20 of the Best Albums of 2015
Every year-end list for music is going to get applauded by some and hated on by others. Your favorite hip-hop album was made by the same rapper that the next guy won't listen to even if you paid him. The record that earned all the accolades on the Billboard charts doesn't mean anything to you if you're like Logic and "don't fuck with nobody." But a good album is a good album and there's no denying that. The factors to determine that status are different for everyone.
Sure, it's a consensus for many that Kendrick Lamar's sophomore album, To Pimp a Butterfly, is one of the best of the year when it comes into the conversation. However, there's a rap fan out there (maybe that's you) that would likely name five other better albums because that's what suits their musical tastes. That's the dope thing about music: you get to decide which artists have the best albums. This year, there were countless projects that were released from every kind of rapper. From the newcomers to the rap vets, underground to the mainstream, critical darlings to most hated and everything in between. As a result, there really was an album for everyone to identify with over the last 365 days.
Album delays only added to the hype while final release dates and surprise arrivals made artists and fans alike as happy as Drake likely was when he found out "Back to Back" was nominated for a Grammy Award. The LPs that dropped this year all have one thing in common: they're based on freedom of expression. And that's the thing, the message isn't going to sit well with everyone, but you've got to respect the work. From the lyrics to production to much more, here are XXL's 20 Best Albums of 2015.