Hip-hop has been morphing into a singles-driven genre for years now, and 2014 seemed to be the year when individual songs mattered more than ever. Tracks like "Loyal" and "We Dem Boyz" ruled the first half of the year before "Tuesday," "CoCo" and "I Don't Fuck With You" emerged to dominate the airwaves in the second half. With the year ending at midnight tonight, XXL runs down the songs that defined 2014 in alphabetical order. —Dan RysEmmanuel C.M. and Roger Krastz

Related: The 14 Best Hip-Hop Albums Of 2014
The 14 Best Mixtapes And EPs Of 2014
The 14 Most Slept-On Songs Of 2014
14 Of The Best Verses Of 2014 

"0 To 100 / The Catch Up"

Drake may have not released an album in 2014, but his now Grammy-nominated "0 To 100 / The Catch Up" track rung all year long on radio airwaves across the country. Drizzy tackles the record with confidence and over the top bars that make you want to replay the track over and over again. 0 To 100 proves once again that Drizzy's reign in the hip-hop game, and his power over the rap lexicon, remains strong. Real quick. —Roger Krastz

"About The Money"
T.I. featuring Young Thug

Truth be told, on first listening to T.I.'s Paperwork album this year, "About The Money" didn't particularly stick out as much as songs such as "G'Shit" or "About My Issue" or the title track. But its positioning as a single meant it was constantly in rotation, and the track grew organically with further listens. Young Thug's goofiness and explosive "Bussin' out the bando!" opening made the track enjoyable, the hook is relentlessly catchy and Tip's pre-chorus "Ay ay ay whatcha think we in the neighborhood for?" is the type of lyric that gets irrevocably entrenched in the head in ways that can cause people to injure each other. By which I mean I can't stop listening to "About The Money." —Dan Rys

nicki minaj lil herb chi-raq

Nicki Minaj featuring Lil Herb

Nicki Minaj’s “Chi-Raq” is a mind-numbing, rapid-fire, gritty street record that is a three-minute lyrical flex. Both Minaj and young Chicago spitter Lil Herb rattle off one-liners that will make your head spin. The song was so good, it was remixed by a ton of MCs from Dreezy, Lil Durk, Meek Mill, The Game, Tyga Montana 300 and more, and served as a central platform for the Game-Tyga-Durk beef that erupted over the summer. —Emmanuel C.M.

OT Genasis

Featuring a heavy bass instrumental and a hook that had everybody in love with the "CoCo," Conglomerate artist OT Genasis came out of nowhere to deliver a high-energy track dedicated to cocaine. The Cali rapper impresses with confidently-delivered and heavily-accented lyrics, along with one of the catchiest hooks of 2014. —RK

"Hot Nigga"
Bobby Shmurda

Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Nigga”—a song that went viral initially because of a dance on Vine—was undoubtedly one of the biggest hip-hop records of the year. This one song propelled the East Flatbush, Brooklyn native from a neighborhood rugrat to The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and a headlining slot at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. “Hot Nigga” also landed him a record deal at Epic Records and amassed over 30 million views on YouTube before his unfortunate legal issues landed him behind bars for Christmas. —ECM

Kendrick Lamar

On "i" Kendrick Lamar brings a message of self-empowerment over the 1970s record “That Lady" by The Isley Brothers. K.Dot offers an upbeat flow and a celebratory chorus that screams “I love myself." The record is more of an experimental approach from the TDE rapper and showcases his versatility in his music and, possibly, a glimpse into the philosophy of his sophomore major label album. —RK

"I Don't Fuck With You"
Big Sean featuring E-40

Big Sean's vitriolic breakup song became near-ubiquitous by the end of the year, with a typically bouncy DJ Mustard beat providing the platform for the Detroit MC to air out some pent-up relationship issues. E-40 spews at least five different flows in his blistering verse, and the video puts the whole package over the top. An appetizer for Sean's forthcoming third album. —DR

Rich Gang featuring Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug

The laid-back, feel-good song of the summer from Rich Gang. It both served as Young Thug's introduction to the wider mainstream—Quan enjoyed his similar intro with YG's "My Nigga" last summer—and as an unapologetic ode to living the good life all over a London On Da Track beat that serves as the perfect platform for the carefree vocal style. Putting this on in any situation has proven to be a good idea. —DR

Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga

There was a period of time this year where every time anyone turned on a radio or heard a car blasting something on the block, it was inevitably this Chris Brown-helmed banger. It sounds like Mustard, but isn't, and is nonetheless catchy as all hell. From the opening shout of "Young Mula baby!" from Weezy through Tyga's ending verse it's an irresistible groove. Its message may not exactly be the best, but it defined a significant chunk of the year. —DR

"No Type"
Rae Sremmurd

Rae Sremmurd's "No Flex Zone" seemed like one of those songs where, no matter how you felt about it, you'd wind up yelling "They know betta!" in bars after two a.m. for questionable reasons. So when they followed that up with the even bigger and better "No Type," which combined a massive low end with so much space that it filled the room and a simple, relatable hook, the two youngsters proved they weren't going to be the next here-today, gone-tomorrow flash in the pan that we've seen over and over again in recent years. "No Type" was the late night banger we all deserved this year. —DR

"Seen It All"
Jeezy featuring Jay Z

The title track to Jeezy's excellent new album was a combination of two of the biggest names in hip-hop, and neither let us down. Weaving together a tale of drug dealing, family struggles and the rise from rags to riches—a familiar hip-hop storyline, to be fair—was made more poignant by the specifics and personalization that both Jeezy and Jigga dove into. Cardo's powerful beat knocks and Jeezy uses it like the seasoned veteran that he is, and when Hov comes through like a tornado he flows over everything with an emotional honesty and winking cleverness that represents the pinnacle of what late period Jay can bring to the table. Through and through one of the best songs of the year. —DR

"Trap Queen"
Fetty Wap

Where did Fetty Wap and "Trap Queen" come from, and why have we not stopped playing this song for two solid months? From its infectious opening to its infectious verses to its contagious hook, there was no stopping this song after it burrowed its way into our collective subconscious. Walking into a room and greeting people will never be the same. There's not even much that can be said about this song that isn't completely self-evident upon hearing it...and hearing it again and again and again. —DR

"Tuesday (Remix)"
iLoveMakonnen featuring Drake

When the original version of iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” dropped in July, it was already an underground hit that was making waves. However, when Drake hopped on it and loaned his talents to the remix, it became a Grammy-nominated single that redefined how we look at Tuesday nights. Since then, the young ATL MC signed to OVO Sound and is one of the hottest young rappers out today. —ECM

"We Dem Boyz"
Wiz Khalifa

Off of Blacc Hollywood, Wiz Khalfia made a club banger that is as infectious as it is boisterous. “We Dem Boyz” was a colossal hit, peaking at No. 43 on Billboard Hot 100 with the official video currently over 80 million views on YouTube. The song became an anthem for just about any music lover. The message is pretty universal; my crew is better than yours. —ECM

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