Mad Skillz' Top Three Favorite Hip-Hop Albums of 2015
1) J. Cole 2014 Forest Hills Drive (Roc Nation) (avail also in vinyl)
J. Cole's still quite popular 2014 Forest Hills Drive is titled after the address in Fayetteville that the North Carolina hip-hop artist born Jermaine Lamarr Cole spent the happiest years growing up in, not the year 2014. However technically 2014 was the release of this 13 track full-length (avail in both CD and LP formats) which was released exactly one year ago on December 9th, 2014 via Jay Z's Roc Nation label. But like most popular albums released at year's end, whose sales continue far into the following calendar year, it is considered by many as a 2015 release. Widely lauded as one of contemporary hip-hop's most engaging storytellers, it is not surprising that emcee Mad Skillz would chose this album as his top pick of the past year.
2) Kendrick Lamar To Pimp A Butterfly (Aftermath)
Executive produced by Dr. Dre and released via his Aftermath label, To Pimp A Butterfly is universally popular Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar’s third studio album and follow up to 2012's breakthrough second full-length good kid, m.A.A.d city, Upon its mid March 2015 release Amoeba.com wrote that the album, "doubles down on the idiosyncracies of good kid, eschewing club-friendly tracks in favor of those that cast a light on Lamar’s pure skills as a rapper and wordsmith—always celebrated, yet perhaps distracted by stellar production and good kid’s concept-album style—as well as his ability to put together a layered and compelling album."