The Soul Train Awards maybe a celebration of R&B and soul music, but the Rhythm & Bars Award also gives some shine to the best hip-hop song of the year. The nominees for the 2020 Soul Train Music Awards feature some of the biggest songs to come out in the last year, and it’s going to be hard to break this six-way tie when it comes to merit. But that’s the beauty of debate — there’s a case for each and every song to take home this year’s trophy.
Here’s why each and every nominee for the Rhythm & Bars Award could be a winner at this year’s Soul Train Awards.
In 2020, there hasn’t been a song to carve out such a large cultural space as Cardi B’s “WAP” — and not because it features an epic verse from Megan Thee Stallion that matches Cardi’s flow perfectly. For some reason, people don’t like when women speak about sex with confidence. That’s what makes the song’s success that much more important: a middle finger disguised as a bop for small-minded views on sexuality.
There was a time where fans thought that DaBaby’s current run as hottest rapper in the game was a fluke – that he had the same kind of flow and similar beat choice on each song which contributed to him never falling off. With the release of “Rockstar,” DaBaby went into a completely new sonic direction by delivering something softer, melodic, and lyrically important.
DJ Khaled and Drake are a duo that know how to churn out a good party hit when it's necessary. Over the years, they’ve connected for songs like “Practice” and “For Free” and given fans songs to relax and party to without too much afterthought. “Popstar” is their latest hit and their biggest, creating a yacht party on wax that’s impossible to turn off
Drake’s Cardo-produced “Laugh Now Cry Later” sounds like a victory song for an intense triathlon — that’s probably why Kevin Durant, Odell Beckham Jr., and Marshawn Lynch are a part of the video and it has a focus on exercising. It's an anthem if the world’s ever heard one, and what makes it so special is its ability to bring in melodies from Lil Durk to add on to its one-of-a-kind feeling.
Megan Thee Stallion’s definition of “Savage” describes the essence of raw feminine energy. Her descriptors explain her personality but also give power to countless women who hold the same personality traits. The song’s essence was so powerful that Beyonce had to hop on the remix and rap better than just about anyone in the industry.
Records were broken with “The Box.” Roddy Rich's endless catchy anthem, with its zany runs up and down the register, created a song that’s hard to explain its concept if someone asked you about it, yet you feel it, if that makes sense. There’s no grand concept to it, no hidden message, no statement to a larger issue. Quite simply, it’s just good music.
(Photos by Prince Williams/Wireimage & Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for dcp)