Fashionably-Early’s Top 50 Albums of 2015

30. The Game – The Documentary 2.5


PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (MP3, CD)

The Game revealed his 2012 album Jesus Piece as his first concept album. While a great album, it didn’t deliver on its intended concept – however, Documentary 2.5 really nails Game’s idea of a conceptual record. While the first disc of this album, Documentary 2, felt like a rushed assortment of tracks with no direction, Game grabs a host of terrific producers and features on some of the best tracks of the year on a conceptual disc about Game’s life and struggles throughout the gangs and struggles of Compton. Scarface drops one of the year’s most memorable verses on “Last Time You Seen” (one of the best songs of the year), and Busta Rhymes returns with Game for a terrific sequel to his 2005 classic track “Like Father Like Son”. Even if Game wasn’t explicity aiming for a concept record, he really did it justice and outdid himself after a disappointing first disc. It may not hold up to the original, but it’s a damn good record in its own right. – Mitch

Standout tracks: Last Time You Seen, Up on the Wall, Moment of Violence

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29. DP – Designer Casket

DP 5

Hailing from Virginia, rapper DP made it all the way to 29 on our year-end list on what’s his first major, cohesive release. The grimy rapper was picked up by 300 Entertainment this year, adding a new sound to their roster. DP is the drug pushing emcee of the new school. DP’s main themes revolve around gangster, drug references and it makes it all the more believable when you hear DP’s dense, dark tone. DP commands himself on the microphone, not letting any beat overshadow the timbre of his voice so when he says “Upon birth, put the Glock to the doctor/Told him take me to the pharmacy/I need Percocet and Oxy’s/To distribute to the drugged out mommas,” on “Glass Casket”, I’m picturing baby DP, with a beanie on, pulling a mini glock out of his waist and committing the act. As much as that line’s a clear hyperbole, it’s such a colorful picture he’s painted, even though the line’s as paradoxically grim as the reaper himself. “Designer Casket’s” pretty concise at only 10 tracks long but in most cases, a short album without the filler is always the better option. – Trixx

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28. Steven A Clark – The Lonely Roller

the lonely roller

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl)

It has been a long time coming, but Steven A Clark properly released his debut album The Lonely Roller this year. The album is short at ten songs in length, and for longtime fans like myself, there are only seven new tracks on the album and five if you factor in the two pre-release singles. Regardless, the older tracks are revamped to the point where you don’t even feel like you are listening to the same song.

The lead singles – ‘Not You’ & ‘Can’t Have’ – are contrite and haunting at the same time while staying uniform to the album’s electro-pop production. After hearing the lead single ‘Not You’, I pre-ordered the album on vinyl just based off the strength of that single. Needless to say, you will be beleaguered trying to find this mix of songwriting and production anywhere else in the music industry, which helps explain why The Lonely Roller is so special. – malbin

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27. Cousin Stizz – Suffolk County

Cousin Stizz

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (MP3)

Now that I realize it, a lot of the albums I’ve been writing about for this list have come from newcomers. Cousin Stizz is another; representing Massachusetts proudly on his “Suffolk County” project. Stizz has a slow flow, a flow that gets a little monotone at time but he has a certain way of riding the beat, a certain charisma that works really well. He has a great cadence and on top of some dope beats like on “Fresh Prince”, which has turned out to be the most popular song on the project, Stizz doesn’t do too much on the mic, he lets the beat ride a lot but Stizz’ slow cadences on the song are just so catchy and on time. I can’t recount the number of times I’ve recited to myself “I’m the f*cking fresh prince/Like my name is ill Smith.” It’s a trait that’s present throughout all of “Suffolk County” and it’s the trait that makes Stizz really stand out. – Trixx

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26. Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More Than Money

Meek Mill Dreams

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3)

If Meek Mill didn’t make the foolish decision to attack Drake over ghostwriting allegations this summer, this album would be receiving the respect it deserves. Instead, Meek’s best full length effort since the original Dreamchasers mixtape is being left behind in the dust. Meek threw together one of the best radio rap singles of the year in “All Eyes on You”, teamed up with Tory Lanez for an EPIC intro track in “Lord Knows”, and simply brought back his catchy, hard style that was missing on Dreamchasers 3. Anyone who said Meek’s career was “done” due to losing the beef with Drake is simply wrong, and this album was already an indicator of that. – Mitch

Standout tracks: Lord Knows, Check, Pullin Up


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