No matter what someone says, rapping is not easy. Finding a beat, rhyming to the best of your ability, working on the craft, and finishing a song that the artist is happy with is quite a process. It’s even more so when a rapper agrees to be a guest on another MC song that has always been a big part of hip hop. Guest verses introduced artists to the world and launched legendary careers. Knowing that the next feature could be a big moment for a rapper is a lot of pressure. Combine this with making sure the lyrics and mood match the other artist’s song without losing its own magic, and it all shows how seriously a rapper needs to take his guest verses. As a hip hop fan, 2021 was a good year for rap features and the verses that go with them, and XXL highlights some of the best yet.
As women grow in popularity in rap, they also collect some of the best guest verses the game has heard in 2021. Nicki Minaj performs the quotes and bars of BIA’s “Whole Lotta Money (Remix)”. Doja Cat appears in Saweetie’s endlessly catchy “Best Friend,” which also peaked at # 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Rico Nasty tears down Kali’s “Do A Bitch (Remix)” and adds her style to the song while it was already going viral. Megan Thee Stallion shines in Freddie’s “Pop It” bankroll, while Latto brings her vibe to Toosii’s underrated “5’5”. All of this happened that year, in addition to the verses of Coi Leray and Flo Milli, two of this year’s XXL Freshmen. The ladies are making noise in 2021, and the year isn’t even over yet.
Quality Control Music, the Atlanta-based record label that has skipped the industry with plenty of charting top artists and avid newcomers, put on a strong performance with features this year. Lil Baby had one of the best verses of the year on Drake’s “Wants and Needs”, rapping next to the Canadian superstar and going. Quavo jumped on BlueBucksClan’s “Little League” and easily fitted into the world of flexible and obscure sports references of the LA duo. Offset just showed up at Duke Deuce’s “Gangsta Party” as usual and gave his own artist song an extra boost. The QC roster is a talented label in its own right and knows how to take off on other rappers’ tracks.
From Lil Wayne to Travis Scott and more, check out the best hip hop guest verses of 2021 below.
Lil Wayne on Birdman’s “Stunnaman”
Lil Baby on Drake’s “Wishes and Needs”
Nicki Minaj on BIA’s “Whole Lotta Money (Remix)”
Travis Scott on Baby Keem’s “Durag Activity”
Rico Nasty on Kali’s “Do A Bitch (Remix)”
Rowdy Rebel on Young Stoner Life and Young Thugs “Came and Saw”
Offset on Duke Deuce’s “Gangsta Party”
Young Dolph in Tee Grizzley’s “In My Feelings” with Quavo
Megan Thee Stallion on bankroll Freddie’s “Pop It”
Young racket about Cordae’s “Wassup”
Duke Deuce on Isaiah Rashad’s “Lay Wit Ya”
Latto on Toosii’s “5’5”
EST Gee on 42 Duggs “Rose Gold”
Polo G on Migos’ “Malibu”
Flo Milli on Goldlinks “Raindrops”
Pooh Shiesty on Juicy J’s “Tell Em No”
Peewee Longway on Hoodrich Pablo Juan’s “Hooked on Phonics”
Coi Leray on “Impatience” from DDG and OG Parker
Quavo on BlueBucksClan’s “Lil League”
Jay-Z on Nipsey Hussle’s “What It Feels Like”
Drake on Migos’ “Having Our Way”
Doja Cat on Saweetie’s “Best Friend”
Pooh Shiesty on Gucci Manes “Like 34 & 8”
Lil Uzi Vert about Tyler, the creator’s “Juggernaut”
Chief Keef on Kuttem Reese’s “All 10”
Moneybagg Yo in Babyface Rays “If You Know You Know”
Big Sean on Freddie Gibbs’ “4 Thangs”
Roddy Ricch on 42 Duggs “4 Da Gang”
JID for Doja Cats “Options”
Lil Durk on “24 Hours” from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
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