The Top 10 Albums of 2016
Hey. Miss me?
Listen. I'm skipping all of the talk about why I've been gone. We'll get back to that. Just know I have plans and announcements for 2017.
But before we move to next year. Let's close out 2016.
2016 was...um. Wow. It was a year. But entertainment wise, this year was three flame emojis. TV and music came together to ooze the burns of a year of watching that orange man become yall's president. Film is starting to getting there. I think we're about to see some really good things coming from film next year.
But back to music. All of the giants came out this play this year. And some newbies came hard as well. This was the year of HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEW_____. It's AMAZING. Oh. And don't forget, ___ is SO UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK.
It was really hard to settle on this list this year with so much greatness. So, before you start to come for me, don't. But, for those who are new here, know that I have a scoring system to help me determine the ranking. This scoring system allows me to rate albums fairly and not place an album too high based on how much I love the artist or their single. So there may be some surprises here, but I'm ready to talk about it with y'all.
So let's get started. The Top Top Albums of 2016 are:
10. Travis Scott - Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight
Stand Out Song: goosebumps
Travis Scott released his second album with that Travis Scott sound that we all love. There is not one bad song on this album, and I will surely be continuing to listen to goosebumps everyday for the next year.
9. Kaytranada - 99.9%
Stand Out Song: You're The One
Let me start out by saying how dare you. I've been sleep on this man for all this time and no one told me. I blame each and every person reading this. Kaytranada's beats are electrifying, and he brings on various artists like the great Syd from the Internet and Vic Mensa to turn it up even more. This album is truly a good time, and if you've been sleep like I have, do yourself a favor and turn on this album.
8. J. Cole - 4 Your Eyez Only
Stand Out Song: Deja Vu
In a surprising move, right at the end of the year, J. Cole came through and dropped an album on us. Now admittedly, I don't like this album as much as I did 2014 Forest Hills Drive because of the darkness that sits in the corner of the album. But the love story he weaves throughout is sweet, touching, and endearing. Rappers usually just want to talk about how many women they can sleep with in a month, so to hear someone talking about monogamy and falling in love with their baby is refreshing. And Deja Vu is just....everything.
7. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
Stand Out Song: Ultralight Beam
I'm really on the outs with Kanye right now. I'm considering pretending like he retired at the top of the year, almost like I do with Raven Symone. But he gave us this album, and I'm trying to be fair or whateva. So here it is. There is no additional praise from me.
6. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
Stand Out Track: untitled 02 06.23.2014
But wait this isn't an album, you say. Well if it's not an album then why is it for sale on iTunes, and why are there singles? This project represents everything I love about Kendrick. Stories in a song, wordplay, soul, a bop. This album is a lifestyle, and everything I ever want from Kendrick. Am I a little salty that the tracks aren't officially named making it harder to look for an exact one? Yes. Am I extremely thankful that Kendrick gave this to us (which big ups to Lebron James for that)? Absolutely.
5. Solange - A Seat at the Table
Stand Out Songs: Weary, Cranes in the Sky, Don't Touch My Hair, F.U.B.U.
I've always really enjoyed Solange, whether she was acting or just being herself on social media. I admire her style, giggle at her humor, and soak in her messages. But her music was one thing I had never been able to connect with, until now. A Seat at the Table is the blackest album that I've ever heard and came at the exact moment it was needed. When the world disappoints me, I put on this album. When I'm feeling my black girl magic, I put on this album. A Seat at the Table validated my feelings, letting me know I wasn't crazy for feeling anger or sadness, and then lifted me up to use those feelings to excel and create and shine in this world despite of everything that's going on. A Seat at the Table is a beautiful, wonderful, magical piece of work, and I truly thank Solange for making it and giving it to the world.
4. Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book
Stand Out Songs: No Problem, Summer Friends, Juke Jam, How Great, Smoke Break
Chance the Rapper is like a brother to me. He belongs in my family. He doesn't know me or know that but he does. I root for this man so hard and was stupid excited when he announced a third album coming our way. And Chance did not disappoint with Coloring Book. Chance has figured out how to weave God into songs without making it too preachy. He reminded me of childhood with songs like Juke Jam and Summer Friends. He made me jump and dance around with songs like No Problem. 2016 was a big year for Chance the Rapper, and he deserves every moment--including that Grammy.
3. Childish Gambino - Awaken My Love!
Stand Out Songs: Me and Your Mama, Boogieman, Zombies, Redbone, Terrified, The Night Me and Your Mama Met
When Childish Gambino told Billboard that this album would have no rapping on it, I got a little scared. I was holding my breath a little bit when I hit play on this album, I'll admit it. But you know what? Childish showed me that I was foolish because he knows exactly what he's doing. I have been playing this album nonstop since he released it in early December, and every week my favorite song changes. The album holds a story of blackness that you won't catch if you're not paying attention. It's also very rock and roll and very soul. Do you know how many screams and shrieks I've hit singing along to this album? Many. I'm almost ready to start my own band. Childish said he wanted us to feel something when we listened to this album, and I feel each and every moment that he portrays.
2. Twenty88 - Twenty88
Stand Out Songs: Deja Vu, Selfish, On The Way, Push It, 2 Minute Warning
It is not everyday that we get a near perfect album. But Twenty88 managed to do it. With the exception of Talk Show, every song on this album is A1. I knew I was going to like it, because I really enjoyed their previous collaborations, but nobody could've told me that nine months later I would STILL be jamming this album. It gives me everything I want from the two of them - the melodies, the beats, the lyrics, the chemistry. In fact there may have been a little too much chemistry since they're together now, which I love, but also leaves me praying everyday that they don't break up so we can get a second album.
1. Beyonce - Lemonade
Stand Out Songs - Pray You Catch Me, Hold Up, Don't Hurt Yourself, Sorry, 6 Inch, Love Drought, Formation
Do I have to do this? Do I have to explain? You know why she's here. You heard the impeccable storytelling on this album. You heard them vocals on Pray You Catch Me. You screamed in the car with her to Don't Hurt Yourself. You caught her telling THE Shawn Carter that nobody would be with him if he wasn't rich. First and foremost, I love when an album tells a complete story. And Lemonade does this in a way I've never seen. It captures those nuances in a relationship like when y'all are making up but you still lowkey mad and taking shots. It's a story that doesn't end in breaking up but instead works on rebuilding. Flawless delivery and execution. What more do you want from her? She sang country and rock. What do you want? Because it's there. This album was easily number one. No questions about it. This was Beyonce's year.
So that's it. 2016 it's been real. But before we kiss it goodbye, what do you think about the list? Anything you would add? What would your top 10 be? Let me know in the comments below and happy new year!!