Narrowing down 365 days of great music to a list of 30 records is near impossible, but we figured it out! With a lot of amazing tracks not making the cut, we have put together our list of the 30 best tracks of this past year. From epic collaborations to Soundcloud released diss records, our list has a little bit of everything. A few veterans dominated our list this year, but a lot of emerging artists found spots high on our list as well. We won’t spoil too much for you, check out the Top 30 Tracks of 2015 below and send us a tweet @TheEarlyReg to tell us what you think!
30. Tyler The Creator ft. Kanye West & Lil Wayne – “Smuckers”
Album: Cherry Bomb
This song has Tyler’s best verse all year. This song has Wayne’s best verse all year. This song also has Kanye’s best verse all year. Facts. It’s literally three of rap’s most important voices, all bringing their best efforts on a track packed full with triumphant, glowing horns that shake and rumble as the drums thump and snap, all underneath the most flex-worthy, boastful lines from every rapper listed. Tyler talks about being homeless to bringing his family to a mansion, Kanye talks about being black-Walt Disney and checking Nike, and Wayne delivers his best verse in years over a soulful sample, something we haven’t heard in ages. Tyler deserves a Nobel Peace prize for putting this together and producing every side of this song’s brilliance. Thank you, T. – Vikash Dass
29. Post Malone – “White Iverson”
Album: ‘White Iverson’ (Single)
This is the song that made Post Malone a household name in hip-hop culture, but it’s also the song that made plenty of people believe Post Malone was some elaborate industry plant or a product of manufactured media hype. I mean, how often do we really see an artist seemingly appear out of thin air, and then break down the doors to the industry with their first song? It’s a little sus, but it’s very real—and ‘White Iverson’ is very infectious. It’s that dream-balance of melody and raps that everyone strives for and that brands like OVO have championed. In fact, many speculated that Drake would bless the track with a verse since it seemed so up his alley sonically. Regardless, this song is incredible in it’s own right and deserves to be recognized as an integral part of this year. In a lot of ways, it’s the ‘All Gold Everything’ of 2015. Let’s just hope Post Malone doesn’t end up like Trinidad James. – Vikash Dass
28. Jazz Cartier – “Dead Or Alive”
Album: Marauding In Paradise
Jazz Cartier is an absolute force in hip-hop right now. First off, he’s the biggest hip-hop artist to blow up out of Toronto without any kind of Drake or OVO affiliation, ever. That in itself is a feat, as if you were to ask someone outside of Toronto what Toronto sounded like, their response would likely be synonymous with that of the OVO Sound label. Jazz, though, turns away from the murky and melodic crooning of that label and embraces the thumping 808s and slapping snares found in the sound libraries of Atlanta’s finest producers (all praises due to producer and partner in crime, Lantz), but Jazz attacks these bangers with the utmost aggression, sharpest lyrics, and infectious hooks. The prime example is ‘Dead or Alive’, a song that simultaneously borrows from the current climate of rap but also sounds like nothing else. It’s this balance that allows the track to slap in the most familiar of ways, but also still keep you guessing and entertained before the last drop. – Vikash Dass
27. Kendrick Lamar – “Blacker The Berry”
Album: To Pimp a Butterfly
Hip-hop has always stood as the realest and rawest genre of music since it’s inception, and remains to be the source for the most cultural and social commentary. So, while all the incredibly horrid injustices around the wrongful killings, assaults and appropriation of Blacks in America occurred, it was almost reflexive to ponder what hip-hop’s most socially important voice had to say. Kendrick Lamar ultimately served the planet with the ultimate pump-fake, after dropping his OutKast-like, joyous single ‘i’, but then following it with the brutal, intense, moving Boi-1da produced banger, ‘The Blacker The Berry’. The most interesting part about this record, though, is that it examines the complexities, hypocrisies and contractions that exist inside being a Black person in America, but Kendrick’s commentary never really evolves past that. The track is able to be so raw and so powerful, all without taking a real stance or offering a real resolution. The song’s crescendo and climax is simply a question: “Why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was killed in the street/When gang-bangin’ make me kill a n*gga blacker than me?/Hypocrite!” all before the song decays into a glowing, mournful jazzy arrangement courtesy of Terrace Martin. – Vikash Dass
26. One Direction – “Love You Goodbye”
Album: Made in the A.M.
You might not expect the guys from One Direction to record an awesome track about break up sex. But whether you expected it or not, they did it, and on their new album Made in the A.M. Even if you aren’t a member of 1D’s target demographic, and maybe it’s better if you’re not for this one, ‘Love You Goodbye’ is an awesome record for any music fan. Album by album, One Direction has been broadening their sound, and as a result their fans, and let’s hope that the guys get back together after their upcoming hiatus to make more records like this one. – Dan Garcia