The Best Underground Hip Hop Music of 2015

Check out our list of the best underground hip hop music of 2015. This list includes a mix of both well-known and up-and-coming artists.


The term “underground hip hop” refers to hip hop music outside the general commercial canon. It is typically associated with independent artists, signed to independent labels or without major label support, and with a stylistic emphasis on innovation and artistic pursued for underground hip hop’s sake rather than for radio airplay or club play. It sometimes has a political aspect to it as well, since many underground hip hop artists use their music to express social and political views, either explicitly or implicitly.

While “underground” has been used to describe various alternative musics since the 1970s, in the context of hip hop music the term has come to be more closely associated with ideas of authenticity and artistic integrity, as opposed to commercialism and mainstream success. This is not to say that all underground hip hop is non-commercial or entirely opposed to mainstreamsuccess – some artists do achieve crossover success while maintaining an “underground” sensibility – but overall the focus is on artistry over sales and on independence over major label support.

Best Underground Hip Hop Albums of 2015

2015 was a great year for underground Hip Hop music. A lot of great albums were released and it was hard to narrow it down to just a few. In this article, we will be discussing the best underground Hip Hop albums of 2015.

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is one of the best hip hop albums of 2015. It is a masterpiece of jazz-influenced rap, and it cements Kendrick’s place as one of the greatest rappers of all time. The album is dark and dense, but it is also engrossing and deeply moving. If you are a fan of hip hop, or of great music in general, you need to hear To Pimp a Butterfly.

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

American rapper J. Cole released his third studio album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, on December 9, 2014, by Dreamville Records and Roc Nation. The album was named after the address of Cole’s childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Production for the album took place during 2014, and was primarily handled by J. Cole himself. This is the first album where J. Cole does not have any features. Upon its release, 2014 Forest Hills Drive received generally positive reviews from critics and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 371,000 copies in the United States during its first week of release.

The album’s lead single, “Sorry”, was released on October 7, 2014. The song peaked at number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single from the album, “No Role Modelz”, was released on November 12, 2014 and peaked at number 53 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

This was one of the most anticipated hip hop albums of 2015 and it did not disappoint. Vince Staples is a young rapper from Long Beach, California who made a name for himself with his mixtape Hell Can Wait. Summertime ’06 is his debut studio album and it is a brilliant work from start to finish. Thematically, the album is about growing up in Long Beach in the early 2000s and witnessing the violence that was going on in the city at that time. Musically, the album is a mix of East Coast and West Coast styles, with production from acclaimed producers such as No I.D., DJ Dahi, and Clams Casino. If you’re a fan of hip hop, this is an album that you need to check out.

Dr. Dre – Compton

Compton is the third studio album by American rapper Dr. Dre. It was released on August 7, 2015, on Apple Music and the iTunes Store, with the physical editions being released on August 21, 2015. It is the follow-up to his second album 2001 (1999), and the first album not to feature him as an active rapper since his debut studio album The Chronic (1992).

The album features an ensemble cast of rappers including fellow veterans Game, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg; newcomers such as Anderson Paak and King Mez; and former collaborators such as Eminem, Xzibit and The D.O.C.. Dre’s longtime collaborator Scott Storch also contributed to the production of Compton. The album was recorded during 2014–2015 atseveral recording studios including PatchWerk Studios in Atlanta, Encore Studios in Burbank and Dre’s own Beats Radio Studios in Encino; it was mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood.

The record serves as a “grand finale” for Dre’s long-running career; it was produced following his retirement from performing music due to an increasing deafness in his right ear which had caused tinnitus. Compton debuted atop the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 296,000 copies overall in its first week of release—receiving a Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on September 4 for one million equivalent units sold—making it Dre’s third US number-one album after 2001 and 2005’s The Massacre respectively.its lead single “Darkside/Gone”, featuring Snoop Dogg, peaked at number 43 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. To date Compton has sold 761,000 copies in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan – becoming his sixth album to reach gold status by the RIAA –and has received generally positive reviews from critics who praised its production contributions from Dr. Dre as well as its themes regarding African-American culture while some found it overlong.”

Run the Jewels – RTJ2

RTJ2 is the second studio album by American hip hop duo Run the Jewels, which consists of El-P and Killer Mike. It was released on October 24, 2014, through Mass Appeal Records. The album was preceded by the singles “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” and “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”, featuring Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine.

Tracks on RTJ2 were mostly recorded throughout 2014 at Elastic Future Studios in Brooklyn, New York. The album’s production features industrial and alternative hip hop influences, with sparse, dense beats and an often aggressive delivery from both rappers. Lyrically, it touches on themes of political corruption, poverty, drug addiction and racial profiling. The album also features guest appearances from rapper Travis Barker and singer Gangsta Boo; along with one-time collaborators until this album Choir Boy (band) and Cabo San Roque among others.

A critical success, RTJ2 debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart with first week sales of 38,000 copies in the United States. It received general acclaim from music critics upon release; many commended its expansive production values and dense beats while others found its delivery too assertive at times but ultimately acknowledged both rappers’ improved lyricism in comparison to their previous work. Run the Jewels also promoted the album through a free mobile game called RTJ 2: The Desktop Game as well as a Meow the Jewels remix project that raised $65,000 for charity through Kickstarter; all proceeds went to benefit Brooklyn’s families of color affected by police brutality.

Best Underground Hip Hop Songs of 2015

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is coming to a close. It feels like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year, and now we’re already looking back at the best music of the year. When it comes to hip hop, 2015 was a great year. We saw the return of some of our favorite artists, and we were introduced to a whole crop of new talents.

Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Released as the third single from his album To Pimp a Butterfly, “Alright” quickly became an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. The song’s optimistic message in the face of racial injustice and police brutality helped to inspire and uplift listeners during a difficult and tumultuous year. Kendrick Lamar’s masterful storytelling and lyrical prowess elevated “Alright” to one of the best hip hop songs of 2015, and it will no doubt continue to be a timeless classic for years to come.

J. Cole – “No Role Modelz”

No Role Modelz is a song by American rapper J. Cole, from his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album. The song was produced by Cole himself and released as the third single from the album. The song is about how Cole does not want to be a role model for kids and how he resents being placed on a pedestal. “No Role Modelz” peaked at number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Vince Staples – “Norf Norf”

“Norf Norf” is the first track on Vince Staples’ debut album Summertime ’06. It is a banger, and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. The production is dark and minimal, with a simple drum beat and a haunting keyboard melody. Vince’s verses are furious and aggressive, but also funny and self-aware. He raps about growing up in Long Beach, California, and the violence that he has seen there. The song is an instant classic, and it is one of the best hip hop songs of 2015.

Dr. Dre – “Deep Cover”

Dr. Dre – “Deep Cover” is one of the best underground hip hop songs of 2015. The song was released on Dr. Dre’s album “The Chronic” and features Snoop Dogg. “Deep Cover” is a hardcore rap song that contains strong language and explicit content.

Run the Jewels – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”

El-P and Killer Mike, collectively known as Run the Jewels, are two of the most innovative and exciting names in hip hop today. “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” is a perfect example of their unique style, blending hard-hitting beats with catchy hooks and politically charged lyrics. The song is taken from the duo’s critically acclaimed album, Run the Jewels 2, which was named one of the best hip hop albums of 2015 by Pitchfork, Spin, and Rolling Stone.


In conclusion, these are our top ten hip hop songs of 2015. We hope you enjoyed our list and maybe even found some new music to add to your collection. Thanks for reading and happy listening!

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