15. “Number One” – Tuxedo
Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One, fans of the raunchy classic “Ain’t No
Fun” and members of the beatmaking super-duo Tuxedo, flipped the
sample game on its head this year when they dropped “Number One.”
Puzzled by the lack of clarity on just who Snoop and friends were
borrowing from, the two amigos went and created their very own version
of what might have been. The end result is a full length funk jewel that’s
contemporary yet reminiscent of a sound suited for decades passed.
14. “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” – Jamie xx ft. Young Thug & Popcaan
Longtime producer Jamie xx [he of The xx fame] finally saw the release of
his debut album In Colour this year. It was a triumph in electro sound
making, held in high regards by fans and critics alike. Among the myriad
of highlights is the Young Thug & Popcaan assisted “I Know There’s
Gonna Be (Good Times),” a simplistic drum and bass groover that oozes
a sublime sunny season appeal.
13. “Heaven Only Knows” – Towkio ft. Chance The Rapper, Lido, & Eryn Allen Kane
Between Kanye, Common, Lupe Fiasco, and a whole host of MC’s,
Chicago hip hop saw a prolonged dominance in 2015. Joining that
esteemed list at no. 13 is Towkio and the soulful joint “Heaven Only
Knows.” Off of the Avondale lyricist’s debut .Wav Theory, this cut boasts
an all-star lineup and a strong jazz-pop production that beautifully
incorporates an ever-uplifting sample of John Legend’s “Heaven”.
12. “Omen” – Disclosure ft. Sam Smith
No year end roundup is complete without at least one entry devoted to
Disclosure. They proved once again that they are masters of their craft
with the release of their sophomore album Caracal. It was a smashing
success thanks to its formidable house stylings and who’s who of A-list
features. Lead single “Omen” set the pace, seeing the dream team that
was responsible for 2012’s breakout hit “Latch” back together once more.
Vocalist Sam Smith and songwriter Jimmy Napes linked back up with the
Lawrence brothers and dropped one of the years most gorgeous cuts.
11. “Name & Number” – Shift K3Y
Shift K3Y was a new name to me in 2015, but he quickly became a fave
with his 90’s pop revival “Name & Number.” Featuring dancefloor filling
percussion patterns and melodic throwback harmonies this track wore
out my repeat button in the early parts of this past Spring.