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You Can Now Watch ‘Searching for Kanye West’ BBC Doc for Free on YouTube

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Christmas has come early for those obsessed with all things Kanye West. The BBC has uploaded its Searching for Kanye West documentary to watch for free and in full over on YouTube.

The 37-minute BBC Three doc is presented by Ben Zand, who travels across the US having intimate conversations with Kanye’s childhood friends in Chicago (including GLC), his political allies in Washington, his cousin and singer-songwriter Tony Williams in Texas, and his manager in the Hollywood Hills.

Zand also tries to get insight and context around West’s more controversial moments this year, including his political outbursts and struggles with his mental health. The result is a fresh portrait of one of the most influential artists of the 21st century. Watch it above.

In other news, Kendrick Lamar confirms he’s not working on a new album.

Daniel is the editor of Highsnobiety Life. He grew up in north of England and is now based in Berlin.

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Travis Scott Actually Designed Graduation Merch for a Houston High School

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Back in September, a student from Eisenhower High School in Texas asked Travis Scott via Twitter if he could give her permission to use signature design elements of the cover art for his single “Watch,” or the even the cover art of Astroworld, after drafting a design for a potential 2019 senior class graduation sweater.

While the Houston rapper could have ignored the request, Travis Scott offered to design the graduation sweater himself instead, and planned to send a box of the merch to the school. “Ill just design them for u guys and send a box thru how about that. ?” he replied back to the fan, in September.

Three months later, Scott’s kind gesture couldn’t go unnoticed, as fan-dedicated account @FTPflame revealed that the rapper actually came through with the graduation merch.

The featured design consists of a beige tee with a reference to Travis Scott’s “Astroworld: Wish You Were Here” tour, along with a motif of the globe that bears a smiley face. The front portion also includes a multicolor font of Eisenhower High, in addition to a shout out to the seniors. On the rear, a simple 2019 graphic is applied with a short message “Enjoy the Ride.” The highlight is also directed on that section, which bears Travis Scott’s signature, making each tee truly exclusive and holding more value.

Following the reveal via social media, Travis Scott responded proudly, “FLAME ALWAYS DELIVER FOR THE KIDS.”

What do you think about the design? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below.

In related news, Kylie Jenner says Travis Scott doesn’t have “petty” beef with Kanye West.

Renz Ofiaza is a Staff Writer at Highsnobiety and based in Brooklyn.

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Kendrick Lamar Confirms He’s Not Working on a New Album

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Kendrick Lamar is in the spotlight once more for a recent interview with Los Angeles Times. In the piece, the Grammy Award-winning artist revealed that he won’t be dropping new music anytime soon, but he does have some upcoming projects in the works.

Although the conversation seemed to have been brief, Lamar did confirm that he was working on something “long-form.” The Los Angeles Times even reported that he was headed to the studio shortly after conducting the interview. “He’s friendly but cryptic, inclined toward vague generalities open to interpretation. He’s been writing long-form, but declines to articulate what it’s about, what themes are recurring and in what form it will eventually see release,” wrote Jeff Weiss. “He claims he hasn’t been working on a new album, but says that he’s constantly working. Someone in his camp mentions they’re going to the studio immediately after this.”

Scroll down for three of the biggest takeaways from the feature and read the full story here.

On earning a Grammy nomination for Ryan Coogler‘s Black Panther: The Album, serving as the executive producer…

“This is another landmark, another stepping stone to something bigger and greater. Best believe I’m proud. And I know Ryan [Coogler, Black Panther writer and director] is as well. Our initial bond came from being from California and having similar backgrounds and stories.”

On the importance of Black Panther

“It was something I dreamed of as a kid. A superhero who looked like us, talked like us and liked the same music… [The film’s themes] reminded me of why I made ‘To Pimp a Butterfly.’ It was survivor’s guilt. You want to be homegrown and help folks back home and give them game. You want to be there for them but if you’re there, then you can’t go out and explore.”

On what he’ll say if he wins a Golden Globe or Oscar…

“I don’t know what I’ll say if I win. A lot of different emotions will be running through me, and I usually just say what I’m inspired to say at that moment … what comes off the chest. It’s just a great thing to know that these bodies of work come from a simple thought and you put that simple thought down on wax, and then you give it to the people and it goes from there.”

In other music news, Mac Miller’s manager, Christian Clancy, pens tribute to the late rapper.

Renz Ofiaza is a Staff Writer at Highsnobiety and based in Brooklyn.

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Mac Miller’s Manager, Christian Clancy, Pens Tribute to Late Rapper

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Christian Clancy has written an obituary for The Observer in memory of the late rapper and singer Mac Miller.

Clancy, who managed Miller from 2013 until his death in September 2018, says it was “impossible not to fall in love with an artist so talented, and so selfless.” She describes his death as “surreal” and one that still feels “like a punch in the gut.”

The touching piece reflects on their relationship, including a particularly sweet line detailing how he once sent Clancy’s daughter flowers when she starred in her first play. “He bought three bouquets of flowers that were the biggest, most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in my life and she was wildly embarrassed, but that was just who he was,” Clancy says.

Clancy ends up the op-ed by highlighting how he helped other musicians and invites us to learn from his attitude:

“He’ll be remembered for his ability to redefine himself as a musician: look at the difference between Blue Slide Park and Swimming. But, as importantly, he’ll be remembered through those musicians he helped along the way. He was a spark to so many people. In a world dominated by ego, he led with the soul and lived by focusing on similarities rather than differences – that’s a lesson we all could use.”

Read the full obituary over at The Observer.

Then check out the 50 best songs of 2018.

Daniel is the editor of Highsnobiety Life. He grew up in north of England and is now based in Berlin.

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Entertainment

The 50 Best Songs of 2018

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As this year winds down we’ve recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2018 in fashion, sneakers, music, movies and more.

After another grim year for the planet, we can at least be thankful that enough artists are turning their sorrow into some seriously astute bops. Far from straying away from the political, the likes of Childish Gambino, Janelle Monáe and, even, Drake have used their platforms to translate today’s tepid climate through the only medium they know how.

Of course, that doesn’t mean 2018 was without its more carefree jams, whether it’s confidence builders from Cardi B, heavy flexing from Beyoncé and JAY-Z, real time relationship diagnosis from Ariana Grande, or metaphysical meditations courtesy of Earl Sweatshirt. It was hard not to find a sonic vibe to match your mood on any given day.

These were the 50 Best Songs of 2018:

50. Empress Of – “When I’m With Him”

It’s hard to believe that this song almost didn’t make it on Us because it is the definition of a bop. I love how Lorely Rodriguez switches from singing in English to Spanish between the verses as she outlines the dilemma of being trapped in an unfulfilling relationship. The emotional drama is very real. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

49. Mitski – “Nobody”

“Geyser” is my favorite track off Be the Cowboy, but “Nobody” is the heartbeat that keeps the whole project grooving. This has got to be the most upbeat Mitski song I have ever had the pleasure of hearing, but the lyrics stay true to her usual themes of isolation, loneliness, and detachment. She fully delivered with this single and I’ll never stop dancing the pain away to it. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

48. Snail Mail – “Heatwave”

For me, Lush was THE album of the year. Snail Mail had an amazing build-up to the drop of this debut record and it did not disappoint one bit. I listened to this album non-stop all summer long as a method of getting over someone, and this song in particular deeply resonated with me as I went through the highs, lows, and everything else in-between. I’m not worried about the future of rock and roll because women like Lindsey Jordan are holding it up – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

47. Drake – “In My Feelings”

Drake officially transcended beef when his single “In My Feelings” rose to #1 (a perch where it would spend the entire summer) six weeks after Pusha-T sonned him on the revelatory diss track “The Story of Adidon.” The song’s accompanying viral dance challenge became ubiquitous enough to be slaughtered by personalities like Ryan Seacrest. Producer TrapMoneyBenny’s blend of delicate R&B sensibilities and the party-starting exhortations of New Orleans bounce icon Magnolia Shorty made “In My Feelings” the perfect soundtrack to the hottest months of the year. – Danny Schwartz

Listen here.

46. Jay Rock – “The Bloodiest”

Quiet and methodical, Jay Rock is TDE’s most reliable rapper outside of the Pulitzer Prize-winner. In 2016, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle crash. “The Bloodiest,” the triumphant-sounding opener from his Redemption album, cuts to the chase immediately. “Flipped off that bitch, milly rockin’ the wheel/ 200 thousand in the bank, straight to hospital bills,” he ferociously raps atop Jake One’s thundering drums with the expected vigor of someone seeking to re-energize and recoup. Rock opens up here about seeking absolution for more than just flipping a bike; “The Bloodiest” is the musical embodiment of a battle scar healing itself. – Colin Gannon

Listen here.

Empress Of


Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna





45. Toro Y Moi – “Freelance”

Plucked from his upcoming album Outer Peace, “Freelance” is P Diddy’s favorite indie musician Toro y Moi circling back to sadness-imbued electro-funk like that of 2013’s Anything in Return. It’s a four-minute blissful getaway for any hour of the day. On the final verse, as sunny synths pop and house drums slap, Bundick slips into a slyly devilish flow, with a certain Frank Ocean springing to mind. The music, though, is undeniably Toro y Moi: sleek yet strange, danceable but thoughtful. – Colin Gannon

Listen here.

44. Post Malone – “Better Now”

2018 was the year I became a Post Malone stan. I was unsure at first, but Posty’s rockstar vocal delivery on “Better Now” is one of the factors that converted me to full-on standom. Heck, his pipes are surely at least part of the reason this song is now officially Grammy-nominated in the Best Pop Solo Performance category. I can’t get over the combination of guitar strums, trap drums, and Posty’s impassioned voice. This breakup anthem has absolutely everything I need. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

43. Playboi Carti – “Lean 4 Real” ft. Skepta

Playboi Carti’s atmospheric ode to lean is gorgeous with its sensual ambience and drawling bass, but what really elevates it is the contribution of English grime paragon Skepta, whose menacing contribution offsets Carti’s purposefully careless one. There aren’t too many rappers who can make the kind of casual elegance that Carti can, regardless of whose featured on the song. Here’s the latest example. – Trey Alston

Listen here.

42. Poppy – “Time Is Up” ft. Diplo

“Time Is Up” is an effective crash course in Poppy’s “origin story” and everything that makes the singer such a fascinating and vexing figure to follow. It’s a killer piece of synth pop, with a deep, warm ‘80s bassline courtesy of Diplo, and Poppy showcases her superstar potential, gliding over it and offering apocalyptic premonitions with the lightness of someone singing about a wild Friday night. “Human history, pollution, and overcrowded cities/ That’s your legacy,” she sings. Looming climate disaster has never sounded so fun. – Grant Rindner

Listen here.

41. Jimothy Lacoste – “Fashion”

Jimothy Lacoste is easily one of my favorite music discoveries of the year, and since it came out, “Fashion” has not ceased to bring me joy. Team Music even had a phase where any time we’d make eye contact in the office, we would inevitably start singing, “Looking like a milly, feeling like a milly.” Mr. Lacoste has created a veritable feel good anthem, reminding us all why we love fashion. As he so eloquently puts it, “Clothes is there, you might as well take advantage of it. It’s just fun, bro” – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

Playboi Carti


Highsnobiety / Rahul Gothaman





40. Mac Miller – “Self Care”

Mac Miller’s best records all had a centerpiece, and it’s hard to argue for anything other than “Self Care” on his opus Swimming. The song is a frank examination of his struggles with addiction and his May 2018 DUI, with Miller trying his best to confront his problems head on rather than evading them. “And you can find me, I ain’t hiding,” he sings on the hook. The track’s second half (informally titled “Oblivion”) is a blur of gorgeous synths and loving promises from Mac, capturing the euphoria of a powerful high and the creeping dread of the fast-approaching comedown through the metaphor of a relationship amid unrest (“Let’s go back to my crib and play some 45s/ It’s safer there, I know there’s still a war outside”). – Grant Rindner

Listen here.

39. John Mayer – “New Light”

I am fully aware of John Mayer‘s musical legacy, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like the guy. Do I know him? Absolutely not, but for years he always rubbed me the wrong way. But when this song came out, there was no denying that a hit was on his hands. No I.D. really worked his magic here and the result is a bop for the ages. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

38. cupcakKe – “Cereal and Water”

It’s been a bit easier for me to live with the state of the world this year now that I know that people are finally starting to catch on to the brilliance of cupcakKe. Homegirl released two amazing albums this year – Ephorize and Eden – all while remaining fiercely independent. She’s free from the confines that being associated with a label can bring. “Labels offer me an advance, I’m too advanced, that shit is dead,” she raps on “Cereal and Water,” amongst bars about racism, people being complacent about rapists, suicide, absent fathers, and more. Every single word she serves up has a pointed purpose, and 2018 cupcakKe has paved the way for 2019 cupcakKe to finally achieve the rap domination she deserves and spread her message even further. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

37. Kanye West – “Ghost Town”

Kanye West spent most of 2018 on self-destruct mode, his bizarre attempts to woo a spray-tanned demagogue completely overshadowing scrappy eighth studio album ye. Fortunately, the brilliance of “Ghost Town” managed to cut through the noise. It works so well because Kanye is able to poke fun at himself (“I talk like I drunk all the wine”) and take a backseat, letting Kid Cudi’s heartfelt growls and 070 Shake’s empowering lyrics take center stage. If you don’t feel the urge to sing along with the lyrics “I put my hand on a stove, to see if I still bleed” then you probably died a long time ago. – Thomas Hobbes

Listen here.

36. Rico Nasty – “Countin’ Up”

Few rapper-producer pairings work as effortlessly as Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats, and “Countin’ Up” sees the pair firing on all cylinders. The sparse synth melody and skittering drums feel like a 2018 reboot of some of Swizz Beatz’ best work with the Ruff Ryders, while Rico’s raspy growl turns stacking money into a bloodsport. The bars are among the strongest on her major label debut Nasty, with Rico positioning herself as the plug of all plugs and comparing loose-lipped snitches to R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan, but all you need to hear is her barking “What?” confrontationally on the chorus and you’ll be hooked. – Grant Rindner

Listen here.

Rico Nasty


Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna





35. Earl Sweatshirt – “Nowhere2Go”

“Nowhere2Go,” the first single from Earl’s sublime Some Rap Songs album, is teetering with so many ideas in two (!) minutes it’s difficult to crystallize the mastery at hand. The glitchy, propulsive production from experimental hip-hop artists Darryl Johnson and Ade Hakim is, by design, murky and unsettling; a perfectly nebulous soundscape for Earl. Depression, as he puts it, has preoccupied his mind with death. “Nowhere2Go,” however, produces a sliver of hope: self-belief dug out from deep within his psyche. “Tryna refine this shit, I redefined myself/ First I had to find it,” he drones. Earl found himself – and the spoils are generous. – Colin Gannon

Listen here.

34. The 1975 – “Love It If We Made It”

As many artists are figuring out, it is no small task trying to craft a piece of music that directly addresses the garbage fire of our times without sounding overtly preachy, painfully corny or a combination of the two. The 1975 have truly captured lightning in a bottle with “Love It If We Made It,” the first – and by measure, only – song that comes remotely close to being an anthem for our era. Capturing the bombast and heart-on-the-sleeve earnestness of classic ’80s power pop and marrying it to a lyrical bricolage of the year in pop culture is huge, but the most devastating quality of all remains the piercing simplicity of its titular phrase. – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

33. Anderson .Paak – “Bubblin’”

A strong candidate for video of the year, “Bubblin” is a breakneck journey through the vices of a nouveau riche Anderson .Paak. The song is materialistic, but it’s also filled with raw emotion – after years of struggling, .Paak is giddy about his success, and you can practically hear him beaming as he raps “R.I.P. to times that I was broke.” The intricate string and horn intro, produced by AntMan Wonder and Jahlil Beats, gives the track forward momentum and makes the entire affair feel like the thrilling apex of a caper film, with .Paak barely eluding capture, money billowing in his wake. He did warn us that it’s hard to run in Gucci slides. – Grant Rindner

Listen here.

32. King Princess – “Pussy Is God”

This song single-handedly cured my seasonal depression. Whenever I need a quick energy boost, I put it on blast and all of my anxieties settle down for a few minutes while I jam out. Something tells me that 2019 is going to be the year of King Princess and I am so excited to see what she does next. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

31. Lana Del Rey – “Venice Bitch”

“Venice Bitch” is just… a masterpiece. Miss Del Rey did not come to play on this one. It’s possibly her most psychedelic track to date, and at nearly 10 minutes long, you can truly trip out to it. Layers of guitar fuzz and crashing percussion come together to support Lana’s lyrics, proclamations that are more about evoking aesthetics than any specific meaning. It’s about Americana, California, love, Venice Beach, Norman Rockwell, ice cream. In a time when many people feel ambivalent about being American, or about the USA in general, I love that Lana refuses to let us forget all there is to love about it. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

Charli XCX


Highsnobiety / Julien Tell





30. Kilo Kish – “Elegance”

Kilo Kish quietly delivered one of the most hard-hitting, rock solid projects of the year with her exacting EP Mothe, and “Elegance” was its frenetic, beating heart. With a chorus that comes off as a futurist flip of old school Janet Jackson and synth lines that wheeze like buzz saws, this track utterly nails the very 2018 vibe of being too dangerous to fuck with. – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

29. Charli XCX – “Focus”

Who knows if we’ll get a real album from Charli XCX anytime soon, but at least 2018 gave us enough spicy singles to subsist on. “Focus” embodies the high caliber Charli we have come to expect – saccharine sweet and a little bit cocky with serotonin-inducing beats courtesy of a PC Music affiliate, in this case A.G. Cook with the assistance of Jack & Coke. In this economy, with a ton of different stimuli simultaneously begging for our unwavering attention, getting 100% of someone’s undivided attention is the sexiest thing ever. I also loved the brilliance of the “Focus” / “No Angel” double whammy – focus on my love and you won’t regret it, but also I’m no angel, but I can learn! A true millennial icon, wearing her cognitive dissonance on her sleeve. We stan. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

28. A$AP Rocky & Tyler, the Creator – “Potato Salad”

Tyler, the Creator is the lovable asshole while A$AP Rocky is the pretentious pretty boy. Their camaraderie on tracks shouldn’t work as well as it does, but here we are. “Potato Salad” is a freestyle over the beat for Monica’s 2003 single “Knock Knock,” but it might as well be their beat now, Deebo style. The two champions, with their opposing rap styles, come together for a syllable-twisting exercise in goofy punchlines and exhilarating lyricism. Nothing they say is game-changing; it’s all in the execution. You can practically hear the giggling in the studio. – Trey Alston

Listen here.

27. Aminé – “Campfire” ft. Injury Reserve

What’s a girl got to do to get Aminé to whisper every word of this song in her ear? We love a supportive man who empowers women to flex hard. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

26. Tommy Cash – “Pussy Money Weed”

Nearly a decade after Lil Wayne’s song of the same name, our favorite Eastern European rapper Tommy Cash penned an ode to the holy triumvirate that low-key rules everything – pussy, money, and weed. The song opens with some sinister notes and inhalation of what is presumably marijuana, a fleeting cough, and then an onslaught of trap drums. It’s bliss. Although the self-proclaimed Kanye East had already garnered fame from his absurd music videos, “Pussy Money Weed” marked a major turning point for Cash. An extended version of the song soundtracked Rick Owens’ SS19 presentation, with Tommy himself making his modelling debut, opening the show like a pro. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

Tommy Cash


Highsnobiety / Julien Tell





25. Robyn – “Honey”

Almost two years have passed since we first heard “Honey” on Girls and six more since Robyn last released a studio album, but fans always knew that it would be worth the wait. With this pulsing title track, everyone’s favourite fembot has produced a dancefloor ballad that’s remarkably different than what we’re used to hearing from Robyn, switching out the euphoric hooks from “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Dancing On My Own” for something more understated and yet no less exultant. This is Robyn at her most mature yet, teasing a lover with sweeping desire that shimmers oh so sweetly. – David Opie

Listen here.

24. Nicki Minaj – “Chun-Li”

With her Barbie looks and cartoonish persona, it was only a matter of time before Nicki Minaj would channel the larger than life realm of video games. Chun-Li, Lara Croft, and King Kong are just a few of the badass icons who Nicki Minaj name drops on the lead single from Queen, which marks a welcome return to her mixtape roots. With dextrous wordplay and personality for days, “Chun-Li” served as a powerful reminder that we still need rappers like her, even if they sometimes paint themselves out to be the bad guy. – David Opie

Listen here.

23. Lykke Li – “sex money feelings die”

Lykke Li managed to say more in a mere two minutes and 20 seconds than many other artists did in a full album this year. Anchored by a “bloop” that sounds like some sort of radar detection for feelings (it’s a Lykke Li song – the feelings are everywhere to be found), “sex money feelings die” incorporates snappy trap beats, atmospheric synth swirls, and Lykke’s words about an unraveling relationship. This was my anthem of 2018, on the low. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

22. Tommy Genesis – “100 Bad” Remix ft. Charli XCX

Two of the baddest bitches in music came together earlier this year and it was nothing short of a blessing. I’m so glad Tommy Genesis and Charli finally found each other musically, because both of them saying “100 bad bitches” has the power to instantly put me in an invincible mood. I am a sucker for juxtaposition, and the contrast between the sinister beats and Tommy’s deceivingly smooth vocal delivery is like the most delicious salty-sweet chocolate covered pretzel. This is honestly one of the hardest songs of 2018, and certainly in my personal top 10. I was so devoted to this song, I purchased it instead of merely streaming it (we should all buy more music in 2019, just saying!). – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

21. SOPHIE – “Immaterial”

OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES was stacked with hits, but this Cecile Believe-assisted track is an absolute gem. SOPHIE went all the way off with the production and made something so catchy that it almost brainwashes me when it’s playing. We’re all empty inside, swallow that reality on the dance floor. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

Tommy Genesis


Highsnobiety / Rahil Ashruff





20. Troye Sivan – “Bloom”

At the beginning of 2018, Troye Sivan told The Guardian that “there’s power in living openly and truthfully, while also being gay,” something which he openly taps into here on the title track of his sophomore album. Not only is “Bloom” a sensual and downright catchy bop, but it’s also a tender exploration of sexual roles that flirts with the power dynamics of submissive eroticism. Coy yet enticing, this is exactly the kind of queer anthem that the world needed in #20GayTeen. – David Opie

Listen here.

19. The Internet – “Come Over”

On “Come Over,” a euphonious highlight from The Internet’s excellent Hive Mind album, Syd sings unabashedly about puppy love. As sexually uninhibited as she projects herself to be, she is willing to reach a plutonic compromise in this case for fear of missing out. “Wake with the sunrise/ Sleep in it’s alright/ Ain’t even gotta sex,” her voice lilting with a deep-lying passion that can be temporarily set aside. Steve Lacy’s unmistakably sharp guitar licks — paired with Syd’s icy coolness — collide here to serve as a smooth statement of The Internet’s continued growth. – Colin Gannon

Listen here.

18. Rae Sremmurd – “Powerglide” ft. Juicy J

I have yet to write my treatise on why Juicy J continues to be one of the most important figures in hip-hop, but alas, Rae Sremmurd’s “Powerglide” is the perfect exhibit of evidence to support my argument. Instead of berating the new wave of younger rappers for losing sight of what “real rap” is about, Juicy J decides to link up with them and absolutely crushes it while doing so. His bars here, which he delivers classic Juicy cadence, and most notably, the words “R.I.P. Lil Peep, I gotta slow down on them Xans.” It’s the perfect union of old school and new school, and most importantly, it sounds exactly like it should – like you’re powergliding through life. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

17. Kali Uchis – “After the Storm” ft. Tyler, the Creator & Bootsy Collins

“After the Storm” is the “Hang in there, baby” motivational cat poster but scrubbed of kitsch. It is an earnest pep talk that avoids corniness on account of Kali Uchis‘ tight songwriting, her plush, airy vocals and BadBadNotGood’s production, which truly embodies the moment of clarity that comes at the end of a downpour. BBNG’s psychedelic, woozy melange of guitars and synths creates a world in which Bootsy Collins and Tyler, the Creator can both credibly dispense tokens of wisdom. Bootsy speaks in riddles; Tyler draws out an extended metaphor that fleshes out his status as Flower Boy, born from the rain. – Danny Schwartz

Listen here.

16. Teyana Taylor – “WTP”

After hitting new heights of misogyny this year, it’s something of a miracle that in the midst of his Wyoming-fueled album fury, Kanye West created “WTP,” a back-to-basics voguing rave out that – to my knowledge – is the first and only time Yeezy has lent his talents to honoring queer ballroom culture. Teyana’s vocals are both grounded and stratospheric, while Mother Mykki Blanco’s lowkey guest turn provided the mantra that I said out loud to myself in the mirror more times than any other this year: “Save your tears hunny, you’re a mother fucking DIVA!” – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

The Internet


Highsnobiety / Julien Tell





15. Vince Staples – “Get the Fuck Off My Dick”

“Avant garde with this shit” may be the most subliminally self-aware description of his practice that Vince Staples has yet uttered. And it of course arrived in his most meta-stunt yet: the fake GoFundMe campaign turned viral news piece turned vicious standalone single “Get the Fuck Off My Dick.” Piano lines straight out of a slasher movie perfectly set the tone for some of his most razor-sharp dissections of fame yet: “You don’t know my pain, bitch, don’t act like you don’t know my name.” – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

14. Janelle Monáe – “Pynk” ft. Grimes

Ladies, snap your fingers ’cause this one’s for you! Janelle Monáe made so many anthems for women on Dirty Computer, but there’s something extra special about this eargasmic collaboration with Grimes. Monae previously said that the song is meant to unite us all because it’s about “creation, self-love, sexuality and pussy power.” I salute her efforts and thank her for her service. – Sydney Gore

Listen here.

13. Cardi B – “Get Up 10”

“Get Up 10” is a worthy successor to Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” intro, as Cardi B spits with a raw intensity that brings listeners right into her world. The opening bars: “They give a bitch two options; stripping or lose” – hammer home just how great Cardi’s glo-up has been, forcing listeners to connect with her underdog story. From Biggie to JAY-Z, the very best rappers use cinematic storytelling to make you feel like you’re riding shotgun with them and have a real human stake in their story; “Get Up 10” is proof Cardi sits among them. – Thomas Hobbes

Listen here.

12. Travis Scott – “SICKO MODE” ft. Drake

“SICKO MODE” perfectly encapsulates the theme park concept of Travis Scott’s brilliant ASTROWORLD, with the beat’s genius transitions giving off the same thrills of riding through the different rooms of a haunted house ride — just when you think you’ve finally figured it out, this track takes an unexpected turn. Scott is largely upstaged by Drake, who raps with a clarity and intensity that somehow makes falling asleep on a long-haul flight sound like the most exciting thing in the world. It’s a shame Drizzy couldn’t sound this inspired on Scorpion. – Thomas Hobbes

Listen here.

11. Tyler, the Creator – “OKRA”

While we often require our favorite artists to evolve in order to continue succeeding, there is something to be said in the pleasure of an artist going back to basics with immaculate execution. “OKRA” would not sound out of place on Tyler, the Creator’s debut album Goblin from nearly a decade ago, but even in the midst of his spastic come-up, the Odd Future impresario rarely packed so many perfectly timed punches. “Tell Tim Chalamet to come get at me” is a kiss-off that is simultaneously radical in its simplicity and transcendent in its cultural capital – which in 2018, is something of a platonic ideal for those in the rap game. Only Tyler would make it sound this easy and smirk about it. – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

10. Drake – “Nice For What”



Highsnobiety / Josh Sobel





Rappers are often at their worst when they attempt to make songs for women. It’s usually steeped in misogyny and outdated ideals about what women have to deal with to keep a man, and double standards that expose their idiocy. Much needed in 2018, “Nice For What” is an ode to women without adding the weight of men to the mix. Drake celebrates women for what they go through and who they are, bringing their achievements to the light. It helps that the production, from Murda Beatz and Blaqnmild, is beautifully bouncy and includes a tenacious sample from Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.” It’s a magical, yet vibrant, song that manages to avoid cringe-worthy territory. – Trey Alston

Listen here.

9. Lykke Li – “deep end”



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Lykke Li’s so sad so sexy did not get half the attention it deserved, hence why we’ve included two of its tracks on our prestigious ranking. It’s hard to begin writing about “deep end,” because it’s such a simply brilliant take on how many of us experience love. It’s obsessive, it’s relentless. In one breath it’s exhilarating and shows us the depths of the universe – holding yourself underwater in the deep end of a pool – the next, it makes us feel like we’re crumbling into tiny pieces – going off the deep end, if you will. One of the many strengths of this song is how dramatic it is – from the expertly-deployed trap beats to the gently wailing guitar, waves of synths, and meticulous piano – and I don’t even have to mention Lykke’s voice. She didn’t have to go that hard – but she did. – Bianca Giulione

Listen here.

8. Pusha-T – “If You Know You Know”



Highsnobiety / Rahul Gothaman





Pusha-T sets the stage for DAYTONA masterfully, catching us up on his dope dealing exploits like a recap before a show’s season premiere and waiting until the perfect moment to unleash one of Kanye West’s best beats of the year. The instrumental is all hissing, fuzzy high end – especially the searing guitar and yelping vocal sample. It’s a storm that Pusha is perfectly positioned at the center of, an elder statesman with nothing to prove but plenty left to say. – Grant Rindner

Listen here.

7. Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”



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As every Janelle Monáe fan knows, there’s never been a better time to celebrate life as an emotional, sexual, gender bender and it’s all thanks to the lead single from her third studio album. Channeling the spirit of Prince and every dirty diva before him, “Make Me Feel” is a funky ode to sex that combines sensual lyrics with a slinky bassline. Much like Monáe herself, there’s a fluidity to both the instrumentation and the accompanying video that cements the song as a bisexual anthem that fans will still adore in the year 2719 and beyond. – David Opie

Listen here.

6. A$AP Rocky – “Praise da Lord (Da Shine)” ft. Skepta



Highsnobiety / Isabel Janssen





What could have been a standard banger about getting paid has become something much more profound. The beat is nothing short of exquisite, while Rocky is having barely-contained fun, and I assume Skepta is as well were he capable of delivering a single rap without a scowl on his face (jury’s still out on that one). On its own this track would already be one of the best cuts of Rocky’s catalog, but his union with Skepta is huge, big enough to take it to the next level; in our globalized world, these two signify a shift in focus of the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalries of yore into the great transatlantic trade-off of now. – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

5. The Carters – “APESHIT”



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Really the only thing worth salvaging from the otherwise mega-blah EVERYTHING IS LOVE, “APESHIT” was one of 2018’s most reliably effective turn-up anthems, and a single worthy of joining the best of Bey’s repertoire to boot. The Pharrell and Quavo-produced beat is a monster, spearheaded by its tectonic plate-rumbling bass and its laser gun synth line cleaving to and fro like a pendulum. Consider this: it’s a track so good that JAY-Z can legitimately rap “tchoo” in imitation of an airplane like some juice box-addled toddler and it still slaps harder than just about everything else this year. – Jake Boyer

Listen here.

4. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake – “King’s Dead”



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The main takeaway listeners get from “King’s Dead” is that Future is nonchalant AF when it comes to commanding the vibe of a song. Kendrick and Jay Rock have one of the year’s best chorus to verse transitions throughout the track, but Future comes in for a hilarious spot that is at complete odds with what the other two have going on. The best part about it? It works. It works in the context of what’s happening at every complex juncture of this song, and it surely works in showcasing why he really is Future Hendrix. – Trey Alston

Listen here.

3./2. TIE: Ariana Grande – “no tears left to cry” & “thank u, next”



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It is exceedingly rare for the in-house Highsnobiety Music team to reach a passionate disagreement over something, but our feelings regarding the 2018 output of Ariana Grande left us in open civil war. In one camp, we have Sweetener‘s lead single “no tears left to cry,” and the other, her recent dissection of exes “thank u, next.” I belong strictly to the former – “no tears left to cry” is not only a great house-inflected pop song; in my mind, it is the personification of pop in 2018, of being drenched in misery and embracing it in order to lick those falsetto notes of your diva-trill. That it comes from Ariana, who knows a thing or two about finding joy in the face of some serious damn trauma this year, solidifies its place as the ultimate happy-but-sad-but-still-happy jam. – Jake Boyer

While Music Editor Jake Boyer has posited that “no tears left to cry” was Ariana Grande’s song of 2018, and our number 2 song of the year overall, we, Sydney Gore and Bianca Giulione, Associate Music Editors, would like to take this time to respectfully disagree. Yes “no tears left to cry” is a bop, an unexpected take on the pain Ariana experienced after the attack at her Manchester concert in 2017, but it’s no “thank u, next.” It’s without a doubt the breakup ballad of the year, and probably the most Cancerian song Ariana has ever made. Thanking an ex is some high frequency vibrational shit we should all aspire to, and spreading positive energy in the aftermath of extreme heartbreak is the way forward. Ari’s not denying that she’s felt pain and deep sadness, but she’s teaching up all that every experience is a lesson learned, and that’s a beautiful thing. We were all more than satisfied with Sweetener, and then she went and dropped this one. She didn’t have to do that, but she DID THAT. It’s such a powerful feeling to have a shitty experience with someone in particular, or just in general, feel the anger or sadness, and then take a step back and say “thank u, next.” – Bianca Giulione & Sydney Gore

Listen here and here.

1. Childish Gambino – “This Is America”



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Not only was Childish Gambino able to deconstruct his horror and disgust at the actions of his own country and transform them into a commercial and critical success, he created the year’s most essential piece of popular music in the process, an extremely bittersweet swan song to a nation on the brink of collapse. In the end, it only took him three simple words to cut through the noise and force us all to watch and listen: this is America. – Cameron Cook

Listen here.

Stream all our picks in the playlist below:

Now, take a look at the Highsnobiety Staff’s most streamed songs of 2018 here.

  • Words:
    Trey Alston, Jake Boyer, Cameron Cook, Colin Gannon, Bianca Giulione, Sydney Gore, Thomas Hobbs, David Opie, Grant Rindner, Danny Schwartz

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Entertainment

Quavo Shows off $250,000 Diamond Grill on Instagram

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Migos member Quavo has taken to Instagram to show off yet another insane piece of jewelry. The rapper has previously flaunted diamond-crusted glasses, bracelets, and earrings, and now he’s acquired a $250,000 diamond grill.

The custom piece features 125 diamonds and was crafted by famed jeweler Johnny Dang. Each diamond comes in at 17.5-carat and is placed in 18-karat white gold. Check it out in the videos above and below.

Now meet the jeweler who made Drake’s 100-carat OVO owl chain.

Daniel is the editor of Highsnobiety Life. He grew up in north of England and is now based in Berlin.

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Entertainment

Kylie Jenner Says Travis Scott Doesn’t Have “Petty” Beef With Kanye West

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Kylie Jenner has stepped in to defend her partner Travis Scott after he was accused of firing “petty” shots at Kanye West.

The drama started after Scott took to his Instagram Stories to share a shot of himself with a Nike sock on his chest, which was perceived as a reference to Drake’s “checks over stripes” lines on “Sicko Mode” and a response to West’s recent shots at Drake.

As it turns out, Scott was actually wearing a special edition Cactus Plant Flea Market hoodie, which features design elements crafted from upcycled Nike pieces, and the sock is part of the jumper’s design.

The sweater, which you can see above and below, was designed for the launch of Dover Street Market Los Angeles and apparently had nothing to do with West or any beef. As Jenner explained in her tweet, “everyone is good, moved on, living life. for anyone who wasn’t aware – Travis has had a deal w Nike and still does.”

What do you make of the “drama”? Share your thoughts in the comments.

In related news, this app will cancel Kanye West-related stories from your news feed.

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Entertainment

Offset Interrupts Cardi B on Stage, Asks Her to Take Him Back

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Offset and Cardi B had a very public split earlier this month after stories that the Migos member had been cheating. In the latest of a series of attempts to reconcile with Cardi, Offset interrupted her Rolling Loud set in Los Angeles on Saturday to ask her to take him back.

Offset arrived on stage with a bouquet of flowers and a sign made of roses that read “TAKE ME BACK CARDI.” Once on stage, Offset told Cardi he was sorry and that he wanted to “tell her in front of the world” that he loved her. The duo talk briefly off-mic before Cardi B asked him to leave and had the sign and bouquet cleared.

The “Bodak Yellow” rapper has already addressed the incident, taking to Instagram to ask fans not to get involved. “Violating my baby father is not going to make me feel any better,” she says in the post below.

Cardi B announced the split on Instagram earlier this month. Since then, Offset has asked her to take him back on social media on numerous occasions.

As always, stay tuned for any updates and let us know your thoughts on the whole situation in the comments.

Next, check out Cardi B and James Corden on the latest episode of ‘Carpool Karaoke’ here.

My mum says I won’t win a Pulitzer writing about Supreme. She’s wrong.

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Entertainment

Lil Uzi Vert Runs Away From Nardwuar in New Interview

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While touring in (you guessed it) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Lil Uzi Vert linked up with Nardwuar for their second interview.

What else did we discover other than the fact that Nardwuar wears plaid Air Max Tns and shares the same taste in jackets as Uzi? Well, Nard and Uzi discuss their common interest in Rob Zombie and shock-rocker GG Allin, before Uzi promptly states “You know too much,” and chooses to run out of the room. If you’re a close follower of Nard, you’ll know that Uzi isn’t actually the first artist to dip in the middle of an interview, but nonetheless, catch the whole clip above.

Follow @Highsnobietymusic on Instagram to stay updated.

Vancouver-born, Berlin-based writer, photographer and editor with a steady hand on the keyboard.

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Entertainment

Yams Day 2019 Features A$AP Rocky, Ski Mask The Slump God & More

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A$AP Mob’s yearly Yams Day celebration has been announced and the 2019 lineup is all Ws. You can catch A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Nastand, A$AP Ant, and Ski Mask The Slump God as they commemorate the late A$AP Yams. The mob took to Instagram to reveal that Yams Day 2019 will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on January 17. The mid-January slot means the festival falls right in the middle of A$AP Rocky’s 2019 headlining tour.

Ticket are available at Ticketmaster and the event is sure to sell out fast. You might remember that last year’s Yams Day event was shut down early – due to violence. A fight allegedly broke out backstage during A$AP Rocky’s set and unfortunately ticket-holders had to go home early.

Will you make it Yams Day 2019? Let us know in the comments below.

To stay updated, follow @Highsnobietymusic on Instagram.

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.

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