With the summer about to pop off, it's time to vote for the essential 2018 summer anthem.
The summer is officially set to kick off on Thursday, June 21st. Last year, Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" emerged on June 16th, while Playboi Carti's "Magnolia" came earlier, on April 16th. Another summer banger, Future's "Mask Off," hit our site on February 16th. French Montana and Swae Lee's "Unforgettable" arrived on April 7th, while DJ Khaled's Rihanna and Bryson Tiller assisted "Wild Thoughts" joined Cardi's breakout single on June 16th. While the majority of 2017's summer bangers were largely uplifting, one contender, Lil Uzi Vert's "XO Tour Life," proved more melancholic in nature. Even Drake's "Passionfruit" played a pivotal role in filling out summertime playlists, though failing to live up to predecessors "Hotline Bling" and "One Dance."
Now, 2018 has reached its halfway point. We've already seen releases from A$AP Rocky, Cardi B, Rich The Kid, XXXTentacion, Pusha T, Kanye West, Blocboy JB, J Cole, Post Malone, Rae Sremmurd and many more. Yet this time around, it feels as if the pop-adjacent end of the hip-hop spectrum has been snoozing. There doesn't appear to be any worthy replacements for "Unforgettable" or "Wild Thoughts," although French has indeed been teasing a sequel to the former. In many ways, this feels like the summer of G.O.O.D Music, who have already hijacked the public narrative with a Drake beef, Pusha T's Daytona, and Kanye West's Ye; their conquest is far from over, with efforts from Kanye & Cudi, Nas, and Teyana Taylor waiting in the wings.
As of now, Cardi Bi's latin-infused "I Like It" seems primed to pick up where "Bodak Yellow" left off, with an infectious chorus and dance-floor-ready production. Though not as lyrical as Invasion Of Privacy's introductory single, the Bad Bunny assisted "I Like It" has no doubt already garnered steady rotation at cookouts, weddings, and parties; already, the video has already amassed forty five million views in less than a week. Rich The Kid's "Plug Walk" may be showing slight signs of age (though it's still young at heart), but it continues to be a stalwart addition to any given summer playlist. Not to mention Drake's "Nice For What," which has held it down since the luster of "God's Plan" slowly faded; though who is to say the Scorpion single won't once again rise for a comeback?
While 2018 has done well to kept up with 2017 in terms of release quality, upon reaching the halfway point, the overall output has arguably fallen slightly short. While a shift of sorts does seem to be ongoing, the absence of certain crucial players has been noted; you don't know what you've got till it's gone type deals. The generally cacophonous cries of DJ Khaled have been oddly still, as has the clockwork reliability of Rihanna. Playboy Carti's Die Lit failed to provide a worthy "Magnolia" successor, although "Shoota" certainly made a valiant effort, and the upcoming Tory Lanez "Latin" album remains a work in progress. Predictions of a Spanish takeover seem sound, given the success of "I Like It," but we have yet to really encapsulate the flavor with a "Havana" or "Despacito."
Perhaps the answer lies within the GOOD Music camp, and thus, a different sort of summer song altogether. Kanye West, Valee, and Ty Dolla $ign's "All Mine" has already been celebrated by many camps, and while it feels a little more tense than the average summer banger, popping wheelies on the zeitgeist always been Yeezy's modus operandi. In a perfect world, A$AP Rocky & Skepta's "Praise Da Lord" would follow "Mask Off's" footsteps as a worthy flute-driven successor, but the experimental nature of Testing has kept it from the spotlight.
While perhaps not quite as "pop friendly" as last year's batch, the contenders this year come from a diverse and eclectic group of sources. Admittedly, summer has yet to truly blossom, so a new anthem may emerge at any given moment. In the interim, however, vote for your personal "song of the summer" thus far. We've accumulated a list of possible selections, but if your choice was left to the wayside, sound off in the comment section below.
Photo credits in poll:
Rich The Kid - Lars Niki/Getty Images
Post Malone - Paul Morigi/Getty Images
Cardi B - Jamie McCarthy/Getty Image
Kanye West - Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Jay Rock - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
A$AP Rocky - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Anderson .Paak - Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images
Childish Gambino - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Drake - Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Playboi Carti - Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Lil Baby - Image via HNHH
Young Thug - Bennett Raglin/Getty Images
Pusha T - Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Drake - Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images