Hip-Hop in 2016: the Year of Love; For the Culture
Such a stacked year.
The top 10-15 albums could all compete for AOTY. Projects like Introverted Intuition, Bears Like This Too Much, Smino’s Blkjuptr, and Big Baby D.R.A.M being near the bottom of the top 30 and projects like Young Dolph’s Rich Crack Baby, ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face, and Big K.R.I.T.’s #12For12 not even making the list is revelation to how much quality was released this year.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
#1. Anderson .Paak – Malibu // Oxnard, CA // Alternative R&B
- Extremely melodic.
- Very lyrically inclined.
- Veteran song structuring ability.
- Some of the best boom-bap in 2016.
- In line with ATCQ’s Midnight Marauder and Low End Theory classics.
- Hard to stop listening to, like putting down a good book.
#3 NxWorries – Yes Lawd! // Oxnard, CA // Hip-Hop, Funk, & Neo-Soul
- Knxwledge and .Paak fit together seamlessly.
- Super melodic; heavy funk + blaxploitation influences.
- Lyrically animated.
Standout songs: Suede
#4. YG – Still Brazy // Compton, CA // Gangsta Rap
- Surprisingly socio-political.
- Distinct West Coast production with no Mustard features.
- Best sophomore album in years.
#5. Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book // Chicago, IL // Rap & Gospel
- Great mix of gospel & rap.
- Focused Chance > Acid Chance
- Mixtape of the year.
#6. KAYTRANADA – 99.9% // Canada // Alternative Instrumental
- Variety of sounds.
- Sonically colorful.
- Musically ambitious and cohesive.
Standout songs: Glowed Up (feat Anderson . Paak), Got It Good (feat Craig David), You’re The One (feat Syd Tha Kid)
#7. Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade // Chattanooga, TN // Hip-Hop
- Doesn’t sound like any other contemporary rap.
- Mellow vibes.
- Best non-Kendrick TDE project?
#8. Frank Ocean – Blond(e) // Odd Future Land // R&B & Soul
- Lots of raw emotion.
- Delicate yet complex production.
- Plays like a movie.
#9. Kendrick Lamar – untitled, unmastered // Compton, CA // Rap & Hip-Hop
- Best compilation album since Nas The Lost Tapes
- Hopefully this is eventually titled and mastered.
#10. Noname – Telefone // Chicago, IL // Spoken Word Rhythm
- Great exhibition of how to merge spoken word + rap.
- Lyrically profound.
- Good/suitable beat selection.
#11. Phonte and Eric Roberson – Tigallerro // Greensboro, NC // R&B & Rap
- Good mix of R&B and rap.
- Grown man music; soothing.
Standout songs: Waiting 4 Ya, Hold Tight, 3:45, It’s So Easy
- Socially aware.
- Spoken word influenced.
- Great song concepts and skits.
- Very politically aggressive in the same vein as Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted album.
- Gorgeous alternative production by El-P.
- Rough and tough deliveries every verse.
Standout songs: “A Report The The Shareholders // Kill Your Masters“, “Everybody Stay Calm“, “Legend Has It“
- Extremely vibe-y; strong messaging.
- One of the strongest albums from the Knowles camp
- Great intro, interesting production.
- Fits unorthodox flows into tight places.
- Ambitious production throughout
#16. Kamayiah – A Good Night in the Ghetto // Oakland, CA // Rap & Hip-Hop
- Female MC from Oakland with charisma.
- Numerous slaps/bangers.
- Good production.
- Effective story/concept album.
- Cinematic feel.
- Best Toronto album in 2016.
- Dave B floats over Sango’s bouncy production.
- Intimate, easy listening project.
- Uzi deploys a plethora of original flows and cadences over bass-y production.
- This LP has some of the bangers of the year including Money Longer.
- Creative, sonically engaging.
- Well executed.
- Original teachers of Hip-Hop STILL teaching.
- Very wordy and lyrical.
- Hidden messages throughout album.
- At times feels like an easter egg hunt – constantly hunting for hidden gems in the album.
- Plethora of flows and emotions.
- DC4 is Meek’s best, most cohesive project.
- Project based on LOVE.
- Mick deploys amazing rhyme schemes and concepts throughout.
- Soulful yet poppy.
- Moody yet bright and exciting.
- Great merger of different sounds; inspiring rhythms.
- Eerie production like on Local Time.
- Mixture of singing/rapping, sing-rapping (vibing).
- Melodic tunes and riddles throughout.
Standout songs: “Shadow In The Dark”, “IT GOES“
- Well executed concept album.
- Great piano +chords.
- Lots of funk, R&B, and pop influences throughout.
- Colorful production.
- Spastic drums.
- Overlooked release from TDE camp in 2016.
- Raw, gutter, southern rap album.
- Reminiscent of Boosie, Webbie, Gucci, and other pre-Trap South artists
- Bouncy and uptempo at times but still lyrical.
- Relatable lyrics over left-field Soulection/Monte Booker type production.
- Fast-paced, uptemp, at times.
- Intricately placed features.
- A musical experience.
- In-your-face album.
- Lit NYC on fire this year.
- A Boogie keeps album afloat and interesting with his melodies.
2016 was the year of love in Hip-Hop. And despite a plethora of great releases from a number of artist, 2016 was the year of Anderson .Paak’s.