As 2015 wraps up, it’s time to reflect on another incredible year in music. To do so, we’re counting down the top 100 songs of the year. In developing this list we weighed each track against the following criteria: overall song quality, impact and popularity, and support (blogs, charts, DJs, etc.). We’re counting down 20 tracks per day and today we bring you 40-21. If you dig our selections be sure to share. If you disagree with some of the picks let us know why in the comments below. Without further adieu we present our picks for the top 100 tracks of 2015.
40. Big Sean – One Man Can Change The World
When most people think about Big Sean, depth isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I mean he’s most well known for tracks like ‘Ass’ and ‘I Don’t Fuck With You’. But if you search within his catalogue, he does have some powerful tracks. Further proving this is ‘One Man Can Change The World’. It’s by far his most inspirational and deep tracks to date. What makes it so powerful is the verse dedicated to his late grandmother. Not only is it deeply personal but it also shines a light on the impact and struggle felt by our grandparents generation, which is often forgotten. Add the beautiful piano and touching clip from Sean’s grandmother and this really tugs at your heart strings.
39. Stand Tall Fists Up – So Duh
Stand Tall Fists Up appeared seemingly out of nowhere with their debut EP. The title track ‘So Duh’ is one of the year’s sleeper smashes. Getting it’s name from the sample that sounds like a soda can opening, this track isn’t quite like anything else. Drawn out synth bends and 808’s build up to an unfamiliar bass heavy drop that’s riddled with lazers. This track sounds like it somehow came back in a time from 2050. It also helped the duo land official remixes for Keys N Krates, TWRK and A-Trak. Drink that in.
38. The Weeknd – The Hills
Abel had a massive 2015 with his chokehold grasp on the R&B/Pop game this year. Not only did the Toronto native break several Billboard records but he finally took full control of his vision and catapulted himself onto the mainstream stage without breaking away from his core audience. One of the years biggest tracks is ‘The Hills’ and rightfully so. The singer’s monotone vocals combined with the slow build of the beat create the perfect moment for a hard drop and boy does it drop. Not only did the record kill the charts, radio and clubs but it also launched a handful of official and unofficial remixes. RL Grime, Nicki Minaj and the rap god Eminem all offered official remixes that propelled the track into the stratosphere. Abel got them hits!
37. Sam Binga ft Warrior Queen – Wasted Days
English producer Sam Binga, along with a few contemporaries, has been responsible for some of the most forward thinking electronic music to come out of the UK in recent years. His high energy blend of footwork and jungle strikes a great balance with fast paced percussion bouncing over droning 808 kicks and biting synths, The term bass music is done justice by Wasted Days (the name of our chosen track, and also the album), with each track featuring a new MC that collaborated with Binga to create each track. Warrior Queen, a well known British MC lends her patois-laced style to this blazing track that features a machine-gun like synth rhythm to propel it forward. Fans of Bingas production style would do well to check out the rest of this album, and some aforementioned contemporaries of this future-jungle style such as Om Unit and Machinedrum.
36. Hudson Mohawke – Very First Breath (Feat. Irfane)
We’ve all wished we could hit a reset button at one time or another. Whether it relates to a relationship gone awry, a great film, or getting high, there is nothing quite like how it feels in the beginning; how it felt the first time; for the first breath.
But we move on.
You could dwell on nostalgia for the past or you can make new memories. You could get signed to Kanye’s GOOD music, produce a 45 minute rap song, create ‘Chimes,’ one of biggest trap anthems of 2014, and then continue to pop out bangers until the cows come home.
But you won’t. You must change; you must evolve. And with Lanterns, this is what Hudson Mohawke has done.
35. UZ – Trap Shit V22
22 versions deep into his acclaimed Trap Shit series, UZ still managed to keep things inventive. Easily the best Trap Shit release of 2015, ‘V22’ blends menacing laughter, inquisitive samples, a smattering of 808s and the bass we’ve come to expect. Unexpectedly, the masked producer slid in a quick jersey club break complete with break-neck kicks and even a few bed squeaks. The Trap shit series may be dead but this will make sure it’s not forgotten.
34. Mr. Carmack – Solutions
This is Carmack being Carmack at his finest. It’s dark, gritty, hard hitting and unforgiving. The Donnis sample “I can’t even feel my fucking face” is sure to offend casual listeners, but this isn’t for casual listeners, this is for the weirdos and us weirdos couldn’t get enough.
33. Your Old Droog – Porno for Pyros
For 90’s fans Your Old Droog is a godsend. From his boom-bap production selection to his bars and nostalgic flow, he’s a dream come true for hip-hop heads that value lyricism over hype. With arguably the best wordplay in the game right now, Droog is guaranteed to have you hitting replay. No record showcases this better than the Kenison cut ‘Porno For Pyros’. It’s 3 minutes of pure bars over a beat that’s as cold as NY Winters. Here’s a taste of the fire, “Back in the line of fire, sayin’ my style’s dated is like checkin’ to see if wine expired, Salut, thought of that bar in the car, cheffin’ up in the truck like halal food, Got them raps for you, I ain’t talkin’ gyros, get on the mic and spit that porno for pyros.”
32. Goldlink – Dance on Me
2015 was Godlink’s year. After landing on the XXL Freshmen list the DMV native dropped his debut album And After That, We Didn’t Talk. The lead single ‘Dance On Me’ is the perfect embodiment of Goldlink’s future bounce sound. With remixes from heavyweights like Mr. Carmack, PYRMDPLAZA, and Fwdslxsh it only got bigger. This track is proof that Goldlink is here to stay.
31. Jeremih – Planes Remix w/ Lido, Chance The Rapper and The Social Experiment
This is why I would argue now is the greatest time ever for music. One of the most forward thinking producers in electronic music connected with one of the biggest independent rappers and his band to remix an R&B record. 10 years ago the thought of this happening would’ve been ludicrous. From Lido literally pulling samples from his flight to Europe, to Chance’s off kilter flow and some beautiful instrumentation, this made the original pale by comparison. It also took Jeremih’s vocals to new heights (sorry I had to).
30. Big Sean – Blessings feat. Drake and Kanye West
Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise started the year off right with ‘Blessings’ as the follow up single to his ‘IDFWU’. With a beat provided Vinyl; Sean Don, Drizzy and Yeezus rap about their blessings while ensuring their peers that they should count theirs. All three provide solid verses and considering this track had everyone saying “bless”, “blessed” or “bless up” it is clear this song had some impact.
29. Justin Martin & Ardalan – Function feat PartyPatty
Claude Von Stroke’s Dirtybird label is well known for producing bumpin’ house music with a consistently unique feel to it. Released on their 10 year anniversary compilation album, released in early 2015, ‘Function’ is a very cool, simple track that could be heard on dancefloors and festivals over the summer and beyond. Producers Justin Martin & Ardalan’s collaborative effort is a fairly minimal track, driven by a simple 808-sounding blassline and vocalist PartyPatty’s hook. This track is a total crowd pleaser. Fans of this bass line driven house style should check out the rest of the compilation album, and dig deeper into Dirtybirds’ deep lineup of great house producers including Friend Within, Shiba San, and many others.
28. Tiga – Bugatti (Jauz Remix)
When Tiga and Push T connected for ‘Bugatti’ it was big, but it lacked a certain umph. Pusha’s bars were hard but the beat with just a little too minimalistic. Thankfully Jauz seemed to feel the same and decided to blow the doors off the track with an epic rework. Melding hip-hop with UK Garage, bass house and some dubstep influence, Jauz crafted a re-imagination that’s darker and harder than Pusha T himself. EGHCK.
27. Keys N Krates – Save Me
Toronto trap trio continued to do what they do best; crafting weird rap beats that are infectious and hard hitting. Connecting with Katy B, ‘Save Me’ has a more approachable, radio friendly sound without straying too far from their signature. This track held the Summer down and became a festival staple and highlight. With a future bass undertone it proved their ability to evolve without selling out.
26. Skepta – Shutdown
2015 finally saw Grime make its way to North America. With all the major music blogs and Drake giving the cosign, Skepta became the ambassador of the genre and ‘Shutdown’ was his anthem. From a massive North American tour to a performance at OVO Fest Skepta took over and Shutdown.
25. Kanye West – All Day
Kanye debuted this song at an award show, which award show doesn’t matter but that performance was of epic proportions. ‘All Day’ is a trap banger featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom and a handful of other writers. With Kanye’s flow matching the aggression of the beat, ‘All Day’ is a braggadocious banger that is attached to Kanye’s new album SWISH (whenever it comes out). The debut of the track, the production and the amount of remixes it spawned are a clear indication that Kanye hasn’t lost his footing and he is still one of the greatest, all day.
24. Travis Scott – Antidote
Travis Scott’s Rodeo finally hit the net this year and ‘Antidote’ served as one of the lead singles from his debut. Scott fans waited patiently for this and when it was released it caught fire. Maintaining the deep trap sound Scott is famous for, ‘Antidote’ sees Travis Scott floating over the beat with an intoxicated flow.
23. A.G Cook – Beautiful (Rustie Edit)
The PC Music sound isn’t for everyone. It can sometimes leave a desire for something more human, something more rounded. Enter Rustie. With his signature phased out sound and emotion evoking drops, this Scottish producer flips a plastic and bouncy sounding ‘Beautiful’ into a powerful festival banger without altering the core of the song. A late edition to a jam-packed 2014, ‘Beautiful’ is a welcomed return to the sound found on his 2011 debut, Glass Swords.
22. Masego & Medasin – Shut Up and Groove
When Medasin and Masego came together for The Pink Polo they crafted something truly extraordinary. By combining jazz with trap and future bass they created a new sound that they dubbed trap house jazz. ‘Shut Up and Groove’ sees jazz adlibs, gorgeous saxophone riffs, stunning synth work and some hard hitting bass drops. It’s groovy and upbeat with a touch of nasty. The sheer inventiveness of the track make it one of the strongest efforts of 2015.
21. Bryson Tiller – Exchange
Bryson Tiller emerged on to the scene this year with powerful releases. Whether it was a single for the radio or a SoundCloud loosie, Tiller showed up and showed out. His debut album TRAPSOUL featured 14 tracks, all of which are well produced and put together joints. One of the best tracks from the album and of the year is ‘Exchange’. Produced by The MeKanics, ‘Exchange’ is the definition of what it means to exist in this new genre of trapsoul. The structure and sound of the beat contain both R&B/Soul and Trap elements with deep bass lines, hard hitting kicks and a sultry soulful sample. Young Tiller also does a great job with his writing and no doubt he effortlessly vibes over the whole beat, blurring the lines between singing and rapping. At number 21 you got the newest star in the game, Bryson Tiller.