It's not even April yet, and it has already been an excellent year for new music. Like, shockingly excellent. Drake dropped an wonderful surprise album, while Kedrick Lamar unleashed his much-anticipated follow-up to 2012's Good Kid M.A.A.D. City. We also have the promise of new albums from Kanye, Rihanna, Ty Dolla $ign, The-Dream, Dipset, Chance the Rapper, Migos, and freaking Jodeci… and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. It's a lot to digest, but we're here to help you get through it. Here's some stuff you should be putting in rotation, in no particular order.
To make this easier to follow, I've linked where you can find the album in its title and posted an album highlight underneath.
Mr. Wonderful - Action Bronson
This album sounds like Action Bronson spent the past year listening exclusively to '70s and '80s TV themes. I mean that in a good way. A track with Bronsolino rapping over the theme to "Welcome Back Kotter," it would fit right in. I've been enjoying this one way more than I expected.
To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
Stylistically, To Pimp a Butterfly is very different from good kid, m.A.A.d city. Kendrick has clearly been spending a lot of time with experimental Los Angeles producer Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder crowd. The album gets funkier with every listen.
SremmLife - Rae Sremmurd
I was prepared to take human amphetamines Rae Sremmurd as one-hit-wonder joke teens, even though the Mississippi duo of Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy are 19 and 20 respectively. Which may explain why they can make an album that's just so fun and inconsequential.
Dark Sky Paradise - Big Sean
Big Sean can be such a petty little bitch (see "IDFWU"), but he's a petty little bitch who made a great album, and he brought his friends Kanye and Drake along for the ride. He's wayyyy up, I feel blessed.
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt - Earl Sweatshirt
Someone should probably do daily check-ins on Earl to make sure everything is cool with him. Because as you may have guessed, this album is heavy and moody. But all-around good.
He's Fieri, he's in the kitchen, he's a magician. Our guy Aubrey pulled a Beyoncé and gifted us a beautiful surprise album.
The Iron Way - T-Pain
Teddy Pain is back in a big way, and here is your proof.
Beast Mode - Future
Future and veteran producer Zaytoven's collaboration is nine songs of absolute fire.
56 Nights - Future
Whoa, Future, slow down, man. Your level of output is making everyone else look bad.
Eyes on Me - Iamsu!
Amethyst - Tinashe
Okay, so technically this isn't exactly rap, but don't use that as an excuse to sleep on Tinashe. Her Amethyst tape was nice follow-up to her 2014 album Aquarius.
B4.DA.$$ - Joey Bada$$
This tape hits hard; my only complaint is it's too short. Even Malia Obama knows what's up.
Who's Gonna Get F*****d First - Father
When I first saw the title of the Father album, I wasn't sure whether the censored word was "Fisted" or "Fucked." Anyway, just to be clear, it's "Fucked," and this tape rules. If you thought all Father had in him was the viral hit "Wrist," you're way off.
Honorable mention: The Empire Soundtrack
I know. I know. But Empire had a fuckton of bangers, and I, for one, can't get "Drip Drop" out of my dumb head.