It’s the 31st of December, time for our annual musical wrap up. We crawled through hundreds of tracks and carefully slimmed down the selection to our 15 golden tracks of 2015. So put those firecrackers away for a moment, open up the volume and slide through the music below. If we missed out on that special track, leave a link in the comments below or via Facebook / Twitter so we can look it up.
Thank you for the support and see you in 2016!
Maarten’s top 3
Flako – Gelis
Have to follow the critics on this one. Flako has delivered the best album of the year. Gelis is beyond music and sets an atmospheric vibe that hits you ‘right in the feels’.
Ras G – Da Hipster Hummus
Ras G has returned from his Space Base and created Raw Fruit Vol. 4. An eclectic mix of samples, insane subs and extra terrestrial beats. Da Hipster Hummus adds an extra dimension with a catchy Bollywood vibe and repetitive vocals that guides you to outer space.
D’Angelo – Till it’s Done
It took a while but D’Angelo still has it. Together with the ‘The Vanguard’ they deliver a solid album. Black Messiah contains a great mix of some rock, funk, soul and R ‘n B. Sugah Daddy and Till it’s Done are my personal favorites and have that typical D’Angelo flow.
Laurens’ top 3
NxWorries (Knxwledge & Anderson.Paak) – Suede
This year, producer Knxwledge made us very happy with his Hud Dreams and golden voice Anderson.Paak did the same with guest appearances on Compton, Jonwayne is Retired and Bad Neighbor. Together as NxWorries they are smoother than a motherfucker, suede on the inside. Suede brings us a very refined laidback beat which is enriched by the half-song half-rap of Anderson.Paak. Cali summer on repeat, strongly visual translated by South Central video artist Calmatic.
Moresounds – Last fly to Jupiter
As heard on the latest great release of Moresounds, The Outher Spaces EP. Last Fly to Jupiter is an uplifting and layered track that feels like the unique trip between Earth and Jupiter. A flight that starts from a dub base station on Earth in the middle of the night. You fly through the jungle toward a footwork / juke galaxy far far away and after a while you smoothly arrive at planet Jupiter for a slow landing.
DonMonique – UNTLD
This year’s hip-hop rookie from New York City released her debut album Thirst Trap EP, which oozes nostalgia. Best track of the album UNTLD brings you back to the times of lean and mean rappin’ that put Brooklyn on the map. In this diverse track ‘brrrraps’ are flying around to bring you that neck-breaking 90’s hip-hop feeling. UNTLD, and DonMonique in general, makes you think of the temper of Lil’ Kim in her younger years. Could this be the rebirth of classic female hip-hop from New York?
Gianni’s top 3
Nosaj Thing – Let You
Thé slow-burner of 2015, providing just the right amount of dark synths and eerie beats to give you the auditive creeps. Nosaj Thing’s ‘Let You’ starts out slow-paced, accelerates halfway through and send you in orbit towards the end of the track. Spacecore at it’s best.
A$AP Rocky – Jukebox Joints
Let’s start out with some Smokey Robinson, add a pinch of Indonesian flavour with Rasela’s ‘Doa Untuk Kekasih’, throw in some Tony Aiken and finish it off with some vocals by Rihanna. A$AP Rocky cooked up a mind-blowing blend of genres and turned it into a timeless version of ‘Jukebox Joints’. The laidback flow by both Rocky and Kanye feel trippy and clarifying at the same time, turning this track into one of the best hiphop compositions of 2015.
BadBadNotGood ft. Ghostface Killah – Stark’s Reality
One of the few instrumental tracks on BBNG’s collaborative album with Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah. ‘Stark’s Reality’ feels like a welcome breath of fresh air between the hard and harsh lyrics of Ghostface Killah. I also have to admit that I’m a sucker for strings, the violins on this track just completely ease me down. Nonetheless, It seems like the trio from Canada is slowly drifting away from raw hiphop, and steadily becoming the new masters of contemporary jazz.
Wouter’s top 3
Thundercat – Them Changes
The vivid analogy for heartbreak, the beefed-up Isley Brothers drum break and contributions by Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington (who both released great albums this year by the way) make this song great.
Fred Fades & Ivan Ave – Waters
Since the Low Jams EP this guy has been on our radar. It’s pretty refreshing to hear a rapper who has a nice rhythmic flow and great wordplay again!
BadBadNotGood - Boogie No. 69
Has a very 70’s jazz fusion sound to it. Nothing particularly new but just such a groovy and danceable track! The great composition with nice breaks and solo’s keep it interesting all the way through.
Konstantin’s top 3
Shlohmo – Apathy (ft. D33J)
Henry Laufer’s sophomore LP ‘Dark Red’ was heavily anticipated, coming on the heels of years of stellar production and well-received live shows, as well as his 2014 collaborative EP with Jeremih. His second release for True Panther Sounds in as many months, the album proved to be a dizzying and somber trip through intense soundscapes, featuring a more mature, fleshed out version of Shlohmo’s signature sound. ‘Apathy’ stands out from the rest, particularly for its balanced production and the haunting, drawn-out vocal sample that repeats for over 3 minutes, yet remains relevant throughout. A master class in genre-bending, and yet another example of Shlohmo’s unique approach to music.
M.I.A. – Borders
In a year that saw its fair share of politically- and socially-aware music, Mathangi Arulpragasam waited until the end of November to put her two cents in, and with all honesty, it was well worth it. ‘Borders’ is M.I.A.’s answer to the turbulent nature of contemporary life, where nations are willing to send battleships to protect oil tankers, hold solemn marches to lament the suffering of their own, but will close their borders to stop others from reaching safety and a chance for a better life. Surprisingly, it’s the lyrics that are the most simplistic element here (though far from lacking substance), with the claustrophobic instrumental taking center stage, as the singer mantra-slangs her way into another hypnotic cycle. Having one of the best and most impactful (just read the YouTube or Facebook comments) videos of the year certainly helps, especially when you’ve written, produced and directed it yourself. Romain Gavras would be proud, and so are we, but will the world at large listen?
Earl Sweatshirt – Grief
Even considering it comes from an album titled ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’, ‘Grief’ still sounds spectacularly bleak. The purposefully low-quality beat only adds to the suffocating atmosphere, one that has so far been appearing on-and-off in Earl’s personal life, as well as his musical career. The OF-era antics seem to be a thing of the past, as the rapper embarks on a very personal journey that will probably put off many listeners. Those that persist will be treated to one of the best word-for-word lyricists of our time, and a name worthy of the MF Doom comparisons. In the words of Earl himself: “I just want my time and my mind intact […] When they both gone, you can’t buy ‘em back”.