Asking an artist to choose their best song can be like asking a mother to name her favorite or most successful child—it’s never going to be an easy decision, and it’s one that most would rather leave to the listeners to consider. But even when it comes to listeners, that discussion can be one of the most fractured conversations in music, with each person enjoying a different aspect of an artist’s music.
But XXL wasn’t going to let these rappers off the hook with overly-diplomatic answers; we wanted to get right to the source of the creation of some of the best songs of an artist’s career, and ask them what they considered to be their best creation. With hundreds, sometimes thousands, to choose from, it’s never going to be an easy decision, and as an artist continually pushing themselves forward, looking back on an extensive catalog and picking the one singular high point can be more detrimental than looking ahead to future high points yet to be created.
“We always look at it as, we go through a school of music in your heart, in your mind, and for me I felt like I was getting better as I was going on,” Raekwon says when asked to identify his best song. “And now I feel like I’m at a college level of understanding my craft, understanding my rhymes and where I want to go with it. The words are more vivid. I feel like with each album I was supposed to get more better and more craftier. That’s what makes us witty, is that we can rhyme about this today and be on a whole different thing tomorrow. So we only get better as we learn more, I guess. That’s where I’m at.”
With that in mind, XXL rounded up six rappers who, while still saying the best is yet to come, were able to identify a creative high point that stuck with fans and made the song the best of their career so far. Soak it in. —XXL Staff