Hip-Hop in Australia was elevated to a new level in 2017, with an abundance of legitimate hits dropping throughout the year, followed by a mass of wonderful achievements from our homegrown talent. Below we’ve dropped our Top 50 Hip-Hop songs of the year.
This year, Manu Crook$ dropped a monumental EP with Mood Forever, which landed him co-signs from international stars Stormzy and A$AP Ferg as well as spins on Beats1 Radio, alongside fellow Australian acts Lil Spacely and OKENYO.
Rapidly rising artists such as DEX, Carmouflage Rose, Arno Faraji, Baker Boy and Erik Sanders all accumulated a ton of streams and online support from their major singles in 2017, and Melbourne-based record label WVS showcased a wide array of amazing Australian talent with many of their roster featuring in this top 50.
This year we were also introduced (and re-introduced) to a mass of incredible female talent, with the likes of Poppy Rose, Kaiit, Imbi The Girl, G Elenil, Miss Blanks and Jesswar releasing an abundance of personal and powerful music.
The support and togetherness of the scene this year was as great as ever, with the Triple J Hip-Hop Show as influential as always, alongside publications such as Thank Guard, AUD’$, allaussie hip hop and Jade Zoe & Dan Pardalis at Complex AU all pushing the movement forward.
In saying that, here are our TOP 50 AUSTRALIAN HIP-HOP SONGS OF 2017.
50. VIC AUGUST – ACCOLADE
16-year-old Darwin songwriter Vic August dropped two EP’s this year, amassing a casual couple hundred thousand streams and proving himself to be one of the countries most promising young artists.
August’s most impressive release of 2017 came with Accolade, a moody, slow-paced anthem that highlights his ability to nail a piercing, impactful hook that you can’t help but hum along to.
49. BOY GRADUATE – HARD TO TELL
Boy Graduate further polished his unique sound in 2017, and no song is more proof of that than his pop-rap ballad Hard To Tell.
The raw single, taken from his EP It’s Not You, It’s Me, displays Boy Grad’s ability to tell a vulnerable, honest tale whilst intertwining some catchy pop-melodies over the heavy Hamley production.
48. PEOPLE LUMINOUS – ELEVEN ELEVEN 11:11
People Luminous is an east coast-based collective who kick-started their group-venture with one hell of a bang, after dropping Eleven Eleven to a rousing reception.
The posse-cut finds the balance perfectly between an eerie, eccentric vibe, and a turn-up one, with a mesmerising hook and some dynamic, distinctly unique verses from the crew.
47. Z. LEWIS – DON’T SPEAK 2 ME
UK-born artist Z. LEWIS unleashed a fiery, unapologetic tune on us this year with Don’t Speak 2 Me, spitting nothing but venom on the gritty, up-tempo production.
His rapid-fire bars hit in all the right spots on Don’t Speak 2 Me, from quotable lines to technically impressive rhyme schemes, the Brisbane-come-Melbourne rapper keeps a high-octane from start to finish on the grimey banger.
46. JOSE HALFTIME – NO ATTENTION
No Attention is a tough, hard-as-they-come track that flaunts Jose Halftime’s calm, confident and charismatic delivery over some sparse, head-nodding production.
The Perth rapper worked as hard as anyone in ’17, releasing two equally impressive EPs that each featured a solid collection of staunch bangers, although in saying that, No Attention was definitely the pick-of-the-bunch.
45. ZIGGY RAMO – YKWD
Ziggy Ramo’s YKWD is groovy track that’s bubbling with energy and passion as the Perth artist toes the line between Hip-Hop, Funk and a whole lot else.
From the funky guitar and wavering bass to the piano solo (that’s right) and Ziggy’s animated performance, YKWD is a playful tune that will get you moving ten times out of ten.
44. T$OKO – BLASPHEMY/THE MIRROR
Tone Youth emcee T$oko came through with a handful of seriously fire new singles this year, each with their own swag and style, yet a consistent theme throughout was the Perth rappers dynamic lyrical ability.
Blasphemy/The Mirror has the 6k emcee wreaking havoc over the boom-bap production, with a mid-track change-up in production doing nothing to slow him on his relentless lyrical rampage.
43. IVAN OOZE – MAIN MEAL
Ivan Ooze’s latest mixtape, The Social Alien 2, brought along with it a host of dope features, although the song that perhaps demanded the most attention was Main Meal, a solo track that places the shine solely on Ooze, and to a great return.
From the bouncy piano and heavy-ass bass-lines, to Ooze’s compelling and captivating performance, Main Meal is one track that feels as if it was made for driving in the whip. Huge.
42. HUSKii – BODYTHEBOOTH (ep.4)
Truth be told, any song from HUSKii’s BRAiNUMB EP could’ve easily made this list, however, it was his BodyTheBooth verse that he spat for Body Bag Media back in September which stood a level above the rest.
The nearly three-minute verse is a raw, emotive stream-of-consciousness that connects HUSKii’s seamless, skilful rhyme schemes with his innate ability to paint a vivid, and very real, picture.
41. TIDES – BONES
When Bones first dropped, we were expecting a brand new project to follow, and although that hasn’t happened yet, this banger more than tide us over for the year.
Tides works in tandem with the dreamy production by way of tomtom, rap-sangin’ his way into our hearts with this nonchalant anthem that stood the test of time in 2017.
40. PEEZO – THE CHRONIC
Peezo went on a seriously impressive run towards the back-end of 2017, dropping five singles in the space of just a couple months. The most impressive of that bunch, however, was the Agnus-produced stoner anthem, The Chronic.
Featuring a grand, heaps-chilled hook, some groovy, wholesome production and textbook Peezo charisma, The Chronic tells the (very green) tale regarding what is the lesser of a couple evils. I JUST I JUST I JUST I JUST LOVE CHRONIC.
39. LORDHOLANI – RACKS (ft. NOAH VERNON)
Geelong’s own Lordholani made some big moves in 2017, including the release of his joint EP with fellow Bay City product Yung Juiceboxx as well as being selected as a part of the WVS Next Gen Class of 2018.
However, it was the release of his single Racks, featuring Noah Vernon, that stood out amongst all else. The self-produced/mixed/mastered song has Lord and Noah delivering some luscious, buttery melodies over the world-class production, making for one of the better songs to come out of the country in 2017.
38. TURQUOISE PRINCE – LIKE YOUR FRIENDS
Turquoise Prince was always going to make 2017 his year, and with the release of Like Your Friends, he managed to do exactly that.
The indie-pop-rap fusion positions Prince’s lively, animated lyrical content with some seriously memorable melodies, making for one of the years greatest summer-party jams. LTC GET IT IN YA.
37. OLIVE AMUN – I’MA GET
With the inception of Olive Amun this year came some seriously slept on tunes. Formerly known as Dimitrios, Amun scattered some demo’s across his Soundcloud in 2017 before hitting us with a tight Chester Watson collab, followed by his best effort to date, with I’ma Get.
I’ma Get has Amun flowing effortlessly over the bouncy, piano-led production, showing off his slickly strung-together multi’s and a hook that was made for summer. Bump this one loud.
36. OKENYO – WOMANS WORLD 2.0
Just when we thought OKENYO’s original banger Womans World was amazing, she went and recruited fellow boss emcee’s Miss Blanks and Jesswar for the ultimate female-force posse cut, with WOMAN’S WORLD 2.0.
Each rapper delivers equally diverse and dynamic verses, making for one hell of a powerful and inspiring anthem. IT’S A WOMANS WORLD.
35. GEEK. – MIKE JONES (ft. CULT SHØTTA)
These Geek. x Cult Shøtta collaborations always deliver, and Mike Jones was no different.
The first verse leaves a solid impression, as the track feels like it’s building towards something, but then the hook hits and what a pay off. Rattling, turn-up electronic production and a lively performance on the mic make for one of the most intense, high-energy anthems of the year with Mike Jones.
34. KWASI X HFNR – DOWNTOWN
Rapper/producer duo Kwasi x HFNR had an eventful 2017 which included signing to Melbourne-based record label WVS alongside releasing a collection of fire new singles, including the eccentric late-night jam Downtown.
Downtown is a catchy and charismatic club hit that reached heights previously untouched by the duo, further solidifying their position as one of Melbourne’s premier urban acts.
33. MARKSMAN LLOYD – GENE SIMMONS (ft. ANDERS)
Marksman Lloyd’s 2017 EP Portals brought along a selection of great songs with it, including the dance-rap, house-party vibes of Gene Simmons.
With a quick-wit and sharp flow, Marksman puts up an impressive performance on Gene Simmons, backing up what is an incredible pop chorus with a seriously strong showing on the mic, fusing a wide array of styles with ease.
32. $KINNY DOM – LATE AT NIGHT (ft. FIGUERO JONES)
6k spearhead $kinny Dom definitely could’ve made this list with the Home Baked team-cut Tequila (under his production alias Luchii), but Late At Night is just way too infectious.
Featuring some guitar-driven, pop-inspired self-production and a helping hand on vocals from fellow Home Baked rapper Figuero Jones, Late At Night is a playful track that should seamlessly slip into your summer playlists over the new year, it’s just too fun and funky to leave out.
31. RARI – FOR YOU
Brisbane songwriter RARI officially released one single this year, but that was all we needed.
For You blends a neo-soul vibe, thanks to some classy production from HARVEY, with RARI’s melodic and hypnotic vocals that flow seamlessly throughout, making for a seriously gorgeous piece of music.
30. ARNO FARAJI – DESTINY’S
The Triple J Unearthed High winner this year was a young, hungry Perth emcee by the name of Arno Faraji, and following a number of successful releases, Arno is now undoubtedly set to carry the torch for Hip-Hop in this country over the coming years.
Nothing backs up that statement more than his idiosyncratic, self-produced tune Destiny’s. The single features some rapid, creative drum patterns matched with some equally unique and impressive flows that just seem to come naturally to the multi-talented teen.
29. LANE HARRY X IKE CAMPBELL – THE DASH
Gold Coast rapper/producer duo Lane-Harry x Ike Campbell switched it up this year and to great reward on The Dash.
Teaming up with Daniel Duque-Perez of The Griswolds, The Dash has Lane-Harry spitting some clever, quirky story-driven verses over the demanding bass-line and Chinese-inspired production. The track is so different to anything they’ve done previously, however, it has left us wanting more of the same from the Gold Coast pair in 2018. Banger.
28. DOS BOY – RAINWATER
Rainwater is a sunny, infectious banger that really brought out Dos Boy’s light-hearted, playful side, serving as a stark contrast to some of the personal insights Dossy had given us earlier in the year with gritty, introspective tunes such as Run It.
Suitable for any and every occasion, Rainwater is undoubtedly one of the years happiest hits. Stay hydrated.
27. GAMIREZ – ALRIGHT
Gamirez is one rapper who’s artistry has only risen in 2017, although in saying that, it was his start-of-year SoundCloud exclusive tune Alright which proved to be one of his very best to date.
Alright is bouncy, charismatic, high-energy and just so, so catchy, well-and-truly earning its place as the 27th best Australian Hip-Hop song of the year.
26. GALLVS – LIONHEART
Brisbane rapper GALLVS is another artist who released just one single this year, but that was all he needed with Lionheart.
Lionheart is catchy, authentic and really, really raw. The ultra-personal anthem is one that feels like a three-minute explosion of pent-up energy and emotion, culminating in a grand, climactic hook that sets the tone to perfection.
25. B WISE – FEEL SOMETHING
Marking the mid-way point of this top 50 is Sydney rapper B Wise with his grand yet gritty ode to the streets, Feel Something.
A reflective nod to the corners of south-west Sydney that B Wise came up on, Feel Something is a colossal and charismatic The Husssh x DOPAM!NE-produced hit that further places the rising rapper as one of the nations top storytellers.
24. IMBI THE GIRL – ACIDIC
Imbi The Girl is a type of artist that we didn’t realise we were missing, that was until the release of her excellent debut single earlier this year, Acidic.
Acidic masterfully melds wholesome production, by way of DeliPres, with Imbi’s (now trademark) quirky, sensitive flow and dynamic vocals. Seriously, the second verse on this song continue’s to blow us away with every listen, just brilliant.
23. G ELENIL – GOD ENOUGH
Brisbane artist G Elenil stood out from the pack this year with the self-produced, happy-go-lucky banger God Enough.
God Enough leads us down a path of sparse keys and smooth vocals before switching into some wavy, electronic production, rapid hi-hats and a sharp-tongued flow from Elenil that takes the single up to a completely different level.
22. PETERO THONY – NO NO (HENNESSY)
Petero Thony never fails to deliver, but No No (Hennessy) is really something else.
For a track that was originally meant to be a modest throwaway, No No (Hennessy) has a tremendously bouncy and sticky hook that brings along some seriously infectious vibes with it. The single is an innocent, chill-banger on face-value, although it also has the ability to quickly turn into one of the nations heaviest Hip-Hop anthems when played live.
21. MIKE WANG – ACTION
From the choppy piano cuts to that swift, infectious Mike Wang delivery, Action is a bold, snappy single that is just so unique, and memorable.
The charismatic Gremlns rapper has a style that is unique to himself, when you hear a verse of his, you know exactly who it is and what to expect. Mike Wang is nothing but class on the mic, and Action is the epitome of that.
20. BAKER BOY – CLOUD 9 (ft. KIAN)
Baker Boys rise in 2017 was as fun to watch as any before him, as the proud Northern Territory emcee conquered national TV, radio and just about everything in-between off the back of his debut single Cloud 9.
Baker Boy delivers some wicked yet effortless flows in his native tongue of Yolngu Matha on Cloud 9, before breaking into a powerful bridge (rapped in english). Tying it all together is featured artist Kian with a luscious, buttery hook that really is mesmerising.
19. KAIIT – NATURAL WOMAN
Kaiit introduced herself in stunning fashion this year with the soulful release of her jazz-rap ballad Natural Woman.
The track is one that feels effortless, whilst still carrying a powerful aura of passion that draws you in, melding quick-witted raps with some seriously strong vocals, making Kaiit (and Natural Woman) one of 2017s most pleasant surprises.
18. MIDAS.GOLD – POPPIN
Losing has never been an option for Brisbane’s own Midas.Gold, and after a busy 2017, which included signing with R.E.A.L Music and 123 Agency, Midas raised the bar yet again with Poppin.
Poppin is a feel-good, happy pop-rap fusion that feeds us some oh so positive vibes, as Midas lends a much more joyous and light-hearted tone, further adding another intriguing dimension to someone who is more-than-ready to take things to a new level in 2018.
17. COAST & OCEAN – SUNTOUCHERS (ft. PHILLABU$TRR)
Coast & Ocean absolutely nailed it with Suntouchers, melding raw, sunny guitar progressions with colourful vocal tones and slick raps by way of Coasty himself and featured emcee Phillabu$trr.
From its honest overtones to the sparse, organic production, Suntouchers is the quintessential sunset-on-the-beach summer jam.
16. CARMOUFLAGE ROSE – LATE NIGHTS
Carmouflage Rose’s trajectory was always aiming upwards, however, the explosion of his latest single Late Nights was something else.
Amassing a cool couple-million streams, Late Nights is the ultimate house-party vibe to bump loud in the early hours. From the moody, eccentric production by way of James Angus, to Rose’s alluring, rap-sangin’ delivery, this one has stood the test of time this year, and should find itself a high-spot in the new years Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. What an anthem.
15. KAÉ X DROOPO – STRAIGHT TO THE BANK
If there was one word to describe Straight To The Bank it would be ‘chemistry’. If there was two, it would be ‘absolute fire’.
Burn city rappers Kaé and Droopo linked up on the lively collaboration earlier this year, bouncing off each other with concise rhyme schemes, zany flows and a don’t-f’k-with-me attitude, making for one of the best and biggest underground bangers of 2017.
14. KWAME – FEEL GOOD
If this doesn’t make you feel good, I’m not quite sure what will. Kwame came through with a brilliant project in Lesson Learned this year, and the stand-out on that tape, for us, is the jovial, positive jam Feel Good.
From the bubbly, synth-lead production to Kwame’s flawless, auto-tune assisted vocals, Feel Good is a hit that will make you feel exactly that. THIS AIN’T A LOVE SONG, I MADE THIS TO FEEL STRONG.
13. JOHNIEPEE – PATIENCE
Perth-come-Sydney rapper Johniepee built a sizeable buzz for himself this year off the back of touring with Bliss N Eso and releasing a debut EP, Bigger Things.
Taken off of the EP is Patience, a bare, honest and beautifully written track that travels through the mind, goals and relationships of the budding emcee. The 6-minute track layers soft keys and snappy drums throughout Johniepee’s verses (and luscious hook), in what can only be described as refreshing and transparent.
12. FIGUERO JONES – ROGUE
Coming in at number 12 on our list is Home Baked member Figuero Jones, with his club-rattling heater, Rogue.
Taken off his debut project Hustleman Sound, Rogue is an imposing, energetic anthem that has as many heavy 808’s littered throughout as it does have quotable bars. One of the years most legitimate trap-bangers. WOAH, I’M SO F’N WOKE.
11. LIL SPACELY – YOU KNOW IT
Speaking of legitimate trap-bangers… Lil Spacely’s You Know It is so. damn. hard.
From the impactful, jaunty production to Spacely’s demanding flows, You Know It is a hit that put on for the streets this year, collecting a few-hundred thousand streams and a Zane Lowe co-sign on Beats1 Radio. All of this without stepping a foot out of line with who the Sydney emcee is and what he represents. Bump You Know It loud, and lots.
10. I.E. – OMW!
Kicking off the top 10 is I.e., an artist who’s shrouded in mystery, however, the only thing clear is that he’s quite easily one of Australia’s premier urban songwriters.
Produced by Miracle and DOPAM!NE (who each feature heavily in this top 10), OMW! is a crooning, late-night love song that features a grand, booming chorus from the Sydney-sider that is as memorable as it is catchy. ALL I SMOKE IS JPS.
9. FREEDS – I’M NOT SURE
Back in October of this year we received a short, nonchalant email from Melbourne artist Freeds with his brand new single, I’m Not Sure, and we couldn’t have been more blown away.
Weaving introspective verses in with the smooth, subtle piano and tasteful trumpet, I’m Not Sure is a unique, refreshing and incredibly infectious song should be locked in to every summer playlist across the new year.
8. ANFA ROSE – I’M GOOD
Anfa Rose was always going to make this list, considering the quality of music he dropped in 2017, but it was his take-no-prisoners single I’m Good which proved to be the best of them all.
The quaking bass-lines match the ruthlessness of Anfa’s fiery bars, as he delivers some parting blows to labels, artists and everyone in between, carrying somewhat of a ‘cya at the top’ vibe and tone throughout. Anfa Rose is good, really good.
7. TRAVY P – DIAL UP
Travy P gave us banger after banger this year, from Sleep Over to Real Estate, and the Manu Crook$ collaboration 24/7, however, nothing hit as hard as the pensive love-ballad, Dial Up.
Taken off of Travy’s 2017 EP P.O.I.N.T., Dial Up is unquestionably the most vulnerable, yet personable, we’ve seen the WVS artist to date. The stirring, modern-day love song is just different, it’s not like anything we’ve heard from any other artists this year, largely due to its raw, personal nature, earning itself a high spot in this years top 50.
6. I AM D – GANG
I AM D has had a positive and productive 2017, and that was due in large to the success and cult-status of GANG.
An ode to his fellow BNE creative and crew, GANG is a monstrous anthem that is high-octane and high-energy from the word go (or ‘gang’), as D performs some lyrical acrobatics over the animated production by way of The Programmer and James Angus. A huge, inclusive anthem from one of Brisbane’s biggest and most influential Hip-Hop spearheads.
5. FRANÇOIS – LASTDOLLA
The fifth best Australian Hip-Hop song of 2017 comes via Melbourne songwriter François, who refined his sound more than ever in 2017, and that sound is unbelievably captivating.
After signing to Alt. Music, the burn city rapper dropped a warm, breezy track in LastDolla, a magnificently mesmeric single that brings a jovial, playful tone alongside a cleverly told story and message. I would spend my last $1.29 on a François single called LastDolla.
4. POPPY ROSE – OCEAN
Authenticity is everything in today’s music landscape, and that is exactly what represents Poppy Rose and her raw, striking single Ocean.
The guitar-laden production starts off warm, yet emotive, as Poppy Rose lays down some smooth, stunning cadences before the production ever-so-slightly picks up by way of some light percussion. It’s here where Poppy’s silky melodies transform into some sharp-tongued raps, before seamlessly integrating right back to the uninhibited, passionate chorus.
Poppy Rose is a special talent and Ocean is a tremendous song that was everywhere in 2017, and rightly so.
3. ERIK SANDERS – IN THE AIR (ft. ALLDAY)
There’s something so welcoming and enticing about Erik Sanders’ vocals, and when those vocals are paired with the sunny, cheerful production of James Angus, as well as a quality Allday feature, it’s a certain recipe for success (or a hit song).
When In The Air dropped back at the beginning of the year, it was a breath of fresh air, a pop-rap, trappy-go-lucky banger that’s only concern was to bring along some joyous vibes with it. Sanders and Allday each nailed their verses, and the hook is one that has engrained itself in our head since its initial release.
A top 3 spot can barely do justice to just how excellent this tune is. SANDERS SEASON IN THE AIR.
2. MANU CROOK$ – DAY ONES
Manu Crook$ will be the first Australian rapper to not only ‘crack’ overseas, but dominate. He and his team, which includes Miracle and DOPAM!NE, are destined to take over the globe with their music, and that process reached a new level in 2017 with the drop of Manu’s Mood Forever EP, and in turn, Day Ones.
Manu and his team have carefully curated this alternative-trap sound that is as dynamic as it is distinct, and that sonic is represented to a T on Day Ones. The extended intro on the track builds to a fantastic pay off in the form of a booming kick and Manu’s prodigious vocals, as the Ghanan-come-Sydney product effortlessly rolls into the sparse, yet imperious hook.
This is all before we even get into the trademark idiosyncrasies that Manu Crook$ brings with his sharp, choppy raps that consume the listeners attention, resulting in one of the very best songs to come from Australian shores in 2017.
1. DEX – 4AM (ft. ALLDAY)
The best Australian Hip-Hop song to drop in 2017 came via Melbourne rapper DEX, and his smooth, sultry single 4AM, featuring Allday.
The love-struck single connects two of the countries most sonically dynamic rappers over a drowsy, luscious Dom Cork x Stuart B produced beat, as DEX’s crooning delivery climbs towards the catchy, sing-along hook. The release of 4AM marked a distinct switch in styles for the burn city teen, as he swapped out hard, commanding bars for a softer, more permissive sound, assisted by some sweetly and subtly engineered auto-tune.
The moody hit is DEX’s most successful track to date, gaining well over half a million streams online alongside radio-play on some of the countries biggest commercial radio stations, and now, it tops our list as the BEST Hip-Hop song to come out of Australia in 2017.
4AM will get in your feels, but more-so, stuck in your head.
Thank you to every artist who released music in 2017, your efforts and music are appreciated.
Top 50 Honourable Mentions: iiiConic – Basics, Gatsby – In The Woods, Milwaukee Banks – Lights Down (ft. Sophiegrophy), Kash Kal – Big Billy, Charlie Threads – Walk On Water, Martian – Made For (ft. DEX), Kudos – The Rhythm, DEVARN – The Grind
*this list excludes artists with a major commercial/established name and/or large mainstream backing as it hopes to give exposure to artists on the come-up right now*
*notable exclusions due to conditions/rules: Sampa The Great, Thundamentals, Horrorshow, Spit Syndicate, Allday, 360*
Written by Jarrod van der Staay