Top 40 LPs & EPs of 2015: 40-11
Here we are, the big one. This year’s best LPs and EPs. I’ve spent the last couple of days going through literally dozens and dozens of albums and what seemed like thousands and thousands of tracks from this year to bring you all these lists. It is possible I missed something, it is highly unlikely. I pretty much listened to everything, even this really truly shitty things. If it didn’t make the top 40, here is a Top Albums 2015. This is hardly every album I listened to this year but these are all 50 of the albums I thought deserved to be on a year end list. They were all ranked and then I decided how lost a year end list I really wanted to write up. The answer is yes I did listen to your favorite album, if it’s not on here, I would like to apologize… but I’m just not going to.
No time like the present, let’s get into this.
40. Time & Materials- Cavanaugh
While not up to the same high standards that their respective solo work has been in the last few years Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti deliver a strong EP as Cavanaugh that will satisfy their fan base.
Best Tracks: Screen Play, Overland, Wonder Girl
39. 90059-Jay Rock
Jay Rock remains one of the best spitters in the rap industry today. He often gets over looked because he doesn’t have a deft flow or a long list of quotables but there are few people there are better pure lyricists than Jay Rock.
Best Tracks: Gumbo, Wanna Ride, 90059, Vice City, Money Trees Deuce, The Message
38. Album: Compton, a Soundtrack by Dr. Dre- Dr. Dre
The more I write list week the more I hate this fucking album. It’s literally impossible to find any tracks to link anywhere besides on Steve Jobs’ cunty ghost’s streaming service. But besides that it is impossible to deny that Compton was a good LP. Possibly not worth the near century wait but still good output from a legend in the game.
Best Tracks: Talk About It, Genocide, All in a Day’s Work, Issues, Deep Water, For the Love of Money, Satisfaction, Talking to My Dairy
37. White Men Are Black Men Too- Young Fathers
Scottish hip-hop alternative collective returns to their low-fi sound that brought them critical renowned on their Tape 1 and Tape 2 EPs.
Best Tracks: Shame, 27, Rain or Shine, Liberated, John Doe
36. Indie 500-Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder
Behind a strong performance from Kweli and 9th Wonder as well as a great feature and producer list Indie 500 is Kweli’s best output in years. Hopefully that Blackstar reunion is still in the works.
Best Tracks: Every Ghetto, Life Ahead of Me, Great Day in the Morning, These Waters, King Shit, Understand
35. A Curious Tale of Trials & Persons- Little Simz
While Little Simz’ voice is hard to get past her passion and distinct style is refreshing. There are few rappers who embody the female warrior than Little Simz.
Best Tracks: Persons, The Lights, Gratitude, Dead Body
34. King Push-Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude- Pusha T
Nothing daring on Pusha T’s preview of his full-length to be released in 2016 but honestly there isn’t much more we can ask Pusha. If this is any indication of the quality we can expect next year I look forward to what Push brings us in the new year.
Best Tracks: Untouchable, M.F.T.R., M.P.A., Got Em Covered, Retribution, Sunshine
33. Smyle- KYLE
Just good ol’ fun times, with a whole wrack of clever lines and high top fades. My kind of Tuesday night if you ask me.
Best Tracks: The Force, Don’t Wanna Fall In Love, Endless Summer Symphony, Really? Yeah!, All Alright
32. Words Paint Pictures- Rapper Big Pooh
Mello Music Group signees have had quite a year. Big Pooh is no different. Big Pooh is one of the leaders at the forefront of the trend in hip-hop to the return to the boom bap 90s sound and Words Paint Pictures is an excellent addition to the canon.
Best Tracks: Stop, Promise Land, How I Move, Kings, Promise Land (Apollo Brown Remix)
31. Live & Grow- Casey Veggies
Casey Veggies got his start about 8 years ago with Cali based rap collective, Odd Future, which is hard to believe today considering how different their respective output is today. But Veggies continues to deliver on his solo output.
Best Tracks: I’m the King, Set it Off, New Face$, Wonderful, A Little Time, Aw Man
30. Shadow of a Doubt- Freddie Gibbs
“Dope game hard, rap game easier than a motha fucker.” I guess it would be if you could spit like Gibbs. Every time I try and rap I just end up rhyming nigga with chigga and go figga every line… its embarrassing.
Best Tracks: Rear View, Narcos, Fuck Up the Count, Extradite, Mexico, Freddie Gordy
29. The Good Vibe Tribe-Audio Push
I know they hate it when people bring it up, but it’s still amazing that these are the same guys that tried teach a nigga how to jerk. The California duo of Oktane and Price continues to prove that they’re no joke and The Good Vibe Tribe is more proof of that.
Best Tracks: Ask Me, B.O.W. Down, Heavy, Jumpin’, Mind Trap, Normally, Reset, Take Care
28. What a Weird Day-Michael Christmas
I only listened to this album because of the Mac Miller co-sign. That is a sentence I would have never thought I would say two years ago. But the truth is Michael Christmas brings it on What a Weird Day and accompanied by strong production credits its a good sophmore LP.
Best Tracks: Everything Burrito, Where You Been, Grab Her Hand, I Wrote a Poem, Witness, Just Blaze, Shadows, Gay Black Model Remix
27. Pilot Talk III- Curren$y
It’s Curren$y. You know what to expect. It’s as good as the last one and the one before that and the one before that.
Best Tracks: Cargo Planes, Froze, Get Down, Sidewalk Show, The 560 SL, All I Know, Briefcase
26. 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms- Denzel Curry
I’m never going to complain when you drop a double EP on me, that’s for sure. I’m also never going to complain when Denzel Curry of Rvdxr Klvn fame. The EPs are more related more cursorily than I expected, not to suggest this doesn’t sound like a cohesive work, but the separation between the two EPs is only noticeable if you’re paying really close attention. Not to suggest that is a knock on this double release at all.
Best Tracks: 32 Ave Intro, Ultimate, Lord Vader Kush II, Underwater, Planet Shrooms, Smoke 2049
25. Third Side of Tape-Lil Ugly Mane
This track is not on Lil Ugly Mane’s newest release. There aren’t really any tracks on Third Side of Tape so the format doesn’t really apply here. Actually the only reason I heard about Lil Ugly Mane was because of a line from Open Mike Eagle’s track “Doug Stamper” which seems to poke fun at this very video.
But I gave Third Side of Tape a listen because it got pretty decent buzz. Third Side of Tape is made up of six sorta compilation sorta mixes of which the shortest runs about 18:13. The truth is Lil Ugly Mane doesn’t give a fuck if you like his music, the LP is a hard listen but rewarding; it’s a multi-genre two hour LP that both jumps all around the map stylistically but also feels very intentional.
24. Shedding Skin- Ghostpoet
Ghostpoet is a rapper/singer from the UK whose last few EPs have garnered a lot of critical attention for his unique style and social content. Shedding Skin is a step back from his 2013 LP Some Say I So I Say Light but it is still an impressive LP in its own right.
Best Tracks: Off Peak Dreams; X Marks the Spot; Yes, I Helped You Pack; That Ring Down the Drain Kind of Feeling, Nothing in the Way
Pell sells himself as the nice boy next door but really he’s angrier than all of us–I can respect that, I respect that a lot. Limbo is a fascinating mixture of optimism, bleak lyricism, and fantastic production.
Best Tracks: Monday Morning, Almighty Dollar, Café du Monde, Queso, Confession, The Wild, Sandlot
22. Summertime ’06- Vince Staples
Oh boy! Full-length debut release of by Vince Staples, can I be sure the world is ready for this? It may not have been everything I had hoped for from Vince Staples the poster boy for righteous youth rage. Actually it is Staples who disappoints on this LP with a fantastic production lineup. The truth is though even Staples at less than his best he is definitely still one of the best in the game.
Best Track: Lift Me Up, Birds & Bees, Jump Off the Roof, Señorita, 3230, Surf, Get Paid, Street Punks, Hang n’ Bang
21. Persona- Mello Music Group
Collab album from the roster of Mello Music Group? Yes, please and thank you. I’ll take another too please. There are few labels now that sport as much talent as Mello Music Group, possible only Jamla Records could give them a run for their money to be honest. And the strong roster of producers and MCs makes for an excellent ensemble album.
Best Tracks: Requiem, Celebrity Reduction Prayer, Sometimes I Feel, The Run, Apollo, Word to the Wise, Dark Comedy Late Show, Lose the Ground, No Future
20. Wave[s]-Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins follows up to last years pseudo-concept album The Water[s] with the EP Wave[s] which seems to be kind of a sequel and also something that is very different from last year’s LP. Jenkins continues with the same imagery and philosophical themes that were in The Water[s] but the feeling of Wave[s] differs greatly.
Best Tracks: Get Up Get Down, Your Love, Piano, 40 Below, Perception
19. The Documentary 2.5-The Game
I’ve never been too impressed by The Game which is probably why it took me so long to listen to The Documentary 2.5 but I was pleasantly surprised. In no way does The Game change up his style on this LP but the conceptual style of the album as well some of the more heartfelt tracks are an ambitious move from The Game.
Best Tracks: Magnus Carlsen, Crenshaw/808s and Cocaine, The Ghetto, Last Time You Seen, Up on the Wall
18. The Incredible True Story-Logic
Logic brings to The Incredible True Story what he consitently brings to all his releases, punchy upbeat production and witty lyricism. Some people called this a concept album, those people didn’t listen to this album obviously.
Best Tracks: Fade Away, Like Woah, I am the Greatest, Lord Willin’, Stainless, Run It
17. GO:OD AM-Mac Miller
I don’t know which performance enhancing drugs you take to become a good rapper but someone should check Mac Miller for all of them.
Best Tracks: Doors, Two Matches, Time Flies, Clubhouse, In the Bag, Break The Law, When In Rome, Ascension, Jump
16. Anesthesia-Verbal Kent
I’m realizing I may have dropped he ball on Mello Music Group on the distributors list this year. I very clearly should have had them over Netflix with the output of their roster this year. Verbal Kent’s album was so good I put three white rappers on the list in a row… that’s basically blasphemy.
Best Tracks: September, Suit Case Switch, Wilkes Booth, Save Face
15. Bad Neighbor-MED, Blue, & Madlib
This could have easily been a top 10 maybe even top 5 album if Madlib didn’t love Madlib so damn much. In a way the producer whose instrumentals made this LP so strong may be to blame for its lower rating. The beats are mixed so high throughout the LP that it washes out some of the more brilliant lyricists on tracks this year.
Best Tracks: Serving, Peroxide, The Stroll, Finer Things, Burgundy Whip
14. Pink Polo EP-Masego x Medasin
Medasin might actually be a god. We can have no proof to the contrary honestly. The Pink Polo EP just showed up on my Soundcloud stream one day and I ate that shit up probably like three times straight.
Best Tracks: Bounce, Throwin’ Shade, Girls That Dance
13. Rodeo-Travi$ Scott
Who knew art-trap was a thing? Not I. Travi$ Scott obviously got the memo before me though. Rodeo is one of the most surprisingly beautiful albums of 2015. Future should take note.
Best Track: Oh My Dis Side, Wasted, Pray 4 Love, Piss On Your Grave, Antidote, Impossible, Flying High, Apple Pie
12. Every Hero Needs a Villain-Czarface
Did you like Madvillainy? Do you like boombap lyricism? Do you have two ears? Czarface is the MC for you. If you don’t have two ears… I’m sorry, I’ve heard people like Taylor Swift.
Best Tracks: Czartacus, Lumber Jack Match, Nightcrawler, World Premier, The Great, Ka-Bang!, Escape From Czarkham Asylum, Good Villains
11. Today, I Wrote Nothing-Billy Woods
Floomany Twothmano a.k.a. the internet’s hardest working music nerd, a.k.a. theneedledrop categorized this LP as a “sketch book.” Which I think is a marvelous description of Today, I Wrote Nothing. The LP is made up of 24 disjointed tracks mostly about two minutes. It seems a lot like a compilation album but with not much relation between the tracks except for that they all come from the mad genius mind of Billy Woods. That is not to suggest the LP doesn’t flow because it certainly does. But as the intro suggests, Today, I Wrote Nothing seems a lot like Billy Woods was bored and decided to just throw together all the stray thoughts in his rap book. Because of how skilled and MC Billy Woods is listening to his “sketch book” is as good if not better than almost all the other musicians out there.
Best Tracks: Flatlands, Woodhull, Zulu Tolstoy, Born Yesterday, Poor Company, Dreams Come True, Lambs, RPMS, Borrowed Time, Good Night