I’m not going to rank them, I’m simply going to share the records I found to be the most intriguing, well-crafted, dope, fun hip hop releases of 2015. Please feel free to comment below because I know I probably left off a few of your favorites.
There are indie legends and then there’s Sean Price. His last offering before a sad and untimely death, Songs In The Key Of Price, simply magnified the notion that P was the heaviest hitting, most underrated rapper in the game. Another record that made my day time and time again this year was Oddisee’s The Good Fight. The dude is Kanye for the working man. Raps, produces, stays fly.
Action Bronson made a bid for full-on rap seriousness with Mr. Wonderful, a crazy-cohesive full length stuffed with Bam Bam’s now legendary bars about food, drugs, and more food. Debut’s were rather important in 2015, as both Joey Badass and Vince Staples delivered high-quality, no nonsense rap records (B4.DA.$$ and Summertime ’06) that were bulky enough to feed the streets and the nerd critics.
A few MC’s used 2015 as the perfect time to come into their own. Yelawolf married the mess of sounds in his head with Love Story; a record that proved the Shady Records oddball has the chops to pack his palate with noises that ranged from Outkast to Johnny Cash. And somehow it worked. Not to be outdone by Pusha T who absolutely killed shit with Darkest Before Dawn, the prelude to his next full length. I’m not putting numbers on the board, but if I was it would be time for me to hail King Push.
Earl Sweatshirt’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside was the record he had no choice but to make in 2015. Massive expectations, obsessive Odd Future super-stans, depression, and drugs were all fuel for this kid’s dense, fantastic project. It’s a true working study in wordplay, worthy of rewind after rewind.
That leaves Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. What’s left that hasn’t already been said about his sophomore offering? Is it it a vanity project, or a fussy move from hip hop’s brightest beacon of exposure? Is it a clever play on the title of Harper Lee’s iconic coming of age novel aimed at tackling the racist south head on? Either way you chop it you’re left with a truly jazzy, experimental soul odyssey that cements Kendrick’s status as the leader of the new school.
2015 was a great year for hip hop, and I loved sharing these little pieces of my mind with you. I appreciate the support, the love, and the follows. Keep riding with me, and I’ll keep doing what I do. Stay tuned in 2016 for lots more creative pieces, and please check out my featured work on Mishka NYC’s Bloglin, and Above Average Hip Hop. Peace and love.