Leaders of the “New School” of Rap

Aaron Bell, Centurion Staff Writer

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Over the course of 2015, several rap artists battled it out in order to prove their worth. With albums that came from Drake, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Future, Big Sean, and A$AP Rocky, it has been difficult to name the best. Each artist fought valiantly for the title of best rap artist in 2015; however, only three of these rap artists were nominated for Billboard’s title of best rap artist of 2015.

According to Billboard, Drake was the top rap artist of 2015. While this selection is highly debatable, no one can deny that Drake had a huge year in music. The Toronto-based rapper/singer was very active in 2015; he was involved in producing over 40 charted songs both as a leading and featured artist combined. From his platinum mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”, to his hit singles “Hotline Bling” and “Back to Back”, to his album collaboration with rapper Future “What a Time to Be Alive”, Drake has proven once again that he can deliver lyrically while topping the charts.

Second on Billboard’s list of top rap artists was none other than J. Cole. He is a talented artist from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Ever since the release of his first mixtape “The Come Up” in 2009, Cole’s career has only escalated. This past year, J. Cole was featured on a few tracks such as “Planes” by Jeremih and “No Sleeep” by Janet Jackson, but his work has been mostly behind the scenes. However, his album “2014 Forest Hills Drive” attained lots of praise and went platinum in 2015, with album sales that exceeded one million units. Since December 2015, he has since released a mixtape entitled “Revenge of the Dreamers 2”.

Last but certainly not least, Kendrick Lamar came in as the third best rap artist of 2015. Kendrick Lamar is a California native, who grew up in the city of Compton. He remained an underground artist until he gained notoriety with his mixtapes “Overly Dedicated” and “Section.80”. Following the release of his platinum debut album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city”, Kendrick Lamar successfully inserted himself into mainstream music. His 2015 sophomore album, “To Pimp A Butterfly”, is quickly approaching platinum status, and several critics have unanimously deemed his album as one of the top ten albums of 2015, across all genres. His work in 2015 earned him 11 Grammy nominations— and he intends to win all of them.

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