With the year coming to an end, it's time to look back and reflect on all of the music that was released this year. 2015 was a pretty great 12 months for hip-hop. From the beefs to the albums to the new artists making a name for themselves, the genre is everywhere.
Take a look at politics. Hip-hop has also been more involved in the presidential race this year. As the 2016 election gets closer, artists such as Waka Flocka Flame, Nicki Minaj and Pharrell have endorsed candidates. Even Killer Mike introduced presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for a rally in Atlanta.
But the music is the reason for hip-hop's expansion. There were plenty of amazing records that came out this year. Drake's "Hotline Bling" has been omnipresent and been remixed by a ton of artists inside and outside of hip-hop. The video has been mocked by huge names too, including Donald Trump. A lot of new artists released quality projects such as Nef the Pharaoh, Boogie, Raury, Vince Staples, GoldLink, K Camp and Dej Loaf. Hip-hop heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Big Sean, Future and more put out quality albums.
So far we released our list of the best songs and best album covers of 2015. As part of our year-end review, XXL highlights some of our favorite songs that we felt were the most slept-on in 2015. The list includes singles that came and went mostly unnoticed plus deep-cuts we loved off the albums and standalone songs that came out this year. Here are 20 Most Slept-On Songs of 2015.
Boogie’s “Oh My” was undoubtedly his biggest song of the year, turning a local MC from Compton into Interscope’s newest signee. However, the title track to The Reach showcases his skills on the mic. Over a slowed-down sample from Route 94’s "My Love," Boogie spills his soul.
"Ojuelegba" RemixWizkid Feat. Drake & Skepta
Drake and his BFF Skepta jump on Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba” to make a catchy Afropop banger, which is sung in both English and Yoruba. It's also interesting to note that Drake's patois isn’t too bad here.
"Late Night"Goldlink Feat. Masego
GoldLink and Masego sing to their significant others about their rendezvous with other women on “Late Night.” A tad bit slower compared to ‘Link’s usual work, the track still has enough bounce to get you moving.
Vince Staples croons about love and freedom over eerie guitar chords on “Summertime.” The lyrics to this record hits hard: "My teachers told us we were slaves / My momma told me we was kings / I don’t know who to listen to / I guess we somewhere in between”
"Switch Up"Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak sings about spicing things up in the bedroom with his lover on “Switch Up.” Over funky guitars and hazy synths, Paak croons about “lessons from the Kama Sutra” and having people watch him have sex.
Future abandons his search for love on "Slave Master." Just play this as long as you can and get lost in the sauce.
Towkio and Kaytranada link up to deliver a message to the masses for “Reflection,” off the Savemony MC’s fantastic .Wave Theory project. Drug abuse isn’t cool, folks.
“Maria I’m Drunk"Travi$ Scott Feat. Young Thug & Justin Bieber
Travi$ Scott, Young Thug and Justin Bieber join forces for one of the most sonically impressive songs to come out in 2015. This should be played at every party across the world. While the track was everywhere on the internet from YouTube to SoundCloud, it's since been pulled down so in the meantime, listen to this slowed-down version below.
"Straight Up"Ty Dolla $ign Feat. Jagged Edge
New school meets old school when Ty Dolla $ign connects with R&B legends Jagged Edge for “Straight Up.” This fun record has enough kick to make you two-step and is smooth enough to play while you're laid back in the cut.
Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly album will be talked about among the best hip-hop albums of all time. "Momma," featured on the LP, is Kendrick at his best. The second verse is one of best of the year.
"Lord Knows"Meek Mill Feat. Tory Lanez
“Lord Knows” by Meek Mill and Tory Lanez is the perfect song to get hype to. It’s no wonder why it’s featured on the soundtrack for Creed.
“Michael Jackson”Nef the Pharaoh
Nef the Pharaoh came out swinging with his impressive self-titled EP. “Big Tymin” may get the shine but Nef’s ode to the King of Pop on “Michael Jackson” is just as phenomenal.
KR is a young MC who looks like he has found his sound this year. He dropped a banger with “Play My Shit” just before the summer started. In 2016, this guy will be the one people will be paying attention to.
“Shake Em Off”Big K.R.I.T. Feat. Ludacris & K Camp
When Big K.R.I.T. released his DJ Drama-hosted mixtape It’s Better This Way, a standout off the tape was “Shake Em Off.” The record has an insane amount of bounce and features quality guest spots from K Camp and Ludacris.
Skepta helped grime cross over to the States in a big way this year. His standout track “Shutdown” was his battle cry. The effort is explosive and will get you out of your seat every time it knocks.
"Trigger Happy”Wara From the NBHD Feat. Tunji Ige
Wara From the NBHD and Tunji Ige rap about the results of gun violence on “Trigger Happy.” It’s incredibly poignant and both young artists deliver quality verses.
All drugs are for sale on Jay IDK’s “God Said Trap.” Over soul-rattling bass, Jay details how to get money the fast way.
Raury slows things down and gets computerized on "CPU." RZA, his tag team partner on the track, lends a verse that will please any Wu-Tang Clan fan.
Kodak Black is quickly turning heads in hip-hop. His most impressive release has been “SKRT.” Even if Drake wasn’t caught on Instagram dancing to the track, Kodak’s street banger was going to go viral anyway. It’s just that good.
"Smile, Mama Smile"Rick Ross Feat. CeeLo Green
“Smile, Mama Smile” is the Rick Ross every hip-hop fan can appreciate. Over a Jake One-produced beat and CeeLo Green taking over the hook, Rozay gets candid, even commenting about his indecisiveness to give up syrup even though his mother says it’s going to kill him.