Top Music of 2013: Hip Hop

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Here are the top songs and albums of 2013, as decided by the editors of HipHopDX.

Top Songs of 2013

It’s been an amazing year for music, and hip hop was no exception. From Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s anthemic “Can’t Hold Us” to Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse, 2013 was full of great hip hop moments. Here are our picks for the best hip hop songs of the year.

“Thrift Shop” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

“Thrift Shop” is a song by American hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. It was released on August 27, 2012 as Macklemore’s eighth career single and the fourth single from their debut studio album, The Heist. The song’s lyrics express Macklemore’s desire to purchase cheap clothing from thrift shops, despite being wealthy, and discourage the spending of large amounts of money on luxury items. It ranks at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

“Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

“Can’t Hold Us” is a song by American hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring vocals by Ray Dalton. It was released on August 16, 2011, as the third single from their debut studio album, The Heist (2012). The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their first hit in the United States. It also reached number one in France and the United Kingdom, and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

“Harlem Shake” – Baauer

On February 2, 2013, Baauer released “Harlem Shake” on Diplo’s Mad Decent record label. The song was met with mixed reviews, with some music critics calling it a “catchy tune” and others calling it “annoying” and “repetitive”. Nonetheless, the song became a viral hit, spawning many remixes and covers. The song also topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States for five weeks.

“Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell

“Blurred Lines” is a single written and performed by American recording artists Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams. Produced by Pharrell, it serves as the lead single from Thicke’s album of the same name. The song was released on March 26, 2013 through Star Trak Recordings and Interscope Records; it was serviced to US mainstream and rhythmic radio stations on April 16, 2013. The record has been described as minimalist R&B[2][3] and funk. Its lyrics refer to a man’s desire to have sex with a woman despite knowing that she is in a relationship with someone else.[4]

Upon its release, “Blurred Lines” received mixed reviews from music critics; some praised the song for being catchy, while others criticized its claims of being “blurred” between rape and consent. The single peaked at number one on both the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart; it became Thicke’s first number-one single in the US and Williams’ second number-one single in the UK after his work on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. Internationally, “Blurred Lines” peaked at number one in 18 countries including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden; it also became Thicke’s first ever single to top the European Hot 100 Singles chart. A black-and-white music video directed by Diane Martel was released on March 20, 2013. It generated public controversy due to its premise of attractive women dancing nude or seminude around fully clothed men; this led Pitchfork Media to criticise its misogynistic undertones.[5][6][7] The clip was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards at the 2013 ceremony; it eventually won Best Male Video and Best Collaboration.[8]

In an interview with GQ magazine published in July 2013, Thicke said that he had been inspired by Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up”[9] when writing the song’s opening melody,[10] though he denied claims that he had plagiarised Gaye’s track. In an interview with XXL magazine published months later in September 2013 however (after being sued for copyright infringement), Thicke conceded that Gaye may have influenced his work.[11][12][13]

“Started from the Bottom” – Drake

“Started from the Bottom” is a song by Canadian recording artist Drake, released as the first single from his third studio album Nothing Was the Same. The song was written by Drake, Michael Coleman, and Noah “40” Shebib. It features production from Coleman and Shebib. “Started from the Bottom” peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Drake’s highest-charting single in the United States until it was surpassed by “Hotline Bling” in 2015.

Top Albums of 2013

The past year has brought many great hip hop albums. Some were better than others, but all in all, it was a pretty good year for music. Here are a few of the top albums of 2013.

“The Heist” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

The Heist is the debut studio album by American hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. It was released on October 9, 2012, independently through Macklemore LLC. The album was produced by Lewis and features guest appearances from singer Ray Dalton, rapper Wanz, and producer Timbaland. Reception to The Heist was positive, with critics praising Macklemore’s lyrics and Lewis’ production style; some contemporary music critics have ranked the album among the best albums of 2012. The Heist debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200, selling 78,000 copies in its first week. It peaked at number 1 on the Top Rap Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. As of December 2013, the album has sold more than one million copies in the United States alone.

“Yeezus” – Kanye West

“Yeezus” is the sixth solo album by American rapper and producer Kanye West. It was released on June 18, 2013, by Def Jam Recordings. West gathered a number of artists and close collaborators for production on the album, including Mike Dean, Daft Punk, Noah Goldstein, Arca, Hudson Mohawke, and Travis Scott. The album features guest vocals from Justin Vernon, Chief Keef, Kid Cudi, Assassin, Frank Ocean, and Charlie Wilson.

musically minimalistic approach. West’s lyrics explore themes of excess and celebrity; “Yeezus” peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. Despite being a controversy upon its release for its lyrical content and several production issues, the album was well-received by critics who praised its experimental direction. Rolling Stone named it the second-best album of 2013 while Pitchfork Media named it their top pick of 2013. In 2015, NME ranked “Yeezus” at number 347 in their list of greatest albums of all time.

“Magna Carta… Holy Grail” – Jay-Z

“Magna Carta… Holy Grail” is the twelfth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was released on July 4, 2013, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation. The album features guest appearances from Justin Timberlake, Nas, Rick Ross, Beyoncé, and Frank Ocean.

The album was promoted through a commercial partnership between Samsung and Jay-Z; the album was released for free to one million Samsung customers two days before its official release date as part of a plan to market the album to a wider audience. Upon its release, “Magna Carta… Holy Grail” received mixed reviews from music critics; it debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 528,000 copies in its first week.

“Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s debut album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was one of the most highly anticipated hip hop albums of 2013. Released in October, the album features Lamar rapping about his upbringing in Compton, California, and includes guest appearances from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and MC Eiht. “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was praised by critics for its lyrical depth and production value, and it debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

“The 20/20 Experience” – Justin Timberlake

Released in 2013, “The 20/20 Experience” is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake. The album was Timberlake’s first album in six years, following the release of his 2007 album “FutureSex/LoveSounds”. “The 20/20 Experience” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 968,000 copies in its first week. The album received positive reviews from music critics, who praised its mix of genres and Timberlake’s vocals.

Top Artists of 2013

When it comes to music, there are a lot of different genres and subgenres. But, if we’re talking about the top music of 2013, we have to narrow it down to a few specific artists. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the top hip hop artists of 2013. These are the artists that really made a mark on the hip hop scene this year.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are an American hip hop duo, formed in 2008, from Seattle, Washington. The duo is composed of Ben Haggerty, a rapper who goess by the stage name Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis, a record producer, DJ, and professional photographer. They reached mainstream success after their single “Thrift Shop” reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2013. The success of “Thrift Shop” led to their first full-length studio album debuting at number 2 on the Billboard 200.

Kanye West

Kanye West is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, West first became known as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing hit singles for artists such as Jay-Z, Ludacris, and Alicia Keys. As he continued to produce for other artists, he eventually formed the musical duo Kids See Ghosts with Kid Cudi. His style of production often utilizes sampling and interpolation of past music genres; he has been compared to influential producers such as J Dilla and Madlib. His 2013 album Yeezus featured elements of industrial and acid house music, as well as incorporating samples from gospel and Chicago drill. He has also been involved in fashion design; during Paris Fashion Week in October 2011, West collaborated with Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs on a limited edition line of sneakers. In 2015, West released The Life of Pablo to critical acclaim.


Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter’s net worth at nearly $520 million. He has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving 21 Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. According to Billboard, Jay-Z has the highest number of Top 40 hits among rappers, tied with Busta Rhymes. His last solo album American Gangster (2007) was released to commercial and critical success, spawning hits such as “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)..”, “I Know” and “Party Life”. Jay-Z has collaborated with artists such as R. Kelly, Linkin Park, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé Knowles , Nas and Neptunes . He is also a record producer , with over 20 No. 1s on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart to his credit .

Throughout his career , Jay – Z has frequently controversial lyrics , which have addressed a variety of social issues including racism , police brutality and drug trafficking . He has married pop star Beyoncé Knowles in 2008 . As an artist and businessman , Jay – Z has received several prestigious awards including Grammy Awards , BET Awards and American Music Awards . He is also one of only two rappers (the other being Eminem ) who have been included in Rolling Stone magazine ‘s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time .

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is an American rapper from Compton, California. He is signed to Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment. His major label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, was released on October 22, 2012 to critical acclaim and commercial success. The album peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It became Lamar’s first album to enter the UK Top 40 chart.

Justin Timberlake

As one of the most popular and successful artists of the past few years, Justin Timberlake has had a huge impact on the music industry. In 2013, Timberlake released his highly anticipated third studio album, The 20/20 Experience, to critical and commercial acclaim. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and produced several hit singles, including “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors”. Timberlake’s success in 2013 cemented his place as one of the top artists of the year.

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