Since the early morning of December 1st, they began to roll in like clockwork. Not soon after even processing the impending year's end were we immediately bombarded with the forceful opinionated tokens of all we had experienced sonically throughout the past 365 days. Stepping out of November's album-heavy month - a time barely offering enough hours to keep up with the immense influx of quality music (even for those of us that make a career out of it) - and into 2015's tail-end, to recap, review and rate an entire year's worth of art and culture, we seemed half-ready and only semi-marinated. We should have seen it coming, because it always does.

The internet, ablaze with an influx of opinion, became a digital hunger-games war-zone when the first batch of Top Albums Of The Year lists appeared; posted and delivered from the likes of Rolling Stone Paste and Complex on an unassuming Tuesday morning. Listicle Season is a time where year-end pieces rate the most supposedly prolific albums, songs and artists of the past year, almost certainly triggering arguments from music elitists and crazed fandoms who cape for their favourite artist's spot through the likes of gifs, memes and 140 characters. And earlier than ever, the season is upon us. With an entire month left in the year and ample albums still scheduled to drop, why were major music publications already delivering their sealed top contenders for the year with a large piece missing, many asked.

(Like it usually does during online debates about subjective art,) all rationale went out the window when, (like they usually do in times like this,) everyone typed as fervently as possible to have their opinions on music heard. Writers were cussed and threatened, industry relationships were questioned, followers unfollowed and we all lost a little bit of dignity, as sites trolled and we immersed ourselves in the clickbait. The more controversial the list, the more attention was given, it seemed. So kicked off this year's Year-End mania. Happy December.

It was in that moment, I had an interview scheduled with GoldLink, the progressive Future Bounce rapper from the DMV, who recently unleashed his debut album And After That, We Didn't Talk, with the support of Soulection and mentoring from legendary music producer, Rick Rubin. I closed the Twitter app just moments before the call, anticipating a refreshing escape from the digital mayhem to talk to the creator of one of the year's most promising debut albums, rather than arguing with people whose music libraries consist of leaks they downloaded a week before their favs' official releases anyway. It was raining in Toronto. He was in London, a day before his sold-out show and we began to talk about the album and the evolution of future bounce - the oxymoronically-defined futuristic yet nostalgic hip-hop, R&B, and go-go infused polymorphic music he unleashed this year.

"I feel like people want something new. Something different from the norm," GoldLink says in a soft-spoken voice when asked about his sonic imprint on 2015. "I feel like this is the time that everyone's at their breaking point and they want a lot of change. I guess, that's why everyone is gravitating towards the music."

The words resonate: Breaking point. Change. Not only is it a fitting comment in relation to the critically acclaimed album, but GoldLink's perspective on sonic and cultural change is a reflection of what I'd seen from many music fans online. Culture enthrallers are sick of the clickbait; sick of trolling from publications attempting to start controversy for a little website traffic. Sick of the opportunistic industry culture vultures praising hype rather than talent this time of year and sick of expecting better, but receiving the same thing, perpetuated even more severely in some cases, each passing year. 2015: the year of incredible album's like GoldLink's, like Vince Staples' Summertime 06 and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, but also the year of microwave journalism, aux cord DJs, industry plants and type-beats producers.

"[Authenticity] is very important. It needs to go back to people. We let microwave journalism live. We made industry plants. We did that. It's just really important to stress the importance of authenticity again; where people are actually connecting with things again. People are people again," he says. If Year-End mania leads us into our holiday, than GoldLink's words act as a sort of stimulating New Year's resolution for the industry in its entirety.

But what does it mean to be on the receiving end of the viral listacles praising artists for their accomplishments this year? What do things like making the XXL Freshman list, in GoldLink's case, or even The Top Albums Of The Year pieces mean to an artist on the come-up? "It doesn't mean anything to me, because you don't do it for that. Accolades are man-made and rewards are god-made, so it doesn't matter what anyone has to say about you," he says, assuredly.

"I don't make music for people to say it's really awesome or to have critics write about the shit and give you reviews. At the end of the day, it's about people and connections and fans and engagement. If you do that very well, then everything else is just whatever. It doesn't matter. It doesn't make or break anyone. It's all opinions and everybody has one. If you have a vision, you focus on what you do. All that stuff doesn't mean anything at all. I don't even look at them."

And even as a writer whose aided in compiling lists and handing out year-end awards, I look at the oversaturated landscape of hype-based opinion and trolling and I don't blame him.

Grab And After That, We Didn't Talk over at iTunes, or Apple Music.