Casablanca Sunset Editor, Andrew Starkman, reviews his Top 20 Hip-Hop Releases of 2015:

20. Towkio – .Wav Theory

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Apr 28, 2015
Record Label: SaveMoney

Chicago rapper Towkio made his debut in 2015 with this intriguing mixtape.  It includes collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa and Donnie Trumpet, as well as production from Chance, Kaytranda, and the artist himself.

19. Tory Lanez & WeDidIt- Cruel Intentions

Genres: Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B
Released: Jun 26, 2015
Record Label: WeDidIt Records

Torey Lanez had a big year in 2015 and still has not released a full length album. From his feature on Meek Mill’s DWMTM to this great collaboration album with WeDidIt stars RL Grime, Baauer, Shlohmo and more, 2015 was good to Tory and we think there is much more in store for the bubbling Toronto star.

18. Gold Link – And After That, We Didn’t Talk

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Nov 10, 2015
Record Label: Soulection

In the year since releasing 2014’s God Complex, Goldlink has collaborated with a host of producers, chief among them Rick Rubin, fleshing out his sound and becoming the rap face of Soulection, a forward-thinking, Los Angeles-based indie label for genre-ambiguous musicians.

17. Mac Miller – GO:OD AM

Genres: Electronic, Indie, Rock
Released: Sep 8, 2015
Record Label: Warner Bros.

It feels like Mac is finally putting out music that reflects himself and this release is helping to confirm that. Keeping the list collaborations short and diverse the album features Ab-Soul, Lil’ B, Miguel, Chief Keef and Little Dragon.

16. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Mar 23, 2015
Record Label: Tan Cressida/Columbia

Earl was able to release an album in 2015 that we as listeners could feel as though he had really solidified his style as an artist. In a year where OF had its ups and downs Earl seemed to stay ahead of the pack and out of the negative headlines, focusing on improving himself and his sound.

15. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf

Genres: Hip Hop, Indie
Released: May 28, 2015
Record Label: Self-Released

Arguably one of the best self-released albums of the year, American band the Social Experiment have elected Donnie Trumpet as their leader for this album. Surf features verses from close collaborator Chance the Rapper as well as Busta Rhynes, Janelle Monáe, J. Cole, Big Sean, Erykah Badu,  and so many more. You can really hear how much fun everyone had recording this album.

14. Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More Than Money

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Jun 29, 2015
Record Label: Maybach Music Group

This album was the next rung in Meek Mill’s push to pop-stardom, combined with the news that he and Nicki Minaj were a couple it seemed like Meek was on his way to the top. That is, until he decided to come at the 6 God. We know how that went, regardless this album is still a quality MMG production.

13. Bryson Tiller – T R A P S O U L

Genres: Hip Hop, R&B
Released: Sep 25, 2015
Record Label: TrapSoul

Trap soul, Tiller’s self-described sound also serves as the moniker of his debut album. With production from  Sango, J Louis, the Mekanics, Gravez and more this album was a major success for the Kentucky native in two categories; independent releases and debut albums.

12. Jay Rock – 90059

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Sep 11, 2015
Record Label: Top Dawg Entertainment

This is the TDE member’s second full length release since 2011’s Follow Me Home. 90059 is obviously a product of the TDE crew rather than solely Jay Rock, features from almost everyone in the camp as well as Busta Rhymes and Macy Gray help Jay Rock to tell his story on this album.

11. The Game – The Documentary 2

Genres: Rock, Blues, Soul
Released: Oct 9, 2015
Record Label: Cash Machine Records

With The Game’s sixth studio release he decided to follow up on his debut album, The Documentary.Game really comes across as a West Coast OG on this album and had enough material to release a second album, The Documentary 2.5, just a week later. This is a star studded album from all aspects; the production, sampling and vocal features.

10. DJ Esco & Future – 56 Nights

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Mar 21, 2015
Record Label: Freebandz

Future had an incredible year and received his first Billboard No. 1 spot with DS2. 56 Nights was the “album before the album”. It’s the finale in a “trilogy of album-quality mixtapes” since his last full length, Honest, and is arguably the best mixtape of the year. Future has finally found his sound.

9. Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Feb 24, 2015
Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Recordings

This was Sean Don’s best selling record to date. Full of radio singles like IDFWU, Blessings, and One Man Can Change the World, Sean also got his first Grammy nomination in which he wasn’t a featured artist on a track.

8. Drake & Future – What A Time To Be Alive

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Sep 20, 2015
Label: A1, Cash Money, Epic Records, OVO Sound, Freebandz, Republic, Young Money

This was another huge success in the book of Future and another Billboard No.1 debut. Although the content may not be as great as DS2 or If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late from Drake, the incredible hype and the change this brought to the collaborative album in hip hop push it into the top 10.

7. A$AP Rocky – AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP.

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: May 26, 2015
Label: A$AP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

A$AP really let us into his artistic side on this album, he seems to be becoming more serious about his craft and his position in the industry. Features include Danger Mouse, Mark Ronson, Rod Stewart, Future, Kanye West, Juicy J, Lil’ Wayne, Bones, and more. RIP Yams.

6. Dr. Dre – Compton

Genres: Hip-Hop, Rap
Released: August 7, 2015
Label: Aftermath/Interscope Records

After 15 years of anticipation, Dr. Dre finally released a new album. It wasn’t Detox; but at least it was pretty good. This seemed to be more of a soundtrack than an official release, but for that we are still grateful. The man, the myth, the legend. The D-R-E.

5. Travi$ Scott – Rodeo

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Sep 4, 2015
Label: Grand Hustle/Epic Records

Travi$ Scott’s debut album was a major production. Credits feature Kanye West, Mike Dean, DJ Dahi, Metro Boomin, The Weeknd, Justin Beiber, Toro y Moi, 2 Chainz and more. The release of this album landed Scott the opening slot on the upcoming tour with Rihanna.

4. Vince Staples – Summertime ’06

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Jun 30, 2015
Label: Def Jam Recordings

Long Beach native Vince Staples’ debut album was a major hit this year. Not only are the singles strong, the remaining tracks on the album are just as infectious. With limited features from Future, DJ Dahi, Jhene Aiko and a handful more, we’ll be bumping Summertime ’06 well into 2016.

3. Future – Dirty Sprite 2

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: Jul 17, 2015
Label: Freebandz/Epic Records

The follow up to 2011’s Dirty Sprite mixtape and Future’s third studio album, DS2 may be Future’s best work to date. With singles like Fuck Up Some Commas and Where Ya At the hard hitting album also features Future’s subtle emotional honesty when it counts. With only one feature on the entire album, Drake, Future really fed the streets with this one.

2. Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Genres: Rap, Hip-Hop
Released: Feb 13, 2015
Record Label: OVO Sound/Cash Money Records/Universal

Even with no real single, this album/mixtape had the net on fire when it surprisingly was released at the start of this year and set the precedent for all surprise albums throughout 2015. Drake had another massive year in 2015 and this was the album that kicked it all off for him. We’re still listening to this album.

1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

Genres: Rap, Hip Hop
Released: March 14, 2015
Label: Aftermath/Interscope

A stroke of pure genius, this album is an engaging listen from beginning to end. Aside from Kendrick’s inexplicable story telling, the production from Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Knxwledge, 1500 or Nothin’ and more really sets this album apart from the rest of the field.

Honorable Mention: