Most Influential Hip/Hop Albums of 2015
The most political, experimental and musically diverse albums of the year so far.
Top 5 2y

Gone are the days when one could tune the radio to JJJ to find NWA spitting out their problems in the form of lyrically luscious rhymes or buy Tupac’s tape-deck and try to understand the social inequalities he was painfully outlining with each verse.

Somewhere between then and Akon’s ‘I Wanna Fuck You’, Hip/Hop deviated and lost it’s Soul.
Yet as 2015 progresses, our faith in modern Hip Hop has been somewhat restored. With album releases from A$AP, Kendrick, Vince Staples and numerous other big names, 2015 could be looking like the year that Hip Hop made a come back.

Complete with all the trials and tribulations any young African-American is forced to reckon with day to day, Albums like Kendrick’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ paint a scarily truthful picture of the racial problems that exist in society.

Enthralled by Kendrick’s Mona Lisa and The Social Experiment’s masterpiece, an insatiable thirst has been ignited here at LWA. So in order to quench this, we have put together a quick little list of the top 5 most influential Hip Hop Albums of 2015 so far.

1. Kendrick Lamar – ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’

It’s no surprise this sits where it does on our list. Upon first listen Kendrick Lamar’s newest Album sounds quite aggressive and to any older less versed generations, it could possibly be misconstrued as an incoherent collection of violent raps. Yet it is so much more. For many TPAB is a cry for help, an expression of violated liberty and rights abused. Kendrick sings about race, poverty and segregation in the 21st century and does so in a way only he could.

2. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

The previous odd-future affiliate had a tough early life. During his impressionable teenage years, he fell in with the wrong crowd (to put it lightly) and became a member of 2NGC (west-coast based crips chapter) at only 15. From there Staples’ life only got harder, as he was kicked out of home, suspended from school and began migrating from city to city around the states.

Mid 2012 Staples reconnected with Earl Sweatshirt which eventually led to the 2013 release of his mixtape ‘Stolen Youth’ produced entirely by one of Earls close friends Mac Miller. His freshest collation of tracks has held the no.2 spot on Hip Hop charts for most of 2015, and for good reason.

Summertime 06 is an ambitious attempt to summarise his youth into an album. Unlike most young 20 somethings, Vince’s early summers weren’t filled with holidays to Byron and fully catered BBQs. They were spent running from police and escaping gang related death. Summertime 06 presents an extremely personal, sometimes overwhelming look at what life is like when you’re a poor, young, African-American trying to get by in a society that is sometimes pitted against you.

3. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – ‘Surf’

The greatly anticipated collaborative album Surf is exactly what Hip Hop in 2015 needed. Collated by ‘The Social Experiment’ (Donnie Trumpet, Chance The Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr. and Nate Fox) the album goes to great lengths to communicate each individuals own contribution.

Featuring guests such as, B.o.B, Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monae, J.Cole, Big Sean and Erykah Badu just to name a few, its no doubt the vision behind this album was that multiple brilliances would create a masterpiece, and it has. Though not as experimental or revolutionary in terms of subject matter and political weight. The production and sampling on Surf is second to none.

Surf bridges the existent gap between modern rap, R&B, hip Hop and Soul. The incredibly up tempo beats are paired with fast rhyming vocals and instrumentals to create a seamless ballad when experienced as a full album. Surf is the album to listen to when you don’t know what to listen to, trust us.

4. A$AP Rocky – ‘At. Long. Last. A$AP’

In a way that only ASAP could, reception for this Album was garnered long before it’s release, building it to be one of the most anticipated albums of 2015. This anticipation was heightened after the death of ASAP Mob founder and close friend of Rocky, ASAP Yams. Yams’ death cast a grand shadow across the mob, one that is undoubtably reflected in the music and in the cover of the album – a mashup of Rocky and Yams’ faces no doubt reflective of their close bond.

5. Action Bronson – ‘Mr. Wonderful’

Now before anyone gets upset over the decision to include Action Bronson in our list, ask yourself who else has made a breakthrough in the scene the way Bronson has over the last year, No one. After rising to acclaim mid-2014 Bronson has been on a rampage to topple the game. ‘Mr. Wonderful’ being no exception, it’s wild musical production and filmography are key to it’s impact thus far. Shattering conceptions previously attached to Hip Hop, Bronson has rapidly made a name for himself within the genre.

This Album explores Bronson’s mental struggle as well as it’s reception in a world separate to his own psyche. He uses a cocktail of psychedelic, graphic imagery (often too graphic) to supplant his vision into the minds of his audience. In a grotesquely beautiful, incredibly personal way, Bronson creates personal harmony in this Album, something we think was his goal all along. After all if you want something done properly, do it yourself.

July 16, 2015