The Best EPs of 2015 [Editorial]

Posted on January 2, 2016 by


The EP continues to trend upwards in hip hop and music as a whole. Maybe it is due to music’s ever-increasing disposability? Instead of putting out a 12 track project, an artist is able to release 3 quick strike EPs of four tracks each and keep everyone interested for longer. I also see a lot of artists make 3-5 tracks with a particular producer. Instead of choosing one for their next album or making another 8 to fill out a project, the duo can let us hear all 3 without investing too much.   Personally, I like the idea of a project that is 100% quality tracks without any need for a filler. In addition to the 10 below, Bishop Nehru, T.I., Mr. Porter and Fashawn accompanied by the Grizzly City Boys all had EPs that we enjoyed.

10. Cookin Soul, YG, Blanco & DB tha General California Living

This is what 2015 Southern California sounds like when the artists grew up on G-Funk. If you want the smooth sound that Cookin Soul is known for, to bump in your lowrider or whatever you pretend is a lowrider, grab this now.

9. Nacho Picasso & 88 Ultra The Witchtape

Despite access to Harry Fraud through signing to his SRFSCHL label, Nacho’s stand out tape of this year came from a collaboration with an old friend. I have no idea how many hours 88 Ultra of Blue Sky Black Death and Nacho Picasso have spent in the studio together but they clearly know how to work well together.

8. Iamsu! Eyes On Me

After a pretty busy 2014. Suzy 6 Speed was relatively quiet. I was out of the country so I didn’t hear everything and I imagine he was on tour most of the year cashing in on last year’s debut. That being said, Iamsu! still found time to give us one of the better EPs this year hosted by his Heart Break Gang.

7. OG Maco Tax Free

OGG. Maco had a ton of releases that spoke to his diverse fan base but I chose Tax Free for our top 10. He obviously won’t be for everyone but if you still think of him as “U Guessed It” or refuse to give anything new a shot, you are doing yourself a disservice.

6. Mick Jenkins Waves EP

Mick Jenkins finds a lot of similarities between truth and water. Both nourish the body, mind and soul; people need more of both. On his Wave[s] EP, Mick Jenkins continues to rehydrate his listeners with his normal social critiques but this time adding even more personal reflection.

5. Curren$y & Chase N Cache Cathedral

This is a great example of the rapper/producer EP I mentioned in the intro paragraph. Sure, Spitta could have easily just picked one or two to put on an upcoming album or let Chase N Cashe keep some for their own project. Luckily, the EP’s attributes are the perfect setting for Cathedral, ensuring that we are not deprived of tracks like “ Like Five Deuce Four Trey”.

4. EarthGang Torba

This was one of the projects that I listened to without any idea or information about the artist – EarthGang. I was blown away, literally wowed by Torba to the point that I will download/check for anything that they’re involved in. Their seven tracks, named after each day of the week, take you on a complete journey without leaving your seat. After hitting the road with Mac Miller last year, I’m excited to see what they’ll do.


3. Nxworries Link Up & Suede

Dr. Dre’s Compton was my introduction to Anderson .Paak and man, am I thankful. I grabbed Venice, heard some other features but the work with producer Knxwledge is my favorite. I think “Suede” is one of the best songs of the year and these 15 minutes are one of the best EPs.

2. Big Grams Big Grams

One of Big Boi’s many great skills is discovering new talent. Most recently, Phantogram found themselves all Big Boi’s album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumours and in front of an entirely new audience. It was announced shortly after that Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram would be making a full project with Sir Lucious Leftfoot. In 2015, our dreams were realized when the three musicians finally gave us Big Grams.

1. Hanif & 5th Sequence 12 Inch Vinyls

In support of his move from Portland back to new York, Luck-One was retracing his roots. Not only did he move back to the place of his birth but he got rid of his stage name too. Lastly, he linked up with 5th Sequence and made what they described as “boom-bap meets its future. An ode to the ’90s from right here in the present moment.” While it is still packed with the thought provoking subjects, and authority-challenging bars, I believe that this is Hanif’s most accessible piece of work and the one that I use when introducing him to new listeners.