Welcome to the 2015 edition of HipHopDX’s Year End Awards. In keeping with tradition, this is the time of year when we collectively reflect on all that has transpired in Hip Hop during the last 12 months. To be sure, there have been high points and moments many may consider to be the exact opposite. We aim to cover them all before the calendar flips on what we expect to be a monumental year for the music and the culture.
Throughout the remainder of the holiday season, DX’s editorial staff and a stable of freelance contributors will update this page with those that made this year memorable. Check back each morning for a fresh round of award winners. Salute to the victors and runners-up who made 2015 one of the strongest years in Hip Hop history, and we hope our selections make you debate and reminisce while being entertained during a safe and happy holiday season. Major appreciation to all of the music industry experts who also participated in this year’s voting.
Emcee Of The Year
Kendrick Lamar is our “Emcee Of The Year” not only because of the magnificent To Pimp A Butterfly but because of the fluidity of his Hip Hop identity. Not only has he managed to take up the mantle left by the likes of Rawkus, The Soulquarians, The Native Tongues and G-Funk, but he’s managed to do it while bridging both rap worlds with relative ease. His staccato, rapid-fire rhyme schemes, and vocal intonations are now a signature instead of a mask, and he’s ascended into the stratosphere of rap royalty. Kendrick Lamar is in his prime.
He’s also thoroughly crossed over. His single with Taylor Swift titled, well, just perfectly, “Bad Blood” was also nominated for a Grammy award. His strange blue light of a song “i,” won the Grammy last year in what seemed like almost a makeup for losing the trophy to Macklemore the year before. He didn’t attend. He knows now, like almost no one else in the game, exactly what people don’t know they want. That makes him a visionary giving a fickle 2015 audience what they don’t even yet know they desire. He straddles all these worlds while being buried in his faith, which informs his message at every turn. And, sure, sometimes he can be a bit heavy-handed (Lucy?) but he’s melded down all those parts of himself into a rap elixir both substantive and intoxicating.
For that, Kendrick Lamar is our champion for 2015. And even if the crown is heavy upon whoever wears it, Kendrick’s got as good a chance as any to wear it long into the distant future.
Drake’s year was a tumultuous one. The guy who said if you dissed him you’d never get a reply to it did reply. It was ferocious, methodical and musical, a light storm whipped into a hurricane and Meek Mill felt the wrath. His own reply came much too late and underwhelmed, and, in the meantime, “Back To Back” has seen unbelievable popularity and a Grammy nom. That was only part of Drake’s year, though.
“Hotline Bling” is easily the breakout hit of the latter part of the year, dominating the airwaves. It almost became his first number one if it weren’t for Apple Music. Speaking of Apple, choosing Jobs land over Tidal proved to be another right move in a sea of them for Drake. And that doesn’t even speak on IYRTITL, one of the best albums of the year and, probably, a beautiful low-key jab at his boss Birdman. Is there anyone more calculated and on the pulse of what’s happening than Drake? Did we mention he’s rapping better than he ever has? With two of the game’s best emcees in their prime right now it’s going to be fun going into the second half of the decade.
This is the second year in a row Vince made the “Emcee Of The Year” runner-up, and the young, Long Beach emcee deserves all of the praise he’s getting. His talent is remarkable. A deft combination of wit and irreverence. And that project! Summertime ‘06 was a stark look at fame and rap as mere zoo’s for a voracious, savage public. He’s right.
Album Of The Year
To Pimp A Butterfly
The media loved it. Virtually everyone else touted its merit, too. Heck, even HipHopDX gave it a perfect 5 in its album review. Yes, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is HipHopDX’s Album Of The Year.
The Compton, California rapper’s second major label album was introduced through the ambitious single “i,” a rare Rap single about loving yourself. Lamar’s confidence to confront those lacking said quality in such a potent manner speaks volumes to his artistic power. His ability to make it a palatable message to those who needed to hear it most makes it exemplary art.
Much of the rest of To Pimp A Butterfly follows suit with equally important but different topics, whether it’s pro-Blackness (“The Blacker The Berry”), perseverance in the face of adversity (“Alright”) or the need to treat each person with respect, not disdain (“How Much A Dollar Cost”).
Showing his deft songwriting, Lamar even injects social commentary into his songs with an extra thump (“King Kunta”). In fact, the collection’s smoothest selection boasts multiple entendre in its storyline (“These Walls”).
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly was among the most anticipated albums of 2015. It ended up being the best, too.
Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
Referencing the summer when Vince Staples graduated into manhood, Summertime ’06 serves as the starkest Rap soundtrack of 2015. On his debut album, the Long Beach, California rapper looks inward and documents the confusing chaos taking place in Staples’ mind and the world around him. “Lift Me Up” is a bleak call for help, while “Norf Norf” details the hypocrisy of utopian social movement slogans compared to the grim reality in the trenches of urban America. With beats as moody as Vince’s poignancy, Summertime ’06 isn’t a safe place to visit.
Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise
After proving he could make hit songs, Big Sean took the next step in 2015. Dark Sky Paradise showed he could make a great album. Single “I Don’t Fuck With You” expertly walked the fine line of commercial and credible, while “Blessings” featured the Detroit rapper partnering with Drake for a legendary lyrical exercise.
Underrated Album Of The Year
The Good Fight
Artists like Oddisee are sometimes faced with being overlooked despite making extremely high-quality music that never ceases to impress once given a chance. Getting one’s voice heard is always the difficult part. In an industry where trap and shallow themes become commercially addictive ways of getting attention, The D.C. native’s opus The Good Fight does a fantastic job of showcasing both his strive for making uncompromising music and inner turmoil. Tracks including “Contradiction’s Maze” and “Meant It When I Said It” aren’t just tracks featuring top notch rhymes and mood setting production. Both are honest views into the plight of an emcee attempting to win a seemingly losing battle within the rap game. Thankfully whether he knows or not, he’s definitely winning by a landslide. Simply put, Oddisee has officially made himself Hip Hop’s underground statesman through The Good Fight.
Curtiss King – Raging Waters
West Coast emcee/producer Curtiss King spent the past several years releasing projects that flew under-the-radar alongside his time producing for artists including Murs and Ab-Soul. His best work to date, Raging Waters is a grand statement from the Inland Empire native. King displays his ability to curate rhymes that are witty, introspective and flat-out comical. There isn’t a better example as “Give It 2 Me” and “Hump Day.” His production also managed to improve significantly as well, which feels like a more mature take on West Coast sounds. Taking that notion even further, Raging Waters ends with one of the unique covers of 2015 as King remakes Domino’s classic jam “Ghetto Jam.”
Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – 12 Reasons To Die II
Ghostface Killah not only kicked off the year with his Sour Soul collaboration with BadBadNotGood but rejoined Hip Hop’s favorite analog guru Adrian Younge for a sequel to 2013’s Twelve Reasons To Die. Those appreciating the street-tale/comic book fantasy of the original are treated to a project that feels even more finely tuned. If Wu-Tang albums are the equivalent to The Justice League, Twelve Reasons To Die II is a side story that features other members as notable side characters (RZA and Raekwon specifically) for Tony Stark’s gritty crime drama. And yes, Younge is as good as ever in his role as producer. The vintage feel returns with an even greater vibe.
Underrated Artist Of The Year
2015 is officially Skeme’s breakout year. He released both Ingleworld 2 and 3 this year, making him one of the most consistent emcees of the year. In fact, both projects saw him rise from hyper-local L.A. sensation to bonafide breakout act, and it’s several years in the making. His style echos Tupac without biting him and his considerable wit have only become more seasoned as his career has continued. Hard work really does pay off.
“Khalil’s Song” was a beautiful if not hood version of Ta-nehisi Coates Between The World And Me, a careful ode to his son and the rare leak off of Ingleworld 2. The follow-up to Ingleworld was set to be a double-disc, however — all the rage these days — and so Ingleworld 3 burst onto the scene again soon afterward with stripped down guest features, creating a more intimate feel. It’s what he needed, and now there seems to be nothing stopping the newest Inglewood representative to breach the national stage.
The morose I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is the yin to the yang of starry-eyed youth spectacles like Surf. It stands as a relayer of the stark inner realities that make Earl so difficult to listen to and yet also so satisfying and so beloved. All that considerable talent is not only still there on this years saddest project, but so is all the angst of a young man adrift amongst a sea of “yes.” He moved to Hollywood, dead smack in the center of excess and he hated it. That’s good enough for me. Here’s hoping Earl becomes the sober rap Bukowski to this generation’s focus on droll, meaningless encounters, and hyper-sharing.
King Mez was featured on three of the best offerings off Dr. Dre’s long awaited and decidedly final project Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre. He showed out, but the North Carolina kid with the penchant for K. Dot like rhymes has been a long-time-coming. He’s got it all: wit, candor, and flow. And he’s a deep thinker, penetrating topics that other emcees dare not tread upon. Will that be enough? We hope so.
Producer Of The Year
When you produce the biggest artists and several of the biggest songs from said artists in the same year, you’re running the game. Check how artists and songs are both plural? There are no droughts in Metro Boomin’s ZIP code. Believe that.
The Atlanta-based beatsmith showed that he could work in concert behind the boards, cranking out the sonically schizophrenic club and party anthem “3500” for Travi$ Scott, Future and 2 Chainz with a cadre of other sonic masterminds and also getting his tag-team on with “3500” cohort Allen Ritten for the spooky sonics of Future’s depraved “Thought It Was Drought.”
Of course, Metro Boomin kept DS2 flowing with the peculiar “Where Ya At,” perfectly setting the stage for the Future and Drake’s What A Time To Be Alive and its atmospheric “Jumpman.”
From smash singles to street-certified album cuts, Metro Boomin ran 2015.
As the sonic mastermind behind Vince Staples’ dynamic double-disc debut, No I.D. showcased the power of Rap’s dark side. Summertime ’06 indeed demonstrated that Rap still resonates when it transmits the pain and poignancy of uber articulate artists bent on highlighting the scores sapping salvation from urban America. The haunting potency of the Chicago beatsmith’s work on both discs of the Long Beach, California rapper’s album are textbook examples of mournful soul that lingers long after the music stops.
Mike WiLL Made-It
Yeah, he produced for other cats in 2015, but Mike WiLL Made-It’s year was all about his work on Rae Sremmurd’s SremmLife. The tremendous trio of “No Flex Zone,” “Throw Sum Mo” and “No Type” alone showcased the Atlanta-based beatsmith’s sonics at their best: hypnotizing, hood and somehow simultaneously ratchet and mainstream radio-ready. Talk about producing.
Beat Of The Year
“F*ck Up Some Commas”
Getting lost in the large majority of music Future released between Fall of 2014 and the release of DS2 is fairly understandable. One of the highlights was obviously Monster’s “F*ck Up Some Commas” which eventually re-released as his third feature length album’s first single. DJ Spinz and Southside allowed Future Hendrix to ride everything from the piano loop and blaring siren to the bass overload on this Trap epic. All of it allowed the next generation Dungeon Family representative to spit his best hook to date. The backing track gave Future the ability to do exactly what he does best; spit rhymes in a melodic way that doesn’t sound loose but extremely focused within all the sonic chaos.
Travi$ Scott – “Antidote”
“Antidote” is Travi$ Scott’s breakout single and drug filled turn-up of the year. The producer/emcee finally perfected his Wild West approach to trap. It wouldn’t be a Scott production without some interesting touches including the warbled bass that always kicks in at the right time or the dynamics that rise until its unfortunate end. If this is the soundtrack to the “late show,” the pure unadulterated debauchery mentioned should make sense for anyone spending a check on the weekend.
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
To Pimp A Butterfly literally could be considered a timeline through the history of black music as K.Dot spits poetic commentary on himself and a plethora of black issues. For those looking for immediate gratification, “Alright” is clearly the album’s most approachable track. Sounwave and Pharrell manage to make trap sound intelligent. Even more so when one adds Terrace Martin’s aggressive sax into the mix. It’s the blending of live instrumentation and current trends that feels like a bridging the gap moment.
Video Of The Year
We are in a time where an artist drops videos for just about everything from freestyles to studio sessions to vlogs. With video content dropping all day every day, it’s like a breath of fresh air when you see a grippy new visual from an artist. We chose Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” for video of the year because it was such a powerful song and featured an even more powerful video. Kendrick starts off reciting parts of the poem we heard on “Mortal Man,” a track with striking images of poverty, police shootings, community fluctuations, violence and more. Which then leads into Kendrick in the car with his Black Hippy label mates as he recites a new verse that we all wish would secretly just drop as a full song already. We come to the end of that verse with the powerful image of four policemen carrying the car the men are riding in. The rest of the video you can find Kendrick floating around the city like a superhero while all the kids look up to him as he reassures them that everything will be alright in the world. Then he’s shot, but does he die? “Alright” is an idea, a credo that will surely survive long after him.
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
The runner-up had to go to Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” of course. In a time where rap is seen as hardcore and explicit, Drake drops a very fun and vivacious video for his hot new single that still has the Internet going nuts. It was hard not to see a #DrakeAlwaysOnBeat video floating around a timeline near you.
Vince Staples – “Señorita”
Second-runner-up is Vince Staples “Señorita.” The jaw-dropping, soul punching black and white visual for Vince’s Future-assisted single. The video starts off depicting what you believe are urbanites set against the backdrop of a typical suburban community, but it’s not until you see bodies dropping that you realize there is nothing typical about this community at all. There’s police brutality, cultural appropriation and so much more all jam packed in just under four minutes. At the very end you realize the deeper meaning, these people are prisoners in their own community and the picture of the white family at the end shows you that this is how “white” America view minorities and their communities. So deep, so touching.
Verse Of The Year
“Back To Back”
It was the verse heard ‘round the world. Everyone knew that Drake was going to retaliate against Meek Mill’s Twitter allegations that ghostwriters pen his platinum hits. We just didn’t expect him to reduce Philly’s finest to a set of Twitter Fingers. As soon as Drizzy dropped that scathing “is that a world tour or your girl’s tour… this ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more” couplet, Milly had absolutely gotten “bodied by a singing nigga.” Even if he had taken three weeks… a month… two months to respond, it’s hard to imagine if he could’ve countered the way “Back To Back” commanded the club and national radio.
That’s Drake’s battle M.O.—create caustic responses that are unavoidable; that everyone will hear. In the end, “Back To Back” wasn’t just some piece to a rap-culture only conflict. It was a bonafide smash, becoming the first diss track to snag a Grammy nomination in the process. Win-or-lose, at least, Meek gets to be a part of history.
Kendrick Lamar – “The Blacker The Berry”
The third verse to Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker The Berry” has it all: nuance, self-assurance, self-reflection, contextual relevance, style, a surprise conclusion. “So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street when gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? Hypocrite!” Compton’s lyrical king invited a conversation that’s unfortunately too common and too often has no easy real world solutions, brought it all home by turning the pen inwards, then had the gumption to make the track one of To Pimp A Butterfly’s singles. Bravo.
Lupe Fiasco – “Mural”
It’s difficult to say whether “Mural” is Lupe Fiasco’s best collection of bars. But it might be. Those eight minutes and 49 seconds of mega-stanzas move like “Dumb It Down” on performance enhancers, harkening to early Cornell Westside, yet infinitely more polished. “You gotta treat your vocal chords like it’s a fortress,” Lu flows like a fountain full of words. “And treat every single one of your words like reinforcements and especially when you’re recording because that’s the portion that’s important when I was reporting that I was poor / But now I’m more than.” It’s the art of emceeing at its finest—the perfect way to set off his incredible comeback album, Tetsuo & Youth. Fiasco fanatics rejoice.
Fetty Wap dominated airplay this year with his breakout single “Trap Queen.” But the Paterson, New Jersey native did not stop there. He churned out hit after hit with “679,” “Again” and “My Way,” which was graced with a Drake verse for the remix. Fetty Wap has an uncanny ability to turn street content into radio-friendly pop singles. Those pies aren’t from Marie Calendar’s… Where can Fetty Wap go from here? We don’t know, but we are excited to see.
Anderson .Paak first caught our attention when he was one of the many new artists on Dr. Dre’s Compton tracklist. Then, when we heard the music, we, and the rest of the world, were impressed. When we learned that he literally poured water on his face while recording “Deep Water,” we knew this guy took his artistry seriously. Since his breakout on Compton, the Oxnard, California singer appeared on The Game’s The Documentary 2.5 and teamed up with Knxwledge, Blended Babies and others to create some solid music. It’s looking up for .Paak.
We don’t really know what to label Travi$ Scott as, but that’s ok. He’s a rapper whose shows are punk-inspired and he definitely has a rock influence, too. Travi$ Scott released his debut album Rodeo this year and gave us some heat like “Antidote” and “3500.” His work with Kanye West should help propel him to even further heights. Straight up!
Comeback Of The Year
2015 was an incredible year for the city of Compton. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is still collecting accolades. Game returned with two albums in two weeks (The Documentary 2 & 2.5). Both sit comfortably near the top of his catalog. The N.W.A biopic, Straight Outta Compton grossed over $161 million domestically and $200 million globally. All of which, in one way or another, are directly tied to rap’s richest man, Dr. Dre. Oh yeah, and he also found room to drop his first album in 15 years, Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre. Whether a fan of the music, the movie, the moves made by his proteges or Apple Music, no one from within the genre has ever dominated so many separate mediums so magnanimously simultaneously.
Game’s reality TV exploits and social media shenanigans have been the catalyst for his popularity in recent years. While VH1’s Marrying The Game and She’s Got Game, along with his Instagram account made him a bonafide superstar, his music is what resonated most in 2015. Game released The Documentary 2 and 2.5 in consecutive weeks, reasserting all the lyrical reasons why we cared about the Compton emcee in the first place.
To say Future is prolific is an understatement. In 2015, the Atlanta artist released Beast Mode, 56 Nights, the heralded Dirty Sprite 2 and the inescapable What A Time To Be Alive with Drake. The latter two both debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. All of which were not only found rattling whips and strip clubs nationwide, but critically praised as well.
What A Time To Be Alive
When it came out that Drake and Future were in the studio together, the world went nuts. Rumors starting flying that the two might drop an album together and it felt like when Jay and Ye announced Watch The Throne. If their collar “Where Ya At” was any indication of what the project would sound like it was sure to be a banger, or so we thought. This album was easily one of the most disappointing albums this year. It’s said that the album was made in six days and that’s exactly what it sounds like. A rush album with no chemistry whatsoever. All the songs sounded like typical Future track or a Drake me classic instead of a cohesive blend of the two artists sharing their talents in a studio together. The last track on the album didn’t even feature Future and that is the one track we would have love to hear him tackle since it was indeed a collar album. We just wanted so much more from an album that was pumped up to possibly be the album of the year.
Wale – The Album About Nothing
Not that we expected much from an album about nothing but that is exactly what we got, an album about absolutely nothing. Wale’s cries for attention don’t really make the situation any better. We wanted so much more from the Seinfeld-themed album being that his 2010 mixtape of the same theme was so successful. This should have been Wale’s “1,” his best album yet, instead it was quickly forgotten as fast as it came.
Casey Veggies – Live & Grow
Everyone wanted a great album from the young Inglewood native. With this being his first full-length major-label project and having more access to resources and creative freedom, we thought this album would surely be a gem. Instead, Live & Grow fails to show enough evolution to move into Hip Hop’s major league. Instead of sticking to his usual, the album sounds like Casey was attempting to bridge the gap between mainstream radio hits and music from the past, but it just didn’t blend together cohesively and didn’t really show the growth from the artist we had such high hopes for.
Mixtape Of The Year
Big KRIT – It’s Better This Way
Big K.R.I.T. brought smiles to our faces when he quietly dropped It’s Better This Way with DJ Drama. K.R.I.T. unleashed his signature storytelling and experimented with old school soundscapes to create quite a project. The Mississippi rapper enlisted heavy hitters to make appearances on the tape including Warren G, Ludacris and Young Dolph. The material ranges from jazzy grooves like “No Static” to straight bangers like “86.” Even though K.R.I.T. is a household name for most Hip Hop Heads, he has yet to break into mainstream success and this adds to his catalog that keeps us scratching our heads as to why he remains off the radio airwaves. But he doesn’t seem to mind, so we won’t question it too hard, either. Perhaps it’s better this way.
Future – Beast Mode
Future dominated airwaves with songs like “F*ck Up Some Commas,” “Where Ya At” and “Jumpman,” but when he joined forces with Zaytoven to create Beast Mode, he gave us one of our favorites mixtapes of 2015. Future plastered the mixtape scene this year with the success of 56 Nights, too, but this one stands out as the cream of the crop. At nine tracks, Beast Mode is fairly short and the lone feature comes from Juvenile. But despite its run-time of less than 30 minutes, the replay-ability is heavy. Future sets the stage nicely for his Dirty Sprite 2 album and Zaytoven reminds everyone why he is one of the most highly-sought beat-smiths in the game.
Young Thug – Barter 6
Young Thug has made plenty of headlines this year from beefing with The Game to being accused of conspiring with Birdman to kill Lil Wayne. His Barter 6 mixtape is no less guilty of controversy from the title, a ripoff of Weezy’s Tha Carter series to the fact that Thugger posed naked for the cover art. But what matters is that we loved the music. Loved it. This was the most articulate the Atlanta rapper sounded yet. He wowed us with his wordplay and melodies that he does in a way that is utterly his own. And the fact that he got some stellar verses from Birdman doesn’t hurt the tape’s case for one of the best of 2015.
Non Hip Hop Of The Year
Beauty Behind The Madness
The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind The Madness marked his second major label release, and it came after cementing himself as a bonafide pop sensation. A few forces conspired to his ascension. The alt-R&B genre he helped usher in with House Of Balloons became backed by a societal focus on the darker side of love. 50 Shades Of Grey became a motion picture. And the book that saved the publishing industry produced a soundtrack that featured The Weeknd’s softcore VHS “Earned It.” The tongue-in-cheek titled ear turner created a typhoon for The Weeknd that seemed to only build in intensity throughout the year.
Everything else he put out was just as much of a smash. The Kanye West produced “Tell Your Friends” rounded out the year, but the meat of the sandwich were radio staples “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Often.” The monumental achievement for Abel Tesfaye, though, was his bridging of the druggy, macabre R&B he specialized with into the soul of the mainstream audience. Everyone from housewives to emo-kids bump Abel, and he’s transcended into naked superstardom. For a while there it seemed unlikely that Abel would reach his pinnacle the way Frank Ocean did with Channel Orange. But, in fact, he may have flown even higher, becoming a pop star without seeming to sacrifice his dark matter in any way.
Kehlani – You Should Be Here
Her second mixtape in two years saw her put all the pieces together, as Kehlani broke through the alt-R&B haze into the limelight. Chances are that she was always a star, but it was her breakout single with Chicago luminary Chance The Rapper, “The Way,” that thrust her into Spotify playlists of young millennials all over the country. She’s ridden the wave with aplomb, applying her signature songwriting to slick Aaliyah like flow to create an updated version of the introverted hymns sweeping the nation.
Ty Dolla $ign – Free TC
Free TC is Ty’s debut album, and it lives up to the hitmaker’s billing as one of the most innovative proto-R&B voices in the game. His lithe sound, created along with DJ Mustard, ushered in the second wave of West Coast dominance with hits like “Blase” and “When I See Ya.” His album delivered when almost everyone thought he was nothing but a string of radio hits, and now the sky’s the limit.
Collaboration Of The Year
“Where Ya At”
Years back, Drake hopped on the remix of “Tony Montana” with a then-unknown Future. Eventually, a rift would form between the two over an alleged failed video appearance. Drizzy ascended to pop icon status while Future Hendrix pushed forward to earning hit after hit despite a disappointing sophomore album Honest. Of course, the Atlanta rapper found newfound inspiration by releasing the now classic trilogy of mixtapes Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights. This all set the stage for what would become his best album to date, DS2. Interestingly enough, the only feature verse came from October’s Very Own himself for “Where Ya At.” Hearing Toronto’s hero collaborate on an equal playing field with Future over Metro Boomin’s drug infused production set the stage for this year’s biggest joint project What A Time To Be Alive.
Kendrick Lamar f. Pharrell – “Alright”
Let’s be honest, Pharrell’s hook for “Alright” is more than just a catchy call of hope. For heaven’s sake, nearly every civil rights march of 2015 following the release of To Pimp A Butterfly has featured chants of “We gon’ be alright.” Some, in fact, called “Alright” this generation’s “We Shall Overcome.” King Kendrick also spits his aggressive flow giving himself confidence in the face of personal demons and troubles of the outside world. If black America needed a sign of assurance in the midst of police brutality and racism, “Alright” is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Ty Dolla $ign f. Future & Rae Sremmurd – “Blase´”
Ty Dolla $ign could be considered this generation’s king of ratchet R&B. “Blase” could be considered his club turn-up record for this climate of the music genre. The West Coast/Atlanta collaboration could be considered one of 2015’s most pivotal club bangers thanks to Future and Rae Sremmurd. In terms of his debut Free TC, “Blase” is the most turnt moment of the album that’s mainly full of contemporary R&B moments including features with Babyface and Jagged Edge of all artists. If anyone needed a backing sound to their nightly club hop around Hollywood, Ty Dolla $ign full delivered.