Yes, I know it’s March 1. That’s the point. In just 59 days, 2015 has already completely embarrassed 2014’s total year in rap. The zombie apocalypse could pop off tomorrow (it’s already begun—please remain #woke) and we’d be all set basically. It’s not even fucking spring yet, word to the weather here at Complex HQ hovering around Tyga-approved temperatures, and already, rap fans are calling for a time-out. We need a breather, because, goddamn, it’s been a breathless run so far with so many glorious miles ahead.
Oh, this is an asinine comparison, you say? Let’s run down what we’ve been blessed with this year, starting with “Blessings,” an absolute Sean-Drake banger. In the free range dead zone of 2014, it would’ve dominated. This year, it’s competing for lituation dominance against like eight to 15 tracks from Drake’s (worst kept) SURPRISE mixtape. It’ll probably be bodied by Big Brother Ye’s long-awaited heater “All Day,” another song from his upcoming album, So Help Me God, and the fourth Kanye track to be released since the first minutes of Jan. 1 bore his beautiful ode to North, “Only One.” To reiterate, Kanye returned in grand fashion, with a fucking Beatle in tow. Drake made the first move in honoring his promise to have spring 2015 poppin. Meek Mill came out of the bing and air-dropped an up-tempo heater, one that it seems people will actually pay attention to this time instead of inexplicably ignoring. King Kendrick dropped a racially charged song that was met with universal acclaim in contrast to the polarizing "i," thus renewing the feverish anticipation for his next album. Big Sean finally delivered the focused, thoroughly enjoyable album we knew he had in him. And that’s just the Cliff's Notes.
Basically 2014 was one giant tumbleweed rolling through the desert, scored with "Mustard on the beat" drops instead of a country twang. YG pleasantly surprised us all with the album of the year (imo), Run the Jewels outdid themselves, and in the wake of a mainstream slumber, randos and one-hit wonders suddenly became hip-hop household names. The bonafide blockbuster LP releases did finally arrive toward the end of the year, with Queen Nicki Minaj blessing us with the great, though long-delayed, pseudo-breakup album The Pinkprint, and J. Cole dropping the best thing he's done since the crown jewel in his discography, Friday Night Lights. So no, it wasn’t a drought, but the never-ending thirst of a rabid music fan definitely wasn’t quenched.
The disappointment of last year was more than just an inevitable comedown from the bounty of 2013—it was also a year of unfulfilled promises.
It’s OK to be greedy. There are too many active mainstream rappers doing the damn thing, in both form and ever-changing, exciting execution and rollout, to not breed an insatiability from their audience. The disappointment of last year was more than just an inevitable comedown from the bounty of 2013—it was also a year of unfulfilled promises. There was no re-up from dudes who hadn’t dropped since 2012 like Meek or Kendrick, despite both camps all but confirming there would be. A$AP Rocky, whose debut dropped at the very top of 2013, was borderline ghost (too worried bout bitches and fashion, they go missing in action?), a void made apparent by the mounting suspense leading up to “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodeye 2.”
And with that song’s NYE release and onward, these last 59 days have shown just how exciting rap can be when everyone’s clips are incidentally loaded at the same time. And while any (and every) year starts out with a rumored release schedule that quickly thins by September, this year a few things are damn near guaranteed. Kendrick and Meek have to drop something, point blank. Wale’s coming with an album co-anchored by fucking Seinfeld, which just has to be gold, Jerry. Lord Yeezus says he's 80 percent done. Travi$ Scott, one of 2014’s few and far highlights, is going to re-up on his honor roll freshman status with an honest to goodness album to follow the free fire Days Before Rodeo. The list of promising blockbusters on the slate is equal to that of actual blockbusters wherein a new Avengers, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and James Bond are set to drop, and that’s not counting the fact that we’ll probably get three-and-a-half random free drops from the ever-intriguing Jaden Smith once a month. It’s been a hot winter, and to quote the OVO general, the flame is only going to go way way way up. Hold on to your headphones.
Frazier Tharpe is a staff writer at Complex and just wants you all to smell 2015's roses before another drought sets in. Follow him @The_SummerMan