The shelf life of a good lyric can vary, but the best ones tend to linger. They can have a profound influence on the way we see the world. Sometimes they affirm our beliefs, sometimes they challenge them. They find the words for seemingly inscrutable feelings. They serve as captions for our everyday lives (or at least our Instagrams). Sometimes they’re fun to sing, too.
From Kendrick Lamar and Cardi B to St. Vincent and SZA, from political protest to personal despair, these lyrics defined our year. We rapped them. We shared them. We lived them.