This is my personal list. You don’t agree with me? Tell me why, and provide a rebuttal.
Action Bronson Mr. Wonderful
Action is a larger than life character. I consider his debut album that. It doesn’t stick to one label/genre/type. It’s all over the place. It touches multiple things at once. It helps magnify Action’s diversity, both as a musician and as a person.
The Alchemist & Oh No Present Welcome To Los Santos
Alchemist and Oh No took the leftover material from the Grand Theft Auto V score and used it to create an album. They didn’t just stick to what they know (hip-hop) rather they branched out and worked with different artists from other genres. Ultimately, the album proved that both Alchemist and Oh No are not to be fucked with on the production, whether they are collaborating with rappers, bands like Wavves or musicians like MNDR and Tunde Adebimpe, the end result remains the same: dopeness.
Freddie Gibbs Shadow of a Doubt
Gangsta Gibbs is exactly that gangsta. The material on here fits that category. Gibbs is too raw. Gibbs is one of the best rappers out right now, I feel like his recent catalog of work that includes Baby Face Killa, Piñata, and this album, show how effortless this music is to him. Plus, his output rate doesn’t interrupt the quality.
Arguably, Future was the hottest rapper of the year. He followed a string of mixtapes with this banger. The momentum he got from 56 Nights carried into this project. What other album that has recently been released has had an opening line be as much of an insult as a brag? I’ll never look at Gucci flip-flops the same after that bar.
Future 56 Nights
This mixtape did it for me as far as listening to Future goes. The mixtape was crazy! “March Madness” is nuts! Although, I don’t understand a majority of the lyrics, I still get hyped and lose my mind to the Tarentino beat.
Game The Documentary 2
I was uncertain on this project. I’m not a fan of rappers putting out a sequel to a classic album. The Documentary is a classic in my eyes. So, when I first heard Game was going to make his upcoming album a sequel to the 2005 mega-hit, I cringed. I knew he wasn’t going to create something as dope as the first. Now, I can gladly say that I was a bit wrong. Part 2 isn’t a classic but Game still managed to deliver a good album.
Joe Budden All Love Lost
Budden delivered a solid project, which I’m glad he did. The album is dark but I liked it. It’s a project that his core fan base can enjoy. He gave us “Love I’m Good.” For that alone we should be grateful.
Pusha T Darkest Before Dawn (The Prelude)
Pusha hardly ever disappoints me. He is a man of consistency. This album is a prelude to his upcoming album. Usually you hope a prelude is good, it’s a rarity that a prelude is this good. The artist usual saves the better stuff for the album, not Pusha. He gave us some heat on this album. If this prelude is an indication of what is to expect on his forthcoming album, which it should, we are in for a dope album.
Rae Sremmurd Sremmlife
I checked out this album off the strength of “No Type.” I was in awe when I heard it. The album was spectacular. It wasn’t spectacular in the lyrical form. It was spectacular in the overall form. Mike Will’s production is crazy. Combine that production with easy rhymes and catchy hooks from Rae—who I didn’t know was a duo—and you have a winning formula.
Travis Scott Rodeo
I wasn’t big on Travis Scott, I checked out the album because of a friend’s recommendation. Boy, was I glad I did. The album surprised me! It was dope! The featured guests caught my eye but not in a good way, more in a what-is-Scott-doing? The Weekend, Justin Bieber, Young Thug, Toro y Moi, Chief Keef and Quavo made me scratch my head. In the end, all those aforementioned artists added to their respective songs, their addition to Scott’s verses meshed well together.
Vince Staples Summertime ‘06
I’ve become fond of the young rapper in the past couple of years. This project was a different type of California record. It wasn’t about sunny days and women, nor was it relaxing. It was still a California record. It was a real record. We got into the mind of a young dude who grew up in a different time than the previous mainstream West Coast rappers (Game, Kendrick, Snoop, etc.). Staples life is truly amazing. Dude is a well-spoken, intellectual individual, on top of being a great rapper.
Wale The Album About Nothing
Wale took his love for Seinfeld and turned it into a concept album. He delivered. He even got Jerry Seinfeld to step away from his Porsche collection to have a conversation with him. The conversation sparked ideas, which eventually lead to songs. Bits and pieces of the conversation made the album. Also, the album is home to the best song of 2015.