Three months into the year 2015, and there hasn’t been any album yet that has truly struck a chord with me. While there were certainly some albums this year that have impressed me, there still hasn’t been anything ground-breaking. Luckily, it is only three months into the year, and I have exceptionally high hopes for 2015, especially when it comes to hip-hop. These are my top 10 most anticipated albums for this year, try and give them a chance when they are released.
10. Hudson Mohawke:
Release Date: June 6
Hudson Mohawke is hands down one of, if not the most underrated producer in the game right now. His TNGHT collaboration with Lunice is one of the best modern beat tapes I’ve ever heard, and his early tapes are nothing short of fantastic. While HudMo has remained relatively under the radar this year, he recently tweeted that his new album, Lantern was hot in the works and to be on the lookout for it. This is his first solo release in six years and in a press release earlier in the year, he stated that “This album is everything I’ve been working towards.” Those are great words to hear from the young and innovative producer. If this album sounds anything like Kanye’s “Blood on the Leaves” (Which HudMo co-produced), then it will be ground-breaking.
9. Action Bronson: Mr.
Release Date: March 24
I’ve always been an on-and-off fan of Action Bronson. He’s been very consistent with his releases, but too much to the point where I’m over-whelmed with his material. But, after his release of “Baby Blue,” featuring Chance the Rapper, I am beyond exhilarated for this album. The best part of Action Bronson is he is continuing to grow as an artist. In between hosting his online (soon to be on TV) miniseries “F*** That’s Delicious!” and smoking copious amounts of herb, he still manages to find time to drop some insane singles. “Easy Rider” and “Baby Blue” are two of my favorite singles from 2015 so I have very high hopes for what Bronsolino has for us.
8. Pet Symmetry: Pet
Release Date: May 19
Evan Weiss is one of the forerunners for the current “emo revival” movement with consecutively releasing album after album and producing/mixing many other emo artists’ albums. Into It. Over It., (his main band) has been fairly consistent with releases, but Evan’s side project, Pet Symmetry has only released a split (with other emo-revivalists Dikembe) and a 7” EP that is probably my favorite material Evan Weiss has been on it. The excitement of the release of this LP stems from that very 7”. Though it is only two songs, both are very well-written songs with wonderful use of instruments, especially horns. Evan’s vocals are very memorable, and for good reason – he’s a very talented singer especially for the genre he’s in. Pre-order for the LP is available via Asian Man Records.
7. Drake: Views From
Release Date: TBD
To some, Drake is claiming 2015 as his year. After releasing an amazingly well-received mixtape of nothing but practically throwaway tracks, he announced that his album, Views from the 6 (the title was announced sometime last summer), would be coming our way soon. There’s really not much information regarding his upcoming album, but his last album, Nothing Was the Same was a heavy contender for Rap Album of the Year for 2013, so here’s to hoping Views From the 6 will be the same.
6. Toro y Moi: What
Release Date: April 7
Chaz Bundick, more commonly known as Toro y Moi, is quite the underrated musician in the indie-music realm. While commonly being associated with the “chillwave” genre, Toro y Moi manages to masterfully blend together sounds that can only be described as the grooviest jams on the planet. Since his first full-length release of Causers of This in 2009, to his newest LP, Anything in Return, each album has had such an impressive, distinct sound that only Bundick is able to create. He has released one song for the album far, accompanied by a music video – the song has a much fuller, rock and roll feel which a great direction to see him heading in.
5. Frank Ocean: TBD
Release Date: TBD
It seems like it’s been a lifetime since Frank Ocean last graced us with his modern R&B classic, Channel Orange and there is very, very little known about the upcoming Frank Ocean project except for a snippet released and other minor information. Among the list of producers released for the album was Danger Mouse, Pharrell, Rodney Jenkins and Hit-Boy, so I’m expecting the production to be top quite notch. While R&B is far from my favorite genre, Frank Ocean has never let down with any of his releases so it is extremely exciting to hear about a release from him this year.
4. Death Grips: The
Powers That B
Release Date: March 31
When a band is considered “experimental” or “punk” rap, it’s pretty hard to paint a picture of their sound without personally listening to it. Death Grips are an experience and a half to hear with each album they have released. Finally, after an insane amount of confusion, band break-ups, and phony releases, The Powers That B, Death Grips’ last album, is coming out. Recently, (via some sketchy CD distro site) 30-second clips of each song were made available, and they sound fantastic. It’s rumored that Robert Pattinson (Yeah, the dude from “Twilight”) plays guitar on this album. While this seems ridiculous, Pattinson is actually credited for guitar on “Birds,” a song off Death Grip’s Government Plates album, so, y’know, there’s that. Exmilitary and Government Plates are both available for free via Death Grip’s site: thirdworlds.net
3. Kendrick Lamar: To
Pimp a Butterfly
Expected Release Date:
Actual Release Date:
To Pimp a Butterfly is a clever play off of the book title “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which seems to be a metaphor for exploiting something beautiful. The singles released are all quite different, but in their own fantastic ways. “I” was a get-up-and-dance jam, “The Blacker the Berry” was a racially-charged track where we see Kendrick at his most aggressive, and “King Kunta” is a fantastic nod to decades old funk that will have everyone grooving.
Lamar released the album ahead of schedule on March 16. To say the least, people are raving about it. Pitchfork gave it a 9.3/10, Rolling Stone gave it a 4.5/5 and Anthony Fantono (The Internet’s “busiest music nerd”) gave it a perfect 10/10. On it’s release date, it broke a Spotify record of most streams in a day (9.6 million). The album brings together so many elements of African culture as well as focuses on many important hot topics that are going on right now. But, instead of just rapping a statistic and being angry about, Kendrick manages to beautifully articulate all of his points and turn it into pure poetry. Expect to see a review of this album from me quite soon.
2. Chance the Rapper
& The Social
Release Date: TBD
Chance the Rapper has been one of, if not my favorite hip-hop artist ever since I heard his astonishing Acid Rap mixtape. After diving even deeper and exploring the rest of his discography, his music instantly clicked with me, as well as many other people. Not too much is known about Surf except for the few singles released (Sunday Candy, Arthur Theme, Lady Friend, No Better Blues) and there’s no confirmation of them even being on the album. Regardless of that, I have insanely high hopes for this album – Chance is hands down one of the most innovative rappers out there right now, and even musician as a whole. Acid Rap and 10Day mixtapes are both available for free via Chance’s website: chanceraps.com
1. Kanye West: So Help
Release Date: TBD
Much like every other “Anticipated Albums of 2015” list, Kanye West is indeed at the top of my chart. With his release of singles “All Day”, “Only One” and a live version of “Wolves”, the hype surrounding this whole album is pretty unreal. The reason this album is number one on my chart is because I fully believe it will live up to the hype. Kanye’s marketing of Yeezus was minimal, but brilliant and substantial (projecting of “New Slaves” music video on buildings), so who knows what could happen with So Help Me God. Personally, Kanye has never let down on an album and it’s so interesting to watch Kanye’s progression and the direction he aims toward when creating a new album. Each single for this album has all been quite different, so it’s still a complete toss-up to see where this album is headed. Singles “All Day” and “Only One” are available via iTunes.
Zach Ritz is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at ZR812833@wcupa.edu.