Complex's Best of 2009: The Top 25 Albums

Complex's Best of 2009: The Top 25 Albums


In 2009, we spent so much time putting together our retrospective of the last decade (click here for our "Best of the 2000s" series) that we almost forgot about all the memorable things that happened this year. Well, 2010 ain't here yet, so we're spending the last week looking back at all our favorite stuff, including albums, movies, girls, video games, sports moments, books, style trends, and websites. Sure, everyone has already dropped their '09 lists, but no one has taste quite like Complex. Who else spent 2009 bumping everything from Nicki Minaj to Animal Collective? Look back on all our favorites with the Top 25 Albums of 2009 countdown...

#25: J. Cole The Warm Up 

The Complex Co-Sign: Jermaine Cole moved from North Carolina to NYC in the early 2000s to pursue his rap dreams, and this year they came true. The 24 year-old signed with Jay-Z's Roc Nation label and released his best mixtape to date, garnering comparisons to lyrical heavyweights like Nas. The artist formerly known as Therapist still has a long way to go before he hits the mainstream, but one listen to The Warm Up (and his scene-stealing guest verse on BP3) let us know he has a good chance of getting there.

Listen:
"Grown Simba"

[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE FOR FREE]
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#24: Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca 

The Complex Co-Sign: Kanye isn't the only one who dropped out of school to make music. Dave Longstreth, the pulse of Dirty Projectors, left Yale to do the same, but that's old news. The band is on their sixth album, and they've learned a lot, even if it wasn't in the classroom. Their weirdo sensibilities are still in place, but not to the point that you're scared to play it in front of your friends. Experimental music is great, but making tweaked out records that everyone can enjoy is the real challenge, and Dirty Projectors did it on Bitte Orca.

Listen:
"Stillness Is The Move"

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE MP3 ALBUM FOR $6.99]
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#23: Lee Fields & The Expressions My World 

The Complex Co-Sign: Let's not let the influx of singing rappers allow us to forget that there's an entire generation of vocalists who do this for real. Lee Fields is one of them. After a decade of activity in the '70s, homeboy pretty much disappeared for the next 20 years, but true talent doesn't fade because he still put out one of the best albums this year. We love contemporary music's obsession with all things electronic, but nothing can replace soul backdrops and an amazing voice, which is exactly what Lee Fields brings to the table.

Listen:
"My World Is Empty Without You"

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE MP3 ALBUM FOR $7.99]
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#22: Clipse Til The Casket Drops 

The Complex Co-Sign: After two classics, Pusha and Malice can put another stripe on their arm. Maybe not for making another classic, but dropping one of the best albums of the year gets them something. They stepped out from under the exclusive production umbrella of The Neptunes and still did a great job of picking the weird beats they're known for rapping over. Add a gang of crazy verses, and you have one hell of an album.

Listen:
"Popular Demand (Popeyes)" f/ Cam'ron

[CLICK HERE TO BUY THE MP3 ALBUM FOR $9.99]
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#21: Theophilus London This Charming Mixtape 

The Complex Co-Sign: We knew about Theophilus before 2009, but this project made us believe in him. If Morrissey made hip-hop set to electronic beats, it might sound something like This Charming Mixtape. With seemingly every rapper going left field these days, it's getting a little tired, but Theo showed us that it's still enjoyable if done right. Others took notice too, and now this Brooklyn kid counts folks like Mark Ronson, Solange, and Passion Pit amongst his contemporaries.

Listen:
"Always Love U"

[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MIXTAPE FOR FREE]
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HIT NEXT TO SEE THE REST OF THE COUNTDOWN! (ALBUM #20 - #16)

Tags: best-of-2009, kid-cudi
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