Top Albums of 2016
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2016 was a tumultuous 12 months, but despite all the events that occurred that have led us up to this point, it was an great year for music, with many projects dropping that are on another level leaving their mark with memorable production and execution. Here are a list of the best and most notable albums of 2016, in no particular order.
Kendrick Lamar — untitled unmastered.
untitled unmastered is a compilation of outtakes from TPAB, that although meant to be “rough drafts” came together clearly. K.Dot carries out a genuine and raw production that is more than a BTS of his previous release, displaying the coming together of quality details and effort.
Chance the Rapper — Coloring Book
Coloring Book was uplifting and joyous album we needed this year. Chance The Rapper took his work and manifested it, delivering euphoria and inspiration.
Kamaiyah — A Good Night in the Ghetto
Kamaiyah dropped a gorgeous project with A Good Night in the Ghetto laced with west coast flavor stemming from her roots in Oakland all the way down to the g-funk in L.A.
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
It’s been a momentous year for Kanye West, as it typically is for the mad genius, and ‘Ye took that energy and made an album that is memorable not only for the music, but all the other details that went into creating The Life of Pablo. West unapologetically personified his current state of mind and the events from his life that make waves all over the world. Although somewhat of a messy arrangement, The Life of Pablo is yet another notable album from Kanye West.
ScHoolboy Q — Blank Face
Blank Face is ScHoolBoy’s forth studio album and best work to date. The album stays true to Q’s charisma while holding down the obscure and rough theme throughout it’s entirety.
Young Thug — JEFFERY
Young Thug, or Jeffery not only managed to continue to knock down social norms and stereotypes in society with his cover, he also ended up creating what is likely to be his most complete work to date.
Danny Brown — Atrocity Exhibition
The Detroit rapper has highlighted his impulsive lifestyle. Atrocity Exhibition is a twisted chronicles that are more apparent through this album, compared to his previous work.
A Tribe Called Quest — We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
ATCQ did the damn thing on this one and came back two decades later as if they had never left. The album is fluid and came with a force that honors and commemorates Phife Dawg as well as the era in which ATCQ first made their mark, continuing their legacy for generations to come.
D.R.A.M. – Big Baby D.R.A.M.
D.R.A.M. made his debut with the wonderful Big Baby D.R.A.M.. His hit “Broccoli” conquered the airwaves this summer, but the track did not reflect what was to be expected throughout the album’s entirety. The magnificent Erykah Badu joined him on the song “WiFi”, that was a perfect tune showcasing the rappers multifaceted talent that should not be overlooked.
YG — Still Brazy
YG is straight up and brutally honest with his work, and Still Brazy is no exception. The album is hard and keeps the G-rap sound, with a tenacity to get his message through.
Solange – A Seat at the Table
A Seat at the Table is brilliant on so many levels. Solange came into her own in the utmost way, creating a perfectly balanced album that touched on her personal experiences, intertwining it with the evolving history of a community.
Rae Sremmurd — SremmLife 2
Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi raised their energy up a notch with their second studio album that included perhaps the biggest song of the year, “Black Beatles.”
Vince Staples — Prima Donna EP
Primma Donna is Vince Staples’ breakout performance that deals with the public perception of him, as well as his own that is not meant to be uplifting but rather shine light on the realities that he has faced.
Isaiah Rashad — The Sun’s Tirade
Isaiah Rashad’s debut studio album is an platform of self-discovery for the TDE rapper, filled with tension that is soothed through the production.
21 Savage & Metro Boomin — Savage Mode
21 Savage and Metro Boomin are the dynamic duo of the year, releasing a grim and ardent piece of work with Savage Mode. The album does not hold back, as Savage raps in accordance to his name, and is inimitably distinguishable through Metro’s production.
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Beyoncé is indisputably the Queen, reigning over the year unexpectedly releasing the album that took you through different stages and feelings, ultimately precisely coming together to be one of the most notable pieces of work from Bey’s career.
Kaytranada delivered a spectacular piece of work with his debut album 99.9%. Each transition is flawless, quintessentially combining disco, soul, jazz, rap, and funk that comes full circle leaving the listener wanting more.
Frank Ocean – Blonde
Blonde was perhaps the most anticipated album of the last few years, not being a continuation of CHANNEL orange, but rather an intimate journey that captures sensuality and pain through a story that are meant to be felt and relatable.
Anderson .Paak – Malibu
Anderson .Paak gave a slight introduction of what the undeniable force that he is appearing on Dr.Dre’s Compton, disrupting a sound ever so gracefully with his third album Malibu. Anderson conveyed a warm and sincere album full of soul that radiates the artist’s identity.
Joey Purp – iiiDrops
Joey Purp keeps consistent with his work delivering a steady flow throughout iiiDrops. He views the world through a realist perspective that emphasizes on the harsh experiences. Great for a debut effort.
Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
Bruno Mars is the life of the party, characterizing himself as an artist that isn’t about the drama, reminding us to take it easy and enjoy the bittersweet symphony that life is. 24K Magic is a feel-good album that grooves including a fun and sensual sound.
Skepta – Konnichiwa
Skepta’s long awaited album Konnichiwa is a charred album that is forceful taking on the grime-pioneer’s political stance causing riots when performing “Shutdown.” Konnichiwa is a demanding album that provokes our frustrations and impulses to be released.
Noname – Telefone
This is another one of those projects one can’t jump in to describe because there’s just so much going on throughout the entire mixtape and it’s overwhelming good. If this is what Noname can do now, we can only look into the future and feel extremely optimistic for what’s to come from the Chicago native.
Rihanna – Anti
Rihanna’s Anti was the anthem of all the bad gal’s out there, as RiRi fiercely, yet innocently, revealed her strengths and vulnerabilities. The eight studio album from the Barbado’s beauty shows a mature growth, but does not lose the wild and commanding side of her.
Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan
Majid Jordan’s debut studio album of the same name as the OVO R&B duo was a pleasant and seductive piece of work that had fluid transitions, embodying the essence of young romance.