A lot of wacky, fun and absolutely bizarre stuff went down in 2015. And because we so much enjoyed our own disaster of a list last year but also because our brains don’t work in normal ways, we here at Not Mad — co-founders Rio Viera-Newton and Jackson Howard and contributors Haley Albert, Adam DePollo and Allison Hart — just threw a bunch of our favorite music, movies and pop culture happenings together in order to make sense of what the hell happened this past year. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the Second Annual Not Mad Big List of Shit (in no understandable order).
NOT MAD TURNED ONE!!!!
Hey y’all! This year, Not Mad turned one! From July 2014 to July 2015, we published 70 articles by an incredible 33 writers and 12 artists, and have since added a bunch more. We also launched a successful nationwide giveaway for college students with Beats by Dre, RE/DONE and STACKED with nearly 3,000 participants. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far and we can’t wait for what’s next! Also, fuck Ethan Mark. –Jackson Howard
The Patti Labelle Pie Video
There’s a lot of funny shit that happened on the internet this year but for us here at Not Mad this video of a man live tasting and freaking the fuck out over a Patti Labelle pie took first place. Skipping over the insane fact that Patti Labelle makes pies in the first place or that Wallmart sold a pie a second for 72 straight hours in the aftermath of this video, James Wright turned into Patti after eating her pie and lost his damn mind. He sings her songs, condemns “the shade of getting into the bitch” when he can’t open the pie, reminds us that this is “the Patti edition, honey” and yells “YOU BETTER C’MON” and “PATTI!” with such force that you’ll think he’s actually angry. From his opening “greetings!” to his closing manic arm-flapping, this was the most hilarious shit all year. Patti and James had Thanksgiving together and are now best friends. The pies are also being sold for $25 on eBay and I almost bought one for Rio for Christmas. –JH
To Pimp a Butterfly– Kendrick Lamar
It’s been nine months since To Pimp a Butterfly dropped, and even now, looking back over a year filled with a steady deluge of bangers and masterpieces from just about every city and region where hip hop gets made, the New King of Compton’s magnum opus still stands in a class of its own. It’s not every year that a rapper makes the next great American novel, after all. And it’s not every year that the hook from a rap song also works perfectly as a chant for protests against this country’s unchecked police violence, either. And it’s definitely not every year that the rapper that made that album also drops some of the most brilliant, artful, and provocative (see below) music videos in the game. 2015 was the year hip hop glowed the fuck up, and we have Kendrick’s shine to thank for it. Long live the king. –Adam DePollo
Demi Lovato’s Estranged Twin “Poot”
There is so much I have to say about “Poot Lovato”, an online conspiracy theory surrounding Demi Lovato’s estranged twin that’s been locked in a basement her whole life. The internet exploded when a picture of Demi from an unflattering angle emerged on Tumblr, and since then, multiple theorized backstories surfaced– most notably on Poot Lovato’s now deleted Wikipedia page. The wiki pages for the terms “basement” and “outside” were also temporarily altered in order to tell Poot’s story. The Poot related hashtags #Istandwithpoot #freepoot and #justiceforpoot then began trending on twitter and instagram and let’s just say Demi Lovato was very, very offended. –Rio Viera-Newton
In Colour – Jamie xx
Shout out Jamie xx for not making a sad ass the xx album and instead smushing together a brilliant mix of deep house, electronic, dance, hip-hop and soul. Also “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” is one of the best songs of the year and makes me want to hug everyone around me while sipping lean.
Everything About Cookie Lyon But Specifically When She Dragged the Dinner Off the Table
Cookie is my spirit animal and nothing was better in season two of Empire than when she dragged an entire dinner off the table to signal her departure. –JH
“Why You Always Lyyyyin”
A vine that caught so much wind, even a mere still of it will give any foo foo comment an apt response. –RVN
I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty
This album is so funny and smart that it’s almost easy to miss out on how musically engaging it is. Father John Misty is that cynical dude at the back of the bar screaming at the TV or that random husband of a cousin who you drunk-bond with at a wedding and his simultaneous tenderness and irony make me love him so much. –JH
The Modern Odyssey of Zola’s Stripper Saga
I really don’t know what to say about this shit except that it might be the 21st century Odyssey which means that Zola might be Homer. She’s also a modern stripper superhero who bonded with a crazy white girl over their hoeism or whatever, held it down on the trap phone and got the fuck out of there when the dude with the dreads snatched Jess. If you didn’t take 15 minutes to read this whole thing you messed up. And the memes that came from her saga are hall of fame-worthy. #LostInTheSauce –JH
Great movie. Why is Adam from Girls in it though? –RVN
Detox was shaping up to be a disaster, so instead of following trends Dre said fuck that and got back to West Coast basics. With cinematic, hard-knocking production, guest features from the entire LA diaspora including Cold 187um, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak (who is about to BLOW) and surprisingly dope rhymes from Dre himself, Compton is an overwhelming success, a definitive victory lap that serves as a worthy conclusion to The Chronic and 2001. All it was missing was a Hittman feature. –JH
Somehow, a crazy old guy from Vermont has invigorated the most politically-apathetic and disillusioned generation ever and staged one of the most unexpected and successful political campaigns in history. Regardless of whether or not he wins, Bernie brought greatly unrecognized issues to the mainstream and managed to capture the attention of millennials everywhere. As Not Mad contributor Will Kirkland explains, “[Bernie’s] campaign is more about message than politics. Politics isn’t cool. Politics is compromise, it’s deal-making with plutocrats, giving lobbyists the time of day, the “moderate” opening in every dispute. Bernie says fuck that. He’s done with appeals to “moderation.” He speaks his mind and garners unprecedented waves of millennial support along the way because we’re all so fed up with the undulating bullshit of our current system and he’s the best spokesman for that frustration we’ve got.” –JH
“Don’t” – Bryson Tiller
I know that this track seems like it’s a little behind schedule, emulating a sound and flow reminiscent of Drake or The Weeknd circa 2011, but the smoothness Tiller places on the forefront of this track cannot be ignored. “Don’t” placed Tiller on the map and has solidified his position as one of the artists we’re taking with us in 2016, with the world asking, what can we expect next? –RVN
MAN OF THE YEAR: Future
First I have to say that Rio and I been down with Future for a minute, but his meteoric rise this year surprised even us. Monster, Beast Mode and 56 Nights were all turnt, vulnerable, angry, emotional, codeine-infused mixtapes, and DS2 was only the cherry on top (not to mention WATTBA, even though that was just Drake hopping on Future/Metro Boomin’s leftovers to stay hot). Between his guest appearances on everyone’s shit to Metro Boomin’ finally exploding into the mainstream to making Gucci flip-flops a staple of everyone’s closet, Future absolutely owned 2015. He also naturally speaks in auto-tune and I’m trying to figure out how. –JH
“It Never Happened”
Why is Future so bad at interviews? Why can’t he respond to a question with more than three words? Why does it always sound like he’s using autotune even when he’s speaking normally? Why do fedoras look so good on him?
These questions aside, Future shut down an interview with Mass Appeal when in response to a question asking of his experience making his collaborative mixtape with Drake, What A Time To Believe Alive, he responded “it never happened” — to which he refused to elaborate further on. I mean, WHAT? What does that mean? Do go on, Future, seeing as it certainly did happen. –RVN
Pink Hats with Tiny Embroidery
The origin of this hat was born out of a warm spin cycle gone awry. A New Hampshire father mistakenly co-mingled his Kony 2012, AIDS awareness and RNC convention shirts with a virgin white baseball cap. As if all at once, DJs, rappers, and semi-recognizable streetwear brands decided that tiny embroidered words and insignia on pastel pink Vineyard Vines-looking hats was a means of establishing legitimacy. And it’s the best. –Haley Albert
Plies’ Instagram Resurgence and #SweetPwussySatday
Plies is a washed-up rapper who before this year was known for a couple of mid-2000s bangers. Then he discovered Instagram, or rather Instagram discovered him, and everything changed. He has a certain passion for female genitalia and half-pronouncing normal words, and the combination of these two qualities created incredible Instagram rants of Plies discussing the female anatomy and cunnilingus in barely decipherable and excessively vulgar ways with his dirty ass grill that nonetheless was the most entertaining shit on Instagram all year. He also declared ever Saturday “Sweet Pwussy Satday” and I just needed to include that. Merry Chrima bihhhhhhhh. –JH
Late Nights: The Album – Jeremih
“@defjamrecords Ya’ll don’t deserve my voice,” Jeremih tweeted, three days after the release of his album Late Nights, which Def Jam had delayed for years, despite two hit singles. And it’s true, they don’t. None of us really deserve his voice.
This album is incredible, though, and listening to it is like laying in a bed at the club. And it really does sound like just that. The record is laced with banger after banger, among our favorites are “Oui”, “Impatient” with Ty Dolla $ign and “Royalty” with Future and Big Sean. –RVN
Ego Death – The Internet
Low key this was maybe my favorite project of the year. The Internet somehow emerged out of the shitshow that is Odd Future to become one of the grooviest and consistent musical acts around. This album, a sexy, sun-tinged, weed-laced and surprisingly deep and emotional collection of smoothness is further proof that Syd the Kid and co. are not playing games. And the fact that Syd is singing to a chick the entire time without making this album a “queer” album makes her music and attitude even cooler. –JH
THE NIGHT OF BEEF: Nicki, Miley, Taylor, Drake, Meek and When Twitter Popped the FUCK Off
This night. We all remember where we were on this night.
Who could forget the evening when Meek Mill challenged one of the biggest pop stars of our generation and at the same damn time, Taylor Swift decided to disrespect Nicki Minaj’s accusation of racism in the VMA nominations. And THEN Katy Perry got thrown in the mix calling out Taylor Swift for being fake. I mean, this is really the shit I live for. Aside from this being one of the most emotionally grossing late night events since SNL meant anything, in this particular moment I want to give a big shout to Meek Mill for introducing “the list” into my vernacular. If I could, this end of the year list would be comprised of only people who have been on “the list” for me in 2015. –RVN
Bill Simmons’ Grantland, the best online publication on sports and culture with an all-star team of writers and contributors, met its untimely death at the hands of its parent company, ESPN. Brandon Handelsman, in a Not Mad eulogy, summed it up best: “Grantland was the bible for a vibrant online subculture that craved relevant and thoughtful content that taught them something. For Grantland readers, click bait material was not enough. The trend towards snackable journalism sites like BuzzFeed is nothing if not a microcosm of society’s need for immediate gratification. By streamlining our lives, we are sacrificing depth and insight. ESPN may be saving money by axing Grantland, but it is forfeiting its journalistic integrity.” Pour one out. – JH
Currents – Tame Impala
Kevin Parker and crew put together a psychadelic synth disco masterpiece and in doing so defied expectations at every turn. A great album can be listened to casually with a group of strangers or by yourself in bed at night, and Currents can do both. Somehow you can both cry and dance to this album and that’s everything I look for in music. –JH
For the second year in a row, we have Puff Daddy smacking someone in the face. And hopefully, this will be an asset in every Not Mad annual List of Shit to come. So let’s just get this straight, considering I’m still coming to terms with this event myself: Diddy took a kettle bell from the weight room and smacked his son’s UCLA football coach across the face with it? Sounds good to me. –RVN
Missy Elliott’s Video for “WTF”
Not Mad deity and the Queen of all Queens finally returned and showed everyone how the fuck it’s done. Yes, Pharrell’s verse is absolute garbage but his beat is fire and Missy sounds incredible. And then there’s the video — her first in seven years — which begins with an instantly-iconic shot of Missy in a suit made of mirrors (with a dancing little white girl) and follows her through outfit changes, puppet dance offs and choreography with headlamps and hoverboards. Pretty much a typical Missy clip. Misdemeanor really can do no wrong, and here’s hoping “WTF” is a sign that she’s back in the limelight for good. –JH
The Alabama Shakes could’ve stuck with the formula that got them serious love on their first LP but instead went back to the drawing board and emerged with this album, an emotional and musical explosion of sound and color (ha) that showed a whole different side to Brittany Howard, who also makes anything sound cool when she sings/screams it. –JH
#ThanksgivingClapBack and That Woman Sipping Juice
Need I say more?
Why am I so deeply affected by this image of a woman sipping orange juice? I don’t know who she is or from what context this image was pulled, but it truly provides me with the strength to go on on a daily basis. I wish I could write her a thank you letter. –RVN
Kobe you’re the man and my favorite player ever but holy shit if you don’t actually retire this year I’m going to lose my fucking mind because I can’t handle the 25 mil you’re making and every airball you’re tossing up. Peace out Mamba. –JH
Summertime ‘06 – Vince Staples
Vince Staples isn’t the first young dude from L.A. to talk about his tough life growing up, yet Summertime ’06, Vince’s full-length debut, is a sonically and lyrically dense record with a deceivingly quick pace, hefty social commentary (watch the video below) and an uncomfortably no-holes-barred manner of storytelling. Vince is one of the most talented new rappers out, and his refusal to hold back and willingness to say what others won’t (just check his Twitter) makes him even better.
I’m still fuming over this but I’ll try to keep it together. Basically this idiot white chick Abby Fisher said she didn’t get into the University of Texas not because she simply did not get in but rather because the university’s Affirmative Action policies placed less-qualified minority students over her. First of all, that’s just false. Second, are you fucking dead, girl?!?!?! Anyways, black graduates of UT clapped back at Abby and told her to take a stadium of seats with the genius hashtag #StayMadAbby, which both ridiculed Fisher’s beyond ignorant court case and also reaffirmed minority students’ place and achievements in schools like Texas. Sit down. –JH
Arca looks like he was plucked from a ’70’s rubberist magazine shoot and dropped in 2015 with total immunity from Instagram’s decency policies. He stays swathed in leather and lace and platform heels that would make KISS eat their hearts out. Check his Instagram because it’s gorgeous. Also his album is great. –HA
Benicio del Toro nails his usual Benicio del Toro creepy, brilliant, evil smile schtick and somehow comes off even crazier than usual; the lingering shots of arid Mexican deserts, massive carnage and psycho drug cartels make you realize you actually know jack shit about that country bordering our country; and you’ll walk away from this movie really disturbed and guilty about buying drugs ever again but also a tiny bit more knowledgable about how the War on Drugs is an absolute failure. Oh and also fuck the Golden Globes even more for ignoring this film. –JH
If I could, I would melt a seal that reads “Certified Banger” on this track. I mean come on, from the first utter of “think it’s a game” you know it’s coming. Also, let’s just reflect on how Nitti, producer of one of Not Mad’s most beloved throwback, “It’s Goin’ Down”, is the producer. I’ll finish this blurb by saying I will pay $20 to whoever can find me the kid that says “It’s a Nitti Beat” on his tag. –RVN
Remembering Mariah Carey’s “Moment”
Mariah Carey is a lot of things. Legendary diva. Whistle-note hitter. Mother of a child named Moroccan. She also is unintentionally hilarious, and this video compilation we rediscovered of her using the word “moment” a bunch of times on the Home Shopping Network promoting her ugly ass clothes is the cream of the crop, a full-blown camp diva masterpiece. Some of our favorites: “A retro moment of gypsy…whatever.” “Give her a wide shot, give her a moment!” And, of course, “a transitional summer moment.” –JH
“Them Changes” – Thundercat
I got so much love for Thundercat but this track and video really confirmed to me how truly special he is. The song and its funk groove are impeccable and the painful but masterful music video only underscores its themes of regret, nostalgia, heartbreak and the difficulties of coping with change. –JH
Not going to lie, as an avid Los Angeles hip-hop head I was super worried about this movie, especially considering how bad Notorious was. Straight Outta Compton, though, is a riveting, emotional, super fun and accurate enough look at one of the most influential musical groups of all time. The acting is much better than it should be (I see you Ice Cube’s son), the concert footage is exceptionally realistic and honestly if for some reason you hate this movie you at least have to love how absolutely batshit loco Suge Knight is and the fact that he’s currently in jail for running someone over on the set of this movie. I don’t care that he’s in prison he’s still insanely frightening so I’m going to stop talking about Suge Knight before I’m fed to his pitbulls or whatever he does to people who talk shit about him. –JH
Multi Love – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
I don’t know that there’s been a more fitting year for a psyche-rock album chronicling a polyamorous love story to be released than in 2015. Singer Ruben Nielson turns a pen-pal-ship with a woman he met on tour into an inadvertent polyamorous relationship beside his wife Jenny and their three kids. The album is incredible, with beautiful slabs of funk and homemade synths, and lyrics that explain how in the hell three people fell into something like this. –HA
“Run Me My Money” – Kash Doll
One of our favorite new female rappers and maybe the new Trina, Kash Doll is an ex-stripper from Detroit who spits hot fire with absolute disregard for anything or anyone and intimidates the shit out of me. “Run Me My Money” is a ridiculously catchy banger and the video features Kash Doll bathing in a bathtub of money and looking really pissed off. We also love the way she yells “Kash Dollllll” before her songs start (check out her crazy new mixtape for more) and I’ve listened to this track so much that I shouted “RUN ME MY MONEY” at a Starbucks barista the other day when she didn’t give me my change quick enough. –JH
Vulnerable, soulful and with a crazy voice, Lianne La Havas’ sophomore record is both easy listening folk, head-nodding R&B and sing-a-long pop. Blood is complex but easily digestible and listenable from start to finish. Holla at me Lianne because I’m also in love with you. –JH
This year was a great one for The Game. Let’s begin with his Halloween costume, which truly trumped all others, and made me feel like an idiot for not thinking of it first. The Game walked into a Halloween party wearing a three piece suit and a cane, looking identical to the Avenger’s villain of top 40 hip hop — Jidenna. Considering The Game couldn’t look less like the “Classic Man” himself, I was truly blown away by the resemblance that evening. Even Jidenna had to admit in an interview that “he looked clean as hell”.
Also what about when Florida’s nightmare, Stitches, tried to ignite beef between him and @losangelesconfidential? Clearly he was unaware of the vital information that The Game’s right hand man once managed Suge Knight. Stitches said “oops”. Last but not least, The Game’s Instagram — in addition to showing pics of his cute kids, other rappers and cars — also served as a forum for his enormous penis and his revolting but hilarious sex fantasy hashtags, including The Game calling himself #MeatPrintPapi. Oh, and he also released a double album with some serious bangers. But that’s less important. –RVN & JH
I admit I’ve slept on Soulection for a few years, but now that I’m on them, I’m hooked. The LA-based label, music platform and radio show headed by Joe Kay puts together the dopest weekly radio shows, mixing Soundcloud-electro, uncovered world music and sick R&B. The crew moved to Beats 1 radio but still keep it 100, and they’re pretty much the soundtrack to my senior year in college. –JH
“This Must Be That New Geography”
I’ll preface this by asking, is Raven-Symoné okay?
2015 could be marked as the year Symoné made her most public mistakes: first when she said she wouldn’t hire someone with a ghetto name, then when she backed Mike Huckabee’s criticism of Beyonce’s “overly expository” ensembles onstage, and again when she talked shit on Michelle Obama’s appearance. But this 8 second vine encompasses what is perhaps her dumbest remark of 2015. –RVN
This year marked the revival of one of the best American 90’s girl bands. Their latest album, No Cities To Love, brought forth the same energy and curated chaos that made some of their most beloved works, like their 1997 album Dig Me Out, so memorable. Not to mention, after a decade of silence, they all came back all looking younger than me. –RVN
Instead of blowing his money (which he almost did) and fading into obscurity like most NBA almost-superstars, Stephon Marbury took his ass to China and balled the fuck out. He made a bunch of all-star teams, scored a shit ton of points, got his own statue and his own postage stamp, starred in a fucking Chinese musical about his life and now this year got his own museum. Marbury is clearly a genius, but that being said, leaving the Knicks is always a genius move. –JH
King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude – Pusha T
King Push blessed his subjects with yet another standout album this year. He’s at the top of his game here, speaking on Donald Trump, police brutality, and, of course, his time as a coke kingpin. Standout track “M.F.T.R.” features an incredible hook by The-Dream, who also makes an appearance on the Kanye and A$AP featuring “M.P.A.” In terms of beats, Pusha continues to work with some of the most interesting instrumentals in the scene; Timbaland-produced “Got Em’ Covered” boats a bubbly sound evocative of a video game sound effect, giving the song a playfully dark sound that reflects the mood of the album itself. Early in “Untouchable,” King Push raps “I drops once in a blue moon to separate myself from the kings of youtube,” and with this release, he does just that. –Allison Hart
The Cash Money Saga and Young Thug Naming His Album Barter 6
Though I’m pretty sure Birdman is actually evil, the beef he strategically orchestrated between Lil Wayne and Young Thug was some of the most entertaining of the year. I mean, come on, nothing is dirtier than Young Thug naming his album Barter 6. But the tension moved from playful to too real when Lil Wayne’s tour bus was shot up on the road. Like I said, I’m almost certain Birdman is fully evil, so could he have been the one behind it? I’m hoping these questions can be answered in 2016. –RVN
DJ Khaled’s Snapchat and Him Getting Lost at Sea
I don’t want to hear about DJ Khaled anymore. I don’t want to see videos of him pronouncing things wrong, I don’t want to see anymore Instagram’s with the key emoji as the caption, I don’t want to hear anyone say “they don’t want us to eat” when I’m out to lunch. However, I’ve found it difficult to reflect on major milestones in 2015 without including the Snapchat series of DJ Khaled lost at sea. If you, for whatever reason, don’t follow DJ Khaled on snapchat, you may have missed this. In one of DJ Khaled’s standard 150 second snapchat stories of him jet skiing whilst screaming inspirational phrases, there were a string of five snapchats showing him on a jetski, in the complete darkness of night time, lost at sea, as he advises his followers to contact his manager. Bye, Khaled, please stay in 2015 –RVN