Music Spotlight: Top 10 Rap Albums of 2015

By Kevin Vote on June 26, 2015

2014 was widely regarded as one of the worst years in the rap industry’s history; in response, the industry has returned in 2015 with a series of very strong releases in the first half of the year.

Here’s the top 10 rap albums of 2015 so far.

1. To Pimp A Butterfly: Kendrick Lamar

The Compton star’s sophomore album was just as classic as his first album, only in a different way. Although it didn’t have as many instant radio hits on it, To Pimp A Butterfly still crept onto the radio. Lamar’s politically charged rhymes laid out over beats that paid homage to the past could not be ignored, and for good reason.

2. Summertime ’06: Vince Staples

Recently recognized as a member of XXL’s 2015 Freshmen Class, which is an honor for new rappers, Vince Staples is set to drop his debut album Summertime ’06 on June 30.

The Long Beach native has incredible production and effective features on the album, which is actually a double album, as Staples tells his tale on 20 tracks that flow together nicely. Staples has a very unique sound; he has the potential to develop into a huge rap star.

3. Sour Soul: Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood

Sour Soul is the pleasant surprise of 2015, with Wu Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah combining with Canadian jazz band BadBadNotGood to produce powerful lyrics over live jazz. Features from guests Danny Brown and MF Doom make the album a classic. Note: This one is for the music lover.

4. At.Long.Last.A$AP: A$AP Rocky

After taking some time to mourn the death of his close friend and business partner A$AP Yams, A$AP Rocky surprise released his second album to huge expectations, and delivered. The album has many songs that will find their way onto the radio.

5. Pilot Talk III: Curren$y 

Underground rapper Curren$y finally released the third installment of his classic Pilot Talk series in early 2015. Though it is only for sale on Curren$y’s website, it is on many streaming services at this point in time.

Pilot Talk III was hyped up due to the wait, and it delivered, albeit via limited release. This is a great album to listen to all the way through, as it flows nicely as one piece. Each song showcases Curren$y’s eye for beats and most of the features improve each song. If there is one thing Curren$y is known for, it is consistency.

6. Mr. Wonderful: Action Bronson

Action Bronson is one of the most unique and entertaining rappers in the industry. If you’ve never seen a picture of Bronson, look one up on Google. It’s hard to believe a massive Albanian chef could turn into a successful rapper, until you actually hear him.

Mr. Wonderful is an adventure, as each beat is influenced by different things, from classic rock to Turkish psychedelic music. The features on the album enhance the project very much as well.

7. B4.DA.$$.: Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ dropped his debut album as an independent artist in early 2015, using some help from other Pro Era members, which is a New York based rap collective that Bada$$ is the leader of. The album production is solid, and Bada$$ delivers politically charged lyrics, which many people have come to recognize him for. Overall, this album is a very strong first effort from the Brooklyn native.

8. higher.: Remy Banks

This one is a mixtape, not an album, but it deserves to be on here. Remy Banks is from New York and is the head of New York based rap collective World’s Fair. Higher. is the follow up mixtape to his first mixtape, titled World Famous.

Although he may sound similar to Troy Ave, another up and coming New York rapper, Banks proves in higher. that he has a better eye for beats and can rhyme better than his New York counterpart.

9. By Dom Kennedy: Dom Kennedy

Dom Kennedy doesn’t drop music that often, but when he does, you can bet it’s summer. With By Dom Kennedy, Kennedy produces a solid album that is soothing, representative of his native Los Angeles, and good to play in a car while driving.

Kennedy has a great eye for beats and his style of rap fits the beat selection perfectly. Dom Kennedy is a consistent underground rapper who keeps adding summer classics to his repertoire.

10. Ludaversal: Ludacris

It has been a while since Ludacris last dropped an album, but Ludacris is back with Ludaversal. In today’s rap industry, this album is great because it serves as a throwback to nearly a decade ago. Nothing new is presented on Ludaversal, and that’s exactly what makes it so good; it’s just classic Ludacris, delivering his in-your-face lyrics.

By Kevin Vote

Uloop Writer
I'm a fourth year history major with a minor in literary journalism at the University of California, Irvine. When I'm not doing school work or writing, I enjoy watching sports and playing basketball. I also love to listen to music and read long form journalism as much as I can!

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