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Updated by THEFRESHCOMMITTEE on Dec 16, 2015
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Fresh 15: 15 Best Moments in Music This Year

2015 has been a really great year in music with many of your favorite artist dropping fresh follow ups and many new artist surprising us with unexpected heat. Many of this years hits have shown that quality is slowly making its way back into the mainstream despite recent years featuring dance crazes, barely audible rap lyrics and everyone singing on the same beat.

1

Best New Artist: Fetty Wap

Best New Artist: Fetty Wap

Runner-up: Kehlani

No one has had a better 2015 than New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap, he scored a whopping 3 top 10 hits on the hot 100 at once and general praise across the board from the likes of Taylor Swift, Drake and many critics and fans a like. While personal I didn’t think too highly of his full-length debut, Fetty Wap’s energetic records and all around good guy persona are enough to prove this guy is going to be around for a while.

2

Best Group: Lion Babe

Best Group: Lion Babe

Runner-Up: Rae Sremmurd
Lion Babe is New York based Neo-Soul duo consisting of singer Jillian Hervey (daughter of Actress Vanessa L. Williams) and producer Lucas Goodman, who have collaborated with the likes of Childish Gambino, Disclosure, 9th Wonder and Pharrell. Since their formation in 2011 the duo has garnered attention from across the board, appearing in some of the top magazines, music featured in television advertisement and even snagging gigs at the 2015 Soul Train Awards. To date they have released five singles and a self titled EP, the duo is set to release their debut album 'Begin' on January 22 2016 via Interscope. It will be interesting to see where the duo heads after they drop their debut which is set to be one of the years best in R&B.

3

Debut Album of The Year: Goldlink – “After That We Didn’t Talk”

Debut Album of The Year: Goldlink – “After That We Didn’t Talk”

Runner-Up: Raury - All We Need
In a hip-hop industry full of rappers with over processed vocals, gibberish in place of actual lyrics and over abuse of drug related content, we have Goldlink a striking breath of fresh air with quality lyrics and a pretty decent vocal range to offer up some of this years’ hottest records. On his debut album “After That We Didn’t Talk” we see the MC exploring genres outside of the typical hip-hop norm. Cuts like “Dark Skin Women” and “Palm Trees”, Goldlink offers up smooth hooks with bars that can put some of your favorites to shame. But it’s the lead off the album “Spectrum” that can get any party jamming just from the Missy Elliott sample alone.

4

Mixtape of The Year: Kehlani - "You Should Be Here"

Mixtape of The Year: Kehlani - "You Should Be Here"

Runner-Up: Drake and Future "What a Time to Be Alive"
While most associate the term “Mixtape” to some of today’s popular hip-hop acts, this year’s best mixtape arguably belongs upcoming R&B songstress Kehlani’s 2nd tape “You Should Be Here”. Packed with meaningful lyrics, sultry vocals and more attitude than every member of TLC combined, Kehlani sure knows how to turn out a damn good alb-- I mean mixtape. One of the standouts of obviously “The Way” but it’s on the records “N***as” and “The Letter” that we get a full grasp of what this album is really about.

5

Best Extended Play: FKA Twigs "M3LL155X"

Best Extended Play: FKA Twigs "M3LL155X"

Runner-Up: Kelela "Hallucinogen "

Stepping over to the UK for a moment, we have the young ingénue FKA Twigs delivering us 18 minutes and 44 seconds of some of the best Alternative R&B and Electronic music of the year. Named after her female energy “MELL155X” or “Melissa” served us with genre defying beats covered with the sweetest voice heard. Not only was the EP itself a treat, Twigs blessed the public with a short form music video to accompany the release. The best track can arguably go to “Glass and Patron” for it’s mix of ballroom sass and haunting melodies, that ask the question “Do you have a lighter?” which can be attributed to the singer seeing as she has the flame.

6

Best Dance/Electronic Album: Disclosure - "Carcal"

Best Dance/Electronic Album: Disclosure - "Carcal"

Runner-Up: Grimes "Art Angels"
After cranking out hit after hit in 2013, Disclosure offered up a second swing with their sophomore album “Carcal” featuring fellow British hit makers Sam Smith and Lorde the album also see the British duo attract the likes of American R&B stars The Weeknd and Miguel and up and coming duo Lion Babe. The presence of R&B talent shows in the production side where this album is more chilled in comparison to the heart-thumping debut “Settle”.

Music Video of The Year: FKA twigs -­ Glass & Patron

Runner-Up: Kendrick Lamar -" These Walls"
Eerily the best video of the year, FKA Twigs takes influences from the worldwide Ballroom Scene to Legendary Divas like, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones and Sade to blend one of the most sophisticated yet edgy videos I've ever seen. The music video for Glass & Patron was directed by FKA twigs and is presented by the 2015 YouTube Music Awards.

8

Best Indie Album of The Year: D∆WN "Blackheart"

Best Indie Album of The Year: D∆WN "Blackheart"

Runner-Up": Phony Ppl - "Yesterday's Tomorrow"
After her band finally called it quits for good this time, Dawn Richard now going as D∆WN broke down the barriers of what it means to be a black woman in music and an independent artist. Fully funded by herself and her fans, D∆WN managed to create this year’s most ambitious project yet blending sounds she’s familiar with and sounds that aren’t familiar with her work. Blackheart is a collection of some of the best tunes this side of the mainstream. Starting with last years “Blow” she led what she calls the “Black Era” well into the “Red Era” by releasing 6 singles, several individual tracks and collaborated with Coco and Breezy for the shades and boots to help continue to promote what is her most electrifying album to date.

9

R&B Album of The Year: The Internet - "Ego Death"

R&B Album of The Year: The Internet - "Ego Death"

Runner-Up: The Weeknd “Beauty Behind the Madness”

On their third official release, the Odd Future affiliate The Internet crafted this years most consistent body of work in the R&B field. Many of today’s R&B takes one too many queues from rap culture with over sexualized and at times hyper masculine lyrics and themes that make it hard to sit through an entire album by some of them, but The Internet managed to throw all of those concepts out the window and build. On the Kaytranada produced cut “Girl” is very reminiscent of some of the hits from back in the early 2000s while tracks like “Gabby” and “Go With It” offer some of the most blissful tunes heard today.

10

Best Collaboration: Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment "Surf"

Best Collaboration: Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment "Surf"

Runner-Up: Drake and Future "What a Time To be Alive"

Initially thought to be the follow up to Chance The Rapper's "Acid Rap", "Surf" ended up being released under Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, a Chicago based Bohemian band featuring Donnie Trumpet, Chance The Rapper, Peter Cottontale, Greg Landfair Jr. and Nate Fox. The album was released for free via iTunes and garnered attention from fans and critics a like, the album itself features some of the industry's best such as Busta Rhymes Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, J. Cole, Big Sean and more. From start to finish the album blends the best of Jazz, Hip-Hop and Soul music which is a reflection of Chicago's north side opposed to the ever popular drill scene from the south side.

Best Comeback: Missy Elliott

Runner-up: Janet Jackson

After ten years since her last album release Missy Elliott returned with the sensational "WTF", but before she did that she managed to make her way back into our hearts slowly, first by appearing at this year's Super Bowl with Katy Perry, then shortly there after collaborating with Diplo and Skrillex collective known as Jack Ü, Ciara and Janet Jackson among others. "WTF" is the first single lifted off of her upcoming project Block Party and features hitman Pharrell Williams but it's not the song that has the world locked but the amazing top notched choreography in the music video performed by Elliott and her friends which is a testament to the fact that Elliott is going to be around for a long time and will continue to slay us.

12

Hip-Hop Album of The Year: 2014 Forest Hill Drive

Hip-Hop Album of The Year: 2014 Forest Hill Drive

Runner-up: Drake "If You're Reading This it's Too Late"

Ok this one was released last year, but it didn't get the chance to get it's full run in 2014 but in 2015 Cole was on fire! 1st producing hits like "G.O.M.D" and "No Role Modelz" then being the first album in 25 years to go platinum with no features tagged on it. The album title comes from Cole's childhood home address in Fayetteville, North Carolina an address he recently started renting out to single mothers to help them get on their feet. This album is an introspective look on Cole's life and the world around him, in all the album is possibly his finest work to date.

13

Single of The Year: Drake – "Hotline Bling"

Single of The Year: Drake – "Hotline Bling"

Runner-Up: The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”

Despite getting blocked from his first number one on Billboard, "Hotline Bling" is still easily this year's most covered song with the likes of Mila J, Erykah Badu and Sam Smith among others. But it's the original by Drake and it's infectious hook that has the whole world singing along.

Song of The Year: Kendrick Lamar - Alright

Runner-up: Kendrick Lamar - "i"
Hands down the highlight of the year was the second I heard the intro of Kendrick Lamar's "Alright". The song delivers hope in a sea of songs about self destruction amongst the community, with the catchy Pharrell assisted hook getting stuck in your head by the second verse. The hook alone became the official chant for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, with the song giving many young black and brown boys hope to be something other than drug dealers and players.

15

Album of The Year: Kendrick Lamar - "To Pimp a Butterfly"

Album of The Year: Kendrick Lamar - "To Pimp a Butterfly"

Runner-Up:

This one is probably obvious but no other album in the year 2015 spoke to the people the way Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" did this year. Sure the album has yet to achieve platinum status, and many have criticized it for it's pro-black themes but the album's true influence lies in such themes but focus more so on self-love within thyself and unity amongst all. For example the lead single "i" was delivered in two iterations, the first being the radio version which places an emphasis on Kendrick learning to love for himself, but it's on the album version where you really feel the power that the song carries due to the fact that Kendrick is performing the track live and the offstage scuffle where Kendrick is telling the listener about the disunity even go as far as to cast off the popular term "Nigga" out of the vocabulary of the Black Community and replacing it with a far more respectable term with Negus. Outside of the albums powerful content, the album features equally as powerful talent from the likes of George Clinton, Ronald Isley, Flying Lotus and Snoop Dogg this album is sure to go down as one of the greatest in Hip-Hop history possibly even the best. The album managed to nab 11 nominations at the 2016 Grammy Awards the most nominations of the night, and deserves every award! Hey if a sad Adele album can break records why can't a positive pro-black Hip-Hop album by Kendrick Lamar?