The first half of 2015 has been a great one for the album, and these 10 LPs rose above the rest. Check out our unranked list of the 10 best albums of 2015 (so far):

1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly

Give Kendrick Lamar credit for plenty of things on To Pimp A Butterfly — his forward-thinking approach to hip-hop, unflinching social politics and gorgeous integration of jazz into his rap world — but perhaps he deserves the most acclaim for being bold enough to follow good kid, m.A.A.D city, now widely understood as one of the best hip-hop debuts ever, with a project so thematically and sonically different. Lamar’s sophomore album may be breathtakingly ambitious, but it’s also tethered to a voice that remains as riveting now as it was on his first mixtape.

2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

One can listen to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and reasonably long for a radio single like “Hold On We’re Goin’ Home” or “Started From The Bottom.” That was never the point of Drake’s surprise mixtape, though: a new proper album is coming for radio, and this collection of anti-mainstream musings features rap’s latest king brooding in a fashion that’s less accessible but no less impressive. The beat change on “Know Yourself” can still blow off a rooftop, “6 Man” is the best song to ever shout-out a Toronto Raptors sixth man, and the production on “Jungle” is as stirring as anything Drake has ever rapped over. Drake may still be on his “Worst Behavior” tilt, but he’s never sounded better.

3. Rae Sremmurd, SremmLife

Imagine a teenage Richie Rich had an equally wealthy best friend, and the pair decided to pursue a rap career together — the resulting album would sound a lot like SremmLife, right? The debut of Rae Sremmurd swims in overindulgence in the same way that Scrooge McDuck splashed around in a money pool: Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown and Aaquil “Slim Jimmy” Brown rap about having no limits and living the craziest lives possible, all while running around with enough major-label cash to work with Mike WiLL Made-It, Nicki Minaj, Big Sean and Young Thug. The resulting album is the most magnificently hedonistic and satisfyingly unrelenting rap project of the year. Unlock the swag? The swag, unlocked.

4. Furious 7 Soundtrack

Maybe it’s the whole Paul Walker thing, but the album is really nice. Wherever I go I always here one of these songs. If you have watched the movie and you love cars, then the soundtrack is the ultimate icing on the cake.

5. The Album About Nothing Wale

Wale uses Seinfeld’s advice not just as a gimmick but as a jumping-off point: “The Pessimist” opens with a nihilistic George Costanza rant, but it becomes a heartfelt reflection on racism and police violence. “One of the services you provide is giving people something to talk about,” Seinfeld says. “People wanna talk.” At last, Wale is embracing that role.

Is there any album you have enjoyed this year? Tell us below.

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