Before we get to sharing the bulk of our "best of" lists with you this year, it's time to highlight 2015's biggest surprises and success stories. The fifteen artists we've chosen for our breakout list seem even more diverse than those on last year's list, with different genres, voices, opinions, and even countries being represented here. Some have popped up on our radars in the past few months, others have been grinding for years before getting their big break. Some have had big singles, some merely captured our attentions with their talent alone. Some have been introduced to us by more powerful figures in hip hop, others have seemingly done everything on their own, flipping a simple Soundcloud account into million-dollar deals and national recognition. One thing's for sure though: all 15 have seen their fortunes drastically improved over the past 12 months.
Click on to view the alphabetically-organized list, and let us know who you think we missed or didn't need to include.