True Too’s Top 15 Albums of 2015

top 15 albums of the year

It wouldn’t come as a total shock if hip-hop artists collectively promised to make better music as a part of their 2015 New Years resolution. 2015 was loaded in comparison to its yesteryear. It had everything: A surprise album from the game’s biggest star, an instant classic from the chosen one, an abundance of long-awaited releases, and even a great diss track. Widely regarded as one of the best years in rap, TrueToo systematically decided which albums offered the best vibrations of this year. The takes were hot, the arguing was plentiful, and the winner was – y’know – kind of obvious. Nevertheless, wrapping up 2015 and providing you guys the list was our favourite gift of 2015. It’s only been one year here at TrueToo, but it’s been a fantastic time to start. This list will be a good way to cap it off.

206f51dba8b7110fbf31b3d429d8294a

 

15. Mr. Wonderful – Action Bronson

After a plethora of mixtapes and EP’s, the former-chef from Flushing, Queens released his full-length album in March. Action Bronson includes some of his old recipes, some new flavours, and some questionable results, but overall this album had enough to squeeze into the Top 15. Leading off our list is, Mr. Wonderful.

Listen: Action Bronson feat. Chance The Rapper – “Baby Blue”

Discussion

Michael Charlebois

Mr. Wonderful!

Christopher Ng
It sucks.

David Chris Otu
Damn.

Quentin Yarolem
It was “ight”. I really only fucked with Baby Blue, Easy Rider, and Actin’ Crazy. It wasn’t bad but didn’t get much replay.

David Chris Otu
What about Falconry? Brand New Car was a great intro.

Michael Charlebois
PASS ME THE BALL FOO.

Chris Robinson
Terry and City Boy Blues tho.

Quentin Yarolem
I just never found myself going back to it. They were good songs, but not good enough to be memorable.

David Chris Otu
Terry was amazing.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah, the instrumental is too nice.

David Chris Otu
City Boy Blues was asscheeks.

Chris Robinson
Hahahaha.

David Chris Otu
So was Only in America.

Chris Robinson
I thought half the songs on that album were great and the other half average to bad.

David Chris Otu
I agree that the interludes were bad. They didn’t contribute to the album in any way, and they came across as a waste of time. Interludes are good when used to strengthen the story or just overall grittiness of the album. The ones on Mr. Wonderful were just dumb.

Chris Robinson
Thug Love Story 2017 would be my worst interlude of the year if Cudi hadn’t dropped.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Mr. wonderful was good but none of the tracks were anything that I’d go back to and listen to. Personally, a digest and drop sort of album for me.

Michael Charlebois
I think it was a modest attempt for Bronson to put together his first ‘album’ and although it has its ups and downs and isn’t necessarily wholesome, it’s still a fun project.

czgYrPLQ

14. Travi$ Scott – Rodeo

It’s lit! Travi$ Scott’s major-label debut has been one of rap’s most discussed albums of the year. The aesthetic is magnetizing and just one listen to the beat change on “90210,” or the bass drop on “3500” will help you hear it. The wild personality and artistry of Travi$ lands him in the Top 15.

Listen: Travi$ Scott – “Antidote”

Discussion

Michael Charlebois:

Very atmospheric.

Quentin Yarolem
Still haven’t listened to it lol.

Chris Robinson
Rodeo is nice, a few songs sound too similar though.

David Chris Otu
You can read my review on my thoughts on Rodeo on this website I write album reviews for called Truetoo.co.

Michael Charlebois
Shameless plug.


David Chris Otu
Yep haha.

Ross Michael

How much would it cost for us to buy the m on the end of .co?

Mark Anthony Zoleta
I also think we should buy the m.

Chris Robinson
Start a Kickstarter for the m.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Anyway, Rodeo isn’t something I’d listen to… it’s too normal to me.

Chris Robinson
I only go back to Antidote and Oh My Dis Side.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Antidote’s a good hit.

Keelen Wolfe
Just recently started to like Rodeo… tons of sleeper tracks. I dig Apple Pie, Flyin’ High. Antidote and 3500 are two of the years best party anthems. Overall great album. I thought it’s placement on the list could have been 2 or 3 higher.

Vince Cammarota
Rodeo had too many features to be amazing, the features were the best parts. I think it was a little bit before/after its time.

Chris Robinson
That Toro Y Moi song (Flyin’ High) is jarring in the context of the rest to me. The beat switch in pornography is fucking good, though.

Michael Charlebois
At first I thought it wouldn’t be in my top 15, but the production is very evocative, and the features strengthen it. Although Travis’ performance isn’t memorable by any means which hinders it a bit.

Chris Robinson
His performance isn’t memorable but his aesthetic is.

Michael Charlebois
Agreed.

Chris Robinson
I can tell each song is a Travis song which is good.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Wow, I’m listening to 90210 right now and that beat switch is fantastic. There’s a specific chop that Travis Scott has in 90210 that reminds me of Family Business.

Keelen Wolfe
He samples Family Business/the song Family Business samples. You’re not imagining things.

Vince Cammarota
Don’t sleep on it Mark!

Keelen Wolfe
As far as solo Travy songs go, Apple Pie is pretty damn good, and definitely overlooked. There’s a verse he does right before he finishes rapping, and TI comes in; that’s my favourite part on the album.

Michael Charlebois
Anything else?

Keelen Wolfe
It’s low key at the night show.

Michael Charlebois
True.

Keelen Wolfe

I completely attribute the rise of “it’s lit” to Antidote.

6283beab

13. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside

The album’s title says it all. This is something to be played while locked in your room on a cloudy day and a blunt in hand. Darkness seeps through at every corner and Earl’s smooth flow glides off the beats effortlessly. It’s not an easy listen, but the aura will hook you, and for some of the team, that was indeed the case.

Listen: Earl Sweatshirt – “Grief”

Discussion

Quentin Yarolem
Smooth, cohesive, and very very dark. It’s like “let’s turn off the lights and smoke a spliff on the couch” music.

Christopher Ng
Lmao.

Quentin Yarolem
DNA is one of the best songs this year.

Keelen Wolfe
This didn’t make it on mine. My only thought is AM//Radio and Huey are kinda cool… otherwise meh.

Christopher Ng
I haven’t listened to it at all.

Michael Charlebois
FOH CHRIS.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
I was actually disappointed how low this got rated on our list.

Quentin Yarolem
Lyrically, Earl got way better, and the production is super tight.

Michael Charlebois
Earl has one of the coolest flows in the game. It’s just so effortless and his lyricism is so good.

Vince Cammarota
Earl is one of the best MC’s in the game right now.

Quentin Yarolem
He’s like an organic rhyming machine. everything he says is so smooth.

Vince Cammarota
The album is very dark and gritty. Not his best work but impressive overall.

Michael Charlebois
Beat the fucking beat up like it stole from me.”

Quentin Yarolem
I think if on his next project we get a mix of this and some bangers, I’ll be stoked.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
IDLS brought the same mood that TPAB. I said this earlier where it’s one of those albums that you have to take and listen front to back by yourself.

Quentin Yarolem
Yes! Only I like IDLS better because it’s only half an hour.

Michael Charlebois
“Poster child, you’re posta hate me.”

Quentin Yarolem
YEAH I SAID IT I LIKE THIS BETTER THAN TPAB

Michael Charlebois
SWEAT (SWEAT) SHIRT (SHIRT).”

Quentin Yarolem
TPAB is the best album this year, but it’s not my favorite of the year you know?

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Earlier we were talking about aesthetic and what it means to an artist. This is the same for this album and this artist. For Earl it’s fucking there.

Freddie-Gibbs-Shadow-Of-A-Doubt-640x640

12. Shadow Of A Doubt – Freddie Gibbs

Freddie Gibbs releases his first project since the critically acclaimed Piñata early in 2014. This time, it’s Gibbs himself who is behind the boards and on the mic for the most part. He compared this project to “recess” and it’s clear to see Gibbs was having a lot of fun on this one.

Listen: Freddie Gibbs – “Fuckin’ Up The Count”

Discussion

Keelen Wolfe
Careless is my SOTY.

Michael Charlebois
Woah.

Christopher Ng
Stay Awake – Hurt Everybody is my SOTY.

Quentin Yarolem
Alright is my SOTY. Then Smuckers.

Christopher Ng
I wasn’t too familiar with Gibbs but I dig the album. I like the Snoop Dogg part. I digged his singing.

Michael Charlebois
I don’t really like the second half – “Basketball Wives” is a career-low, but I’m definitely digging the first half. I think this is a grower and a victim of the late November/ December release treatment.

Keelen Wolfe
I have a bit of appreciation for Bball Wives.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Sturdy, solid rap.

Michael Charlebois
Yo Dave you had Gibbs at 4 why did you like it so much?

David Chris Otu
I liked it because it proved to me that even after a solid project like Piñata where his beats were done by a GOAT, he doesn’t need Madlib to make killer music. Songs like Fuckin’ Up The Count, Mexico, Careless are great because he is talking from the side of a man who has a child now.

Michael Charlebois
Do you think it paled in comparison to Piñata like me?

Vince Cammarota
Well I think it did.

David Chris Otu
It paled a bit because the beats were done by Madlib!!! But a hell of a project nonetheless.

Vince Cammarota
Madlib is a legend it’s hard to have equal production.

David Chris Otu
Exactly.

Vince Cammarota
But lyrically and as an MC, Gibbs excelled. With that said I think gangster rap is dead so thats why its not higher on the list.

1ecf5d3c71797a464ddbff245594c523e8fed7f3

11. Ego Death – The Internet

The Internet returns with an album full of smooth and smoky late night vibes. Ego Death features a laid back, neo-soul groove, and the jazzy production holds its own.

Listen: The Internet feat. Kaytranda – “Girl”

Discussion

Quentin Yarolem

Criminally underrated. Vic gives one of the best verses of the year, and I think it’s his best ever.

Vince Cammarota
Yea Vic did great, so did Kaytranada. I thought this album was much more commercial and easy to vibe with than their last album.

David Chris Otu
Not many rap features… I mean yeah it was rap influenced but was more slightly alternative. Tyler, The Creator and Vic Mensa are the only ones who rapped.

Vince Cammarota
The Internet is heavily influenced by Hip Hop culture, I would say that they deserve to be in their own corner of modern rap.

David Chris Otu
But it’s not rap or hip hop!!

Quentin Yarolem
RnB is hip-hop! If Frank Ocean dropped an album it would be on here!

David Chris Otu
I wouldn’t say that, I’d say we review it because its fan base are those who are of the hip hop crowd. Not because it’s a part of hip hop, but that’s a personal opinion. Anyways, Ego Death is really good!

Christopher Ng
Yeah, I agree with David. From what I heard, Ego Death wouldn’t be considered hip hop.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
I have nothing to add – no reason to look into them.

Christopher Ng
Haha yeah me too mark I only heard the track Girl because Vince always talks bout it, and it was 8 mins of a snooze fest.

1035x1035-MI0003817937

10. Testuo & Youth – Lupe Fiasco

Lupe’s reemergence into critical acclaim has been largely due to his most ambitious performance in years. Testuo & Youth was released amidst nearly a full year ago, but everybody can still remember the gorgeous sample that runs for eight minutes long on ‘Mural’. Lupe scorches the earth with pure bars, not only on that track, but throughout the entire album. Grandiose in it’s nature, Testuo & Youth cracks this year’s top ten with a bang.

Listen: Lupe Fiasco – “Deliver”

Discussion

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Good spot. I think it deserves to be in the top 10.

Vince Cammarota
Great album. Lupe’s best album IMO.

Christopher Ng
Very different direction to his last project. I think it was slept on because people couldn’t understand the sheer lyricism of Lupe – Mural is 8 minutes of pure fucking bars.

Michael Charlebois
His best album, and the first one that is worthy of his talents.

Christopher Ng
I disagree with that.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
The Cool series was cool.

Christopher Ng
The Cool album is one of my favourites of all time.

Keelen Wolfe
Lasers is really his only poor album.

Vince Cammarota
Yeah, c’mon Mike. Easy boy.

Keelen Wolfe
Food & Liquor is cool too.

Michael Charlebois
Okay, true.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Loved Food & Liquor, but T&Y is on a different level of storytelling.

Christopher Ng
I dig how he used interludes like summer winter and shit to set the mood and atmosphere.

Michael Charlebois

Palette cleansers.

Christopher Ng
I also really liked the concept of Prisoner 1 & 2, how he takes the perspective of the prisoner and then the jail guard.

Vince Cammarota
He has bangers and chill stuff.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Tackled life and storytelling at a broader level than his previous albums.

Christopher Ng
In the track Chopper, he enlists all these fucking OG’s that most people never heard of.

Michael Charlebois
I think he captures the essence of an ‘epic album’ better than anybody since Kanye. Everything from the production, to the bars, to the concepts is grandiose.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Precisely. It’s way heavier than The Cool or Food & Liquor ever were.

Michael Charlebois
For that reason it took a while for me to digest this.

Christopher Ng
It’s fucking epic.

1035x1035-drake

9. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake

Rap’s biggest star sent the rap airwaves into a frenzy with his surprise mixtape in February. The sheer stardom of Drake was felt after the astounding numbers put up on Billboard. Whether they’re throwaways from his previous album or a fully-fledged project, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late stands out as one of the best projects from 2015.

Listen: Drake – “Energy”

Discussion

Michael Charlebois

I’m interested to hear why Vince had this at #2

Christopher Ng
Because it was the only rap album to reach platinum status and numbers mean everything to him. Drake could release dog farts and it go platinum.

Quentin Yarolem
He did. It’s called What A Time To Be Alive.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Damn, shots.

Christopher Ng
But it was dope.

Quentin Yarolem
Yeah, I’m kidding. It slaps.

Michael Charlebois

Hardly made anyone’s list, though.

Mark Anthony Zoleta

What A Time To Be Alive was a really big shoulder shrug to me. But I really like If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.

Christopher Ng
Legend is fucking sick. Seeing him perform it live was next level – the song literally just came out and the whole Sydney crowd knew the lyrics already.

Michael Charlebois

That’s cool but what about the rest of the album after 6 God: ZzzzZzzzZZZZzzzzzZZZZzzzzZZZzzzzzzz

Christopher Ng

C’mon Mike, that’s your national hero.

Michael Charlebois

I think Biebs reclaimed that this year.

Christopher Ng

The Canadian jewel.

Vince Cammarota

Dude, this album was pretty fucking good people. His versatility as an artist is only matched by Kenny.

Christopher Ng
Listen to Legend and try not sing along.

Michael Charlebois
Listen to the PND tracks and try not to fall asleep.

David Chris Otu
I hated Legend but I’ll give it another chance… Energy, though.

Christopher Ng
Aye Dave, you can’t relate to being a legend that’s why.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah this album just sounds lazy.

Vince Cammarota
How?

David Chris Otu
Hey man, chill. I’m a baller and a legend at everything, man.

Christopher Ng
Lmao

Vince Cammarota
Every track has a lot of energy to it.

Michael Charlebois
There are no little details that make this project worth revisiting for me.

Vince Cammarota
WHAT?! Mike, you ever feel sad? Legend. You ever feel like a boss? 6 God. You ever feel like mofos are talking shit? Energy.

Michael Charlebois
Everything is just a cloud rap beat and Drake.

Christopher Ng
You want them stacks? Then 10 bands.

Michael Charlebois
Okay, this definitely has its moments but as a whole its very bland.

Christopher Ng
Touché.

Michael Charlebois
I don’t know how you guys don’t hear that.

Christopher Ng
I don’t listen to it often. When I do it’s only Legend.

Michael Charlebois
YEAH CHRIS WE TALKING ABOUT ALBUMS NOT SONGS

Keelen Wolfe
I can listen to it almost all the way through without getting bored.

Vince Cammarota
It’s great Mike, it talks to my soul.

Joey_Badass_B4.Da.$$

8. B4.DA.$$ – Joey Bada$$

The twenty-year old Joey Bada$$ gave us his first full-length project at the start of the year. Backed by the bangers “Christ Conscious,” “No. 99” and others, the Pro Era prodigy showcases his potential on B4.DA.$$.

Listen: Joey Bada$$ – “Christ Conscious”

Discussion

Michael Charlebois
I’m gonna sound like a hater again.

Christopher Ng
In the words of Lupe: This album is fucking dope. Just straight bars, plus the dope as fuck production.

Vince Cammarota
Yo, Joey Bad is sick but there are definitely some BAD songs on the album… Black beetle is weak.

Keelen Wolfe
Should have been so so so so much higher.

David Chris Otu
No bad songs!!!

Christopher Ng
WTF VINCE FOH

Keelen Wolfe
Everyone seriously slipped up.

David Chris Otu
FOH VINCE

Christopher Ng
Man I’m fucking pissed right now.

Michael Charlebois

Okay here’s the thing with Joey Badass, he has a tight flow but barely has any memorable lines.

David Chris Otu
2ND BEST OF THE YEAR.

Keelen Wolfe
HOW IS IT NOT HIGHER.

David Chris Otu
IT WAS LIT!!!

Christopher Ng

THIS IS A FUCKING 19-year old recording this shit and ya’ll out here sleeping, FOH.

Keelen Wolfe

HE’S FUCKING 20 AND HE’S ALREADY KILLING IT.

Michael Charlebois

Damn, everybody. Calm down.

Vince Cammarota

Yo, I like the album I’m just saying its not as good as T&Y or IYRTITL.

Christopher Ng
This is blasphemous.

Michael Charlebois
I didn’t even like the album.

Christopher Ng

Me, Keelen, and Dave think this album is fucking extraordinarily awesome and rest of y’all are still sleeping.

Michael Charlebois

First off, way too long and too much filler – the singles are the only memorable moments and the rest is just dreary boom bap.

Keelen Wolfe

Hazeus View is fucking excellent. One of the best Raury verses of his career is on this album too!

Christopher Ng
Hazeus View one of my favourite tracks of the year. Probably been played over 200 times for me.

David Chris Otu
Exactly.

Keelen Wolfe
TEACH ME GETS ME GOING 💯💯💯💯.

Christopher Ng
Fuck man. I’m furious.

Michael Charlebois
Just listened to black beetles and just finally realized its a dark song. Probably wasn’t paying attention because the chorus is so forgettable

Christopher Ng
Black beetles is so good, and if you say otherwise you don’t understand the song.

Michael Charlebois
All i hear is a beat with a lacklustre bass guitar, annoying humming, a shitty chorus and joeys usual flow.

David Chris Otu
The lyrics, man. Listen and lose yourself in its beautifulness.

Vince Cammarota
It’s weak, so is O.C.B.

Christopher Ng
Wow man. I’m just so shocked.

Michael Charlebois
This chorus is so bad, I don’t get what you find appealing.

Vince Cammarota
Yeah Joey is a “Badass” so him over a slow beat like Black Beetle just doesn’t work.

Christopher Ng
I just can’t do this.

jay-rock-90059-album-stream

7. 90059 – Jay Rock

The long-awaited Jay Rock album finally dropped this year and did not disappoint in the eyes of most. Rock proved that he wasn’t just the “gangster rapper of TDE” by experimenting with different styles, and even some singing. 90059, Jay Rock’s first album in four years lands at the seventh spot on our list.

Listen: Jay Rock feat. Black Hippy – “Vice City”

Discussion

Vince Cammarota
V V good.

Quentin Yarolem
It’s good.

Christopher Ng
V GOOD. Next.

Vince Cammarota

I cant believe we have to wait 3 years for a Jay Rock album. It was really short too.

Michael Charlebois
The length was good I thought. Most TDE projects drag on a little too long and other than Kendrick releases, that’s a bad thing.

Keelen Wolfe
I thought 90059 was tight – Jay Rock killed it. One of my favourites, cracked the top 5.

Michael Charlebois
It has its moments but Jay Rock simply isn’t interesting enough to make something inspiring. We actually should have moved on when they said ‘good’ its the perfect way to describe this album.

Vince Cammarota
Jay is the perfect feature rapper for TDE.

Michael Charlebois
The best moments on the album weren’t even his: SZA feature, Vice City, Busta Rhymes verse.

Keelen Wolfe
I thought 90059, Gumbo, and Necessary were all great. Loved his ODB impression on 90059.

Vince Cammarota
I didn’t really like Vice City. I wish it got doper but it just stayed mellow on that same beat.

Michael Charlebois
The flows are cool, but yeah the ODB impression on 90059 was wack.

Keelen Wolfe
I don’t dislike any of the verses.

4fc1aead02c11b811983fecd8bb712ac.600x600x1

6. GO:OD AM – Mac Miller

Mac Miller’s maturation as an artist seemed to have hit its peak with his most recent release. The former teen rap pop sensation has taken a large step back to put out something much more focused in 2015. GO:OD AM features godly production that can be appreciated by both hip-hop fanatics and casual listeners.

Listen: Mac Miller – “Brand Name”

Discussion

Quentin Yarolem

I think that this album was so good because it was similar to Faces, but different at the same time. He keeps his goofy rhyme scheme, but makes it feel more pure. I think Faces will forever be his best project, but this was a close second. Faces is so good because of all the drugs, and if he would have made faces v2, he would have died, so this is nice.

Vince Cammarota
He really grew up and now is able to bring that side of him to a mainstream audience.

Michael Charlebois
I thought this was way better than Faces.

Vince Cammarota
Weekend is the best track.

Quentin Yarolem
It’s commercial, but not in a sell-out way, more in a I’m-trying-to-do-more-shit way.

Michael Charlebois
Brand Name is one of my favourite tracks of the year.

Quentin Yarolem
Ab-Soul gave an amazing verse on Two Matches, the Lil’ B feature was hilarious, I really like Break the Law, and Clubhouse. Fuck, I like all of it

Isaac Biehl
There’s not one track on here that I dislike in any way. I think it’s cool that even though Mac is signed to Warner Bros he was still able to keep the album “him” and put out some of his best songs.

Michael Charlebois
Some of the tracks where it sounds like he’s trying to do some drill-influenced music is back. Honestly if you cut some filler this could be my #2. The use of the choral vocals on Brand Name, 100 Grandkids, and Perfect Circle are so dope.

Quentin Yarolem
YO AND THE BEAT CHANGE ON 100 GRANDKIDS IS INSANE.

Michael Charlebois
RIGHT. The girl saying ‘lemme get some money’.

Quentin Yarolem
So smooth man.

Isaac Biehl
I love this album.  I think all the songs fit together so well and it’s Mac’s most cohesive effort.

33a9265391b2dcfc1f37a725f309746c.1000x1000x1

5. Summertime ’06 – Vince Staples

Vince’s first attempt at a full-length project was an ambitious two-disc LP. The Long Beach native takes us on a murky ride through the streets of the Norf Side. An hour of jam-packed gangster tales places Summertime ’06 at number 5 on our list.

Listen: Vince Staples – Norf Norf

Discussion

Keelen Wolfe
BITCH YOU THIRSTY PLEASE GRAB A SPRITE.

Vince Cammarota
Bad.

Keelen Wolfe
I actually only drink sprite when I drink soda because of vince staples, but Summertime was kinda booty.

Quentin Yarolem
The production on it is dope as fuck.

Vince Cammarota
The album is not good, but it’s well-produced. Vince as an MC is not as dope.

Quentin Yarolem
The second half is very average, but the first half is amazing.

Cj Maruyama
I implore you to listen again, Vince.

Michael Charlebois
You have been implored.

Vince Cammarota
I do and it’s just ehhhhhh.

Keelen Wolfe
Even on the Rocky and Tyler tour he barely played Summertime. Just Lift Me Up and Norf Norf I think.

Vince Cammarota
Yeah it’s not as good as some of his mixtapes.

Keelen Wolfe
Exactly, I even like Shyne Coldchain 2 more I’d say.

Quentin Yarolem
I think that this is his best project.

Michael Charlebois
Here’s the thing, what happened in Summertime 06? Anybody know?

Christopher Ng
He said that’s the year when everything changed.

Keelen Wolfe
I think his friend died and he started gang banging harder.

Michael Charlebois
Okay maybe he could have made a song about it or something…

Quentin Yarolem
That’s so weird to me. I haven’t left the album at all, it’s stayed front of the rotation. I like the beats, Vince raps well and paints a picture of the life of a gangster – it feels honest.

Michael Charlebois
My only problem is that it’s too long, and the subject matter gets a little tiring on the second half. Otherwise it’s pretty solid and one of the best atmospheres of 2015.

mick-jenkins-waves-55cc3b7bac114

4. Wave[s] – Mick Jenkins

Mick Jenkins’ rise has been rather quiet unlike some other Chicago acts. One of the games best conscious rappers released a compact EP during the summer that collectively impressed the entire team.

Listen: Mick Jenkins – “Your Love”

Discussion

Mark Anthony Zoleta
One of my favorites, it would be a surprise not to see him on next year’s XXL freshman list, if he chooses to do so.

Vince Cammarota
Damn, the love for Mick is real.

Christopher Ng
He deserves it. This shit is so good. For like three months I would just revisit this if I was listening to something shitty.

Michael Charlebois
What.

Christopher Ng

Ya know, like, I’d be listening to something shitty – probably something Vince recommended – and then I would immediately listen to Wave[s] right after. It’d be like going outside for a smoke, like a stress reliever I guess.

Keelen Wolfe
So you’re saying this album is like smoking darts.

Quentin Yarolem
LOL

Michael Charlebois
I think he means like, if you eat cafeteria food for long enough and then you come back to home-cooked meals.

Christopher Ng
GG that’s a better analogy.

Vince Cammarota

FOH Chris. And this mixtape is undeniably good. Can’t wait for his next project, he just seems like one of those young guys who is ready to blow up.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
The drop on Alchemy is legendary.

Michael Charlebois

Yeah, wow @ that drop. I also really love the hip house bounce on Your Love. Never expected anything like that from Mick but lemme tell ya, it works.

Christopher Ng
Better than Water[s]?

Vince Cammarota
Nah.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Hard to compare, Water[s] just seems like more of a complete project.

Michael Charlebois
I’d say this is better overall. Has a clear standout for me, in Alchemy, and is just more solidly sonic overall.

Vince Cammarota

What does that even mean?

Christopher Ng
LMAO.

Michael Charlebois
I just feel that Water[s] had some mediocre songs while Wave[s] is banger after banger.

David Chris Otu
Both are good. Mick is the future!

Christopher Ng
You might even say it’s v good.

surf

 

3. Surf – Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment

The first post-Acid Rap project from Chance isn’t really a Chance project at all. The Social Experiment delivered the long-awaited Surf earlier this year and the response was mostly polarizing. As the year concludes, the reaction is still the same with some members of the team calling for it to be right behind Butterfly while some don’t even think it deserves a spot.

Listen: Donnie Trumpet – Warm Enough

Discussion

Quentin Yarolem

Surf really made me realize how much artistic vision Chance has that he didn’t show on acid rap. Like Acid Rap is good, but at the end of the day it’s just a mixtape. Surf was a fucking project you know?

Vince Cammarota

Q you should listen to some old school R&B stuff like The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder. Some dope modern stuff like early Miguel, early Neyo, some Franky O. The Erykah Badu feature was wasted on Surf.

Quentin Yarolem
I think the Badu feature was nice.

Vince Cammarota

A shitty static transition into a beat switch and a Badu harmonizing?!??! Wasted.

Quentin Yarolem
It was what was needed, Nobody was supposed to stand out on surf. She played her part.

Michael Charlebois
Exactly.

Vince Cammarota
It’s was so grey! That is the point!!! So how does it make it a “great” album?

Quentin Yarolem
I’m confused.

Michael Charlebois
That’s like 30 seconds of the entire album.

Vince Cammarota
No I mean the album as a whole is like a dream. It’s like an hour-long interlude.

Michael Charlebois
Ugh.

Quentin Yarolem
Just because it’s smooth doesn’t mean it’s an interlude. Slip Slide isn’t an interlude, Warm Enough, Wanna Be Cool, Windows, Familiar, SmthnthIwnt, Rememory, Sunday Candy… none of those are interludes

Michael Charlebois
The end of Miracle where everything gets all hyped up, the jovial chorus of ‘Slip Slip Slip Sliiiiiide’, the spastic trumpets at the beginning of Just Wait, the chorus of Familiar, SUNDAY CANDY, THE WHOLE TRACK!

Vince Cammarota
Sunday Candy is dope but it’s a single sooo ehhhh I’m talking album tracks

Quentin Yarolem
Slip Slide isn’t an interlude, Warm enough, Wanna be cool, Windows, Familiar, SmthnthIwnt, Rememory

Michael Charlebois
WANNA BE COOL

Vince Cammarota
Q that’s not what I mean.

Michael Charlebois
LA LA LA LA LA

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Vince, maybe we can understand this clearer if you explain further on what you mean by the whole album being an interlude.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah, like, wasn’t ‘For Free’ an interlude?

Quentin Yarolem
TPAB ALL INTERLUDES

Vince Cammarota
It feels like the album is scattered and underdeveloped, almost unfinished.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
What leads you to those conclusions?

Vince Cammarota
The static transition into a Badu feature, Questions track as a whole…

Quentin Yarolem
That’s a bad argument. People use static all the time!

Christopher Ng
Bad argument Vince.

Vince Cammarota

The Kyle verse was cool, though.

Quentin Yarolem
It can be boring, but I think it’s crazy to call it underdeveloped because they used static in one song. Especially because of the amount of effort that went into the whole project by everybody was evident.

Michael Charlebois
It is crazy. The effort put into this is evident and the result is fantastic. Surf deserves higher recognition.

AtLongLastASAPCover

2. At.Long.Last.A$AP – A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky returned to the limelight this year with his sophomore album. The album was a step-up both stylistically and sonically for Rocky, and served as a tribute due to the untimely death of A$AP Yams. Filled with soulful bangers, star features, and Rocky’s classic flow, At.Long.Last.A$AP grabs the second spot.

Listen: A$AP Rocky – L$D

Discussion

Vince Cammarota
Can’t believe this is #2.

Quentin Yarolem
Yeah, I mean, it’s good, but not #2 material.

Michael Charlebois
Everybody actually voted for this to be in the Top 15 except you two.

Keelen Wolfe
This was my number two.

Ross Michael
Same here mate.

Michael Charlebois
The numbers don’t lie, most everyone had some admiration for this album. I was mostly impressed because of the way he bounced back from his 2013 album (Long.Live.A$AP). This album is just a hell of a lot more sonic, and soulful.

Keelen Wolfe
So many dope tracks on here: Holy Ghost, Excuse Me, Max B, Jukebox Joints… etcetera, etcetera. This album is totally loaded.

Christopher Ng
He deserves it. This shit is so good. For like three months I would just revisit this if I was listening to something shitty.

Michael Charlebois
What.

Christopher Ng

Yeah I feel you Mike. He was trying some avant-garde electronic shit on his last album. The soulfulness on this is much more suited to his flow. Shoutout Jukebox Joints.

Keelen Wolfe
Ye’s verse is ass but whatever.

Quentin Yarolem
I agree with all this but it just isn’t #2. It’s like a collection of good songs but not a wholesome project. Does anyone feel me?

Michael Charlebois
Yeah I get that Q. I read somewhere that Rocky has a super sick flow but is never saying anything important. I feel like this applies here because it’s very dope but what does it accomplish in comparison to the subliminal messages of Surf and TPAB?

Cj Maruyama

Or Summertime ’06.

Christopher Ng
I though the album is kind of an ode to Yams.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah, but does it really seem like a tribute to him? He mentions Yams like twice.

Keelen Wolfe
Yams died close to the release of this. Even then, making an album that sounds this good is a good tribute. He is the father of A$AP Mob and it’s safe to say this is the best of their entire catalogue.

Vince Cammarota
Still isn’t on the level of Surf.

Keelen Wolfe
I disagree.

Quentin Yarolem
RIP Yams, though.

Christopher Ng
Yeah for real. Rocky couldn’t have done this without him.

ToPimpAButterfly.0

 

1. To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

The runaway favourite for TrueToo, much like many of the other year-end lists. Kendrick’s 2015 record has had a profound impact in all aspects one could wish to accomplish, and he has cemented himself as a legend in the hip-hop genre. Our number one album of the year: To Pimp A Butterfly.

Listen: Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

Discussion

Quentin Yarolem
What do we even discuss here aha.

Christopher Ng
I don’t know I’m not black.

Quentin Yarolem
Damn, we only have one black writer. This website is very r/HipHopHeads.

Michael Charlebois
Well it’s safe to say that everyone here fucking loved this album, and so did everyone in the music criticism circles.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Yeah, this album is the runaway favourite on pretty much every website. I haven’t seen this type of universal praise since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Christopher Ng
It’s worthy of it.

Michael Charlebois
It’s simply amazing his ability to release something with such cultural importance while so incredible from a musical standpoint. Like I was in the zone studying for exams last week and King Kunta came on shuffle and I just got up and danced. The songs on this are simply magical.

Christopher Ng

There’s a bit of everything on here. So many different moods.

Quentin Yarolem
Yeah, when I first listened to this it was a harrowing experience. So many different twists and turns, it’s probably the most emotionally draining/rewarding album I’ve heard.

Mark Anthony Zoleta
Goes to show you what someone with a ton of talent and a firm grasp on culture can accomplish.

David Chris Otu
Watching Kendrick grow has been an amazing ride. His growth as an artist, and more importantly, a person has been incredible. This record spoke to me in ways I never thought imaginable.

Michael Charlebois

Could you describe what this album meant to you as an African American to close things out?

David Chris Otu

Well, I couldn’t tell you where to begin on the impact this album has on the black community. To Pimp A Butterfly is more than just Kendrick’s upbringing in Compton physically and mentally. It’s a story about how we as African Americans have been oppressed for centuries and how in order for us to overcome oppression and violence we must see the faults within ourselves and end it between one another. Today, it would be foolish for me to say that things have not gotten better for my people, but due to all that I have seen on the news over the last two to three years, we clearly still have a long way to go. Take Blacker the Berry, for example, a song where Kendrick calls out racism in America claiming those who hate on him are jealous of the wisdom and cards he dealt. At the same time, he uses the song to ask how can we as African Americans stop the violence between whites on blacks and other forms of racial profiling when we kill each other simultaneously?  It’s introspection like this that separates Kendrick from the field. And the way he gets this message within the quality of music – it’s outstanding. Overall, To Pimp A Butterfly to me is 16 tracks of hope. Hope that one day we as a nation will no longer judge people simply based on the color of their skin, or who we choose to worship, or our sexual preference. At the end of the day, we are all humans and we should be able to see the value in one another and bring about something that everybody wants but not too many are willing to help bring about: peace.

3 Comments

  • Kevin says:

    Well, I do think this list is great. You aren’t missing a lot of great albums.

  • Kevin says:

    How can Mac Miller, be number 6 while drake is number 9. Mac miller’s album was not that good.

  • Michael Charlebois says:

    Kevin, I appreciate your input on this topic. For a variety of subjective reasons, we felt that GO:OD AM was a more complete album. I recommend re-listening to it and paying close attention to the outstanding production.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.