princess Diana” – Ice Spice

Make a meme out of Ice Spice and she’ll make it into a hit song; with “Princess Diana” the Bronx rapper lets the people know they have been heard. At first facetious, the comparison between Ice Spice and the former Princess of Wales started out as an online trend; but with her single covers made out of selfies, colloquial lyrics, and a down-to-earth attitude, Ice Spice proves she is a true princess of the people. Producer RIOTUSA splices bass-heavy production with the frantic plucks of a repetitive guitar riff; together, the two capitalize on public opinion and successfully insert Ice Spice into one of the most famous pop culture narratives of our time. – Rebecca Barglowski

“Prada Steppin” – EBK Young Joc

“Same Problems?” – A$AP Rocky

Contributing writers: David Brake, Jeremy Hecht, Devon Jefferson, Dana Scott, Peter Barry, Anthony Malone, Rebecca Barglowski, Grant Robinson, Isaac Fontes & Josh Svetz.