UPDATE (12/23/2019): Honorable mentions were added and “Bangarang” by Skrillex was removed and replaced as it was erroneously listed as dubstep.
It’s safe to say that this decade has been the biggest in the history of dubstep. While propelling to the top of the electronic world early in the decade and becoming one of the most popular EDM subgenres for years afterwards, dubstep went beyond the initial hype and became a driving force in the electronic music realm.
In honor of the amazing decade of dubstep we’ve got to enjoy, here are the genre’s 20 best tracks of the decade.
20. “Rail Breaker” – Riot Ten ft. Rico Act
An anthem dedicated to those who like to make venue security worry, “Rail Breaker” embodies the spirit of the headbangers in the front row. With a minimalistic introduction putting full emphasis on Rico Act‘s now-iconic vocals, hardcore fans of dubstep have found themselves embracing the idea of headbanging so hard their necks are sore.
19. “Experts” – SKisM
In 2012, the Never Say Die boss SKisM released “Experts,” his call to arms for his fellow dubstep superstar allies. His masterful production skills are on full display as he rips through the track giving listeners little time to breathe. Depicting Zomboy, Skrillex, Excision and himself battling an empowered internet troll, the music video accompanying the song remains one of the finest in the history of the genre.
18. “Gold (Stupid Love)” – Excision and Illenium ft. Shallows
One of the more unexpected collaborations in bass music, Excision recruited the help of the superstar future bass producer Illenium for their emotional track “Gold (Stupid Love)” featuring Shallows. While the first portion of the song is more reminiscent of Illenium’s signature sound, midway through it drops and ominous grumbling begins as raw power reminiscent of Excision’s originals erupts. The result is a seamless fusion of the duo’s talents, making it seem like they’ve been collaborating for decades.
17. “Dead Presidents” – Zomboy and 12th Planet ft. Jay Fresh
A monumental collaboration that saw Zomboy join forces with one of the most important figures behind the American dubstep movement, 12th Planet, “Dead Presidents” sees the two bass heavyweights at their absolute best. With Jay Fresh‘s vocals and a clever take on Zomboy’s signature catchphrase throughout, the duo created a pounding dubstep tune dripping with style like few others.
16. “Behemoth” – SVDDEN DEATH
Released in 2018 as a part of the first entry in his atmospheric VOYD-branded EPs, “Behemoth” by SVDDEN DEATH became an instant staple in nearly every bass artist’s set. Undeniably heavy in every sense of the definition, the grinding, pounding bass from the breakout bass producer helped “Behemoth” live up to its name.
15. “Like a Bitch” – Zomboy
Zomboy sent shockwaves through the festival circuit with the release of his explosive tune “Like a Bitch.” With one of the most memorable breakdowns in dubstep history, from the very second this track hit the airwaves, fans and DJs alike knew it would be a big deal. Inciting riots nearly every time it’s in the mix, “Like a Bitch” helped propel the already massive Zomboy to new heights.
14. “Paradise Circus” – Massive Attack (Zeds Dead Remix)
By 2010, it was no secret Zeds Dead would become one of bass music’s most appreciated acts. On the heels of their gargantuan remix of “Eyes on Fire” by Blue Foundation, the Toronto duo would release an incredible rework of Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus.” It’s interesting to look back at the growling bass and sawing synths to see how the duo were able to create such interesting sounds with technology well behind what we have today.
13. “I Need Air” – Magnetic Man ft. Angela Hunte
When legends Skream, Benga, and Artwork unveiled their supergroup, Magnetic Man, the dubstep community knew something massive was coming. Helping critics truly realize the mainstream appeal dubstep has, “I Need Air” combined pop vocals with the sounds of the underground in a way that hadn’t quite been done much at the time. It laid the foundation for artists for the rest of the decade and beyond.
12. “Gold Dust” – DJ Fresh (Flux Pavilion Remix)
Released in the Spring of 2010, Flux Pavilion’s flip of “Gold Dust” by DJ Fresh became one of the most popular tracks online in the days where we found our favorite tracks via YouTube. Featuring his trademark high-pitched bass, the way he entwines the vocals with his empowering sound made the song one that immediately turns the crowd into a jumping, chaotic singalong.
11. “Bass Head” – Bassnectar
Released at the beginning of the decade, “Bass Head” is near and dear in the hearts of Bassnectar fans around the world. In addition to being one of the finest in the superstar bass artist’s repertoire, the song would inspire the name that fans adopted when referring to themselves. Throughout this track and many more, Bassnectar would go on to amass one of the largest followings in all of electronic music and sell out shows nearly everywhere.
10. “Shot Yourself In The Foot Again” – Skream & Example
It’s safe to say that without Skream’s contributions to the genre this list would not be possible. While he released countless dubstep classics in the mid to late ’00s, he didn’t slow down in the following decade, releasing some of his all-time greats. A perfect illustration of this is his collaboration with vocalist Example on their track “Shot Yourself In The Foot Again.” Listening to it years later serves as a history lesson on the roots of the genre we know and love.
9. “Centipede” – Knife Party
While Pendulum’s Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen were no strangers to electronic music, their jump to dubstep turned heads. Equal parts nature documentary and dance floor igniter, “Centipede” off Knife Party’s second EP showcased the duo’s production chops. It featured some of the most interesting sound design and polish around as they headlined festivals around the world.
8. “Bass Cannon” – Flux Pavilion
From the moment the seemingly innocent bells from “Bass Cannon” are heard, something clicks in listeners’ heads and they prepare for madness. Flux Pavilion did not hold back as he unleashed the full power of his arsenal with sound that feels like it’s literally fired from a cannon. Even as the song approaches its tenth birthday, it still continues to electrify dance floors as if it were a new release.
7. “Crave You” – Flight Facilities (Adventure Club Remix)
Before melodic dubstep took over main stages at major festivals around the world, Adventure Club released their remix of Flight Facilities’ “Crave You” years ahead of the curve. Perfectly capturing the essence of the original, the Montreal duo created a melancholy soundscape of dramatic, melodic dubstep bringing out the best of Flight Facilities’ emphatic vocals for one of the best remixes in the history of bass music.
6. “Promises” – NERO
The fourth single off their fantastic debut album Welcome Reality, “Promises,” contains some of the most renowned vocals the genre has ever seen. Even the most casual of EDM fans can recite to you the lyrics from the U.K. chart-topping track. In addition to NERO’s outstanding original mix, the track would later be remixed by Calvin Harris. Afterwards, in collaboration with Skrillex, the trio would create a remix that would go on to win a Grammy in 2013 for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.
5. “Throwin’ Elbows” – Excision and Space Laces
Arguably the most important figure in modern-day bass music, Excision would go on to become one of the most enormous acts in dubstep and create Lost Lands, the world’s largest celebration of bass music. Before this feat, he joined production maven Space Laces for “Throwin’ Elbows” off of his third studio album Virus. Known to cause mosh pits to spontaneous erupt, the duo’s bone-breaking tune is still a staple in dubstep artists’ sets to this day.
4. “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” – Skrillex
At the beginning of the decade, Skrillex released one of the records that changed electronic music as we know it, “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.” As the title track off his sophomore EP, it would win the Grammy for Best Dance Recording, while the EP would win the award for Best Dance/Electronica Album in 2012. Its viral video sample would go on to become engrained in the memories of the entire electronic world and beyond, as it was the preface to many listeners’ first taste of Skrillex’s legendary growling basslines.
3. “Woo Boost” – Rusko
A pioneering act who contributed significantly to dubstep’s evolution, Rusko truly lives up to his nickname, “The Don.” While “Woo Boost” was not his first hit by any means, it was one of his first in the current decade and still to this day an absolute fan favorite. Wobbly like few others, “Woo Boost” showcases a modern take on the sound that propelled artists like himself and Caspa to the spotlight while also setting the bar for the producers of tomorrow.
2. “I Can’t Stop” – Flux Pavilion
For his third inclusion on this list, Flux Pavilion’s most famous tune is showcased. “I Can’t Stop” would almost instantly become one of the most recognizable tracks in electronic music history. Played at major sporting events around the world, declared the hottest record in the world by Zane Lowe, and sampled by Kanye West and Jay-Z, “I Can’t Stop” became more than just a great dubstep tune, but a cultural phenomenon.
1. “Cinema” – Benny Benassi ft. Gary Go (Skrillex Remix)
Although the world recognized the former emo frontman Skrillex’s immense talent on 2009’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, many consider his remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” to be the essential Skrillex track and one deserving of the top honors of the decade. Played in places that bass music didn’t even exist in, for many, “Cinema” was their first taste of dubstep. Quickly turning the EDM world on its head, Skrillex skyrocketed to the top of both the dubstep and electronic world and is often credited as one of the most important figures in the American EDM boom of the 2010s. In addition to commercial success, the track would win him the Grammy for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical and help further cement his legacy as one of dubstep’s greatest acts.
“Sweet Shop” – Doctor P
At the beginning of the decade, Doctor P released one of his most iconic tracks to date, “Sweet Shop.” Starting off with uplifting piano to acclimate listeners to the song, Doctor P sends out some screeching bass with deep growls throughout creating a melody that instantly creates feelings of nostalgia with seasoned dubstep fans.
“Yasuo” – Bommer & Crowell
Seen as a cornerstone for a rising movement in the bass world, Bommer and Crowell’s League of Legends-inspired “Yasuo” became nothing less than an anthem. Named after a character from the massively popular video game, voice lines from the assassin are interwoven with the slicing bass drops and ominous keys throughout. Released in 2014, the track will look to continue its reign of terror on the bass circuit long into the next decade.