14. J.I.D - "Never"
This year, the gap between lyrical rappers and [insert your choice of antonym here] rappers was wider than ever. There was a shift in the energy of most young up-and-comers, but a few proved that technical rap skills and smart lyricism are still effective. One of the most impressive in 2017 was Atlanta's J.I.D. He can rap with the best of them, but songs like "NEVER" still go off in a live setting, and for hip-hop fans that aren't impressed by simple formulas involving loud bass and repetitive hooks, it was nice to have some fresh talent with more to offer—and to see them receive the attention they deserve.—Jacob Moore