It’s time to turn up. Here at DJBooth we take pride in our ability to curate and delve into the best that music has to offer in all realms, from profound, introspective lyrical miracles to alternative, experimental new age gems and yes, of course, party records.
Earlier this week, I set out to start an ongoing list of the best party songs of the 2016. As a result, if you find yourself amongst a large group of people and the aux cord is thrown in your direction, you’ll be able to move with the quickness and not sit there like Steven Glansberg with your head in your ass. As you’re probably already on your way to getting drunk, lets jump into our selections.
Songs That Technically Came Out Last Year But Took Until 2016 For Them To Really Pop Off
O.T. Genasis - “Cut It” ft. Young Dolph
Remember O.T. Genasis, the rapper who had that hit single about loving cocaine? Well he’s back, and surprise, he still loves him some blow. Originally released in October of 2015, “Cut It” finds O.T. at his drug-dealing roots with a record that impressively manages to surpass the catchiness of his previous smash hit in much less grating fashion. Young Dolph adds an appropriately mean-mugging verse to the scissor anthem.
Kevin Gates - “2 Phones”
Kevin Gates is big, as in almost outselling Rihanna and Adelebig. Islah was a message to the world that the long-underrated New Orleans rapper/singer was going to do things his way for his debut studio album, as he’s done for years through mixtape releases, and “2 Phones” is that album’s biggest hit. It’s a record that will have you so proudly singing along about the joy of owning two phones that you might entirely miss the fact that Gates claims to own at least four of them. Whether dealing with plugs, loads, bitches or dough, consider this a necessary reminder to use multiple lines. Make sure they all have blue text bubbles, too.
A$AP Ferg - “New Level” ft. Future
The staying power of Ferg’s “Work” remix is an incredible testament to how incredibly perfect a banger it was. Even now, three years removed from its release, it’s still just as liable to launch a full scale riot as it was in summer of ’13. While I can’t quite predict “New Level” will achieve similar feats, both songs do make reference to shovels, so I’m not betting against it. If the combination of Honorable C.N.O.T.E.’s clanking production, Future’s inspired dabbing and dabbing, and Ferg’s Wolfman ad-libs don’t get you hyped, you are most likely not on a new level and should quietly exit.
Desiigner - “Panda”
Say what you want about Diet Future’s uncanny similarity to any current Atlanta superstars, Desiigner made pandas fucking cool. Look at Google Trends, pandas haven’t been this relevant since the release of Kung Fu Panda 2. You might say, “Wait, Kung Fu Panda 3 just came out and might also have contributed to the current spike of interest,” to which I might say, “Damn, that kind of ruins my argument.”
I wouldn’t say that, though, because this is about music, and for the first few months of 2016, “Panda” was everywhere. Sure, Kanye basically put half of the song on his semi-released album. Sure, it launched a million memes and discussions around the current climate of “paying homage” to established stars by heavily borrowing their style. Beyond that, though, it gave the people the Future-esque street hit with a panda face we never knew we needed.
Travis Scott - “Wonderful” ft. The Weeknd
Large crowds of people gravitate toward Travis Scott, much like large crowds of people gravitate towards The Weeknd. It makes sense then that they toured together, and it makes even more sense that they would come together for a much more club-friendly record than their earlier collaboration “Pray For Love.” “Wonderful” is a celebration, mostly of having sex, doing drugs and shutting down the club, so basically what I’m saying is that it's a perfect party song.
DJ Mustard - “Whole Lotta Lovin" ft. Travis Scott
If a DJ Mustard-produced, hybrid EDM and trap banger that features Travis Scott, a CeCe Peniston sample and the phrase “God damn it I’m fucked up” repeated in the hook does NOT make a Best Party Songs list, is it even a list at all? A wise man once called this song an “impossible-to-deny, late night anthem aimed at those still dancing when they can barely stand.” That man was me, and that quote rings so true I’m using it again.
Future - “Wicked”
Could someone tell Future he already has an abundance of records fueling our nights out? Already two projects in this year, it's obvious Future has no plans of slowing down his incredible run, and we've reached a point where it’s now a near-guarantee you will hear at least 15 of his songs at any given function. Of this year's output, so far ”Wicked" reigns (purple, of course) supreme, propelled by Metro Boomin's thunderous and squealing production but more so due to the mumbled brilliance of the "Wickewickawheruoatewickewi..." chorus that’s so simultaneously easy and difficult to sing along to.
Beyonce - “Formation”
“Formation” is so many things beyond a party song, tackling societal issues that individually deserve far more thought and discussion than what you’ll find in a small blurb about the best songs put on at a party, that it almost doesn’t feel right sticking it here and concentrating solely on its ability to get a crowd moving. That said, Mike WiLL crafted a hell of a backdrop for the Queen, and beyond the incredibly unapologetic black power anthem and female call to action that is “Formation” as a political and cultural statement, it’s also a massive tune for turning up.
Wiz Khalifa - “Bake Sale” ft. Travis Scott
“At the night show!” I mean, “At my bake sale!” Take Travis Scott’s “Antidote,” crossbreed it with G-Eazy’s “Order More” and then apply a generous helping of Wiz Khalifa’s carefree demeanor and party-friendly weed raps. Now call on the all-star production lineup of TM88, Juicy J, Lex Luger, DJ Spinz and Crazy Mike to shock it into life. Congrats, you’ve created the prototypical Frankenstein of party songs.
Young Thug - “F Cancer” ft. Quavo
The fact that the first two lines of "F Cancer" are the only two that even bother to mention either cancer or Boosie might seem puzzling to an outsider of Thugger's weird world, but when your diet consists mainly of Funyuns and Molly it’s the only thing that makes any sense. Instead of a somber look into the life of someone ailing from the disease, we instead get an anthem of sorts that chooses to focus on the brighter aspects of life, mainly copping foreigns and fucking your bitch. Mike WiLL laces Thug with a rousing bounce, while Quavo makes clear why he’s being called on for so many solo guest verses.
Yo Gotti - “Down in the DM (Remix)” ft. Nicki Minaj
Here we are again. It’s that song that sounds so dumb that upon first listen you can almost guarantee it becomes a hit, and then it becomes a smash hit that exceeds even your loftiest expectations and you’re left just as confused as if you’d never thought it would catch on. Such is the reality of Yo Gotti’s new career peak, which launched him into the pop music stratosphere with a Nicki Minaj guest feature. Don’t fight it, you know you sing along every time you hear it.
Rihanna - “Work” ft. Drake
"Work, work, work, work, work." So simple yet so effective. When "Work" first dropped, I knew it was catchy but questioned its staying power. I obviously know nothing because here we are weeks later and the seductive Caribbean jam shows no signs of letting up. As it's basically the perfect soundtrack to a rum-fueled, late night twerk on the beach, there's no reason why "Work" won't just continue to gain steam heading into summer. Also, shout out to Rihanna for both videos. Drake's a lucky man.
Drake - “Summer Sixteen”
If there's one steadfast rule of current-day party song lists, it's that no list is complete without the most recent Drake banger. Right now that selection is "Summer Sixteen." That's really all I need to say.
2 Chainz - “Bounce” ft. Lil Wayne
Collegrove is like a reunion between two great friends. Sure, neither Weezy or Tity every disappeared, but there's no arguing that the interest in new material from either has waned a bit over the last five years. It didn't seem to matter if the album was great or not, because the entire project gave off the aura of two buddies with great chemistry just trying to have fun. At no point is this better executed than on “Bounce,” a fitting title for the rapid-fire trade-off that unloads over pulsating production, where each artist battles for the most ridiculous punchlines (like when 2 Chainz says "I kiss ya lady, eat her pussy, then kiss the baby”).
Travis Scott - “Uber Everywhere (Remix)” ft. Madeintyo
Madeintyo's "Uber Everywhere" was one of the greatest things to come out of 2015. It was an easygoing, lighthearted and extremely catchy anthem for anyone who uses an app to call their cab and makes liberal use of the phrase "skrr skrr." This year, Travis Scott put his own spin on the song (which is either fortunate or unfortunate for Madeintyo, who was mostly left off of the reworked version) and with a few well-placed "It's Lit!" ad-libs ensured we'd be Uber-ing everywhere for the foreseeable future.
There you go, my friends. That should be more than enough party fuel to spark whatever occasion you happen to be celebrating, but we'll be sure to return and update this collection as more turn up anthems drop through 2016. Until then, party on.
By Brendan Varan, Music Editor of DJBooth. Follow him on Twitter.