‘Tis the season for spending time with family and loved ones, sipping egg nog, and coming up with ranked lists of your favorite rap songs from the past year. I used to be a staunch anti-lister: how could we attach such a rigid hierarchy to such personal, subjective material? I also hated all the petty, pointless arguments that always ensued – such a waste of time that we could be spending on listening to more music. I still think most of those arguments are dumb, but I’ve recently realized that, like many things I initially disliked, I was just thinking about them in the wrong way.
More and more I’ve come to see the value in these lists; not as what they seem – rigid value judgements about inherently unquantifiable subject matter – but as a starting point for conversation and possible introduction (or re-introduction) to material that might have slipped through the cracks for some listeners. So this year I’m throwing in my votes for best rap songs of 2015. I have purposely not looked at any other end-of-year lists so as not to be swayed by the judgements of others. No doubt I will discover countless songs I should have included once I do see everyone else’s, but maybe someone else will discover something in these 35 selections from this great year in rap. After the first 5 or 6 songs, I didn’t put much effort into the order so don’t get too caught up in that part of it. Let me know if you agree, and DEFINITELY let me know if you disagree or have alternate selections, I hope to learn more than teach from this first attempt.
To keep this from being a list of Young Thug and Future songs I stuck to the standard format of doing one track per artist, except in a couple cases where groups have gone solo and where artists have been featured on another song elsewhere on the list. I definitely see Rich Gang, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan as three separate entities, and Nef the Pharaoh gets featured twice since I didn’t put any of his own solo material on there.
Here we go!
- Rich Gang – Up, Up, and Away
- Future – No Compadre
- Young Thug – No Way
- Rich Homie Quan – Flex
- Tree – Well
- Dr. Yen Lo – Day 3
- Juego the Ninety – D’Juego
- Vince Staples – Norf Norf
- Earl Sweatshirt – Solace
- Kendrick Lamar – These Walls
- Foxx – Don’t I (feat. Wacko)
- Boosie Badazz – Mama
- Bandit Gang Marco – NO CASH (feat. Bandit Gang)
- Yung Gordon – Finna Hit My Walk (fast version)
- Black Zheep DZ – Ice-Hot
- Starlito – My Love (feat. Don Trip)
- Corn – Old School Hyphy (feat. Nef the Pharaoh)
- The Jacka – Ancient Astronauts (feat. Goldie)
- Bloody Jay – Want it Like This
- YG – Twist My Fingaz
- Butch Dawson – Brain
- Chance the Rapper – Israel (feat. Noname Gypsy)
- Young Jeezy – Birds Could Talk
- Jay 305 – Goin’ Up (feat. Dom Kennedy)
- DJ Chose – Everywhere I Go (feat. MC Breezy)
- Pablo Skywalkin’ – Feeling Myself
- Earl Swavey – What Would You Do? (feat. DJ Worm 2G)
- 22nd Letter – Blunt on Me
- Don Trip – Eviction Notice
- Kevin Gates – Khaza
- Denzel Curry – Lord Vader Kush II
- Zuse – Till I Die
- Shabazz Palaces – The Mystery of Lonnie the Døn
- Danny Brown – Worth It
- Rocko – I’m High
Honorable mention to “Coldest Summer’s Mine” by Justiiice which has inexplicably disappeared from the internet. It probably would have bumped Rocko off the list had I found a link.
Special thanks to Rap Music Hysteria, The Martorialist, and Tumblin’ Erb for their constant inspiration. This would have been a much shittier list without y’all.