1.) To Pimp A Butterfly — Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city was perhaps the most anticipated album of the year. It seemed impossible that Lamar could equal the accomplishment of his perfect debut. Instead, he blew it away in scope, ambition and depth. Across 16 tracks and nearly 80 minutes, Lamar burrows into complex issues, using his dexterous voice to produce an astounding variety of tones and emotions, from anger to false bravado to introspection to drunken sobbing. The music itself is a history lesson in modern African-American music, blending jazz, funk, soul and classic hip-hop into one omnivorous, fluid sound.