Top 5 Albums of 2015

2015 is coming to an end in a matter of days. There was so much memorable music in rap/hip-hop that dropped in this past year alone. So much music, I almost couldn’t keep up with it all. I saw on my news feed on social media, a lot of popular blogs and sites have been featuring their favorite albums to drop this year but I didn’t care to skim through their list. While essentially everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I have absolutely no credentials, I still feel strongly about my picks for best albums to release this year. However, I don’t expect anyone to agree to me.  I simply just wanted to share my picks and give my viewpoint on how I felt about this year’s drops. So, let’s get to it. Let’s look at my top 5 favorite albums to drop this year!

5. SremmLife – Rae Sremmurd

Rae Sremmurd made an explosive debut as new artists. Their back-to-back hit singles, “No Flex Zone,” “No Type,” and “Throw Some Mo” were highly favored on the radio and in the club. I was reluctant to give this album a listen at first but if “No Type” made me wanna bust it open, I thought I could at least find another song that made me inclined to shake something. I did find that, and then some! SremmLife was full of high energy, fun-filled songs that put me in a party mood. This album was a break from the typical street rap I usually listen to and gave me that sense of what it really feels like to be young, wild, and not give a f*ck! I really enjoyed the production by Mike Will Made It which I mentioned in a previous post, “Heavyweight Hitmakers.” I wasn’t too focused on lyrical content, just fun songs with catchy hooks over elite beats. A few of my friends probably judged me when they rode around with me but “Lit Like Bic” was one of my favorite songs to listen to. I thought that intro set the perfect tone for the album and that beat was fire. This dropped early in the year and I liked it enough to continue to play selected songs throughout the year. Sometimes we forget rap is just a form of entertainment and just need to kick back and enjoy it. Rae Sremmurd reminds us rap can be fun to!

Listen to one of my favorite songs from this album below: “Lit Like Bic”

4. DS2 – Future

I think it goes without saying that Future had a crazy run this year. He used it to his advantage and is having the best of year of his career. After a 3-peat mixtape heat streak, he followed it up with his number one album “DS2.” I’ve been a Future fan for a few years and I strongly feel this is his best album compared to the “Pluto” and “Honest.” I always favored his mixtapes over his albums but DS2 was just as dope as his mixtapes. It was the quintessential Future we all know and love: trap music heavily influenced by drugs with amazing production and unforgettable one-liner quotes. I think this album was actually more honest than “Honest,”as he showed his true colors and full potential. He still reigns on top with constant songs in rotation on the radio and with a tour to kick off the new year in 2016. As a Future fan and trap music fan, I liked the album from start to finish. I think this album showed versatility while still keeping it in the trap. “The Percocet and the Stripper Joint” took us through the typical day spent as Future highed up around strippers while “Kno the Meaning” gave us a sense of how his winning started streak this year. “Freak Hoe” was a twerk-something anthem while “Rich $ex” was a trap-love song, kinda. As far as rap albums goes, it did well commercially and I see it as Future’s strongest album to date. I think the song selection was strong considering Future as a trap artist and it didn’t sound repetitive, which is common with trap music being so trendy in music today. I loved the high energy and trippy vibe and even though I’m not blowing money fast or using drugs, it was dope to live vicariously through Future in these songs. It had a huge buzz on social media and I think it was well worth it with only one feature. I was very impressed with Future this time around. Sensational.

Listen to one of my favorite songs from this album below:

“Stick Talk”

3. To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

This rank is probably most surprising to those who have Nas as their favorite rapper of all time, but I picked To Pimp A Butterfly as number 3 of my favorite albums this year. K. Dot essentially put the “ART” back into “rap artist” with this album. Kendrick Lamar captured his essence of being lost as a rapper in the industry, as well as a black man in society, and eventually finding his light inside himself and made it into a “sonic motion picture.” The album progressed like a complex protagonist in a movie, especially with the funky jazz/soul samples that gave off Spike Lee film vibes. The whole project flows from beginning to end and eventually ties into a poem he later reads to the late and great 2Pac as a dedication to his idol as a fellow Cali rapper.  I enjoyed a lot of songs from this project, especially “Momma,” “Hood Politics,” and “Alright.” I personally connected to a few tracks such as “u” and “Complexion (A Zulu Love).” However, I thought the first single from this album “i” was annoying. Till this day, it still gets skipped over when I play this album and I couldn’t stand NBA on TNT for using it in promos. This album also doesn’t get too many spins with me in social settings, among my friends, or in the car. Nevertheless, I liked it enough to purchase it. Kendrick’s storytelling ability, lyricism, and artistic influence make up for things I found to be lackluster. I particularly loved taking another peak at the world according to Kendrick Lamar and living through his lyrics. He seems so passionate when he raps and can almost make you feel every bar. While it was a good follow up to Good Kid, Mad City, I don’t think it surpassed it. I was still very entertained and highly favored it as the most artistic approach to rap music in my library this year.

Listen to one of my favorite songs from this album below:

“Hood Politics”

2. The Album About Nothing – Wale

“The Album About Nothing”comes in at number 2 for my favorite album this year. It was Wale’s early mixtapes that were influenced by the hit sitcom, “Seinfeld,” that sparked my initial interest in the TV show. Now that I am an avid fan of Seinfeld reruns, I couldn’t wait to hear “The Album About Nothing.” In fact, as soon as I heard “The Matrimony” as his single in January for the first time, it won me over right away and was the highest played song in my iTunes. Wale incorporating Seinfeld influence in his songs along with featuring conversations with the one and only Jerry Seinfeld gave the album so much character. He made this album extremely relatable with songs such as “The Pessimist,” “The Need to Know,” “The White Shoes,” “The Bloom (AG3)” and of course, “The Matrimony.” While I tend to criticize Wale a lot, it’s only because I know what he’s capable of and want to see more, especially knowing he can make a body of work like this. It took a while to grow on me at first but once I really listened and opened up, I got hooked. Wale showed his more of his personality and perspective on this project. He also showed us he’s still trying to make his way and strives for better.

Listen to one of my favorite songs from this album below:

“The Matrimony” featuring Usher

1. Dark Sky Paradise – Big Sean

As a “BIG Believer” since 2009, I am so proud to say Big Sean gave me my favorite album of the year. Big Sean really impressed me with this album considering I was not happy AT ALL with his first 2. I thought his debut album, “Finally Famous,” was sub-par and found “Hall of Fame” to be a forgettable waste of time. However, Big Sean continued to show his strength on his mixtapes and his features with his charisma and flow and gave me hope in light of his most recent project. Big Sean made a strong comeback when “IDFWU” dropped as his single and is arguably one of the biggest anthems over the last year. “Blessings” was a dynamic single to follow up with and was on everyone’s radio and playlist, including my mom and the adorable Riley Curry. The singles alone made this an instant purchase on my iTunes and I was very pleased to say the least.”Dark Sky Paradise” had everything I wanted in an album. The features on this album were solid, selective, and not overwhelming. Big Sean had amazing song structure and showed his versatility with a love-themed song, such as “Play No Games,” to something more inspiring and heartfelt, like “One Man Can Change the World.” One of my favorite tracks I had in constant rotation  was “All Your Fault” with Kanye West. This album overall focused on ambition, overcoming obstacles, respect, and seeking a greater sense of purpose in life, which is not only something I can relate to and connect with but also, extremely admire and appreciate. In my opinion his most genuine piece, I truly think Big Sean’s latest album deserves notoriety. He found his niche as a mainstream artist and I couldn’t be more relieved.

Listen to one of my favorite songs from this album below:

“All Your Fault” featuring Kanye West

Honorable Mention:

Drake – If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late

Drake’s random surprise album went platinum in a matter of days, which was a big accomplishment this year. Drake had some hot songs on this album. I really liked “10 Bands” and “6 Man” the most. However, I thought it lacked substance as far as albums go and I thought it was just a collective bunch of “throw away” tracks that he put together just to get him out of his deal with Cash Money. Still enjoyable and played heavy throughout the year, Drake didn’t make the list but does deserves his props!

 

Where do these albums rank of your list? Who had the top spot according to you? I love comments, so share them below!

 


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