Top 15 Albums/Mixtapes of 2015

It has been a pretty great year for hip-hop and R&B fans. Kendrick Lamar delivered yet another classic album. Dr. Dre delivered his final album and it was impressive. Janet Jackson returned with a very cohesive effort. Adele returned from her four-year hiatus to dominate the charts and that's just the beginning. As 2015 comes to an end, it is important to reflect on those projects that made a lasting impression. The following list represents my favorite hip-hop and R&B albums/mixtapes from 2015. Unlike my Top 40 list, I also tried my best to rank these albums based on their merit. I hope you enjoy the list and these projects as much as I did. I'll see you in 2016!

To hear me talk about these projects in detail, check out Episode 18 of my podcast!

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1. To Pimp A Butterfly- Kendrick Lamar

 

2. Ego Death- The Internet

 

3. Surf- Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment

 

4. 25- Adele

 

5. Rodeo- Travi$ Scott

 

6. Summertime '06- Vince Staples

 

7. Beauty Behind The Madness- The Weeknd

 

8. You Should Be Here- Kehlani

 

9. Wildheart- Miguel

 

10. Tetsuo & Youth- Lupe Fiasco

 

11. Dark Sky Paradise- Big Sean

 

12. If You're Reading This It's Too Late- Drake

 

13. DS2- Future

 

14. The Album About Nothing- Wale

 

15. Compton- Dr. Dre

 

Honorable Mentions:

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Unbreakable- Janet Jackson

T R A P S O U L- Bryson Tiller

But You Caint Use My Phone- Erykah Badu

SremmLife- Rae Sremmurd

What A Time To Be Alive- Drake & Future

-AO

 

 

 

Vince Staples Announces "Circa '06" Tour

Vince Staples has announced a new tour to coincide with his latest album—Summertime '06—which was released in June. The 'Circa '06' Tour kicks off in Philly on December 2nd. Check out the dates below; tickets are available now.

12-02 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
12-03 Washington, DC - U Street Music Hall
12-04 Toronto, Ontario - Tattoo
12-05 Montreal, Québec - Le Belmont
12-06 Boston, MA - Middle East Downstairs
12-09 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
12-11 Madison, WI - The Sett @ University of Wisconsin
12-12 Iowa City, IA - IMU Ballroom @ University of Iowa
12-13 Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line Music Café
12-15 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
12-18 Santa Ana, CA - The Observatory
12-19 San Diego, CA - Observatory North Park
02-26 San Francisco, CA - Social Hall
02-28 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theatre
03-01 Vancouver, British Columbia - Vogue Theatre
03-02 Seattle, WA - Neptune Theater
03-04 Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex
03-05 Denver, CO - Bluebird Theatre
03-07 Omaha, NE - Slowdown
03-08 Milwaukee, WI - The Rave II
03-09 Columbus, OH - A&R Music Bar
03-11 Indianapolis, IN - Deluxe
03-12 Louisville, KY - Headliners

-AO

A$AP Rocky & Tyler, The Creator Announce Tour

A$AP Rocky and Tyler, The Creator are going on tour together and they're taking Danny Brown and Vince Staples with them. The "Rocky and Tyler" tour kicks off in Massachusetts on September 19th and ends in Dallas on October 9th. This tour is going to be LIT and they're promising more dates. Check out the dates below and get tickets here when they go on sale on August 7th at 10AM.

Sept. 19 – Lowell, MA – Tsongas Arena
Sept. 22 – New York, NY – Theater at Madison Square Garden
Sept. 23 – Philadelphia, PA – Penn’s Landing – Festival Pier
Sept. 26 – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sept. 27 – Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
Sept. 30 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater
Oct. 2 – Houston, TX – NRG Center
Oct. 8 – New Orleans, LA – Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square
Oct. 9 – Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom

-AO

XXL Freshman Class Cyphers: Part 2 (GoldLink, OG Maco & Vince Staples)

Part 2 of XXL's Freshman Class cyphers features GoldLink, OG Maco and Vince Staples going in over a dope beat by DJ Don Cannon. Both Vince Staples and GoldLink were very impressive. Stay tuned for the remaining cypher coming soon.

My Rating: Vince Staples > GoldLink > OG Maco

-AO

Stream Vince Staples Debut Album, 'Summertime '06'

Vince Staples is releasing a double-disc album for his debut project, Summertime '06, a move that could be considered very risky. If you want to see if that risk paid off before buying the album, you can stream it via NPR above. You can also pre-order Summertime '06 below; it will be released on June 30th. Enjoy.

iTunes: Link

-AO

Watch Tyler, the Creator and Vince Staples Freestyle On Hot 97

Tyler, the Creator and Vince Staples stopped by Hot 97 to chop it up with Rosenberg and Ebro; while there, they decided to drop a freestyle. Staples delivered some written material, but seemed to stumble over the lines. Tyler went straight off the top and delivered a pretty nice freestyle. Check it out and enjoy.

-AO

Raury, Goldlink & Vince Staples (XXL Freshman Class Freestyles)

The next installment of XXL's Freshman Class freestyles features Raury, Goldlink, and Vince Staples. They decide to take a traditional route with their freestyles, laying down some fierce bars for the camera. They've set a high bar for their remaining classmates as they all delivered top notch verses. Enjoy.

-AO

Vince Staples Reveals Artwork & Tracklist For Summertime '06

Vince Staples is prepping the release of his debut album, Summertime '06, and he has now revealed the album artwork and tracklist. The project will be a double-disc album so Vince is definitely bringing the heat (no pun intended) for his debut. Check out the tracklist and what Vince said about the album below.

Love will tear us apart. Nov 30th, 2005 was the beginning of the loss. The following summer multiplied it. Beaten paths, crowded with the hopeless. Same song every day, listening to the words of a dead man destroyed by his own mind and body. Why? Because at the end of the day we’re all dead anyway. At least where I come from. Love tore us all apart. Love for self, love for separation, love for the little we all had, love for each other, where we came from. Jabari, Chris, Shard, Tom, Richy, Tyson, Tony, Shelly, Phil, Marcel, Brandon, Steve, Jaron, Tay. Too many to name, too much to forget. Some lost to prison, some lost to Forest Lawn, some turned snitch. Some still here but it will never be the same. Bandanas, Stealing Levis and Nike Sb’s. Derringers and Sidekicks. Its crazy how little you notice and how greatly those things impact. Summer of 2006, the beginning of the end of everything I though I knew. Youth was stolen from my city that Summer and Im left alone to tell the story. This might not make sense but that’s because none of it does, we’re stuck. Love tore us all apart. Summertime ’06, June 30th.

Disc 1
1. Ramona Park Legend Pt1
2. Lift Me Up
3. Norf Norf
4. Birds & Bees
5. Loca
6. Lemme Know
7. Dopeman
8. Jump off the Roof
9. Señorita
10. Summertime 

Disc 2
1. Ramona Park Legend Pt 2
2. 3230
3. Surf
4. Might Be Wrong
5. Get Paid
6. Street Punks
7. Hang N Bang
8. Coldest Nigga Breathing
9. Like It Is
10. ’06

-AO

XXL Unveils The 2015 Freshman Class

It's that time of year again. XXL has chosen their annual 'Freshman Class.' The class is rounded out by ten individuals this year: Raury, K Camp, Goldlink, Fetty Wap, OG Maco, Dej Loaf, Tink, Shy Glizzy, Vince Staples, and Kidd Kidd. I don't have many complaints this year; this is a well balanced group. Stay tuned for the annual cyphers and roundtable discussions. I look forward to getting to know this crew a little better. Check out the photo shoot below. Enjoy.

-AO

Vince Staples- "Señorita (feat. Future & Snoh Aalegra)" (Music Video)

Vince Staples is prepping the release of his debut album, Summertime '06. The first single, "Señorita," features Future and Snoh Aalegra and Vince has delivered some very impressive visuals for the track. It's creative and warrants your full attention from the moment it starts. Look out for Vince's debut album on June 30th. Enjoy.

-AO

Earl Sweatshirt Announces New Tour

Earl Sweatshirt has announced his "Not Redy 2 Leave" tour with Vince Staples at select locations and Remy Banks. He hasn't released an album since 2013 so it's an interesting concept to go on tour right now. You can check out the dates below. Enjoy.

03/24 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
03/25 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre
03/27 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
03/28 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave/Eagles Club
03/31 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection
04/01 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall
04/02 – Columbus, OH @ Park Street Saloon
04/03 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s Cincinnati
04/04 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre
04/08 – West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues Sunset Strip
04/14 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House
04/16 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
04/18 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
04/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
04/22 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
04/23 – Silver Spring, MD @ Fillmore Silver Spring
04/25 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend
04/26 – Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
05/06 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
05/07 – Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
05/08 – New Orleans, LA @ Republic
05/09 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
05/13 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
05/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Live Las Vegas
05/18 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red *^
05/21 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s East
05/22 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Music Hall
05/23 – San Antonio, TX @ Alamo City Music Hall
05/29-30 – Dublin, IE @ Forbidden Fruit Festival
06/05-07 – Mildenhall, UK @ Boom Bap Festival
06/06-07 – Brighton, UK @ Wild Life Festival
06/19-21 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret Festival

-AO

Common Performs on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Common’s newest album, Nobody’s Smiling, is dope. In heavy promotional mode, he brought Jhené Aiko and Vince Staples with him to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Common and Jhené’s performance of “Blak Majik” seemed a little rough but Vince Staples helped Common deliver a spirited performance of “Kingdom.” Go get the album and enjoy.

-AO