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

 

 

 

Wale- "The Matrimony (feat. Usher)" (Music Video)

Wale released one of the best albums of his career a few months ago. The Album About Nothing was everything I expected it to be. Wale has now delivered the music video for one of the lead singles from the project, "The Matrimony." The video's theme was rightly synonymous with that of the song, but there is a twist. Usher also makes an appearance in the video to perform his portion of the song. Check it out and enjoy.

-AO

Miguel- "Coffee (F***ing) (feat. Wale)"

It's been about three years since Miguel released his sophomore album, Kaleidoscope Dream, so needless to say, it's time for some new music. He has now released a new version of "Coffee," a song he released last December. The new version now features a verse from Wale and this definitely raises anticipation for Miguel's upcoming album, Wild Heart. Enjoy.

-AO

Wale- "The Girls On Drugs" (Music Video)

Wale has revealed the music video for his song, "The Girls On Drugs," off his recently released album, The Album About Nothing. The video follows three girls who like to party and have fun, but the it come off too preachy if you ask me. The story it was attempting to convey just didn't resonate with me. What do you think? Enjoy.

-AO

Wale- "The Pessimist (feat. J. Cole)"

We are less than 48 hours away from the release of Wale's third studio album, The Album About Nothing. The latest offering from the album, "The Pessimist," features J. Cole on the hook while Wale spits verses about the trials and tribulations of living a "hopeless" life. Check it out above and cop his album on Tuesday. Enjoy.

-AO 

Nardwuar vs. Wale (Interview)

Nardwuar is usually a busy man during festival season and the past week at SXSW has been no different. He caught up with Wale to discuss some connections between Wale and other DC artists. As usual, it's a pretty interesting and informative interview. Check it out above and enjoy. Wale's The Album About Nothing drops on March 31st.

-AO

Wale Reveals Album Artwork for 'The Album About Nothing'

Wale has promised three separate artworks for his upcoming album, The Album About Nothing. The first has arrived. This artwork was designed by Sue Tsai and features some elements that remind you of Seinfeld. It is fitting since Jerry Seinfeld played large part in this album. I think this could be one of Wale's best albums and I liked all three of them. You should definitely check out his Seinfeld-inspired mixtapes, The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing. TAAN drops on 3/31. Enjoy.

-AO

Wale Brings Out Chance the Rapper in Chicago

Wale brought his "Simply Nothing" tour to the House of Blues in Chicago last Friday. He performed his Chance the Rapper-assisted track, "Friendship Heights," off of Festivus and brought Chance out to perform it with him. They delivered a solid performance, but then it got a little confusing toward the end. Check it out above and enjoy.

-AO

Wale- "The Body (feat. Jeremih)" (Music Video)

Wale has revealed the music video for his song, "The Body." The song is the first single from his upcoming album, The Album About Nothing, which is set to release on March 31st. I think this album is going to be pretty dope; I have a feeling Wale is going to have a good year. Enjoy.

-AO

Wale & Jerry Seinfeld Chop It Up with Complex

Wale and Jerry Seinfeld graced the cover of Complex magazine this past month so Complex has featured a series of conversations between the two entertainers. They are currently working together on Wale's next album, The Album About Nothing–a continuation of Wale's Seinfeld-inspired projects, The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing. Check out their conversations above where they discuss hecklers, shoes, strip clubs, and much more. They also deliver an interesting sketch documenting the moment when Wale angrily called the Complex offices last year after being left off their 'Top 50 Albums of the Year' list. And if you ask me, The Gifted should have been on that list. Enjoy.

-AO

Wale (The Breakfast Club Interview) [MUST-SEE]

If you've been following hip-hop for a while you know the story of Wale. Wale released a few wonderful mixtapes before he released his debut album, Attention Deficit. In my opinion, the album was great, but the numbers didn't reflect that. His buzz began to die and then next thing you know, a couple years later, he was signed to Rick Ross' MMG label and he dropped Ambition. Since then, he's dropped a few mixtapes and another album, The Gifted. Now, if you ask me, Wale is an amazing artist. He's introspective, his gift for spoken word is outstanding, he has a great message, and he just represents a lot of what I want from hip-hop.

But, people keep saying they want the old introspective Wale, that he's lost it, and that he's not the same. I think we all, me included, sometimes forget to realize that artists take this stuff to heart. Some of them are ignorant, but a lot of them aren't. Wale absolutely represents the latter. This interview he did on The Breakfast Club really put things in perspective for me: Wale is frustrated. He's been putting out good music, music that means a lot to him and it should to us, honestly. But, he's witnessing his music go unappreciated and other more popular artists see their music top the charts (and I mean popular in the most quintessential definition of the word). He doesn't understand why and I really don't either. What is wrong with the industry today?

Now I understand The Breakfast Club interviews are long, but if you have a love for hip-hop, I urge you to watch this interview. I think it's important today. The fact that Wale cares so much means that there's hope for hip-hop and how could I not post it? I believe in Wale and I admit I briefly lost faith, but I think The Album About Nothing is going to be phenomenal. I believe and I want you all to believe as well. Enjoy.

-AO

Before the GRAMMYs aired yesterday, MMG (and J. Cole) revealed the music video for their Self Made Vol. 3 track, “Black Grammys.” It’s one of the few songs off the compilation I feel are worth replaying and the visuals did it justice. Rick Ross also revealed the album artwork for his upcoming project, Mastermind, at the end of the videoEnjoy.

-HB