Only 4 months late this time! Albums by major artists that definitely aren’t even close to being on this list include At.Long.Last.A$AP (ambitious but empty); Mr. Wonderful (unambitious adult contemporary rap); Cherry Bomb (ambitious garbage); B4.DA.$$ (boring revivalist); The Documentary (about three times too long); If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (collection of leftovers); What A Time To Be Alive (another collection of leftovers + one banger that makes you jump, man). Dr. Dre’s somewhere in the top 15, and you don’t care about the others.
Obvious #1 is obvious; here we go:
10. Young Thug – Barter 6
Summary: “Check” and “Numbers” are some of the oddest, saddest bangers you’ll ever hear.
9. Milo – So The Flies Don’t Come
Summary: poet attempts to attack depression and the culture war through jazz
8. MED, Blu & Madlib – Bad Neighbor
Summary: a genius and two cohorts invite friends, get stoned
7. Future – DS2
Summary: any artist that can manage to turn “I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip-flops” as a hook and make us feel sorry for him simultaneously is worthy of our attention.
6. Pusha T – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude
Summary: the most calculated flow + some of the most expensive producers = G.O.O.D. music
5. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside
Summary: young prodigy stays inside because he knows outside isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – that’s what makes him smart
4. Le1f – Riot Boi
Summary: Like listening to To Pimp a Butterfly’s message if the album included homosexuality and transsexuality in its scope, then filtered through the lens of Surf’s own message of self-love over beats that sounds inspired by Yeezus and bubblegum bass.
3. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06
Summary: The rapper has a great voice – he sounds youthful but worn down by weltschmerz; the beats are even better – this might be the most atmospheric hip-hop vision of America since the 90s.
2. Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment – Surf
Summary: feel good music to make you feel good about yourself
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
Summary: this sounds like Kendrick Lamar took the racial undertones of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah and turned them into overtones, took Bilal’s A Love Surreal Brainfeeder-influenced lucid grooves and made them even more lucid, took good kid, m.A.A.d. city’s cohesive vision and brought it to a much larger subject matter that he only hinted he was interested in in Section.80’s half-concept.