It was an interesting summer in hip-hop to say the least. Although one MC didn't run the season straight through, start to finish, many rappers put their bids in, from Rick Ross to Kanye West, 2 Chainz and Meek Mill. Here, XXL ranks the top 10 rappers who had the summer on smash!—XXL (@XXL)
Busy prepping the release of his second studio album, O.N.I.F.C., Wiz managed to impact the summer without breaking a sweat—releasing records such as the certified gold “Work Hard, Play Hard,” the 2 Chainz-featured “It’s Nothin,” as well as sprinkling the Taylor Gang love on guest appearances with Curren$y’s “Jet Life”, MMG’s “I Be Puttin’ On,” Maroon 5′s “Payphone” and more.
Turn on the radio and you’re bound to hear a Future record bellow out the speakers. Whether it’s “Same Damn Time” or the thrilling “Turn on the Lights,” the 2012 XXL Freshman has been an undeniable force in the hip-hop space this season. Churning out a number of infectious tunes over ardent production—at the same damn time—Future Hendrix has become one of the game’s go-to collaborators as he appeared on tracks like DJ Khaled’s “Bitches & Bottles,” DJ Drama’s “We In this Bitch,” and more.
Big Sean Don saw his stock rise this summer. Though he also made noise last year with the release of his well-received Finally Famous: The Album debut—sparking summer smashes in singles “My Last” and “Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay”— Sean treated this summer like last year never happened. Going harder than the Hall of Fame level on NBA 2K, the Detroit Lion blazed on some of the summer’s best such as Meek Mill’s “Burn,” Lil Wayne’s “My Homies Still” and of course his G.O.O.D. Music fam’s “Mercy.” He’s also likely to have picked up fans with his appearance on Justin Bieber’s Believe LP. With his current momentum, Sean is poised to keep bringing the heat until next summer. All making him one to watch.
"Get Her Tho"
"I'm Barry Bonds, I hit the pussy on the first pitch/Boy, I murdered her, yeah I'm a murderer…Dope dick, dope dick, that's what she yelling out/Dope dick, dope dick, that's what I'm giving out."
Despite his album releasing last November, Drake managed to keep the summer sweltering thanks to his impressive guest apperance track record which found the YMCMB star providing potent verses on arguably the season’s best tracks. As tracks like “The Motto” and Ross’ “Stay Schemin’” carried over into the summer, the self-proclaimed “Champagne Papi” applied more pressure on the season by guesting on 2 Chainz’s “No Lie,” Meek Mill’s “Amen,” French Montana’s club smash “Pop That” and more.
Meek released his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape in May, but standout tracks such as "Amen," featuring Drake and "Burn" with Big Sean proved to have legs that stretched into the summer. His Dreams & Nightmares Tour in support of the mixtape only bolstered the Philadelphia rapper's already hot summer. Let that shit burn!
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Arguably the best rap LP of the year, Nas's Life Is Good album even earned a rare XXL rating from this publication. With the poignant "Daughters" track, the Amy Winehouse-assisted "Cherry Wine" and "Bye Baby," Nas ran the table this summer with high-quality music. His stellar offerings on Maybach Music Group's "This Thing of Ours" and DJ Khaled's "Hip Hop," which also featured Scarface and DJ Premier, added to the ante for God's Son.
2 Chainz set up the August 14 release of his album, Based on a T.R.U. Story, with a plethora of guest appearances for artists like Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross. In addition, the Atlanta rapper had the scene-stealing verse on G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy," a track that also featured Kanye West, Big Sean and Pusha T. He also hit a home run with "No Lie," his undeniable smash single, featuring Drake. The record helped power his album to a No. 1 debut on the Billboard charts. The newly-released single, "Birthday Song," featuring Yeezy should definitely help Chainz end his summer on a solid note. 2 Chaaaainz!
It didn't matter that Kanye dropped "Way Too Cold" and G.O.O.D. Music's "Mercy" or the remix to Chief Keef's "I Don't Like" all before June. All three of those records proved to have lasting power into the summer, especially "Mercy," undoubtedly the song of the 2012 season. His appearance alongside Rick Ross on DJ Khaled's "I Wish You Would" continues to get burn on the radio, while his relationship with girlfriend Kim Kardashian dominates all entertainment sites. Yeezy!
Rick Ross ran the summer with sheer volume. He dropped MMG's compilation album, Self Made 2, and his own solo LP, God Forgives, I Don't just a little over a month apart, churning out more big records and getting guest features—not to mention heavy respect—from the elusive likes of Andre 3000 and Dr. Dre. The summer's Ross's indeed.