We're reaching the tail end of our annual year-end coverage (don't clap!). It's commonplace these days, so, much like Every.Other.Damn.Site, we too, curate our "best of" 2018 lists, revisiting everything from the hottest hip-hop songsto the hottest albums, to the collaborative album trend that was unique to 2018 and beyond. We also use the reflection that comes with everything "year-end" to look inwardly-- if you're not an inanimate or intangible object, that usually means self-examination and goal-setting for the new year to come. If you are a website, though, self-examination could mean rounding up some good ol' data. That's exactly what we've done. 

We've done it years prior, too, if you're not hip. It's an interesting exercise, oftentimes affirming what we may already know-- who had big break-out years, who maintained a spot in the constant rotation of news, who made a comeback, and who disappeared from view-- all of this type of information is clearly reflected in our list below. A quick re-visit of last year's list and ranking shows you that XXXTentacion was not yet quite as widespread as he would become in 2018 (and ultimately/unfortunately, his passing only pushed his name further into view). Our beloved mascot (jk, jk) (he's simply our beloved) Drake, ranked number one last year-- much to the surprise of no one. Drake has ranked number one on this yearly look at data since the beginning of time (aka when I started doing this feature in 2013). Beyond Drake's consistency on the list (but you'll wanna see where he ranks this year, I swear), each year reflects a wave of newcomers in the game-- if we refer again to that 2013 inaugural list, you'll find a young ASAP Rocky at spot number ten. In 2014, Young Thug made his debut onto the list at number nine; from there he consistently moved up the list each year, as his name held more and more weight. In 2015,Migos made their debut on to the list, while Lil Uzi Vert followed suit in 2016.

This year, as you'll soon see below, we're greeted with a few fresh faces to the list, as well as some mainstays, and, surprisingly enough, even an OG (try to guess who). This list also reflects the fact that there were certain artists *cough cough* who did their best to stay in the headlines, whether it be through social media trolling and antics of that nature, or through interviews and PR stunts. It's also a reflection of who was hot, who was embroiled in beef, who was quieter than usual. Basically, this list of names is the year at a glance.

Scroll through, and blame yourself. 

Editor's Note: the data we used for this year's list is based solely on internal data, from artist name clicks and tag clicks, to artist pageviews. Thus it's based around the behaviour of all our users!! Whatever you guys are checking for the most on the site, those artists make up our Top Artists of the Year.

30. Kendrick Lamar

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

This year was a relatively quiet one for the Compton native, reflected in his ranking dead last at our list of 30. To put it in perspective, last year the rapper showed up at #7-- a year when DAMN. was released, much discussed, much adored, and Kendrick equally so. Still, even without dropping a proper album, Kendrick remained in conversations, if only because of his acclaim and skillset. He did lead the charge on the Black Panther soundtrack too, one of the biggest movies of the year.

29. Rick Ross

Ricky Rozay has been eyeing his return to music for a minute now, with Port of Miami 2 in the works. However, in 2018, he took the year off from releasing a new album, perhaps busy losing weight, bigging up his businesses like Wing Stop and having a family. He didn't rank at all last year, but we also didn't go deep into 30 artists last year, we capped our list at 15.

28. 2Pac

Does Tupac's name on our list surprise you? While there are many young artists coming out of the woodwork at all seconds of the day, and each is doing their best to garner as much online attention as possible, Pac is someone who will always be revered as, not only one of the best to ever do it, but as a figure who died too soon, with a death still shrouded in mystery. The news that centered around Pac this year oftentimes had to do with memorabilia, Suge Knight, tributes in some form or another and a conspiracy theory here and there for good measure. 

27. Mac Miller

Mac Miller released what would be his final album, Swimming, this year, after taking a two-year gap from albums and going through a break-up publicly. The rapper, as you well know, passed away from an accidental drug overdose in November of 2018.

26. J. Cole

J. Cole can be a divisive figure among rap fans, but he tends to get love on our site. Still, he's never one to get embroiled too deep into rap beef or stunts for a headline, and while he definitely had a big year-- there's no doubt about that-- with K.O.D, features, and a tour, he still wasn't high-key enough to move up beyond spot #26.

25. Takeoff

Each Migos member had more shine as solo artists and individuals this year than ever before. While we're still antsy for a solo album from Offset, the generally-agreed-upon-underrated member Takeoff delivered his own, The Last Rocket, to a more positive reception (one might say) than Quavo's own effort. Takeoff's recognition is still on an upwards trajectory, the rapper did not rank as a solo artist on last year's list.

24. Wiz Khalifa

Good ol Wiz Khalifa. He doesn't really need to do much in the rap game, other than be himself, to remain loved: that is, chill with bad bitches/date them, roll up and smoke, and laugh. Still, he also blessed fans with Rolling Papers 2 this year, and he's given many fans a lesson in health by pursuing Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai over the course of the year.

23. 21 Savage

21 Savage may have ranked higher if he were more active in the first half of the year. On the flip side, his withdrawal from the spotlight and mini-hiatus from music made his new music that much more exciting, and all the more appreciated. This actually 21's first time ranking, too, which only proves just how much the fans missed him.

22. Meek Mill

Meek Mill had quite the tumultuous year, music aside. From jail to social justice reform, to a return to form with Championships, the rapper has accomplished a lot in 2018. All of these efforts have positioned him to have an amazing 2019, while continuing down the path of social consciousness. Last year he popped up on our list at #9, but this year he enters at #22.

21. Machine Gun Kelly

Well, it's pretty obvious why Machine Gun Kelly is here, amirite?? The rapper had a highly publicized beef and war of words with another more-famous white rapper, Eminem. He also has a role in Bird Box, but no, that has nothing to do with this. It's safe to say MGK was nowhere to be found on last year's list.

20. Quavo

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We've arrived at the 2nd of two Migos members, and yes, there will be more further down (!). Quavo doesn't get as much media coverage as Offset because he doesn't have a relationship that's out there for the world to see (or, an ex, rather), although there have been rumours (*cough* Saweetie *cough*). Nonetheless the rapper delivered his jam-packed solo effort, Quavo Huncho.

19. Lil Baby

Lil Baby is being heralded as the rap rookie of the year across many a website. The Young Thug offspring had one hell of a year, including a Drake co-sign and then two collabs with the man, two equally dope projects (Harder Than Ever and more recently, Street Gossip), as well as a collaborative album with Gunna. This type of prolificness is something he does yearly, but it was in 2018 that more of the outside world took nice. His rapping partner, one young Gunna, surprisingly enough does not appear on this list (why you guys play Gunna like that though??? Fire off a quick opinion in the comments, Gunna vs Baby?).

18. Travis Scott

Travis Scott had a pretty monumental year of his own, beyond releasing the much-anticipated Astroworld to the pleasure of fans everywhere, and creating an insane tour to go along with it, he became a daddy in 2018 and solidified his relationship with the youngest Kardashian-Jenner for the sake of the public. He's remained an in-demand figure when it comes to hip-hop, and that probably won't change as we head into 2019.

17. Young Thug

Thugger had a bit of a weird year, in the sense that we didn't actually receive a proper full-length effort from the YSL boss, but we did receive a smattering of small and/or crew-oriented releases, and a list of features, that kept fans satiated. Thug also landed himself on tour with the seemingly-opposed J. Cole, meshing with the likes of EarthGang in the process. Last year he showed up on our list at #12. Here's to hoping he gives us a new studio album in the New Year.

16. Lil Uzi Vert

Much like the rest of us, it seems you too were constantly checking for any signs of new music/life when it comes to the Philly native Lil Uzi Vert. Yet, it has not arrived. Lil Uzi Vert basically spent all of 2018 being weird on social media (in the best way possible) and teasing fans about Eternal Atake. This alone proved to be enough to earn him a spot just outside of the top 15.

15. Tory Lanez

Tory Lanez is a staple on HNHH and you guys seem to agree. The singer-rapper also had a 2018 that consisted of not one, but two new albums. Tory made sure his presence was felt when it came to music release this year, even embroiling himself in some good ol' fashioned beef with Joyner Lucas.  

14. Offset

Our third and final Migos member places the highest in our list this year. This probably does not come as a surprise, given his highly-publicized relationship with Cardi B, fathering her child, and most recently, attempting to win his lady back with a series of outrageous gestures. He has yet to drop his solo album, but the gossip about his alleged cheating is enough to keep him in the news consistently. Still, music would be better, agreed?

13. Future

Future is in a similar boast as Young Thug when it comes to music releases in 2018, meaning, he didn't deliver a typical full-length solo effort, but rather went the collaborative/EP route. We not only got Beast Mode 2 with Zaytoven, we received a surprise album with up-and-comer Juice WRLD. He also curated the SuperFly soundtrack, and had a baby or two (honestly not sure), which ensured he was not only on the playlists but in the tabloids too.

12. Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea is seemingly preparing herself to have a spectacular 2019, after having quite a few Ls served to her over the last couple of years, it only seems right. The Australian rapper is now boo'd up with Playboi Carti, had her bawdy refined and perfected with a little help from a surgeon, and is readying new music.

11. Migos

Coming in at #11 is the trio themselves, Migos. Despite their individual successes and career arcs over 2018, they still work best when they are in their group format, and that's probably still the preferred way to receive them. Migos kicked off 2018 with a new album, Culture II, and for the remainder of the year they continued to bring their high-energy ad-libs to living rooms around the world, making them even more of a mainstream fixture this year. Despite growing their presence worldwide, they ranked on this list at #3 last year-- because our users are clearly ahead of the curve and also, the original Culture dropped in 2017.

10. Kanye West

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Kanye West had a pretty controversial year. He's no stranger to controversy, but, dipping his toe in the politics pool might have been his most controversial move yet, or else calling slavery a "choice." Of course, he also shed light on his mental health this year, and by extension, helped start a dialogue surrounding mental health. While Kanye could not seem to avoid the media or twitter, we also got a lot of music out of the GOOD Music founder. He helped give us new albums from Teyana Taylor, Nas and Pusha T, not to mention his own album and a joint effort with Kid Cudi. 

9. Cardi B

We did call it the Year of Cardi B, so it's probably no surprise that she hits our top 10 this year. Cardi B's break out began at the tail end of last year, which basically negated her from placement on the list last year simply because people weren't checking for her. Now, Cardi B is perhaps the most in-demand rap artist out right now, whether it be for high-end magazine features or for a verse. The New York native has done all of this while keeping her identity intact: that is, an over-the-top but loveable personality who says what's on her mind, no matter the cost.

8. Eminem

Eminem actually hits the exact same spot he hit last year, coming in at #8. Although he dropped Revival in 2017, this year proved to be more active for the OG, not only with Kamikaze but with beefs and just putting himself "out there." That being said, Eminem is Eminem, and thus, he will always be someone fans love to check for.

7. 50 Cent

One spot higher than Em, we get a rapper Eminem co-signed early on. 50 Cent though, is more focused on running his Instagram account these days and putting out superb TV content than necessarily releasing music. It's not as though the rapper dropped a project, or much of anything, in 2018, but he still ensured he was entertaining as fuck.

6. Chris Brown

Are we surprised to see Chris Brown this high up? This may be a simple case of, Chris Brown is Chris Brown. The singer did not drop a body of work in 2018, but he dropped three body's worth in 2017, so this may be forgivable. This year, we focused more Breezy's adorable daughter Royalty, the singer's ongoing legal troubles (of different forms), and the squashing of beefs.

5. Lil Wayne

Weezy F returned this year with the long-awaited Tha Carter V, and that alone could be responsible for his high ranking on our list. But, then again, we also know the site and know that you guys are day one Wayne supporters-- so surely he would have ranked this high even if he didn't drop anything (and last year, he did come in at #6).

4. Drake

What's this?! Drake not at #1??? What's happening, you guys??? While this list has changed formats a bit over the year, Drizzy has always ranked #1. Not this year. This was the year that Drake actually got knocked down a peg thanks to some beef with Pusha T, and while it didn't necessarily leave him "tarnished" (somehow everything just slides off Drake), it did make us realize that the Six God is only human.

3. Tekashi 6ix9ine

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

A brand new entry for the list, Tekashi 6ix9ine makes his debut this year at #3. The rainbow-haired rapper gave his colleagues a run for their money when it comes to how you "do" Instagram in 2018. He not only made his presence felt online almost every single day through outrageous Instagram posts and the instigation of beef, but because of his laundry list of legal troubles, which have recently come to a head by way of his arrest. He also dropped his album, DUMMY BOY, somewhat haphazardly, which it seems you guys enjoyed.


Another artist who enters this list for the very first time, XXXTENTACION claims #2. The rapper was tragically murdered, as you well know, in the summer of 2018. Prior to his passing, he had laid the groundwork for a rabid fanbase, and it's only continued to build post-mortem. Even as he releases music posthumously, with Skins dropping in early December, so too, does news surface about his controversial past, thus keeping his name and his presence alive. 

1. Nicki Minaj

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Our #1 top artist on the site this year is the Queen herself, Nicki Minaj. Nicki had a year that was filled with the limelight, and mostly by her own doing too-- if there was one thing Nicki guaranteed in 2018, it was that you saw her in some form or another online. She started her Apple Music Radio show, Queen Radio, around the same time she dropped her album (also titled Queen-- do you sense a theme for Nicki this year?). Nicki's radio show was a hotbed for gossip and no-holds-barred opinions on anyone and anything. She beefed with Cardi B, a few times. She hooked up with a new man, and made her relationship known to the world. She did a lot of features. She got even more thick than she was (!). Are you surprised that she ranks as #1 top-performing artist on the site this year?