I always wanted to do a really good, well-explained rundown of my favorite songs/albums of the year, but honestly, it takes so much time that it makes me question writers and journalists who do these type of lists. There is SO MUCH music out there that it’s difficult to include or exclude selections. So here’s a list of hip hop songs (which may not have necessarily been released in 2015) that made some sort of impact on me, whether it got me hype, got me thinking, or just stuck with me.
The only rule: I can only choose one song per artist!
- Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Sunday Candy
This song was actually released on SoundCloud in the latter part of 2014 on Donnie Trumpet’s account and was eventually officially released on the album Surf. What I love about the music Chance gives to the masses is that a lot of it is uplifting and infused with happiness. It’s not something you hear often in hip hop. And the music video is just LOVE.
- Missy Elliott feat. Pharrell Williams – WTF (Where They From)
Missy back! But, unfortunately, outside of a TV commercial I haven’t heard this song as much as I thought it would. I admit I don’t listen to the radio so I don’t know how much play it’s getting. This song is fun with Pharrell’s infection production and, yoooo, his verse was tough. Shoutout to Hermes Trismegistus!
- Kendrick Lamar – Alright
Okay, choosing just ONE Kendrick track is injustice because To Pimp A Butterfly was filled with great content. Again, I go with another uplifting track. However, please, if you haven’t listened to TPAB, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Also, go see him in concert whenever he’s in town; you won’t be disappointed.
- Action Bronson feat. Chance The Rapper – Baby Blue
Action Bronson, one of the masters of non-sequitur raps, actually stays on topic on this joint. I have to give it to Chance though for the best verse even though Bronsolini has lines like:
“And you could order whatever
The specialty is white snake and underwear sauce”
“I’m not exactly flawless, but I’m gorgeous, just like a horse is
I know the thought of me succeeding makes a lot of people nauseous
Still I’m on the back of the boat taking pictures with the swordfish”
Chance’s verse, on the other hand, just had me laughing throughout. Too much relatable truth in that one.
- Big Sean feat. Jhené Aiko – Win Some, Lose Some
This was the soundtrack for me during the rough parts of 2015.
“Is this the example I’m tryna set?
Are these the people I’mma forget?
Are these the times I’mma regret?
Livin’ life wishin’ I could hit reset”
- KJah – Lololola
Kjah’s one of my favorite rappers from the Philippines and, overall, the Pinoy hip hop community is alive and well the past half-decade or so. I think that’s thanks to the rise of social media. Otherwise, it would be tough for me to discover these artists in the States. No longer are we only hearing the baduy, corny rap novelty songs.
- Joyner Lucas – Ross Capicchioni
The first time I watched this music video, my jaw dropped. And the crazy thing is that it’s based on true events so I had to dig up the backstory on the Internet. All I gotta say is WATCH THIS VIDEO.
- Drake – Hotline Bling
No words needed.
- Logic feat. Big Lenbo – Young Jesus
301 represent! Best played when driving down I-95. I had no idea Big Lenbo could spit but I wouldn’t mind more verses him in the future.
“…don’t even step like I ain’t the man
I’m just 301 reppin’, second I step in Maryland”
- Tyler, The Creator – Find Your Wings
This song actually isn’t HIP HOP. But OMG, my ears are so happy. #PositiveVibes
If somehow this track could have an extended version…
- Vince Staples – Lift Me Up
Just like Kendrick Lamar, I had a tough time picking out just one Vince Staples track. Someone had described Vince’s album Summertime ’06 fittingly, it’s like te songs are tied into a straightjacket because it’s well-contained but crazy. IT’S GRITTY AND I LOVE IT.
- Oddisee – That’s Love
Son, I bought this album off of this track alone. That’s how much I love this song. Blessed to have seen him perform live this past year. As a fellow PG native, I’m glad he’s reppin’ the DMV well.
- BLKD x UMPH – Gatilyo
“Lunod na lunod sa mga tsismis at balitang
Luhod na luhod sa iilang pinapanigan
Lugod na lugod silang nagbabait-baitan
Pagka’t maledukado, maledukado tayo”
This song, along with the music video, is DARK and I love it. This is a type of song that needs to be heard by the masses. Ugh, I only wish his album was on Spotify here in the U.S.!
THIRTEEN songs in and I’m already spent. Maybe I’ll do a Part 2…maybe. Tell me if you discovered a new song you enjoy!