It kind of boggles the mind when one considers that when it first appeared in the mainstream over three decades ago, hip-hop was generally considered to be a fad that wouldn’t outlast the 80s. And yet here we are in 2014, where rap is constantly one of the most requested genres at parties comprised of both young and old. So in looking back at the year that was and the many parties held, if there’s one genre that makes a perfect starting point, it’s rap as at least one of the following songs was played at nearly every party we spun at.

 

Drake – “Trophies”

Technically this song came out in 2013, but seeing that it was released on December 31 and would go on to soundtrack parties throughout 2014, it’s not hard to make a case for its inclusion at the top of the list. Boasting the most triumphant horn sample this side of the Sochi Olympics and drums that were equally bombastic and restrained, Drake—who was already coming off of a stellar 2013—opened the year up in fine style, celebrating his many triumphs while continually reminding the audience he doesn’t need no trophies for that. Also, after hearing this song, we doubt we’ll ever stay in the Intercontinental again as well (JK!).

 

Young Thug – “Danny Glover”

While by the end of the summer it was clear that Thugger’s Rich Gang-assisted single “Lifestyle” would be his biggest single to date, at the start of the year, this was the song that finally put him on the map of not just every tastemaker, but the general public as well. After all, seeing such luminaries as Kanye West and Drake lose their stuff to this song on Instagram, it was pretty clear who the rap prince of 2014 was going to be. And with a song extolling the timeless virtues of Lethal Weapon star Glover over a deft 808 Mafia beat, it was clear Thug had an instant club sing-along on his sands.

 

Wiz Khalifa – “We Dem Boys”

While Wiz has managed to keep a healthy career going seemingly based on his stoner rapper identity, it’s hard to deny the fact that the guy has not had a serious hit since “Black and Yellow” first launched him onto the scene. So we were quite happy to be gifted with a Wiz song that was not only as catchy as his former hit, but also pointed to him going in a harder, but still accessible direction.

 

Dej Loaf – “Try Me”

While Bobby Shmurda was seemingly taking over the world with his beyond-menacing “Hot Boy” single, few could have expected that a young woman from Detroit would match him in sheer ferocity over a smoother-than-silk beat. And although her lyrics can be a bit intimidating when listened to closely, her catchy-as-hell chorus got her the spot performing on The Tonight Show that Shmurda is still likely waiting on.

 

Cam’ron – “Dipshits”

Full disclosure: we fully expected this to be the rap song of the summer and are still scratching our heads as to how that never happened. Maybe it was Dame Dash’s annoying monologue at the song’s closing (which we always skip;) or the fact that Cam hasn’t been around in a minute, but no one can deny this monster of a song, with Jus Blaze and A-Trak digging into their sample goldmines to craft one of the most surefire party-starters of 2014.