Prince died. David Bowie died. Alan Rickman died. Tony Burton died. Muhammad Ali died. Gene Wilder died. Craig Sager died. George Michael died. A Black family in the White House dies this year. Fucking Donald Trump is President. Like shitttt.
2016 was a whirlwind to say the least, and a fat ass L according to my TL for several of my followers.
HOWEVER, 2016 was truly a phenomenal year for music. I have been wildly impressed throughout the year with the true Heat *insert fire emoji* that has been released thus far. I am incredibly excited to share my top 5 albums of the year, honorable mentions, and newly discovered gems but first we have to address some things.
Let’s Leave These in 2016:
- Thinking you’re superior because you’re an avid music listener.
- Music for a lot of people is some kind of mechanism they use to assert their superiority over others. PSA: You are not any better than anyone else because you are in touch with your musical interests and keep up with the newest releases. I’m not entirely sure when people started to think like this, but it has got to stop. We all have our own hobbies and interests. Instead of asserting your superiority in 2017, put somebody on to some heat. Music is to be shared and appreciated, be the catalyst.
- Thinking you need a certain level of education to appreciate conscious artists.
- The only people who need a certain level of education to appreciate lyrical music are babies because they literally cannot put sentences together or understand the words in a song. That’s it. So sorry to burst your bubble Cole fans, you ain’t anything special because you listen to J. Cole or Kendrick or Big K.R.I.T ect. There are several artists whose music I cannot relate to and choose not to listen to. Is it because I don’t have a college degree (yet)? No. I just don’t like it or care for it. Conscious music is a beautiful thing and I personally love when artists reflect current societal issues in their music. However, if you’d rather bump Gucci’s “The Return of East Atlanta Santa” over J. Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only”, do you bruh. They both slide if we’re being honest.
- Comparing artists in different lanes.
- As I’ve stated before on my playlists page (you should go peep), music is a mood. To truly appreciate music and the myriad of artists who bless us with their craft is to understand that they are all incredibly different. Not only are they different, but their intent behind the music they make, varies. I promise YG didn’t make “Red Friday” so you can sit at home with some wine on some chill shit. He made it so you could blast that shit, windows down, on your way to a function. I constantly see comparisons of a variety of artists and it just doesn’t make any sense. Every artist is in their own lane. Think about it, did you come to the party to hear Kid Cudi’s “Rose Golden” or Migos “Bad & Boujee”? Obviously the latter. What sense does it make to compare these two artists when they accomplish their tasks in their own freaking lanes. Neither is more talented than the other because neither of the two can do what the other does.
That being said, lets get to this Top 5:
For the sake of the length of this post ill be brief.
- Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight – Travis Scott
- Trav was disappointed not to snag a grammy nom for this and I feel his pain. Honestly, truly, every song on this album slides. You can listen to it at any time of the day and simply does not get old. It earns the number one spot for its versatility and overall litness.
- Fave Song: Goosebumps
- Blonde – Frank Ocean
- I was confused to hear how so many people were disappointed with this album, maybe it was the wait? Personally, Frank bodied this album from start to finish. It is filled with gems and a 3stacks verse!! I recommend listening again and remembering that this album is not Channel Orange and it wasn’t trying to be.
- Fave Song: Self- Control, Nights
- Malibu – Anderson Paak
- Declaring Paak as the best new artist of 2016. I remember watching him perform at this year’s BET awards and wondering who the hell is this guy?? Malibu was my Summer, NX Worries was my Fall. Paak is the definition of talent and has contributed to redefining the genre of R&B. I am very excited to see what he has in store for the coming years.
- Fave Song: The Dreamer
- A Seat At The Table – Solange Knowels
- Maybe its because I had no idea Solange was so amazing or that this album was a total surprise to me but it came and it HIT. Conscious, soulful, great interludes, bomb lyrics. This album from start to finish, touched my soul. I found myself starting my day with “Cranes In the Sky” for like a week straight. I’m not sure if Solange will ever make another album and I don’t honestly care, this album was for the culture. I’m here for it.
- Fave Song: Weary
- The Life of Pablo- Kanye West
- Writing this at this moment in time is a bit odd and might have influenced why I have reserved this album for the #5 spot . Kanye is crazy. However, I can’t front like Ultralight Beam didn’t lift me to the heavens. Despite the lack of substantive lyrics throughout the album, Kanye didn’t disappoint on The Life of Pablo. Sadly, this may be the last great work of art we get from him if we’re being honest. Remember “Yeezy yeezy yeezy just jumped over jumpman?” damn…..
- Fave Song: Fade, Highlights
- Coloring Book- Chance The Rapper (It was good, really good, but it wasn’t Acid Rap)
- “Awaken, My Love”- Childish Gambino (Redbone and down + Me & Your Mama)
- Telefone – Noname
- Walking At Dawn- Roy Woods
- The Divine Feminine – Mac Miller
- Too High To Riot- Bas
- Stoney – Post Malone
- For All We Know- NAO
- The Sun’s Tirade- Isaiah Rashad
- Twenty 88 – Big Sean & Jhene Aiko
- American Boyfriend- Kevin Abstract
- 4 Your Eyez Only- J. Cole
- Big Baby D.R.A.M- D.R.A.M
- Sremmlife 2- Rae Sremmurd
- Cozy Tapes – A$AP Mob
- ANTI- Rihanna
- Hibachi For Lunch- 2Chainz
- Free 6Lack – 6Lack
2016 Gems (Artists New To Me)
- Kari Faux
- Daniel Cesear
- Kali Uchis
- Twelve’ Len
- Jaime XX
- Burna Boy
- Dave B.
- Mick Jenkins
- St. Beauty
- Jorja Smith
- Leon Bridges
+ vibes only, always.