Rap music has undergone several transformations since the 1970s, yet it continues to be one of America’s most beloved genres today. Some of its most captivating performances feature rappers’ flows paired with singing-like melodies.
Melodic rap is a genre that blends elements from other genres such as R&B, rock or jazz together in familiar vocal melodies. This Grammy-winning category has seen iconic collaborations between legendary members of the rap genre take home awards in years past.
1. Lil Uzi Vert & Roddy Ricch – “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial”
Lil Uzi Vert and Roddy Ricch deliver a melodic rap performance on “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial,” taken from their Red & White EP. The track has amassed over 15 million streams and 28.7 million airplay audiences, landing them on Billboard Top 100 for the seventh time.
It also rises to the top of the Streaming Songs chart for a third week, becoming its longest-running number one debut rap album since 2003’s Eternal Atake. Additionally, this track holds the record for highest certified track in chart history with an impressive 3.4 million certifications across sales+streaming alone.
Miley Cyrus’ “Sugar,” her third consecutive number one single on the Billboard Hot 100, continues to reign supreme on the chart for female artists. It spent four weeks atop the chart – becoming her longest-running number one lead track since Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” in 2013. Additionally, it remains at number 11-6 on Radio Songs with 28.7 million listeners and 15 million streams, an incredible feat!
This song is one of several new releases this week that promise to be some of the biggest hits this year so far. Other new tracks include Armani Caesar’s uptempo afro-pop single and Smino’s confident joint effort with Ab-Soul.
Jeezy and DJ Drama’s collaboration “Street Cred” makes an impact with its powerful musical backdrop. On the track, they deliver hard-hitting yet reflective verses based on their past experiences in the streets.
This song is the debut release from Mustard, Sonny Digital, Maaly Raw and Don Cannon and it’s a must-listen for any music buff looking to get in on the action.
Lil Uzi Vert and Roddy Vert have been producing music together since 2013, and are currently working on their debut studio album. After meeting at a studio session last March, the duo has been steadily working since.
2. Kendrick Lamar & SZA – “Empire State of Mind”
Are you wondering where Kendrick Lamar and SZA are at the moment? Well, they’re on a musical high. The GRAMMY nominees have returned with an exquisite collaboration for the Black Panther soundtrack that showcases melodic rap performances at their finest.
“Empire State of Mind” finds both SZA and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith contributing equally to this TDE label boss Anthony’s produced track. With its energetic backbeat, futuristic synths, and SZA’s captivating vocals, it promises to be an earworm for listeners everywhere.
It’s an impressive combination of styles and moods, moving from an upbeat verse to an emotional chorus that poignantly highlights African-American struggles. Lamar’s sharp words combined with SZA’s smooth vocal control make for a riveting listen.
What truly sets this song apart is not only its incredible collaboration between two of hip hop’s biggest stars, but also the stunning music video it features – starting with them performing live in Africa! The track boasts an incredible montage of videos to complement its incredible message.
SZA then fades into a time-lapse of her dancing amongst a stunning galaxy, whose starry expanse resembles the shape of Africa. It’s an awe-inspiring visual, one which would be impossible to recreate in real life.
Recently, SZA shared her wish list of artists she wanted to collaborate with for her upcoming sophomore album, due out later this month. That list included Frank Ocean, Harry Styles, Kendrick Lamar and more – so stay tuned!
Lamar and SZA’s collaboration single was a massive hit, earning the album several nominations for awards. Unfortunately, artist Lina Iris Viktor has accused Lamar and SZA of copyright infringement by alleging they copied elements from her painting series.
Update: The two artists have reached an undisclosed settlement, and the case is now closed. This is a great example of creative licensing becoming increasingly commonplace in music videos.
3. The Weeknd & Lil Baby – “Hurricane”
Since its release on October 30, 2021, this song has been celebrated as a major landmark in the recording industry. Starring Lil Baby among other notable actors and producers, DJ Khalil, Mike Dean and Ronny J, it quickly went on to become one of the highest rated songs of the year on various charts – you know which ones! And it continues to do so today.
4. Drake & Tems – “Wait For U”
Future and Drake have established themselves as melodic rap performers, and their latest track “Wait For U” continues this tradition. It’s an example of a song that takes a more serious approach to romance while still maintaining its celebratory energy.
Last week, Drake and Nigerian award-winning singer Tems released the song “Happier Than Ever” from his latest album I Never Liked You.
Billboard reports the song debuts at No. 1 on both the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, as well as reaching the summit of Radio Songs and Digital Songs charts. This success was aided by 40.2 million streams, 7.9 million radio airplay audience impressions, and 6,400 downloads sold between April 29-May 5 during tracking week.
The track’s primary focus is on love, but it also delves into some of the challenges that come with living in the spotlight. The chorus portrays a scenario where Drake must travel for work while his woman at home misses him. Ultimately, they promise each other they’ll wait for each other no matter what occurs.
This song perfectly captures what it means to find a partner who understands your lifestyle and supports you through difficult times. No wonder why it has become such a hit!
As if the music wasn’t enough to hook you, the video for “Wait For U” is now online featuring Drake and Future alongside Moxie Raia, model Cece Rose, producer ATL Jacob, rapper Strick and comedian Trey Richards. This medieval-inspired clip delves into the relationship issues between Drake and his queen–whose identity is mysteriously revealed during the song’s first verse–in intimate detail.