Label: Other People's Money
Released: June 21

No one wants to be underdog forever. All the respect in the world means less without universal recognition. The fringe is not where an artist wants to exist permanently. Those ambitions to transgress are vividly apparent on Dom Kennedy's breakout project, Yellow Album. It's here that his signature laid-back drawl is perfected to a strength, and never exists as a liability.

This year, the world outside of Kennedy's cult following realized that, too. "My Type of Party" attracted a remix with Juicy J and Tyga, more commercially successful artists, but never matched the allure of the all-Dom-everything original. "Gold Alpinas" saw Dom inspiring Rick Ross' cadence for his appearance on the track.

Yellow Album is the most effective display of Dom Kennedy's talents so far, and it will be remembered as the release that made him impossible to ignore. -Ernest Baker