This week we've been recapping the first half of the year, breaking down the best albums, mixtapes, sneakers and clothing collaborations of 2015 to this point. And now it's time for the songs. XXL looked back at the 40 biggest hits, bangers and more of the year, from vets like Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa to newcomers like Towkio and Tink and everything in between. Whether you're looking to groove to Big Sean, get wavy to A$AP Rocky or turn up with Meek Mill, we've got the best tracks right here.

Honorable mention goes to Fetty Wap's twin bangers "Trap Queen," Rae Sremmurd's "Throw Sum Mo" with Nicki Minaj and Young Thug and D.R.A.M.'s "Cha Cha," all of which were debated for this list but were ultimately cut as they were initially released in 2014. So with that out of the way, take a look at the 40 best songs of 2015 so far. —XXL Staff

The Game featuring Drake

As fans continue to look forward to The Game's long-awaited Documentary 2 album, the Compton rapper's collaboration with Drake only helps to build anticipation. The song, which preaches against ill intentions and insincere attitudes, is relatable on all spectrums and is likely the reason why many find the song so irresistible. —Miranda J.

Travi$ Scott featuring Future and 2 Chainz

Travi$ Scott, Future and 2 Chainz need to work more with each other. “3500” is a wonderful blend of each artist's sound into a melodic gumbo. It’s a bit long but doesn’t lose the attention of listeners. The production is grade A, which makes sense when you have Metro Boomin, Mike Dean, Zaytoven, Mano and Allen Ritter. The single is the perfect cut for La Flame’s Rodeo album because of the replay value. Who says a radio single has to be three minutes long these days? —Emmanuel C.M.

"All Day"
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom

After premiering “All Day” at The BRIT Awards earlier this year, Kanye West’s fiery single has been blasting through speakers ever since. The braggadocios banger is the record you play during a night right before the bottles are popped. One of 'Ye's strengths is selecting artists for specific parts on records that allow them to shine. That’s exactly what he did with Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom and Paul McCartney, who each contributing to the track. —Emmanuel C.M.

"All Eyes On You"
Meek Mill featuring Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown

A coming out moment for any hip-hop couple is definitely the joint single. Though the love affair had been speculated for months and officially confirmed in our Spring 2015 issue, Omeeka is on full audible display with “All Eyes On You.” Lifting Biggie's flows and lyrical setup from "Notorious Thugs," Meek shows his softer side, Nick claims her man wholeheartedly without overshadowing him while Breezy ties it all together with a melodic hook. —Sidney Madden

"All Your Fault"
Big Sean featuring Kanye West

In a day and age when most rappers who collaborate are merely emailing verses back and forth without recording together in a studio, it's rare to hear MCs trade lines back and forth like the classic days. But Kanye and Sean resurrected that feeling and delivered one of the best songs on one of the best albums of the year so far. "I ain't satisfied being on that Top 5 list/I ain't satisfied 'til I'm on that All Time list/'Til everything I spit is all timeless/My girl on that all fine list/My life a little luck a lot of grind." —Dan Rys

Kendrick Lamar

The Kendrick Lamar tune couldn't have come at a better time, as the feel-good track largely helped soothe the open wounds from the various police brutality cases endured by Americans over the past few years. With the hook chanting "We gon be alright," the song can be taken as a modern-day, somber version of Tupac's "Keep Your Head Up." In tough times, it's good to remember that we gon' be alright in the end. —Miranda J.

"Baby Blue"
Action Bronson featuring Chance the Rapper

Backed by the production of Mark Ronson, "Baby Blue" is a terrific love ballad in which Action Bronson tells a story of a heart-breaker of a woman who took his riches and left him with nothing. Joined by the witty rhymes of Chance The Rapper, both MC's do the record justice and provide a great tune for listeners to sing a long to. And, in typical Bronson/Chance style, there's plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor to keep things light. —Roger Krastz

"Be Real"
Kid Ink featuring DeJ Loaf

Keeping it real is one of hip-hop's cardinal rules, so it makes sense that a catchy tune about the topic would do well. Beat king DJ Mustard supplies the backdrop and 2015 XXL Freshman DeJ Loaf assumes her status as one of the go-to MCs for hooks as Kid Ink calls out all the industry phonies, thots and Instascammers (we all know ‘em). —Sidney Madden

"Best Friend"
Yelawolf featuring Eminem

Trading in his signature rapid flows for a more melodic singing approach, Yelawolf maintains his rap edge on the country-influenced record "Best Friend." Speaking to a higher power, a vulnerable Catfish Billy speaks on the battles of life while exploring religious undertones. Joined by a typically-ferocious Eminem, who delivers two deep and intense verses, "Best Friend" is one of the best song's in Yelawolf's catalog. —Roger Krastz

"Black Heaven"
Boosie Badazz featuring Keyshia Cole and J. Cole

Boosie BadAzz has had a lot of time to think in the past decade, and this song off his comeback album Touch Down 2 Cause Hell is a thought experiment of sorts, imagining how a slew of Black icons and leaders are interacting in Heaven. A heartfelt hook from Keyshia Cole splits the verses, while an unexpected but welcome J. Cole verse drives everything home. Welcome back Boosie. —Dan Rys

Big Sean featuring Drake

Big Sean came into his zone as an artist for his third studio album Dark Sky Paradise and “Blessings” is the perfect example of his growth. The lyrical ring-around-the-rosie between Drake, Sean and Kanye West is amazing. What makes this better is the replay value of the record, even though each artist snaps on their verses. Sean delivers, standing toe-to-toe with two of music's biggest artists right now. Vinylz, along with Allen Ritter, delivers another infectious beat that thumps but doesn’t drown out the lyrics. "Blessings" is the perfect blend of a lyrical flex and a head-banger. —Emmanuel C.M.

"Can't Tell"
Young Thug featuring T.I. and Boosie BadAzz

Young Thug's Barter 6 is one of the most compelling projects of the year, and "Can't Tell," with fiery guest verses from T.I. and Boosie BadAzz is a standout cut on it. Tip's Southern drawl (thanks for the XXL shout out!) underlines his verse, while Boosie comes in and smashes things to pieces with his patented snarl. Keep this one on repeat. —Dan Rys

Meek Mill featuring Swizz Beatz and Jeremih

From the first touch of piano, the swagger on Meek Mill's "Classic" is almost suffocatingly real. It's hard to even discuss this song rationally, that's how great the groove is. It's Meek Milly season, baby. —Dan Rys

"Classic Man (Remix)"
Jidenna featuring Kendrick Lamar

One of the biggest hits to drop this year so far has been Jidenna's "Classic Man" and with the remix featuring Kendrick Lamar, the song has entered a new dimension. Produced and recorded by Jidenna himself, the catchy tune finds the "S" curl-rocking artist speaking on his excellent taste for clothes and women, while K.Dot has fun with the record and delivers an outstanding lyrical performance. —Roger Krastz


Drake’s “Energy” was the sleeper track on If You're Reading This It's Too Late that you realize is really good after you finish listening to “Know Yourself” for the 100th time. What some may not know is that “Energy” was actually the bigger track between the two, charting as high as No. 26 on Billboard Hot 100 (“Know Yourself” peaked No. 53). The song is catchy, boasting loud bass and one-liners with every other bar. It’s safe to say that Drizzy knows he’s the top dog in hip-hop and he can do whatever he wants right now. Just look at that demonic video he released last week. —Emmanuel C.M.

"Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)"
Rich Homie Quan

The former Rich Gang affiliate cashed in on some solo heat with “Flex (Oh Oh Oh).” Though some of the lines are indecipherable to an untrained Quan listener, the DJ Spinz and Nitti Beatz beat and hook will most definitely get you moving. —Sidney Madden

"Good Times"
Jamie xx featuring Young Thug and Popcaan

Is there a better record for the summertime, or a better vibe? It may be on indie staple Jamie xx's project, but Popcaan and Young Thug put their off-kilter twist on this record to make it into one of the most irresistible songs of the year so far. Thugger's "ride in that pussy like a stroller" line is one of the most confoundingly hilarious moments on the song. —Dan Rys

"I Can't Feel My Face"
The Weeknd

Giving listeners his best breathy Michael Jackson impression, The Weeknd takes a break from his usual gloomy, forlorn sound to have fun on “I Can’t Feel My Face.” Proving he can make a play at some genre crossover, Abel makes a jovial jaunt out of his love drunk feeling. “And I know she'll be the death of me, at least we'll both be numb/And she'll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come.” —Sidney Madden

"Hood Politics"
Kendrick Lamar

The opening groove might be the best beat on all of Kendrick's album and it doesn't even stick around for the actual song itself. Kendrick's ability to adopt different personalities and voices is on full display here as he spins a tale of survivor's guilt and remembering his fallen comrades and growing up in the hood just to come back again. From Compton to Congress indeed. —Dan Rys

"King Kunta"
Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar drops another self-empowerment single with “King Kunta.” Kendrick uses the juxtaposition of Kunta Kinte and the term “king” to depict a person beaten down by society yet still remaining defiant. It’s not preachy or immensely dense and has a lot of bounce to it. What makes this record even better is the visual, which is outstanding. —Emmanuel C.M.

"Know Yourself"

Just about everyone was "running through the six with their woes," following the release of Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late LP. The song pretty much coined the term "woes" nationwide and has been inserted into the vocabulary of most of America's youth. Drake knows how to turn a single phrase into a key part of the hip-hop lexicon and he seems like he does it on every song. —Miranda J.

A$AP Rocky

Taking listeners down a psychedelic path, A$AP Rocky finds himself experimenting over the Hector Delgado production as he sings and raps about the love battles he encounters with acid and more. The trippy record highlights Rocky's ability to enter new territory while remaining trill to his identity. —Roger Krastz

"La Policia (Remix)"
Kap G featuring T.I. and David Banner

In the midst of the police injustices in the U.S., Kap G decided to recreate his 2014 record "La Policia" and drop a new version of the track featuring T.I. and David Banner. Touching on the issues of police brutality and the killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Kap G steps up to the plate for the minorities in the U.S. Tip delivers a thought-provoking verse while David Banner spazzes out on the track with multiple flows. A great record that raises social awareness and speaks to the people. —Roger Krastz

"March Madness"

Future takes listeners on a codeine-filled pilgrimage with “March Madness.” The 56 Nights record is a spiraling, barely coherent three minute and thirty second musical escapade that is nothing short of genius. Future fully establishes himself as the modern day Neil Armstrong, taking one step for men worldwide who love their sprite dirty. —Emmanuel C.M.


This was not the first but the second song from 2015 XXL Freshman Tink that made it to national airwaves, and believe it or not, it's only partly because of Aaliyah's "1 In A Million" sample. Although no one will ever be able to recreate the greatness crafted by Aaliyah, Tink's touch on the classic tune was the perfect update, giving listeners a mix of the old with the new. —Miranda J.

"My Way (Remix)"
Fetty Wap featuring Drake

Although most of Fetty Wap's material was released in 2014, the rapper's music didn't reach the national consciousness until early 2015. As "Trap Queen" and "679" were already owning airwaves around the country, Fetty locked down a Drake feature for his latest hit "My Way," proving the Paterson, NJ native had more in the tank than a breakout hit. Not to mention, Drizzy's line, "Cancel out my ex, I put a line through that bitch," is ringing out in clubs nightly nationwide. —Miranda J.

"Oh My"

Young Cali MC Boogie has exploded on the scene with his new mixtape The Reach, but the big song that has pushed the project over the edge is the huge, anthemic "Oh My." Boogie's mix of aspirational lyrics combined with introspective self-analysis makes for a compelling listen, and when the hook comes in it's got everybody screaming "Oh my Goodness." —Dan Rys

"Paper Trail$"
Joey Bada$$

Respect the hustle or be ruled by it. With wisdom beyond his years, Pro Era's Joey Bada$$ shines as he recounts past hardships on “Paper Trail$.” With a signature Brooklyn sense of street smarts, Joey talks dodging cops and doing just about anything to help his mom out with the rent. "Me and my niggas tryna eat you pussies empanada/The flow like plenty lava/With just a penny I can multiply my worth and make you work for me for twenty hours." —Sidney Madden

Meek Mill featuring Drake

One of standout tracks off Meek Mill’s chart-topping album Dreams Worth More Than Money is undoubtedly the Drake-assisted record “R.I.C.O.” Produced by Vinylz—who has been killing shit lately—this single sticks out because of Meek’s departure from his comfort zone. Instead, he lets Drake take the lead and like a great cleanup hitter in MLB, Meek smashes the record out the park. The haunting keys and crisp drums are beautiful to hear. However, if you listen to the lyrics both these artists are snapping and leaving one-liners that will probably be used frequently in tweets and Instagram captions for months. —Emmanuel C.M.


Produced by Canadian phenom Kaytranada, "Reflection" was one of the lead singles off Towkio's debut solo mixtape, .Wav Theory. A snapshot of his sound to come, the SaveMoney member delivered a cerebral yet danceable tale about what happens to the girl at the party that every guy wants. —Sidney Madden

"See You Again"
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth

The surprise hit of the year is undoubtedly Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s "See You Again." Let’s break this down: this wasn’t a record on Wiz’s new album, it was on the soundtrack album to Furious 7. It also wasn’t even the first single off the soundtrack to be released. Yet “See You Again” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 non-consecutive weeks, tying for the longest-running rap number one hit in the country. The touching tribute to late actor Paul Walker was a global success. Wiz always has those sneaky hits. —Emmanuel C.M.

Vince Staples

Vince's rapid-fire rhymes give “Señorita” a militant feel over an unassumingly innocent piano tune. The Christian Rich-produced track with a hook provided by Future was the first preview of the 2015 XXL Freshman’s debut album, Summertime ‘06, and an overall battle cry about how real the streets can be, a natural M.O. for the 22-year-old marksman. “That's somebody's son but a war to be won/Baby either go hunt or be hunted.”Sidney Madden

Tyler, the Creator featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne

Seeing Tyler, the Creator, Kanye West and Lil Wayne on one track together may normally give rap fans anxiety because of the complete opposite spectrums each artist inhabits. But the trio do a masterful job on the Cherry Bomb standout “Smuckers.” What’s great about the song is the playful nature throughout. It really sounds like they all enjoyed themselves, conveying a sense that they were in the studio and popped off a cypher. —Emmanuel C.M.

"Sunday Candy"
Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment

A tour de force of positivity, Chance, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment brought an uplifting anthem to a hip-hop scene that can too often focus on negativity. It's the perfect soundtrack to a Sunday morning, whether you're planning on heading to church or not. —Dan Rys

"The Blacker The Berry"
Kendrick Lamar

"The Blacker The Berry" by Kendrick Lamar is a racially-charged song that shares the same name as the novel by American author Wallace Thurman. Kendrick sounds like he’s angry and fed up with society and the hypocrisy of his people, attacking hatred, racism and duplicity. The way he raps feels like an automatic rifle going off, knocking out victims left and right with each bar questioning oblivious ideologies. While “I” celebrates blackness, “The Blacker The Berry” is the complete antithesis, assaulting racialized hatred in America and within the black community. “Excuse my French but fuck you—no, fuck y'all/That's as blunt as it gets, I know you hate me, don't you?,” raps K.Dot. God damn, Kendrick. —Emmanuel C.M.

"The Matrimony"
Wale featuring Usher

A standout from his fourth studio album, The Album About Nothing, Wale's “The Matrimony” works on many levels for the typically braggadocious rhymer. The DC rapper and MMG mainstay muses about prospects of love or lack thereof and lets the public know about a loved one’s recent miscarriage. “Went from falling in love to drunk and falling apart/And it’s hard, trying find some time to move on/'Cause when we lost our baby, I got shady, shit got too dark.” —Sidney Madden

"U Mad"
Vic Mensa featuring Kanye West

At this point, Vic Mensa's music is so diverse and constantly evolving that with each track it seems he dips into a new genre. On "U Mad" he taps Chi-town mentor Kanye West for a clearly 'Ye-influenced turn up cut that is as catchy as it is snarling, with Vic and Yeezy standing up to the cops and goading each other at bar after bar. —Dan Rys

"Unlock The Swag"
Rae Sremmurd featuring Jace

The fact that the term swag is nearing the end of its days and Rae Sremmurd was still able to craft up yet another infectious tune surrounding the word only goes to show that the hip-hop community has only witnessed the beginning of the duo's journey. The droning, repetitive hook is definitely the highlight of the club banger and can be recounted by anyone under the age of 25. —Miranda J.

A$AP Rocky featuring Juicy J, Pimp C & Bun B

It's no secret that A$AP Rocky is a disciple of UGK's trill aesthetic—he's shouted out Pimp C on plenty of records in the past—but actually getting a verse from the late great Pimp represents a coup for the Harlem-bred MC. But that's just one element of a four-part onslaught that brings together Bun B, Juicy J, Rocky and the Pimp for a codeine-soaked trip through money, women and lifestyles. —Dan Rys

"White Iverson"
Post Malone

One of the breakthrough artists of 2015 so far has been Texas native Post Malone, who grabbed the industry's attention with his infectious hit "White Iverson." Paying tribute to the legacy of Allen Iverson, Post channels his inner A.I. over the production of FKi. With a catchy hook and a laid-back summer vibe, "White Iverson" solidified Post Malone as a new artist to keep an eye on. —Roger Krastz