Which year was best in the hip-hop world?

Hip-hop has been around for long enough where we can now get into the argument of what year has been best so far. Every year has some sort of defining album or moment from Lil Uzi Vert’s comeback album “Eternal Atake” last year, to the emergence of Eminem in 2000 with his debut album “Marshall Mathers LP”. Let’s look more into the years that had multiple albums that broke the world. 

The earliest year on the list is 1994 where the sound of hip-hop was a lot different. At this time rap was filled with gangsta rap with artists like N.W.A. and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. We heard unbelievable projects from Nas with his rapid fire lyrics on Illmatic. Outkast dropped their first studio album putting Andre 3000 on the map of hip-hop. But the most important project here was Notorious B.I.G. ‘s “Ready to Die” which included his two most popular songs “Juicy” and “Big Poppa”. The album peaked at number six on the U.S. billboard hot 100 and his songs “Juicy” and “Big Poppa” reached the 27th and 6th spot respectively. Just Biggie’s album could put this year high up on the list but the dropping of multiple other top albums and the beginning of stardom for people like Andre 3000 makes it a legendary year for hip-hop—just not the best. 

2016 was what most people in their eyes see as the greatest year for just music in general. We saw pop artists like Beyonce, Ariana Grande and Rihanna all drop some of their best projects of all time. In the hip-hop world, we were blessed with projects from Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, J.Cole, Post Malone and more. While all of these great artists dropped incredibly influential albums, one rose above them all and that was Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo”. The album debuted at the number one spot on billboard and had already made noise from his unbelievably explicit music video for “Famous”. This album was one of West’s most controversial and saw the switch from West’s  relationship rap to his gospel side. More albums from this year were Kendrick Lamar’s “untitled unmastered” and Travis Scott’s “Birds in the Trap Mcknight”. 

The best year of hip-hop in my eyes was 2015. This year may not have had the quantity that 2016 had, but it definitely had the quality. We saw three of the best albums of the decade drop that year including Drake’s “If You’re Reading This it’s Too Late”, Travis Scott’s “Rodeo” and Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly”. All three of these albums showed the different sides of what hip-hop would become in the coming years. Drake introduced the no-sympathy side of rap with songs like “Energy” and “Know Yourself”. Travis made trap music and autotune more popular with his hit song “Antidote”. Kendrick’s lyrics were racially charged and focused on the discrimination that is still apparent in the country. All three of them were pioneers for the artists ahead of them and helped the rap scene move into mainstream music.