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Best Albums of 2015

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And another one bites the dust! It’s time to say goodbye to yet another year. However, before we exit we must reflect on the last twelve months and what it has bestowed upon us musically. 2015 has definitely been better musically than 2014 was. Easily we can refer to this as the year of the return. We had a few musical veterans in the game re-emerge, and bless us with mew music. Even R&B began the steps towards a comeback. Puffy Daddy reminded us he still has the Midas touch, Dr. Dre didn’t give us highly anticipated “The Detox,” but he did release the album “Compton” in support of the N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” Let’s not forget, the baby of the Jackson clan resurfaced with a world tour that got extended twice, before we even got the album. Needless to say 2015 was beyond a good year for music.

 

 

  1. Rico Love -Turn The Lights On: Producer and songwriter Rico Love stepped into the artist seat this year with his debut album, titled after his infamous tagline “Turn The Lights On.”

Rico Love

Turn The Lights Off,” tells the tale of a man who obtained fame and fortune, which later caused him some unwanted life woes.  Rico has effortlessly proven himself to be that artist he’s set out to become.   The LP is rich in lyric and displays good concepts, such as the “The Proposal.”  The song suggests that the couple should just get married because they’re doing all the “imperfect” cliché things married couples do in the manner of argue, lie and fall out of love. His transparency about infidelity and the way he approaches each song is refreshing.  Although you may grow weary with his constant rap breakouts throughout the album, it’s hard to deny the fact their so good and worth the listen.   All twelve songs are perfectly sequenced, and transition smoothly, where you can easily hear the story being told.  Told so well that the closing tune sounds like a sitcom cliff hanger, leaving you wondering what really happens when you Turn The Lights On!?

 

  1. Ty Dolla $ign – Free TC: With hit songs off his mixtape, and song writing credit for Chris Brown’s “Loyal,” Ty’s debut album came right on time. Although this album was a late release of the year, it’s still a good contender for today’s R&B genre, and it delivered the goods to make the list.

Ty Dolla $ign

“Free TC” is the perfect album for a true music lover.  It does a good job at displaying the potential of Ty Dolla $ign as an artist.  Its wide range of sound is a refreshing delivery from a true musician.  The downside of the LP is its selected songs that leave you torn between him being a rapper or singer.  Still it doesn’t take anything away from the project, or the fact you have to weed out the clutter of songs.  Ty’s content is strong, but it merely scratched the surface of who he is.  The albums significance and underline message of social injustice and mass incarceration slightly comes across subtle.  Its bark is the personal track “Miracle” that features his brother TC and friend D-Loc doing their verses from a jail cell, right before its transition to “Wherever.”  Throughout the duration of the album his brother [TC] appears on the interludes via collect calls from prison.  It spreads the overall theme and message about the importance of TC’s freedom through Ty’s music.

 

  1. Puff Daddy & The Family- MMM: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop has been Puffy’s mantra from the start of his career. This year the mogul returned to his musical roots and dropped “MMM” on his 46th birthday.

Puff Daddy

MMM” is the soundtrack for the ultimate hustler, and its track “Workin” is the theme music for the everyday hustler.  The project intertwines elements of the film, which makes Harlem the narrative, and paints the portrait of going from nothing to something.  “MMM” had to be made and serve as the prologue in order for “No Way Out 2” to even have an existence.  When listening you’ll realize that “MMM” covers all music basis and styles, past and present.  Along with capturing the hustler’s spirit, it also reflects the heart of Harlem and merely serves as the homecoming of Puff Daddy.

 

  1. Miguel- Wildheart: The California singer’s third LP is all about growth, love for his city, and of course sex.

Miguel

Wildheart” is electric, funk, and blues.  The albums material easily grows on you with each listen.  It showcases his growth sonically, but more noticeable is the fusion of sounds and experience; its musical porn that’s liberating and sexual.  You can hear the heart of L.A. in the music and there’s parts where you’ll think it’s an ode to L.A.  “Hollywood Dreams” is the truth of the journey to the dream.   Miguel has crafted an album that can soundtrack a night full of joy, booze, sex and no regrets, leaving two with no sleep, but sweet memories and in dire need of a large cup of coffee in the a.m.

 

 

  1. Drake & Future – What A Time To Be Alive: There’s no doubting the year these two had separately, so them pairing up for a mixtape was the best thing for, well…both of their careers.

Drake & Future

“WATTBA” is more than a solid effort, but it makes you wish Drake had picked someone who could accompany him with stronger material, lyrically and thought wise.  The genius of the collaboration is that their music style differs, which adds color to the created music sound.  The two found a lane and stuck the course, but the overall project sounds rushed (6 day recording process) without any real thought process.  They brilliantly close the album with solo tracks, and in true Drake fashion he leaves us wanting more on “30 for 30 Freestyle.” Both Drake and Future make great music alone, and should stick to featuring on each other’s project, oppose to this album, which is fun music that will become theme music for the elite in the trap game.

 

  1. Jazmine Sullivan- Reality Show: Jazzy from Philly resurfaced after her 5 year hiatus from the industry to depict her very own reality show to the world through her music.

Jazmine Sullivan

Sullivan always has a fresh and original approach to her songwriting.  Her style is somewhat unorthodox; the lyrics go in one direction, while the melody proceeds in the opposite direction making her sound unique, unpredictable, and yet relatable mixed with raw and gritty lyrics. For that alone she will forever remain as a heavy contender when it comes to R&B music.  Her raspy voice is unmatchable, but matches perfectly with her songwriting skills.  Her ability to raise self-awareness on a song such as “Mascara” to becoming a stick up kid on “Silver Lining” to discovering her beauty and self worth on “Masterpiece” is the pure and authentic view of her very own life’s reality show.

 

  1. Big Sean- Dark Sky Paradise: The G.O.O.D. Music Golden Child known as Big Sean, or Sean Don, reminded us that the third time is a charm. Sean’s “Dark Sky Paradise” exceeded all expectations, and definitely raised heads to those whom ever doubted him. The album produced numerous of singles with visuals to match. Chronicling everything he was enduring in life, it provided everything his fanbase needed musically.

 

  1. Bryson Tiller- TRAPSOUL: R&B hasn’t been in a good state for some time now. With hip-hop dominating charts more than ever, and with the popularity and rise of trap music this year alone, someone was bound to incorporate both elements and create something new. Tiller has been able to somewhat keep the R&B genre alive with his debut album “TRAPSOUL.” Fusing soul music with trap and producing the hit song “Don’t,” proved there is room for trap soul, as he embarks on creating a new genre.

 

  1. Fetty Wap- Fetty Way: If anyone has had a good year it’s the new kid on the block Fetty Wap. The rapper from Jersey had a string of hits this year that has been able to transcend to mainstream radio. Grabbing many award nominations is just one thing, but when the entire industry remixes your song, you know you’ve made it. Not only did he contribute to the trap music genre, but also gave every woman involved in trap a proper title and theme song.

 

  1. Meek Mill- Dreams Worth More Than Money: Despite his ongoing riffs with once time pals Drake and Wale this year, or being part of a rap battle that he lost. Meek still blessed us with a great body of work on his sophomore album. He kept the summer hot with a soundtrack for everyone to rock to. Regardless of a few “L’s” he still released one of the best hip-hop albums this year.

 

  1. Tyrese- Black Rose: As a veteran in the industry Tyrese took the responsibility to breathe life back into the R&B genre. Dropping an album that he said is to he his last, it proved that R&B was missing and there was still a place and space for it, “Black Rose” became his biggest album to date.

Tyrese

Black Rose” sounds more like a beautiful exit, and less than a grand finale.   It’s personal, vulnerable, and sensitive, but its material is full of apologies for his infidelities.  Yes, its genuine R&B accompanied by live instruments and traditional R&B topics, but it’s missing memorable moments after it’s first leg.  Tyrese has resurrected the R&B genre with “Black Rose,” but it appears the relationship he was trying to salvage couldn’t be saved.

 

  1. Future- DS2: The man of the year award goes to Future! Music on top of music, breaking off an engagement with singer and baby mother, singer Ciara, and snagging Blac Chyna, the man is the real MVP. His sequel “DS2” rightfully positioned the ATL rapper for his place in today’s music industry. “DS2” was praised by fans and even helped Future pick up a few more. Not to mention his collaboration album “WATTBA” with Drake introduced him to an entire new audience. I’m sure he’s somewhere celebrating with a cup of “DS” and having “Rich $ex.”

 

  1. The Weeknd- Beauty Behind The Madness: The mystery behind the man still isn’t quite solved, but the madness turned out to be beautiful. The Canadian artist has had a great year in music. Chart topping hit songs, adored fans, and minimal live performances couldn’t stop his success. Supported by four singles, earning him two number one singles for “The Hills” & “Can’t Feel My Face,” made The Weeknd a household name, aside from his signature crazy hair. He managed to obtain all this without doing the usual artist promo tour in effort to sell the album. Letting the world know that regardless, behind is not where The Weeknd would be left.

 

  1. Drake- If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late: Drizzy Drake pulled a Beyonce early this year by dropping a mixtape out of the blue with no forewarning. He just simply tweeted out a link that directed you to iTunes and whallah; there was his new album. It caused the debate if it’s truly a mixtape or album being it was distributed through his label. Nevertheless, the reign of Drizzy had just begun for the year. Drake went on to break first week records of streaming, unit’s moves, and three-day sale with “IYRTYTL.” Also, every song on the project ended up charting simultaneously. And to top it off his year, his diss track towards Meek Mill “Back to Back” became the first ever rap battle song to nab a Grammy nomination.

 

  1. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly: Originally titled “Tu Pimp A Caterpiller” as a homage to his favorite rapper, the late Tupac Shakur. Kendrick blew minds and received praises for his acclaimed sophomore “To Pimp A Butterfly” LP. The majestic thing about the album is it has something for everyone with its unique narrative of expression. “TPAB” sounds like a Blaxploitation film that found its way, and relevancy in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Anthony
I can be your cup of tea or shot of Hennessy!

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