Tag Archives: The Jacka

2015 RAP

‘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!

  1. Rich Gang – Up, Up, and Away
  2. Future – No Compadre
  3. Young Thug – No Way
  4. Rich Homie Quan – Flex
  5. Tree – Well
  6. Dr. Yen Lo – Day 3
  7. Juego the Ninety – D’Juego
  8. Vince Staples – Norf Norf
  9. Earl Sweatshirt – Solace
  10. Kendrick Lamar – These Walls
  11. Foxx – Don’t I (feat. Wacko)
  12. Boosie Badazz – Mama
  13. Bandit Gang Marco – NO CASH (feat. Bandit Gang)
  14. Yung Gordon – Finna Hit My Walk (fast version)
  15. Black Zheep DZ – Ice-Hot
  16. Starlito – My Love (feat. Don Trip)
  17. Corn – Old School Hyphy (feat. Nef the Pharaoh)
  18. The Jacka – Ancient Astronauts (feat. Goldie)
  19. Bloody Jay – Want it Like This
  20. YG – Twist My Fingaz
  21. Butch Dawson – Brain
  22. Chance the Rapper – Israel (feat. Noname Gypsy)
  23. Young Jeezy – Birds Could Talk
  24. Jay 305 – Goin’ Up (feat. Dom Kennedy)
  25. DJ Chose – Everywhere I Go (feat. MC Breezy)
  26. Pablo Skywalkin’ – Feeling Myself
  27. Earl Swavey – What Would You Do? (feat. DJ Worm 2G)
  28. 22nd Letter – Blunt on Me
  29. Don Trip – Eviction Notice
  30. Kevin Gates – Khaza
  31. Denzel Curry – Lord Vader Kush II
  32. Zuse – Till I Die
  33. Shabazz Palaces – The Mystery of Lonnie the Døn
  34. Danny Brown – Worth It
  35. 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.

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I’m embarrassed, but not too afraid, to admit that I had little knowledge of The Jacka before his untimely passing last month.  Before February 2 he was just a name that I vaguely recalled being featured on a smattering of E-40 songs, but in the wave of tributes and conversation about Jacka’s contribution to Bay Area rap and music in general, I’ve had the opportunity to explore his catalog more deeply and begin to gain a true appreciation for his unique style and powerful messages.  It feels in poor taste to pay tribute to someone that you didn’t have a proper appreciation for while they were alive, so I won’t be that presumptuous here.  I’ll leave that to those more qualified.  I feel the best tribute to Jacka I can make is to be more thorough in educating myself about the lesser known artists I’m exposed to so I don’t make the same mistake I did with his music.  What better way to start than another name that I only vaguely recall from a smattering of E-40 songs?

Joe Blow – Million Dollar Dream (feat. Mistah F.A.B.)

I remembered Joe Blow from this mini Jacka tribute on Tumblin’ Erb, and Mistah F.A.B. was a name that I’d seen inside the parentheses of tracks like “In This Thang Breh” for the past few years, and I also remembered Jacka mentioning him in this interview as an example of the diversity of Bay Area rappers, so I made the extra effort of deliberately listening to this song I normally might have let slip past my attention.  My efforts were rewarded before I heard a syllable from either rapper.

Lil’ B – Silent President

Speaking of the diversity of Bay Area rappers.  If I spent the time to track down every sample in a Lil’ B song I liked, I wouldn’t have time to listen to Lil’ B anymore, so they usually remain obscure to me until moments like these when I’m given the occasion to chase down a particular one.  I’m so glad I did.

The Whispers – In the Mood

Bonus Beats

14KT – Step N2 the Shower

RIP Jacka

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