2016 isn’t over, we’ve still got a few months left to go. However there are definitely some albums people have bumping pretty much the entire year. Maybe not a gigantic handful, but there were some gems that came out within the last 8 months, that range from several different genres and sounds. From UK grime with Skepta, to Chance the Rapper’s colorful gospel, to Beyonce’s greatness, garage rock and David Bowie’s final album.
DOROTHY – ROCKISDEAD
ROCKISDEAD is the debut album from LA-based rock band DOROTHY, signed under Roc Nation. If you’re a fan of that loud, raw, garage-rock sound – with a southern flare and strong female lead vocals – this band is for you. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Royce da 5’9″ – Layers
Royce is one of the best and most underrated spitters in the game right now. He needs to be in your top ten currently. Royce released his sixth studio album Layers this year, one month after dropping his mixtape Trust the Shooter. Layers is greatness, it’s also going to be followed up by another much more personal album this year. Check the project out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Beyonce – Lemonade
Lemonade may be the best album of the year, if nothing else beats it in the next four months. *Ahem* Recording Academy *cough, cough*. Grammy! Just Blaze, Jack White and Mike Will Made It, along with others, produced some phenomenal tracks on this joint. Check it out on Tidal.
Skepta – Konnichiwa
Nigerian rapper Skepta is doing big things for the UK on this fourth studio album, Konnichiwa. A$AP Nast, Pharrell, Chip and D Double E are featured on the project along with others. It’s definitely one of the best hip-hop projects of 2016 and worth a spin. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
You can’t wipe the smile off your face while listening to Chance’s Coloring Book. Positive hip-hop is definitely something the young Chicago artist has mastered at this point. With such uplifting soundscapes and gospel sprinkled all throughout the album (or mixtape) it’s absolutely a gem for this year. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
David Bowie – Blackstar
David Bowie delivered his final album to his adoring fans literally just before he died. The man is a legend and for very good reason. Blackstar, Bowie’s swan song, is experimental, incorporating rock, jazz, folk-pop, even hip-hop and other musical elements. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Rihanna – Anti
Rihanna’s 8th studio album Anti is definitely going to be remembered as one of the best albums of 2016, and probably of her career. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
It’s Ye. Whenever he drops a project, it’s gotta be on the list. The Life of Pablo is 20-tracks long and features some of the best production Kanye has given us, though many will still argue it doesn’t hold a candle to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal. Although the best version of this album is definitely only on Tidal.
Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.
Even when he just grabs some unused material from To Pimp A Butterfly and throws it onto an EP, Kendrick Lamar still delivers one of the best projects of 2016. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
This is a real gem of an album. Featuring Zuri Marley, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ashlee Haze and others, Freetown Sound swings between funk, synthpop, alternative R&B and pop. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
ScHoolboy definitely came through and delivered on his follow-up project to Oxymoron, which some fans found to be a bit disappointing. Blank Face has some dope production from Tyler, the Creator, Sounwave and Alchemist, and has ScHoolboy spitting those gangsta verses. TDE continues to kill it, and some of the other label members have albums dropping this year. So TDE may very well own 2016. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
A$AP Ferg – Always Strive and Prosper
This is the follow-up to Ferg’s 2013 project Trap Lord. Always Strive and Prosper definitely tries some new territory sonically for Ferg, but he manages to pull it off. It’s got production from DJ Mustard, Skrillex, Clams Casino and No I.D.. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Seratones – Get Gone
This is a band you may not have heard of. They’re a rock group formed out of Louisiana, signed to Fat Possum. Their debut album Get Gone carries a lot of soul and fantastic vocals from AJ Haynes. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
Snoop Dogg – Coolaid
Snoop actually delivered a listenable project, y’all. In 2016. How crazy is that? Coolaid is genuinely dope and a strong sign that Snoop Dogg is back. It’s one of his best albums in YEARS. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.
YG – Still Brazy
YG really came through for the west coast in 2016 with Still Brazy. There’s no denying it, it’s a banger. Check it out on Apple, Spotify or Tidal.