Album: Shmurda She Wrote
Producer: Jahlil Beats
Label: Epic Records, GS9

From the first time we heard Bobby Shmurda’s "Hot Nigga," we knew it was something special. Before this song became a club staple, before everyone from your mom to Blue Ivy’s mom did the Shmoney dance, before a million and one vines documented the journey of Bobby’s magical hat, there was just the song and its undeniable energy. It’s hard to see it for all the hype, but think about how strange a hit this really is: An unknown rapper recorded a freestyle over a forgotten beat and, thanks to social media, was able to turn it into a song that peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It’s not just that it was a huge hit either, it’s that it was the kind of hit every street rapper—and especially every New York rapper—wishes they had. It didn’t have to chase trends, require a big name, or even try to be a hit. Maybe Bobby will never have another song this good again, but in 2014 a kid from Brooklyn rapped for three minutes straight and blew up on his own terms. That’s something worth dancing about. —Insanul Ahmed