I recently heard the word banger used by a young man in Chicago to describe a catchy, up-beat song. Checking Green's Dictionary of Slang, I found a definition attested in 2016 that to my mind seems a bit too broad:
4. (US black) an outstanding success.
However, a combination of googling the term and looking at the specific citation used in GDoS seems to confirm to me that the term refers specifically to songs that are excellent or outstanding, especially in hip-hop.
The citation in GDoS:
Even though it might not be a club banger. Or it might not be a radio banger or none of that shit. It’s going to set a tone.
- 2016 - Jeezy annotation to ‘Let Em Know’ on genius.com [Internet]
On another thread on Genius.com, the term is discussed. It looks like this thread appeared in 2015:
What Makes a Song a Banger?
I’ve seen that on this site a bunch of people are obsessed with bangers. I made a thread a while back asking for people to show me some bangers, and I got a wide range of songs. They didn’t sound alike obviously, but I wanted to know what makes a song a banger?
The consensus in the answers on that thread is that a "banger" is just a great song.
So is the slang definition in GDoS too broad, is the meaning of "banger" in this slang sense specific to outstanding songs? Is it even more particularly limited to hip-hop music? When did this particular slang sense of the word start getting traction?
Sometimes questions about recent slang are met with skepticism on this site, so here are some cited uses from the past year:
2017 is halfway done, which means hip-hop has been blessing us with bangers for six months straight. Rappers are having a great year, coming up off a single track more than ever.
Here's some of the current bangers from the last 1-2 months that I've seen work at the club, along with some that are on the bubble and might get big