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Top 20 Hip-Hop Albums of 2015

Top 20 Hip-Hop Albums of 2015

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This year’s crop of rap albums certainly trumped last year’s. Kendrick Lamar could take a bow for the turnaround with To Pimp a Butterfly and it didn’t hurt that pop radio added rap songs to its playlists, such as Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”

The West Coast had a renaissance not seen since the early 2000s with Vince Staples’ Summertime ‘06 and Dr. Dre’s Compton. Meanwhile, Future authored a series of acclaimed mixtapes, issued the hallucinatory Dirty Sprite 2, and a jaunt with Drake, What a Time to Be Alive that is a harmlessly fun romp.

Credit Kanye West’s 2013 album Yeezus for a fresh round of maximalist sonic maelstroms, including Tyler, the Creator’s Cherry Bomb, Travis Scott’s Rodeo and A$AP Rocky’s At.Long.Last.A$AP.

Other encouraging trends include Mello Music Group, which became an indie powerhouse with over 15 full-length projects, and Joey Bada$$ shocked the industry when B4.Da.$$ debuted at No. 2. The rise of Dej Loaf, Tink and Rapsody, and the continued dominance of Nicki Minaj fueled hope that women may soon earn equal respect in the rap octagon.

Finally, there were surprises, from the year’s most fun rap album (Rae Sremmurd’s Sremmlife) to Fetty Wap ruling the pop charts, the return of dance fads (Silentó’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”) and iLoveMemphis’ “Hit the Quan”. You know it’s a good year when unexpectedly good things happen.

  1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  2. Future, Dirty Sprite 2
  3. Rae Sremmurd, Sremmlife
  4. Vince Staples, Summertime ‘06
  5. Earl Sweatshirt, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
  6. Dr. Yen Lo, Days with Dr. Yen Lo
  7. Young Thug, Barter 6
  8. Meek Mill, Dreams Worth More Than Money
  9. Dr. Dre, Compton
  10. Lupe Fiasco, Tetsuo & Youth
  11. Death Grips, The Powers That B
  12. Joey Bada$$, B4.Da.$$
  13. Lil Boosie, Touch Down 2 Cause Hell
  14. The Alchemist, Israeli Salad
  15. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, Surf
  16. Fetty Wap, Fetty Wap
  17. Raury, All We Need
  18. Blackalicious, Imani Vol. 1
  19. Dej Loaf, #AndSeeThatsTheThing
  20. Milo, So The Flies Don’t Come

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