Musically, 2015 has been everything. Actually, J. Cole launched 2015 in 2014 with 2014 Forest Drive. People still conveniently overlook that how hot J. Cole really is when he's in his element. He's so damn good that 2015 wouldn't have been nearly as interesting without J. Cole's near perfect expression of self during the later months of 2014. Although the prime planners of 2015, notably Drake and Kanye West, had the season sewed up by the stroke of midnight with their execution strategies they were eager to share with the world. It seemed everyone in music spent 2015 trying to respond to J. Cole. Action Bronson, A$AP Rocky, Travi$ Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Logic, even Coldplay jumped in the action. Basically, if you didn't drop a project in 2015, you weren't relevant. The only exception being Jay Elec of course. He's always the exception to everything. He's historically already done the most in hip-hop while simultaneously doing the least.
Drake and Future dropped a collab project just to say they did it. They stamped one another. Along with Metro Boomin, they proclaimed a new era has arrived - hate it or love it. But make no mistake, that album isn't here for your approval. It's a time stamp in history.
Weeknd was everywhere. My four year old's favorite song changed from Elsa's "Let it Go" to "I Can't Feel My Face." It's cutely disturbing to hear a toddler sing along to that drug riddled track in pure innocent delight.
Adele dropped and broke all the record counting machines ever. Enough said.
But, even in the whirlwind of projects, beefs, Grammy nominations, and Kardashianisms of 2015, Chance the Rapper still managed to shine brightly through it all by simply being a himself - a proud young man from Chicago and even prouder new father of a baby girl. That's saying more than people realize. Chance makes people feel like the good guy can make it. We need that right now.
The world needs more Chance the Rappers.
After dropping Acid Rap in 2013, the world was finally allow the closest we've received so far with Surf released for free. All of his music has been free. Because he's still independent. Chance is signed to no one. He just is and he does. Basically, Chance spent 2015 pretty much doing whatever he wanted. Creating music. Creating life. Changing lives. Bonding people together. Sharing musical creations. Creating videos with friends. Touring with Metro Boomin.
And spreading good messages.
And he capped off a great year by making history by becoming the first independent artist to grace the Saturday Night Live stage in the show's 30+year history. And he murdered the performance. I'm not exaggerating - go watch it. It makes you proud.
While I let you soak in that, it's not even why he's having the most amazing 2015 ever over every other person who had an amazing 2015. Here are the two real reasons I crown Chance ruler of 2015.
- I'm listening to him right now. At the end of the year, while I'm planning for 2016, looking to recall the sound of 2015, I choose Chance. In an ocean of talent. In the year of Kendrick, I realize I need to hear Chance more. I hope Kendrick gets to make an album as unburdened as Chance does.
- My son's new favorite song is "Wanna Be Cool." And I couldn't be more proud to hear him repeatedly belt out, "I don't wanna be cool, I just wanna be ME!" from the backseat.
Cheers to whatever Chance the Rapper has in store for us in 2016. May we be blessed enough to watch this young man grow.
Oh yeah, "Windows" made this grown man cry as a side note. I'm so not ashamed.