2015 started off incredible strong with dope project after dope project. The pressure is on at The Koalition, where the Knights of the Turntable have to sift through all this great music to tag our favorites. Out of the gate, the team had to breakdown the best song they heard this year and why it left such an impression. Be sure to hit us with your favorites if their not represented, we’d love to know what readers are checking out and if we’ve influenced your rotation.
Lupe Fiasco – “Mural” [Tetsuo & Youth]
Ever since Lasers dropped in 2011, my love from Lupe Fiasco‘s music mirrored the rises of falls of a heart monitor. Food & Liquor II showed great flashes, but faltered and hope wavered. There was no doubting Lupe Fiasco’s lyrical prowess, but it simply wasn’t translating to enjoyable music. Then on January 16th he dropped “Mural” and, in 8 minutes and 49 seconds, Lupe re-cemented himself atop the mountain of dope rhymers and followed it up with Album and Mixtape of the Year candidates. 2015 was the year I saw my favorite artist rise from his grave.
Drake – “Hotline Bling” [No Album]
While Kendrick Lamar had a stellar 2015, it would be silly not to acknowledge the man who many consider to be his competitor. After squashing Meek Mill in two back-to-back diss tracks, Drake released a standout video for “Hotline Bling”. I’ll be the first to say now that I’m not a Drake fan, but I just may give Aubrey’s next album a listen in 2016.
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” [To Pimp A Butterfly]
This song stayed in constant rotation for me. The production was great. The lyrics are great. The message is great. The vibe is great. It is a song that I played loudly in the office, at home, in the car, and in other people’s cars. Kendrick Lamar puts things in perspective, for me, in this song. Lots of things around me, and us, aren’t going like we want them, but, “we gon’ be alright!”
Future – “March Madness” [56 Nights]
From the moment the bass drops on this one, it’s infectious. Future begins with “Dirty soda in the Styrofoam” and from that moment you are listening to a song that will evoke emotion not only from him but from you as you dab and turn up to the glory that is “March Madness”.
Drake – “Back to Back” [No Album]
I’m choosing this song because I feel like it has had a strong impact from a raw Hip Hop perspective. Battling and competition has always been a part of the culture, but it’s something that has been missing from the mainstream side of things somewhat. With this song Drake showed us that he’s not just a soft ‘singing ni**a’ and he showed his ability to rise to the occasion and hand out an L real quick. This song made me respect Drake as an MC, even though I don’t enjoy listening to most of his catalogue.
And there we are! What did you think of the list? Your favorite songs here? If not, drop links and your reasons down in the comment section below. Stay tuned for Collaboration and Rookie of the Year before we rank the Albums/Eps and Mixtapes of the Year on Knights of the Turntable #50. Also, check the End of the Year Preshow.