By 2015, rap music was as dynamic as ever, boasting a wide variety of hits. The mid-2010s took the genre to even greater mainstream fame and kept it securely situated. Many artists had begun to achieve a level of impact and influence never before seen in Hip Hop. The year was also an unforgettable one for Drake, who quickly began to prove his versatility. Furthermore, the marriage between pop and rap waxed even stronger.
A few new talents broke out as well, announcing their arrival on the scene in grand fashion. Some of such rappers include Vince Staples, Fetty Wap, and duo Rae Sremmurd, all of whom released their debut studio albums in 2015. Additionally, trap music became even more popular, with new acts bursting onto the scene. As far as chart success, only six rap hits made it to the top spot in 2015. Remarkably, each song enjoyed a fair amount of time in the number one position. However, Drake and Wiz Khalifa released timeless songs that took the world by storm.
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“I Don’t F**k with You” was the first of the six rap hits to top the charts in 2015. It was not its first time at the peak of the chart, however, as it had previously topped it for three weeks before in 2014. Taking a break from the top spot for just one week in December 2014, it returned to its position atop the Hot Rap Songs chart on January 3, 2015, and stayed there for six more weeks. Big Sean’s provocative anthem was a certified banger in 2015, as proven by its dominance on the charts. The song’s impact also extended beyond music and was a significant part of internet culture in the mid-2010s.
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Fetty Wap - “Trap Queen”
Then-newcomer Fetty Wap’s mainstream career was launched due to the overwhelming success of “Trap Queen.” It was the rapper’s debut single, and quickly skyrocketed the artist to mainstream fame. Additionally, the single’s success led to the release of his eponymous debut album later that year. The song is characterized by its unique sound, blending elements of Hip Hop and trap with Fetty Wap’s distinct melodic and rap-sung style. “Trap Queen” achieved significant commercial success, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for three weeks.
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“Time of Our Lives” was released as the joint third single from Pitbull’s eighth studio album Globalization, and Ne-Yo’s sixth studio album, Non-Fiction. It was released in November 2014 but did not top the Hot Rap Songs chart until February 2015. “Time Of Our Lives” is a feel-good anthem that celebrates living in the moment and overcoming life’s challenges. One of the more dance-friendly rap hits of 2015, the song eventually received multi-platinum certifications. Furthermore, the international appeal led to success in various countries. “Time Of Our Lives” peaked at number nine on the Hot 100 chart. It also stayed on top of the Hot Rap Songs chart for seven weeks.
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Silentó - “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)
“Watch Me” was the debut single of rapper Silentó who was 17 years old at the time. The song stood out among the rap hits of 2015 because of its viral dance. “Watch Me” gained immense popularity through social media platforms like Vine and YouTube. The “Whip/Nae Nae” dance challenge took the world by storm, broadening the song’s reach. Furthermore, the song’s clean lyrics made it a favorite among children and families worldwide. “Watch Me” remains one of the defining dance songs of the mid-2010s. It peaked at number three on the Hot 100 chart, and stayed on top of the Hot Rap Songs chart for nine weeks.
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Drake - “Hotline Bling”
Upon its release, “Hotline Bling” became a massive phenomenon. With a vast discography, the single still remains one of Drake’s most timeless songs. Its music video also introduced a series of iconic dance moves performed by Drake, which were widely parodied and imitated. “Hotline Bling” features a catchy and instantly recognizable melody that incorporates elements of R&B and Hip Hop. The song also achieved Diamond certification in the U.S. with over ten million units sold. It peaked at number two on the Hot 100 chart. Furthermore, it stayed atop the Hot Rap Songs chart for a staggering 18 weeks.
Wiz Khalifa - “See You Again” Ft. Charlie Puth
One of the biggest hits of 2015, rap or otherwise, “See You Again” was a major success upon release. The song was released as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker, and was the lead single for the soundtrack of the 2015 film, Furious 7. “See You Again” achieved worldwide success, and was the best-selling single of 2015. It also topped the Hot 100 chart for a tremendous 12 weeks, making it one of the longest-running rap number-one singles on the chart. On the Hot Rap Songs chart, it cinched the top spot for 15 weeks. Additionally, it came out on top on the year-end Hot Rap Songs chart as well. “See You Again” is widely recognized as one of the most impactful songs of the 2010s.