Whether what you hear is one of Beyoncé’s fierce statements of autonomy, an inspiring act of consciousness-raising by Kendrick Lamar, an unstoppable party jam by Cardi B or an oh-so-emo expression of vulnerability by Drake, the best hip-hop and R&B of the 2010s is marked by a boldness and urgency that help these artists cut through all of our culture’s noise and chatter. In terms of sound and impact, the '10s represented a golden age for individuals out to change the game. Just as remarkable is the eagerness of standard-setters like Kanye West and Rihanna to continually rethink what they do, all while recombining a vast array of musical styles and ideas. From hard-hitting trap beats and dancehall rhythms to synth-heavy soundscapes and throwbacks to old-school glories, it all makes for music that keeps pace with fast and unpredictable times.
Monster (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver)