PAZZ+JOP 2015

In 2009, the Pazz & Jop Poll went so resolutely indie that we made up a name for it: GAPDY, for Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, Phoenix, the Dirty Projectors, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. That year, those five bands had five of the top six spots on both the album and song charts. Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind" won the song poll but was the only hip-hop entry in the Top 10. Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt. II was the only hip-hop album on the album list, at No. 8.

Since then, hip-hop seems to have been granted honorary indie status. Twenty-ten saw Kanye rout LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, and Vampire Weekend, but only Big Boi made the Top 10, otherwise. Jay Z and Kanye had to line up behind tUnE-yArDs and PJ Harvey in the scattered 2011. Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean beat Fiona Apple in 2012. Kanye would go on to win again in 2013 and trounce Vampire Weekend for Album of the Year. Twenty-fourteen saw Run the Jewels topping the War on Drugs, but the rest of the Top 10 was all either indie or Taylor Swift, save for the triumphant return of r&b titan D'Angelo.

2015 is, indisputably, the Year of Kendrick: 43.5 percent of Pazz & Jop voters gave To Pimp a Butterfly a place on their ballot, easily the highest percentage of ballot coverage of the past eight years. Courtney Barnett's 34.6 percent is the highest No. 2 by an even wider margin and would have been enough to win Album of the Year in any of the other non-Kanye years. Just over two-thirds of this year's voters voted for Kendrick, Courtney, or both. The rest of the Top 10 leans heavier in the stylistic direction of Courtney than of Kendrick, with Grimes, Sleater-Kinney, Sufjan Stevens, Jamie xx, and Father John Misty in one groove and only Vince Staples representing the other. Carly Rae Jepsen gets the Taylor Swift memorial token pop vote, and Kamasi Washington picks up some D'Angelo voters...

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