2016 was an incredible year for music, one of the best that I can remember. We got so many quality projects from the biggest stars in the industry. I’ve been dying for this the last couple years, but that thirst has been successfully quenched with the tuneful albums I’ve heard over the course of the last 12 months. I attempted to put together a list of the top 10 albums in hip-hop/R&B from 2016. Let me know what you guys think.
10. Vic Mensa – There’s A Lot Going On
The Chicago native made huge strides in 2016. The socially conscious artist brought it on every track of the eccentric short EP he released in June. I am so amped for his debut album, which should be releasing in the first quarter of 2017. Look for Vic to blow up next year, similar to how fellow Chi-town bro Chance The Rapper did this year.
9. DJ Khaled – Major Key
Did anyone have a better year all-around than DJ Khaled? You can make an argument he became one of the biggest names in the game, and undoubtedly, the king of Snapchat. Everywhere you look you see him, whether its award shows or commercials, he’s in there preaching. Khaled also put out a very quality project over the summer, loaded with features and a sound unlike any other album he’s had his hands on before. Call him BILLI.
8. Drake – VIEWS
It was a tough decision on where to put Drizzy on this list. He had an unbelievable year and is probably the “hottest thing in music” as DG would say. His voice is all over the radio. You can’t go 10 seconds without hearing one of his tuneful hits. VIEWS made history with streaming records and is quadruple platinum, but I’m still waiting on more of a hip-hop than pop album from the Toronto native. This is middle of the road as far as his discography goes.
7. The Weeknd – STARBOY
The Weeknd is back on the music scene and his latest LP was impressive. Anything Daft Punk can get their hands on I’m usually a fan of, and that didn’t change here. I have to see the Canadian on tour at some point in my life. Look for him to grace the Super Bowl half-time stage soon as well.
***DG EDITOR’S NOTE: Looks like I convinced LTS that the Weeknd will perform at a Super Bowl. Just want to inform you that I planted that seed, but I’m still #humble. Continue reading.****
6. Rihanna – ANTI
Rih-Rih did her thing on her 8th studio LP, which released way back in January 2016. As a Rihanna fan, I will admit she lost me for a bit with her recent music, but I am definitely back on the 28-year-old’s wave as she delivered her most complete project yet. She’s even killing the fashion game, as her Puma silhouette was named the top sneaker of 2016.
5. Solange Knowles – A Seat At The Table
I will admit I have never listened to a Solange album before, but holy shit was this project awesome. What a pleasant surprise to the ears. She is no longer Beyonce’s sister in my book and had the best project of the Knowles sisters this year. I’m definitely here for the Solange movement. #BlackGirlMagic
4. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
Chance The Rapper had the best year in music, no doubt about it. He got everything he could out of 2016. The Chicago native infused hip-hop with gospel into one of the best projects of the year. The 23-year-old is the future of music. The culture is in his palms and I couldn’t be more confident in the independent artist.
3. Travis Scott – Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight
It’s a shame this album didn’t get consideration for the Grammy’s, but it shouldn’t change your mind about how dope this project was. When you have Kanye West and Mike Dean behind you, greatness is on the horizon and Travis has produced a sound that many artists are trying to copy and bite. The Rodeo artist is the clear protege to Yeezy. The future is bright over at G.O.O.D Music.
2. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
Yeezy, my guy, the greatest artist of our generation. TLOP has aged very well since its February release and is stacked with quality sound, as Kanye was on top of his game for this project. I really think the rollout and lack of promotion damaged fans relationships with the album, as Ye being the creative genius he is, made tweaks to give the best product possible. The listening party at MSG was fucking epic. All in All, great project and I am looking forward to TurboSZN.
1. Frank Ocean – Blonde
Frank Ocean made his much anticipated return to music this year, as rumors flew through the air about when he would actually be releasing the project. But as only Frank Ocean could do, he drops a 45-minute music video out of nowhere and then another project on top of it that same weekend. This album’s sound and aesthetic is unmatched in music. There is nothing like it out there, and that is what made this project so dope. The world needs Frank Ocean music. Hopefully it won’t be another 4 years until his next project, but I was truly blown away at how powerful the story in this album was, as he had the hip-hop community in awe.
Honorable Mention: Beyonce – Lemonade, Anderson Paak – Malibu, A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here, Lil Uzi Vert – Lil Uzi Vert vs The World, Young Thug – JEFFERY
***This list excludes projects releasing in December 2016***
Song of the year: Pick Up The Phone – Travis Scott and Young Thug Ft. Quavo
Verse of the year: Chance The Rapper – UltraLight Beam