The best songs of 2023
The best songs In 2023, it was harder than ever to capture the attention of the world. With an individual song. With people often looking to the past creating steaming and social sensations with old material. New music often felt like it was taking a backseat in the public consciousness. As this is being written. The No. 1 song in America is older than every single artist on the following list.
But that doesn’t mean that 2023 wasn’t full of fantastic offerings across genres. Keeping fans fed if they weren’t looking to revisit the past. The following songs cover the worlds of hip-hop, afrobeats, indie, pop, and much more. Portraying a new music landscape that is full of ideas and personalities. Great new music is still all around us, you just need to be a little curious.
100 Gecs “Dumbest Girl Alive”
Just as the Ramones surveyed the trash culture of their youth and paid homage to it over genius-idiot music. 100 Gecs take everything that is annoying about the internet. And elevate it by leaning into every guilty pleasure of our very, very insipid modern culture. There is no better example than this brilliantly stupid electro-rock anthem.
Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar “The Hillbillies”
If there’s one thing to appreciate about Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar’s collaborations. It is how their records cause the latter to have some fun on the mic. Whether it’s the “smoking on top five.” Chants of “Family Ties.” Or the odder “top of the morning.” chants on “Range Brothers.” Keem and Lamar are not more than two fun cousins having a blast when they’re in the booth. “The Hillibillies” is another example of that as the rappers go back and forth.
Coi Leray “Players”
Today’s rap fans are experiencing sample fatigue, and rightfully so. There aren’t many commercial hits that present no creative concepts. But when it comes to Aswehiphop cover star Coi Leray’s standout track “Players” you can’t help but to rock your hips. Although the track isn’t a hearty helping, the crossover appeal makes up for its short runtime. Producer Johnny Goldstein’s hyperfocus on paying homage to the track’s sample of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five’s 1982 classic “The Message” is so meticulously executed that it reshaped what Coi’s career could look like moving forward
Dave, Central Cee – “Sprinter”
“Sprinter” is exactly the type of song hip-hop fans have long clamored for, a combination of exciting voices that magnetize and a push against each other in equal measure, generating skin-tingling surges of energy. Dave and Cee’s yin-yang chemistry, combined with a pulsating, Spanish guitar-laden beat and their scintillating wordplay, makes this a pairing like peanut butter and jelly — or maybe like fish and chips.
Davido “Unavailable” Feat. Musa Keys
Davido’s fingerprints are all over the modern-day rise of the afrobeats and you won’t have to look too far back in history to see why that’s the case. Still, it had been a while since Davido made his presence felt in the genre. All of that changed with the first quarter release of “Unavailable” through his Timeless. The track quickly positioned itself as an entry in summer playlists near and far thanks to lively production born from the rising amapiano world. Furthermore, it preaches individualism and living for oneself rather than others, something that’s relatable to both entertainment stars and everyday people.
Doja Cat “Paint The Town Red” the best songs of 2023
Doja Cat cannot beat allegations being hurled at her of being “demonic” and a “Satan worshipper,” so she instead leaned into them on her Scarlet lead single “Paint The Town Red.” The widly catchy song features a remixed sample of Dionne Warwick’s 1964 track “Walk On By,” infused with Doja’s unmatched swagger. The song suavely responds to the number of controversies the rapper has had since her rise to fame, putting them all to rest with the assertion, “B*tch I said what I said, I’d rather be famous instead.” People clearly resonated with the song, as it quickly became Doja’s first-ever No. 1 solo single.
Drake “Evil Ways” Feat. J. Cole the best songs of 2023
Drake’s best material in 2023 came from his collaborations. While his guest turn on Travis Scott’s “Meltdown” brought out the rapper’s rapper within him that he usually goes out of his way to suppress, “First Person Shooter” with J. Cole restored long-dormant chemistry between the two rappers that put a battery in Drake’s back and gave J. Cole his first-ever BillboardNo. 1. However, fans could generously be described as disappointed that only one of the two rappers viewed the collab as anything more than a scrimmage (less generously, Drake phoned it in). Fortunately, it seems Drake got the memo; he linked up with J. Cole again on “Evil Ways,” a much more focused outing that found the two rap titans going toe-to-toe and bringing out each others’ best
Dua Lipa “Dance The Night” the best songs of 2023
Although there are many wonderful songs to choose from on the Barbie soundtrack, Dua Lipa’s disco-inspired “Dance The Night” is among the catchiest, feeling like a perfect bridge between the end of her Future Nostalgia era into her next album cycle. The track is a bubbly pop hit that is all about radiating positivity, especially on the dancefloor — making it the ideal choice to play during the film’s party scene. It even resulted in some hilarious choreography from Ryan Gosling.
Burna Boy – “City Boys”
On his sixth album, I Told Them…, Burna Boy pushed the afro-fusion genre to a different corner than his past weeks by supplying a blend that leaned more on hip-hop- and R&B-inspired sounds than ever before. A perfect example of that on I Told Them… lives in “City Boys.” The album standout takes production from Jeremih’s bedroom record “Birthday Sex” to create a bass-thumper whose sole purpose is to portray the life of a superstar who captures the eye of ladies near and far. It’s one of the many records on I Told Them…, and in Burna Boy’s discography overall, that embodies his towering status that exists far from his home continent.
Tyla – “Water”
The increasing popularity of African music over the past 15 years has pushed genres like afrobeats and afro-fusion to the mainstream spotlight. This popularity has also unearthed sub-genres, like amapiano, that are now a favorite from the Afro-music world. Tenured acts like Wizkid and Davido have showcased their own offerings of the genre, but in 2023, amapiano birthed a new star in the making with South Africa’s own Tyla. With her breakout hit “Water,” Tyla skyrocketed into the conversation as music’s next pop star thanks to her sweet and soft vocals, undeniable dance skills, and readiness for the spotlight. With a TikTok challenge behind the song in full gear, Tyla has plenty of momentum to continue a run into and through 2024. We’ll just have to wait and see what her next steps are.
Travis Scott – “MELTDOWN” Feat. Drake
Easily the best song on Travis’ new album Utopia, “Meltdown” recaptures the chemistry of its principals from their prior collaboration on “Sicko Mode” — albeit with much more bite and one more beat switch. Drake especially sounds reenergized, if a little bitter, taking fresh potshots at his old foe Pusha T (according to social media, at least), while Scott allegedly takes a page from his mentor Kanye’s playbook, menacing his girlfriend’s new beau. Yes, it’s petty and more than a little corny. But paired with the hypnotic beat(s), it’s curiously compelling.
SZA – “Snooze”
For those critics who say SZA only writes breakup songs, I’d like to please direct your attention to her SOS track “Snooze.” The loved-up song shows SZA at her best: masterful vocal delivery and catchy hooks accompanied by a lush and dreamy beat. It’s a feel-good tune that’s a certified R&B hit that became somewhat of a sleeper hit (pun intended). The song peaked at No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart ten months after its release. On top of that, “Snooze” was nominated for a 2024 Grammy for Best R&B Song, and SZA herself earned 8 other nominations, making her the most-nominated artist at the award show.
Sexyy Red – “Skeeyee”
Sexyy Red’s massive 2023 year is chronicled by her bass-knocking records that erred on the side of being outright raunchy or wild and brazen fun with your friends, and in some cases, the two sides overlapped. Though “Pound Town” launched her into the national spotlight, “SkeeYee” became the rallying cry for her rapidly growing fan base. Released in the spring, Sexyy Red cruised into the summer with her fans hollering “skeeyee” just as she calls them to do on the Hood Hottest Princess track. If “Pound Town” marks the destination, “SkeeYee” marks the journey and it’s a fun one that prompts you to let your wild side run free.
Sexyy Red “Pound Town”
From Lil Kim and Trina to Cardi and Megan Thee Stallion, women’s sexual expression in rap is nothing new. No matter what political pundits or men entertainers say, “pussy rap” is here to stay. Currently leading the libido movement is Sexyy Red, thanks to her breakout single “Pound Town.” The record is a screw you to the mounting pressures for women to return to respectability politics and outdated roles of demurity. With “Pound Town,” Sexyy Red argues that there’s no longer a need to toe the line. You can be a freak in the sheets and in the streets
PinkPantheress & Ice Spice “Boy’s A Liar, Pt. 2”
Breakout stars PinkPantheress and Ice Spice kicked off the year proving they were the ones to watch in 2023. With PinkPantheress’ painfully relatable account of a dishonest ex, and Ice’s punchy bars reminding us why she stays on his mind, the song has proven inescapable. Whether you’ve heard the song in the club or discovered it on one of many viral TikToks, you can’t help but shake your “duh-duh-duh” when “Boy’s A Liar, Pt. 2” comes on.
Megan Thee Stallion “Cobra”
Having emerged from endless media fodder and issues with her record label, Megan Thee Stallion came back with a vengeance. Newly independent, Meg set the groundwork for a new era with “Cobra.” On her comeback single, Meg doesn’t tiptoe around how the past few years have affected her mental health. But she’s not taking anything sitting down. Over the past few weeks, Meg has been teasing on social media “Act One” of what seems to be a new project. She hasn’t teased much else, but if “Cobra” is an indication of what’s to come next, we’re definitely staying tuned in on Meg through 2024.
Latto – “Put In On Da Floor”
Since last year, rumors have swirled around whether Latto has beef with Coi Leray, Ice Spice, or Nicki Minaj. Who knows, and who cares? Latto doesn’t. She has an eternal retort readymade in the opening line of “Put It On Da Floor,” rapping, “Rip me out the plastic, I been actin’ brand-new / B*tches actin’ like they runnin’ sh*t, they really ran through.” And Latto’s 2023 run speaks for itself — going viral and establishing staying power. Related: Her “Put It On Da Floor Again”remix with Cardi B peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
the above listed are the best songs of 2023