The Best Retail Albums of 2015 Pt. 1, 25-11 [Editorial]

Posted on January 4, 2016 by

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Well this is a first.. we did name our Top 10 albums but there were way too many not included so we stretched it all the way to 25. Part 1 today includes a nod to Yelawolf’s Love Story, Drake If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, Tef Poe War Machine 3, Skeme Ingleworld 2 and EarthGang Strays with Rabies. Below we also have numbers 25-11 but you will have to wait until tomorrow to see our Top 10.

25. Dizzy Wright The Growing Process

The hippy stoner of Funk Volume released his debut album early 2015 with improved production, technical skill sand way more advanced subject matter. Dizzy has always kept it real, providing insight into his life as a father and man but this time, he was able to take a step to the next level. His insight on his generation’s motivations and aspirations is very worthwhile.

24. TiRon & Ayomari The Great New Wonderful

What can I say? These guys are magnificent artists. Sticking so closely to what they desire and maintaining such complete control of their art may cost them opportunities to scale their listenership but the ones who get it will always appreciate what they do.

23. Heems Eat Pray Thug

Heems has one of the most unique worldviews in hip-hop and we are so lucky that we get to see things through his eyes. His perspective is refreshing and tantalizing, one of the few rappers that can make me reconsider positions I had taken previously. Can’t rock with all of the moves he makes sonically but the lulls are rare.

 

22. Gangrene You Disgust Me

Produced half by Alchemist, half by Oh No, the third album from Gangrene was the grimy, bar-packed project we hoped it would be. Featuring Action Bronson, Evidence, Your Old Droog, Fashawn, Chuck Strangers, Havoc and Sean Price.

21. Lupe Fiasco Tetsuo & Youth

Lupe has been a pretty polarizing figure these last few years. After starting off so strong, a few “mis-steps” left him with a lot of stans accompanied by a whole bunch of haters too. Both had strong arguments for a while but we believe that Lupe’s music has been fire lately! How can you argue with the 7-minute barrage of rhyming wisdom also known as “Murals”.

 

20. Jay Rock 90059

4 years. Jay Rock made us wait for 4 years after the release of Follow Me Home for us to get the follow-up, 90059. Since 2011, Top Dawg Entertainment is essentially in a new stratosphere with multiple #1 albums to their name, one of the few biggest rappers in the world and a number of artists with both mainstream and underground appeal. Despite one of the stranger album roll-outs, which included a release date determined by how many pre-order it received (more pre-orders equaled sooner release), Jay Rock’s music speaks for itself as usual.

19Game Documentary 2.5

Admittedly, I have actually enjoyed Game’s last few releases but I feel somewhat in the minority there. But Game’s A1 verse on “Just Another Day” from Dre’s Compton and creating the sequel to his classic debut drew a bit more anticipation his work of late has done. Very little Dr.Dre on The Documentary 2 and 2.5 but considering that he released 35 tracks over 10 days, I am very impressed yet again. Both editions are dope but 2.5 is EXTRA West Coast and receives the nod.

18. Guilty Simpson Detroit’s Son

After making this ranking, I realized just how good of a year Detroit had musically. The city’s first appearance on this list is a fitting release from the OG Guilty Simpson, the self-proclaim Detroit’s Son. Produced entirely by Katalyst, this album lets Guilty do what he does best.

 17. Finale & Oddissee Odds & Ends

If you have been following this blog for long enough, then you probably won’t be surprised to see Finale on this list. His last album, years ago, ended on our Best of lists too despite a lack of general recognition from the hip hop media. This time with Oddisee behind the boards (more on him soon..), Finale did it again.

16. Fashawn The Ecology

He may never reach the commercial levels of his mentor and label president, Nasir Jones, but Mass Appeal’s Fashawn is carving out an incredible lane for himself in the underground. His star continues to rise as he headlines bigger and bigger shows while his music consistently pleases. More than a decade into working with producer Exile and these guys are making some of their best work. Fashawn got more reflective than ever on this album and supplemented it with even further insight through the accompanying documentary.

15. Action Bronson Mr. Wonderful

I hope if nothing else that Action Bronson has proven that you never know what to expect. He is signed to Jive which nowadays is not the biggest hip hop label and Action Bronson seems to have taken the task of Jive Debut album extremely seriously. At this point, stringing together vulgar bars about prostitutes sprinkled in with gourmet food references and obscure sports stats or action movies lines has become second nature to Action Bronson. He could probably sit in front of a microphone for weeks straight with witty bars over crazy beats but he really stretched himself on Mr. Wonderful. I’m all for it.

14. Oddisee The Good Fight

Again! In addition to providing one of the best backdrop’s for Finale, Oddisee did it all on The Good Fight for even more tremendous results. Just listen already, this is a project I feel comfortable giving a 100% guarantee for.

13. Big Sean Dark Sky Paradise

After two lack-luster attempts, Big Sean finally got it right with Dark Sky Paradise. Riding on the somewhat surprising commercial success of “I Don’t Fuck With You” with the help of E-40, Kanye, Drake, Lil Wayne, John Legend and more, Big Sean was able to make top quality radio hip hop that deservedly dominated the charts. Big Sean was able to strike the balance between corny and mainstream that previous mixtapes maintained while his albums had skewed way too much towards the former.

 12. Dr. Dre Compton

We can finally finally accept that we will never get Detox. Still, a decade plus after we began expecting the third solo album from the Doctor, he delivered his hometown-inspired soundtrack Compton. He got the best out of established artists like The Game, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Xzibit; he also introduced newer guys like King Mez, Anderson .Paak and Jon Connor to a much larger audience than they are used to. It sounds like the Dr. Dre we know and love and it sounds like it was made recently. This is just the latest installment of why Dre is one of the best to ever do it.

11. Fetty Wap Fetty Wap

It doesn’t matter that we had already heard almost half of the album. An album with four tracks that simultaneously held a spot in Billboard’s Top 10 and a few of the other biggest hits of 2015 has to be on this list. Personally, I also think it’s very dope that Fetty Wap could have grabbed pretty much any rapper in the world for any number of tracks but instead opted to only feature his longtime homie – Monty – on 7 different songs. This one was fun.