After letting all the releases of 2016 marinade over the year. I found myself returning to certain projects over and over again. These are the projects I connected to the most and seriously enjoyed for one reason or another. This is not a list of the best rap/hip-hop albums of 2016, but my favorites. Enjoy.
Note: Part two is up now
- Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
- Noname – Telefone
- Mick Jenkins – The Healing Component
- J. Cole – For Your Eyez Only
- D.R.A.M. – Big Baby D.R.A.M
This is by far my favorite album of 2016. I already said a lot about it here but I can’t sing its praises enough. This album changed my life and provided a soundtrack to my development as a man. It was the Christian album that stood in the gap between Sunday Morning and Thursday night. It had the relationship building with God that I’ve been searching for while still being flawed and human. It wasn’t gospel but it was in His glory. I appreciate this album for that alone.
Favorite Track: Blessings
Telefone was the most beautiful album written about death I have ever heard. Noname with her soothing voice and toybox instrumentals hid complex material in plain sight. She spoke about Black death, abortion, innocence lost, summers gone, family members moved on and so many more topics that I couldn’t even imagine would sound so sweet. Her poetic cadence and ear for collaboration made the wait since Lost seem even more precious.
Favorite Track: Diddy Bop
The Healing Component
Mick Jenkins has the gritty voice of Schoolboy Q, poetic Mind of Noname, and artistic mission that Chance picked up to talk about God unashamed while still making hard-hitting music. While some commented on Chance changing his style to a less hard hitting formula, Mick Jenkins uses his heavily lyrical style and thorough metaphor use to make you take a look at your life and contemplate. I found myself constantly listening to the first half of the album and reflecting on love. Love of self, others, God, and life. Love, the Healing Component.
Check my post on Angles -> Here
Favorite Track: Spread Love
For Your Eyez Only
Video: False Prophets
J. Cole is the friend from down the block that you root to succeed. I feel that he’s one of the most human artists we have today. He went to school, never sold drugs, and admits that he’s fallible. This album is the natural progression of his art. After 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Cole reached levels of superstardom that he never had and finally told he life story. This album had to move beyond that. Cole told his friend’s story in an artistic manner that is universal in appeal. This is the serious Cole people have been begging him for. No corny lines, just storytelling, great instrumentation, and powerful lyrics. I loved it!
Big Baby D.R.A.M.
Video: Cash Machine
D.R.A.M. is the other artist I want to succeed. He has an amazing natural inclination for music, can actually sing, has fun music, and one of the most infectious smiles on the planet. I have been a fan since Cha Cha had the Super Mario World track behind it. This entire album is full of comically written songs that created a truly enjoyable experience. I had a blast listening to it and I expect that D.R.A.M. enjoyed it also.
Check Back for Part 2 and 3 in the next few days!
What are your favorite rap/hip-hop albums of 2016? What made them connect to you?