I think we can safely agree that 2015 was one of the best years hip-hop has seen. We can all talk about our top albums and argue who put out the best and worst. However shouldn’t we be trying to consume as much great art as possible? Enter my list of some releases that you might’ve missed, peep it and let me know what you think and more importantly let me know what albums you felt people missed last year.
Clear Soul Forces– Fab 5ive
The Detroit based hip-hop group Clear Soul Forces had been on the grind for years and with their debut LP “Fab 5ive” the four-man group came with some of the most energetic raps I heard this year. With Detroit producer Nameless handling all of the production, we were given a plate of underground sounds that still bang. The group consisting of Noveliss, L.A.Z, Ilajide and E-Fav trade bars back and forth, exhibiting both braggadocio and socially conscious bars. The group showcases their ability with no guest appearances and even give Nameless numerous interludes to put his sound out there. Who knows what the group is coming with this year, but I’m excited to see what the group has next for us.
J57 & Koncept– The Fuel EP
J57 and Koncept announced their teaming up years ago and in 2015 we got a sample of what’s to come from the duo in their project “The Fuel“. J57 handles the production and it is all sample-free which gives Koncept a completely different realm of sounds than what we’re usually used to from both artists. The production has a positive feel to it while Koncept celebrates his accomplishments while respecting the struggle and the path it took to get there. J57 is taking hip-hop in a new direction with his production and who better than his partner in crime Koncept with slick wordplay and introspection to give the songs life. The duo should be dropping their LP here in 2016 and believe that I’m looking forward to it.
Cas Metah– Old Fashioned
Scribbling Idiot emcee Cas Metah, stepped outside of all the collabs he’d been doing over the last couple years to finally put out his fourth solo LP “Old Fashioned”. With this project Cas wanted to give us something that called back to the days of The Pharcyde, Gangstarr, ATCQ and others. Channeling production from Defizit, Theory Hazit, Re:Flex the Architect and vocal appearances from Copywrite, Playdough, Deacon the Villain, Blueprint and more Cas really does take it back. Between personal anecdotes and raps to melt your face off, Cas has done it yet again.
Gospel Igwe– Brillant
Arizona emcee Gospel Igwe has been working behind the scenes on his brand and his craft for years now. Now we have the “Brillant” EP that is nothing short of that. What Gospel gives us on this project is production that slaps with lyrics that call for reflection of ourselves and the environment around us. While it’s only 5 tracks deep this is enough to get people’s ears perked for whatever Gospel has coming for us this year.
nasa8– 2015 Discography
Every year I tell you guys, every year you guys sleep. Nasa8 is music group hailing from all parts of the world. The group is deep and after releasing their album at the top of the year the grind never stopped. Spanning releases from Fonlon, JAHSHOOTA and Kente along with six releases from their instrumental compilation series the group has shown that they can make diverse music at a consistent rate. The group is already coming out the gates firing this year with releases from Tek.Lun, Bito, Fonlon and more coming soon.
Theory Hazit– Fall of the Lightbearer
Theory Hazit has been all over the place the last couple years, started off with Humble Beast, mysteriously left Humble Beast, dropped the long awaited collab project DC Comets with Cream of Beats and this brings us to 2015. Released through Soulspazm records Theory Hazit gave us “Fall of the Lightbearer” his most personal project to date. This was the first record that Theory handled the majority of the production and the Portland hip-hop artists covers a multitude of topics. From struggling with his relationship with God, to the racism we’ve seen this year and much more. Theory Hazit again proves why he’s one of the best hip-hop artists we’ve seen.
Left of Center– 2015 Discography
DJ Soko, Dart Adams, Nolan the Ninja and other artists have come together to make Left of Center a label based out of NYC. This year the label dropped two albums in DJ Soko’s “Domino Effect” and Nolan the Ninja’s “f*ck the hype” EP. Both bolstered hard hitting underground production and lyrics from some of the finest veterans and up and comers in hip-hop. The label seems to just be kicking up steam and I’m excited to see what other talent LoC has hiding in the wings.
J’Von & Ackryte– Raw Sheep
We’re in an age where emcees are starting to mess with different sounds, a cleaner sound that’s still influenced by sampling but just has a more lush tone to it (wavy if you will). Enter J’Von and Ackryte who’ve been fine-tuning their craft years before gaining the followings they have now. With this “raw sheep” LP the two have raised the ante. J’Von commands the mic effortlessly weaving through Ackryte’s soundscapes spinning stories of love, frustration and more through the eyes of a talented emcee. Boosting guest features from Zuke Saga, Blu and more, “raw sheep” if you haven’t peeped the album yet I demand you go back and check it out.
Slum Village- Yes
James Gardin & KuroiOto- Living Daylights
Tyler, the Creator- CherryBomb
Deacon the Villain- Peace or Power
Add-2- Prey for the Poor
Verbal Kent- Anesthesia
Relic & Fresh Kils- The 13th Floor