Collaborative efforts are one of the many components that sets hip hop apart from other genres of music. From a complete body of work to posse cuts, you won’t find another style that offers a wider variety of mash-ups and, to the benefit of fans, has resulted in some of the best tunes of all time.
The BET Hip Hop Awards has a specific category just for these types of group projects: "Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse". As the name implies, the award goes to the best visiting bars on an artist’s record during the year.
J. Cole took home the honors with his verse on 21 Savage’s “A Lot” back in 2019, Cardi B took it home in 2018 for her verse on the Migos’ “Motorsport.” Even 2Chainz made the list, taking home the honor in 2012 for his guest appearance on “F**ckin’ Problems.
With the BET Hip Hop Awards 2021, including the ‘Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse, around the corner, here’s a look at some of the standout bars artists brought to the table.
Big Sean — “It Ain’t My Fault”
Since releasing his fifth solo studio album, Detroit 2, last September, Big Sean has been on a tear, killing every song he’s invited on.
Jay Rock — “True Story”
TDE artist and Cali native Jay Rock is known for blowing the competition out the water when called upon. Need we ask who had the best verse on “Money Trees” between him and Kendrick?
Isaiah Rashad received the same smoke on “True Story”, released this year on his sophomore effort, The House Is Burning.
“I'm the east-iest, they know I charge a fee for this. If I was down before this verse, then I'm back on my feet with this,” a part of his verse goes. And we agree.
NBA YoungBoy — “WUSYANAME”
An NBA YoungBoy and Tyler, The Creator collab wasn’t our 2021 bingo card but the joint venture was a success nonetheless.
The 21-year-old Baton Rouge native got off on “WUSYANAME”, crooning his verse with all his soul.
Lil Durk — “Sharing Locations”
Lil Durk has now charted 35 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2021, earning the most entries among all artists this year.
Between “Stay Down” with 6LACK and Young Thug, his Drake collab “Laugh Now Cry Later” and his offering on Pooh Shiesty’s “Back In Blood”, the “Chicago Jay Z” has been busy.
Much was the same on Meek Mill’s “Sharing Locations”, released August 27, Durk made sure he stood out against his contemporaries Meek and Lil Baby.
Jay Electronica — ”Jesus Lord”
Although littered with features, from Marilyn Manson to Jay Z, Jay Electronica wrote the best verse on Kanye West’s tenth studio album, Donda.
Addressing Britain’s colonization of Ghana, he raps:
“Earthquakes will strike this nation for what Bush did to Rwanda; What the Clintons did to Haiti and Downing Street did to Ghana”
City Girls — “Throat Baby” (Remix)
“Twerkulator” is the only real noise Florida rap duo, City Girls, have made this year in terms of solo releases, but their remix of BT Kartel’s “Throat Baby” gave enough quotes to last the year.
Specifically, JT, singing in her affectionate autotune voice: “I like to be f*** like a slut. Come here zaddy, let me eat it up”.
The song was meant to be nasty and they understood the assignment.
PlayBoi Carti — ”Miss The Rage”
Atlanta rapper PlayBoi Carti may have ventured into punk on his 2020 album, Whole Lotta Red, but Trippie Redd managed to bring Die Lit Carti out of retirement when he recruited the “Woke Up Like This” rapper on his record “Miss The Rage”.
The track is on the Ohio native’s latest album, Trip at Knight, released this year, and showcases the ad-libs and staccato flow that made Carti a world sensation.
Lauryn Hill — ”Nobody”
Lauryn Hill is a legend to a tier held by few and is already enshrined in hip hop history as one of the greatest to do it, so anything she brings to the table at this point in her career is an honor to receive.
So it’s no surprise that her guest verse on Nas’ “Nobody” on his latest album Kings Disease II, had heads reeling.
The 16 was stellar from top to bottom but most notable was the bar on her tardiness — a public point of critique of hers for a while now — which she flawlessly addresses.
“They clearly didn’t understand when I said “I Get Out” apparently My awareness like Keanu in The Matrix I’m savin’ souls and y’all complainin’ ’bout my lateness,” she raps.
Flo Milli — "Asthma Pump"
Tay Money — who went viral on TikTok in 2020 for her hit “Bussin” — knew what she was doing recruiting Flo Milli for her single, “Asthma Pump”
Released in March, the Alabama rapper floated all over the record. So much so, you’d think it was Flo Milli featuring Tay Money.
Lil Wayne - “You Only Live Twice”
Every time Drake, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross are on a song together, their best comes out.
We saw it with DJ Khaled’s “Im On One”, Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin” and were seeing it again with “You Only Live Once” on Drake’s latest album, Certified Lover Boy.
The record is reminiscent of Drake and Rick Ross’ “Lord Knows” in terms of the clashing symbols, drums and soul samples. Except, this time there’s Tunechi, who absolutely loses his mind with his verse.
In what has to be more than a standard 16, the Holly Grove legend barely takes a breath rapping like it’s ‘06 again. In all fairness, Wayne has not been letting up on any of his guest appearances. Between his verse on Tyler The Creator’s “Hot Wind Blows”, Westside Gunns’ “Bash Money” and now Drake’s album, Slime clearly has not lost a step.