The Year In Hip Hop : 2015

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-2015 was a good year. Not necessarily in every sense, but musically it was a good year for sure. Hip hop saw some great releases over the 12 month period, and today, the team gathers to discuss the year, our favorite albums, and much more. Welcome back to 2015.... feels like it was just yesterday.

Besides 2015 really being the year of Future, some BIG projects came out last year. Kendrick's TPAB really dominated the discussion surrounding album of the year, but it definitely wasn't the only high quality release. Vince Staples' Summertime 06 didn't get as much attention as I expected, but it caused a few waves among listeners. Lupe Fiasco came out with possibly his best album since The Cool, Joey Bada$$ came out with a high quality debut (Christ Conscious was my favorite track of 2015) and Ghostface Killah linked up with jazz collective BADBADNOTGOOD for Sour Soul, which has to go down as one of my favorite albums from the last 6 years.

Fashawn's Ecology was a very polished album, I'm still waiting for more people to pay attention to this Mass Appeal artist. Ludacris' Ludaversal was pretty disappointing, but the Burning Bridges EP released just before it was very, very nice. In My Life is a favorite track of mine off of it. Of course, I can't go on without mentioning Curren$y, who continued his impressive output with Pilot Talk 3, Cathedral and Even More Saturday Night Car Tunes in 2015.

2015 also was the year I first gave Oddisee a listen and The Good Fight, released that year, is a top 5 album from last year in my opinion. At.Long.Last.A$AP, Slum Village's YES!, King Los' God Money War, Pete Rock's Petestrumentals 2, Scarface's Deeply Rooted, Jay Rock's 90059…so many more quality albums and mixtapes were released in 2015, I can't list them all. It was a very busy year in hip-hop, and a good one too.

2015 treated me very well. I had high expectations, but after everything settled down, there was a different view. Let me talk about the albums I hated first off. Sremmlife by Rae Sremmurd was awful to me. This duo had something going with No Flex Zone and This Could Be Us, but it’s the only tracks that are not a 1/10 to my taste. This duo was just a bunch of Youtube wannabes that made a hit track and didn’t follow up. Barter 6 belongs to this list as well from Young Thug. I didn’t understand the direction from Thug as well. It’s just not really my style of music and these two projects need to be shot into the recycle bin and deleted. The albums I thought that were decent was  Vince Staples' “Summertime ’06” was a dope project. I love the rhyme style and the focal point of the album. It’s a great listen as an album, especially the first volume. Dr. Dre’s “Compton” receives a honorable mention also to this list. It’s a shocker I liked “DS2" and no, not just the singles. This was a strange listen when it first dropped, but it’s just full of these bouncy trap beats that you just can’t shake off, so thank you Future for making this project. “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” was okay. The standout singles are the only tracks I can honestly see playing on a daily basis. The only track besides the singles I play is “6 Man”, and man that beat is dope as hell.

The projects I loved was Pusha T’s project “King Push- Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude”, which is one of my favorite albums that dropped this year. Just when you think Pusha wasn’t done after “My Name is My Name”, he delivers a mix of bangers, slow vibes, and crazy production. A shocker but “Surf” was amazing. It’s something that’s just outside the box and The Social Experiment delivered here big time. A pop-jazz record that leaves the Chance fanbase bewildered after dropping Acid Rap and moving to this direction. It shows that Chance can make different genres work.

ASAP Rocky’s "At.Long.Last.A$AP” also surprised me. I really liked this rock-esque rap album with the same reasoning why I liked Surf. ASAP Rocky and Chance could’ve grabbed this year by the throat, and along with Pusha T, they were so close, but "in West side Compton, there stood a little nigga who was five foot something” that won everyone over. “To Pimp A Butterfly” will remain a classic for years to come as Kendrick didn’t come out swinging like other artists with breakthrough albums. Instead, he spoke calmly with a big stick as his suave demeanor. Songs like “u", “Institutionalized”, and “How Much a Dollar Cost” will have you mellow out. Then the political tracks like “Alright”, “i”, “King Kunta” and “These Walls” will have you pumping your fist. “How Much a Dollar Cost” and “For Free” interlude are the tracks I love so much. Just think about if Kendrick didn’t drop this album, who would take 2015?. Shocking if you know how I like music, but my favorite album in this year was actually “Surf” and not “To Pimp A Butterfly". Thank you 2015.

Yeah yeah, I've told you guys plenty of times, music nowadays is garbage. 2010's decade is one of the worst decades ever for hip hop music. Yes, I support the evolution of the music, but it could be done better. Real music isn't made anymore, right? That changed in 2015. 2015 was an EXCELLENT year, the best by far of this decade. Let's start off with the classic album To Pimp A Butterfly, by the best emcee in the game right now, Kendrick Lamar. This album was highly anticipated as his score with Good Kid, Maad City was great, another classic he dropped, back in 2012. We were all anxious to hear this new album, and it did not disappoint. Easily the most beautiful and complete album I've listened to since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West. Then we have other pretty good albums, with Dark Sky Paradise by Big Sean, Mr. Wonderful by Action Bronson, B4.DA.$$ by Joey Bada$$, Compton by Dr. Dre, Dirty Sprite 2 & Beast Mode by Future, 90059 by Jay Rock, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside by Earl Sweatshirt, and At. Long. Last. A$AP by A$AP Rocky. GREAT YEAR! I know, shocking to see a year of this decade be this good, right?

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-2015 was a great year on the DAR music front. I'd be remiss to not mention the albums that we made together and solo wise. Apollo released Survive The Horror, Speed released BCB and Unhinged, Axel released Coolin In Axelworld, the whole team released the classic Exodus, HS released Upper Echelon, and of course, I released my epic cinematic album Root For The Villain. The DAR squad had nothing but greatness going down in the music and this was a highlight in 2015. If you missed it, check Spotify or iTunes for what you missed.

I loved two albums in 2015: Kendrick's TPAB and ASAP Rocky's A.L.L.A. Those were my two favorite hip hop albums mainstream wise and there were so many noteworthy releases that it's hard to list them all. I'll give credit to Meek on his 2nd album, which wasn't terrible, just a bit unforgettable, but had some hits. Drake dropped IYRTITL, Big Sean dropped Dark Sky Paradise, The Game dropped Documentary 2, Scarface dropped Deeply Rooted, Ghostface dropped Twelve Reasons to Die 2, Lupe dropped the near classic Tetuso & Youth, K.R.I.T.'s It's Better This Way dropped, Dr. Dre dropped Compton, and to be honest, I enjoyed Rae Sremmurd's album as well. Add to that the decent albums from Travis Scott and Jay Rock, and you have one hell of a year. However, the year really belonged to one man on a consistency level.

That man is Future. While I was always a small fan, Future would take his brand of music much higher during 2015, continuing the run he started with the late 2014 Monster release. Starting off with Beast Mode, then following up with the epic 56 Nights, his solid DS2 album, and of course the Drake collaboration project What A Time To Be Alive. The year 2015 was the year of three men honestly: Kendrick, Future, and Drake. That doesn't take away from the fact that we got a ton of greatness in hip hop from other artists either. What a year. Let's hope this trend continues.



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