These are my favorite or just good hip-hop releases of 2016. As commercial hip-hop is getting worse and worse you have to look to the underground or non-commercial projects to find anything worth listening to because the radio is not doing the job anymore (unless you go to alternative radio like Apple Music).
- and the Anonymous Nobody- DE LA SOUL: De La Soul are back with the highlight of my 2016. Now I didn’t grow up as much on De La Soul as I did Tribe but over the years I have been able to check out some of their music wither their own hits or through other projects like the Gorillas. Sadly none of their music is able to be streamed on places like Spotify or Apple Music due to their samples not being cleared. But their current project is amazing and takes samples from a live band they recorded specially for this project. It’s very classic De La but with some influences from the different projects they’ve been part of and the current hip-hop climate. You like bom-bat hip-hop? They got it. You like rock or R&B? They got it. You like electronic stuff? They got it. It’s incredibly electric in the best way. Favorite Songs: Genesis ft. Jill Scott, Royalty Capes, *Pain ft. Snoop Dogg, *Property of Spitkicker.com, *Memory of… (US) ft. Estelle & Pete Rock, CBGBS, *Lord Intended, Snoopies, *Greyhound ft. Usher, *Trainwreck, *Drawn ft. Little Dragon, Whoodeeni ft. 2 Chains, Nosed Up, *You Go Dave, *Here in After, *Exodus
- Malibu-Anderson .Paak: I love this album. Jazz rap at it’s finest in 2016. The fact he mixes his rapping, singing & live band thing were he plays the drums, guitar and keys is amazing. He is very talented and actually cares about music. Favorite Songs: The Bird, The Waters, Put Me Through, Am I Wrong ft. Schoolboy Q, Parking Lot, Room in Here ft. The Game & Sonyae Elise, Waterfall (Interlude), Come Down, Celebrate, The Dreamer ft. Talib Kweli, Timan Family Choir,
- Coloring Book- Chance the Rapper: I love Chance & his lyrics are fire. I love his humanitarian spirit too and the way he really cares about his city. His last project Acid Rap had some bangers on there. An indigo soul he really puts a lot of passion into his music. He is dope. Favorite Songs: All We Got ft. Kanye & Chicago Children’s Choir, Summer Friends ft. Jeremih & Francis & The Light, D.R.A.M. Sings Special, Blessings, Same Drugs, Angels ft. Saba, Juke Jam ft. Justin Bieber & Towkio, All Night ft. Knox Fortune, Blessings ft. Ty Dolla Sign, Anderson .Paak, BJ The Chicago Kid, Raury
- Untitled Unmastered- King Kendrick I don’t think I need to go into much about Kendrick he is amazing we all know that. After To Pimp A Butterfly Kendrick decided to relase some demo tracks and as unpolished as they are they’re amazing. Great jazz rap/neo-soul going on. Beautiful! Favorite Tracks: untitled #3, 5 & 8
- There’s A Lot Going On-Vic Mensa: If you want some straight bars from a Chicago MC then check this album out. I first found out of Vic off his first single Lovely Day which just had such a good vibe to it. I also loved his dance track Down on My Luck and some of his other singles. This album is straight bars goes hard fire and talks a lot about what most black folks feel these days. He has many songs towards the police and how he feels about the death of black life. Good album if your ever super pissed which if you know me it is a rarity that I listen to music that’s hard like this so you know its good (but not everything is my speed). Favorite Tracks: Dynasty, 16 Shots, Danger, Shades of Blue, There’s A Lot Going On (why do all rappers think they can sing? Just saying lol)
- Yesterday’s Tomorrow- Phony Ppl: Not technology hip-hop but the way hip-hop is these days they count. They are what they call a generaless group who sings, raps, and is a band. I love the live band aspect with the lyrical flow from both the rapper and the singer Elbee Thrie. They remind me of the Internet and are just some cool dudes from NYC. Favorite Songs: Why iii Love the Moon, eNd oF tHe nIgHt, Baby Meet My Lover, Somehow,
- This Unruly Mess I’ve Made- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: I’ve always liked Macklemore since I first herd him back in 2013. I always liked his playful hipster rap he is known for. Once I went back into his catalog I realized he had bars and was talking about something worth hearing. Definitely not Macklemore’s best album but not terrible. He has a few hits on this album and his features are probably his best part of this album. Favorite Songs: Buck Shot ft. KRS-One & DJ Premiere, Growing Up ft. Ed Sheeren, Kevin ft. Leon Bridges, St. Ides, Need to Know ft. Chance the Rapper, Dance Off ft. Idris Elba & Anderson .Paak, White Privilege II ft. Jamila Wood
- The Divine Feminine- Mac Miller: I’ve always liked Mac Miller since I first herd him back in 2013. I always liked his playful stoner rap-hipster rap he is known for. I didn’t listen to his last album GO:OD Am but loved his live album he did with the Internet. This album is hit and miss with me with his best songs coming towards the end, because the lyrics and content are just ok but the instrumentals are amazing. He does the whole jazz rap thing pretty good but that’s due to all of his features who do one up him on most tracks. Not a terrible album and it’s pretty expected stuff from Mac. But I will say I don’t think Mac knows what the Divine Feminine means. Favorite Songs: Dang ft. Anderson .Paak, Stay (expect for the ending I can do without that), Skin, Plant God Damn ft. Njomza, Soulmates, We ft. CeeLo Green, My Favorite Part ft. Ariana Grande (I like how Ariana & Mac’s vocals blend together making Mac’s sound a little better and Ariana really getting her R&B vocals over that beat), God is Fair, Sexy Nasty ft. King Kendrick
- R.E.D.- A Tribe Called Red ft. Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Narcy, Black Bear: This track off A Tribe Called Red’s latest album is fire. It features Most Def who is stuck in Africa and another guy spitten too bringing that conscious hip-hop we expect from these guys. Then TCR brings in their amazing beat and its just too good.
- What Makes the Red Man Red-Frank Waln: Frank Waln is a Native hip-hop artist from the Rosebud Reservation. His brand of hip-hop speaks to the struggles of Native youth and what they go through everyday. This song is a play on the scene from Peter Pan where the Lost Boys are being taught about the “Native American Savages” which is totally racist. Anyway the way he raps with the track playing is great and again is talking about all the things Natives have to go through these days. Very good track.
- Drowning-Mick Jenkins ft. BADBADNOTGOOD: I have liked Mick from Chicago since last year when I first heard Your Love which is my jam. This song takes a more metaphorical approach but its really good.
- NEVERALONE- Raury: I started checking out Raury from the ATL last year on the release of his first album. He is the indigo kid of hip-hop with his mix of folk & rapping. This single is very uplifting and like the title says talks about needing someone yet knowing you are never alone. He brings his classic Andre 3000 sound with his folk singing making for an enjoyable song.
- War Zone & We Will Not- T.I. (Tip): After the whole Iggy fiasco I didn’t think T.I. was about it anymore but I guess I was wrong. His last two songs/videos have been very much questioning the media and flipping the script on it’s head. In War Zone Tip takes what is happening to black folks and flipping it to be white folks this is happening to. Then in We Will Not he raps about basically what everyone else is taking about but at least he is talking. After his comments on Trump this not surprise from Tip but still a welcome surprise.
- One Dance-Drake: Ok I know Drake really? But I do like a few Drake tunes every now and again wither straight rap or a mix of singing/dance music. He is not so bad but definitely not my favorite MC in the game but I was vibein with him when he first came out (probably because of Degrassi). This song is just a fun song to sing & dance to nothing more but I mean it’s Drake we don’t expect anything more.
Till Next Time…”Hip Hop Hooray Ho Hey Ho”