Top 15 Hip-Hop/R&B Albums of 2016

Image via @TheReaLombardo

It has been imagined by many that the year 2016 was not one full of particularly great moments, and if there were good moments they were drowned out by the especially bad ones. As a whole, regardless of who you are, it can be agreed that this year was unfortunate, at least in the music realm, because of the deaths of so many notable musicians. The likes of David Bowie, Prince, Phife Dawg, and George Michael all passed away in 2016. Their legacies and influence have shaped the music we listen to to this very day (some more than others), and this will continue on into the next year and so on after that. On the flip side, however, it can be argued that these musicians have had the ability to shape the current landscape. Although the deaths of these beloved figures were a harrowing reminder of the sudden finality of death, their influence stands as a testament to the current state of music. The music in 2016, especially in the world of hip-hop and R&B, was exceptional. Filled with projects from high-profile and underground artists, new names and old ones, and the reemergence of hibernated names, 2016 was a stacked year; more-so than any in recent memory. Although it wasn’t easy, TrueToo managed to compile a neat list of fifteen projects that stood out the most. After a month of heated banter, these are our picks for the best music of 2016.


15. PrimaDonna


After releasing the critically acclaimed Summertime ’06 in 2015, the Long Beach MC puts out an EP during the summer of ’16. The extended play runs for just 21 minutes but features an abundance of bangers and follows a double-sided chronological narrative of a black man spiralling towards of from death. Vince Staples latest starts the list off at #15.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Keelen Wolfe (Did not make list)
I listened to this once, never went back. I appreciate Vince for getting all artistic and moody with the concept, just kinda banger-less though.

Isaac Biehl (#8)
Yeah I can agree, it’s not really a banger type EP.

Keelen Wolfe
As far as short EP’s go, I think There’s a Lot Going On was miles better – would have like to see that make it.

Isaac Biehl
I wasn’t a big fan of Vic’s EP. For Vince, I love the album artwork, that alone was enough for me to put it on my list. But I think all of the tracks on it were all good.

Michael Charlebois (Did not make list)
I liked “Smile”, “Pimp Hand” was banger-ish, and the title track was nice enough.

Isaac Biehl
The production on “Prima Donna,” was so dope and the way Vince opens it up feels so sick. It feels old school and really attracts my attention. Plus the hook is great: “Is it real / Is it, is it real.” I really like “Smile” too. Has a rocker type edge to it. That part in his visual for it all is super cool too

Keelen Wolfe
“Smile” is the one song I can really get down with. Great guitar usage.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah I love that. Also the Outkast sample is on point. Still waiting on my vinyl though, Vince holding out.

Michael Charlebois
It wasn’t exceptional to me, but it’s still a solid and experimental EP that affirms Vince can always put out quality shit.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah I think for an EP like this he definitely succeeded. Got me excited for what he puts out this coming year, if he does put something out. I was surprised it made it on the list, I had it on mine but I didn’t think others would.

Michael Charlebois
It didn’t make mine but it would have in other years.

Isaac Biehl
I think it showed Vince being able step out of whatever zone he was in – not that I thought he was a super limited rapper before – but this is a nice contrast in his discography. To me it felt like it was the perfect length and cohesiveness for his overall theme. Nice lil project.

David Chris Otu (Did not make list)
I wouldn’t necessarily say Prima Donna’s worth the Top 15. I enjoyed it but Vince’s delivery still needs to be a bit stronger to me. I love his music it’s just that EP isn’t top 15 worthy to me.

Isaac Biehl
I think it is definitely one of the little gems of hip-hop this year.

Cj Maruyama (Did not make list)
War Ready” is dope.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah dat 3 Stacks sample.

Vince Cammarota (Did not make list)
It was good, just the interludes were kinda slow and dry. His lyricism and delivery is probably one of the best in the game right now, though.

14. The Divine Feminine

Newly romanticized with pop star Ariana Grande, Mac Miller expresses his kindness for women and love on his lush new album The Divine Feminine.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Isaac Biehl (#9)

Wish this was higher. I think Mac killed it. Especially dropping this out of nowhere after GO:OD AM was also extremely well done. He’s on a roll honestly. It had a good group of guests: Kendrick Lamar, Cee Lo Green, Ty Dolla Sign, Anderson .Paak, and Ariana Grande. The instrumentation was stellar throughout.

Michael Charlebois (#15)
I think the spot is pretty good… this album was wonderfully produced and you really can’t say enough about “Dang!” Thats an easy SOTY candidate.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah “Dang!” is wild. I also find myself singing “Stay” all the time. That song really gets me going. I thought it could have cracked the top 10, but I can see why it didn’t I guess, there was a lot of good competition.

Michael Charlebois
Skin” is fucking luscious.

Isaac Biehl
Oh god. Complex just said that was the worst song on that album… so fuck ‘em.

Michael Charlebois
I mean the lyrics are nothing to write home about, but, it’s a gorgeous instrumental. Thats why I don’t love the album… it’s dope that Mac is appreciating loving someone else but his lyrics are still cringe as fuck.

Isaac Biehl
Hahaha well yeah, Mac does talk about sex in an interesting way the whole time.

Michael Charlebois
It’s like he isn’t really smart enough to make an ode to women.

Isaac Biehl
I get what he’s going for, but I can see where it falls short of being the ultra-romantic feel and ends up being slightly creepy.

Michael Charlebois
Yessss thats what I’m saying.

Isaac Biehl
Like he’s making an ode to women, but a lot of it may be physically based. It’s that, or the songs rely on that too much at times. “Cinderella” is also really long, but at the 5 minute mark with that guitar that’s sick. So it’s a nice switch.

Keelen Wolfe (Did not make list)
Only listened to that album once maybe. “Dang!” is fire though

Isaac Biehl
I think the fact Mac can’t articulate his motives for “love” super well makes it more relatable though in a sort of ironic way. Like a lot of younger men/women maybe don’t grasp that whole feeling or idea enough, or they haven’t even experienced it, so this hits home to them. Mac maybe hasn’t started to understand it until now and is still learning. So in that way I think it’s sort of a nice view into Mac’s life.

Michael Charlebois
Ya I feel that. It’s the classic Drake rationalization.

Keelen Wolfe
I have to say that i liked mac more when he was still into hard drugs. “Snowflakes keeping fall of my expired debit cards” is genius.

Isaac Biehl
Ahh. Drake didn’t do it well enough to make it on the list this time though…. BOW BOW shots fired. I think GO:OD AM is still incredible, some of his best work. But I’ve been a pretty big Mac guy so I feel biased to have to support.

Keelen Wolfe
Yea GO:OD AM was dope – his best studio album.

Michael Charlebois
GO:OD AM was better, yeah.

Isaac Biehl
Even Watching Movies With The Sound Off was pretty good. When he is on his lyricism, it’s actually some of the best I think. “ROS” on GO:OD AM is like a preview of the Divine Feminine– which was one of my favorite tracks.

13. Konnichiwa

The U.K. hip-hop star finds mainstream U.S. success on his 4th studio album Konnichiwa. Sparked by the success of his hit song “Shutdown,” Skepta’s wave of popularity signals the first time a “grime” album makes its way on the TrueToo list.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Isaac Biehl (Did not make list)
To be honest, I haven’t really listened to this. I tried last week but it didn’t suck me in.

Keelen Wolfe (#11)
Grime gold.

Michael Charlebois (Did not make list)
I listened to this project for a while when it came out.

Keelen Wolfe
Shutdown”, the title track, “Ladies Hit Squad”, “Detox”, “It Ain’t Safe” – all dope.

Michael Charlebois
It’s a solid album for me but nothing that really stuck out that I felt a desire for. I’m fine with it on the list tho – Skepta is a fine artist.

Keelen Wolfe
Shutdown” is top-20 rap song of the year for me.

Vince Cammarota (#3)
Skepta put out easily one of the best rap albums of the year. Every song is either a banger or a track you can easily groove to. It was also a huge step for grime because it was probably one of the first albums that were so popular in the US. Great to see him working with Pharrell and A$AP Mob.

Keelen Wolfe
Skepta is the best mainstream U.K. MC since Tinie Tempah.

Josh Creighton
What U.K. rappers do you guys know? Feels so weird to see u guys talking about them.

Michael Charlebois
Hahahaha true. I’m guessing Slick Rick wasn’t grime.

Isaac Biehl
Rizzle Kicks are my duddddes.

Keelen Wolfe
The basics: Stormzy, Wiley… fuck yeah Rizzle Kicks.

Isaac Biehl
Miss Cigarette.

Keelen Wolfe
Haven’t listened to them in a minute.

Isaac Biehl
They have been putting out some good stuff lately. This track and video called “Slurp” is great.

Josh Creighton
They have two bangers. But haven’t heard of them for a while now. Anyone listened to Giggs?

Michael Charlebois
Freddie Gibbs?

Josh Creighton
Loooooooooool Nooooo.

Isaac Biehl
I used to know more but I can’t think of any right now, I used to deliberately look them up to see their rapping style.

Josh Creighton
You guys said the most famous ones.

Christopher Ng (#12)
Yo you boys sleeping on the two best mandem: Loyle Carner and Santan Dave.

Michael Charlebois
One more thing on Konnichiwa… Frisco says “I go so hard, Mum told me I should take it easy / Sorry, mum, I am a grime star, and you know my ting stay off the heezy.”

Vince Cammarota
Bars.

Michael Charlebois
I don’t know who Frisco is but that’s dope as shit hahaha.

Isaac Biehl
Hahaha that’s sick.

12. Malibu

Following his work on Dr. Dre’s Compton in 2015, Anderson .Paak was poised to breakout with a new album. Malibu is a colourful collection of warm and wavy tracks that are perfect for any trips to the beach.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Michael Charlebois
Criminally underrated.

Isaac Biehl (Did not make list)
So I think .Paak is definitely one of the brightest new stars in music this year and will continue to be. At first I thought Malibu was amazing; .Paak has his singing/rap style that is great. The musicality on this is top tier. I went back to it this month though and I hate to say it felt boring listening through; in that the songs sounded too much alike for me.

Michael Charlebois (#2)
For me, Malibu was an album that I was never obsessed with – I slowly appreciated each song and kept coming back to it. .Paak just is a joy to listen to and has a ton of charisma.

David Chris Otu (#7)
One thing about Malibu that can’t be topped is its instrumentals. Everything about it gives off this laid back, chill, and funky vibe. The Free Nationals really outdid themselves.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah man the beats are impeccable. You cant name a bad song, and I would argue Isaac that they are pretty unique.

David Chris Otu
Also the features, BJ the Chicago Kid, The Game, and Talib Kwali – it seemed as if each feature was a perfect fit.

Michael Charlebois
Schoolboy’s best feature ever on “Am I Wrong.” If you like “Dang!” and haven’t heard it, then check it out ASAP.

David Chris Otu
True, even though “Am I Wrong” is better.

Isaac Biehl
I agree with all of that. .Paak is very refreshing to hear on the mic. He is bringing something that not a lot of performers have. I think the production is great, I could chill and zone out to that all day. But together as a whole, I wanted .Paak to switch it up more, I felt he was giving me too much of the same after a while – singing/rapping wise.

David Chris Otu
What he is bringing is neo-funk.

Isaac Biehl
I will admit i got my roommate to listen to this going to sleep for like a month.

David Chris Otu
It’s better to blast when vibin’ but hey bruh to each his own.

Isaac Biehl
He just loved the chill vibes. “Come Down” is fire.

Michael Charlebois
NOW YOU DRANK UPALL MY LIQOUR NOW COME ON WHAT IM SUPPOSED TO DO NOW.”

Keelen Wolfe (#4)
I’m positive that “Come Down” samples Yoshi from Super Mario.

Isaac Biehl
That’s fucking sick if so.

Keelen Wolfe
Right after he sings “pouring down,” listen close, it’s there. It’s like the noise Yoshi makes when he dies in smash bros or some shit.

Isaac Biehl
I’m gonna have to check.

Keelen Wolfe
Also .Paak is the best performer I’ve ever seen live. Better than Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Radiohead, etc. But i still am salty that Malibu is on our list. Although, I would say its belongs there more than Blonde.

Michael Charlebois
“Celebrate” and “The Bird” are tender.

Isaac Biehl
“The Bird” is one my favorites as well.

Keelen Wolfe
.Paak doesn’t have bars at all, he sings.

David Chris Otu
I don’t know, it’s clear we spread it out across the boards.

Michael Charlebois
“Carry Me” has bars.

Neek Azar (Did not make list)
Come Down” has bars.

David Chris Otu
The Waters” has bars.

Michael Charlebois
Dope bars too.

Keelen Wolfe
I’d argue it’s more of a cadence change, I know exactly which parts you guys are talking about.

Michael Charlebois
Wack niggas throwin’ links in my DM’s.” Great line.

11. Blank Face LP

TDE member Schoolboy Q returns with the colorful Blank Face LP. This dizzying array of west coast bangers makes for one Q’s most gratifying projects yet.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Isaac Biehl (Did not make list)
THAT PART THAT PART THAT PART. Fucking wild. I saw Kanye West do his verse for that at Chance The Rapper’s festival in Chicago. So lit. Q got bangers on this.

Keelen Wolfe (#7)
John Muir” is lit. Every single music video he did for that album was ill too – all 10/10.

Michael Charlebois (#3)
I loveeee “John Muir.” And the vid to “Dope Dealer” is fucking lit haha.

Isaac Biehl
The vid for “Groovy Tony” is crazy too haha, Schoolboy was on one for this project.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah this sounded like a comeback album from Oxymoron which wasn’t really bad at all – just uneven. This was Q in his finest form.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah this is better than Oxymoron for me. Definitely showed his worth. Faired better than his homie Ab-Soul for sure lol.

Michael Charlebois
Lmao true.

David Chris Otu (#9)
Blank Face is great! I love all of it and I think it corresponds very well with the visuals he had with it.

Michael Charlebois
Whats your favorite song?

David Chris Otu
Groovy Tony/ Eddie Kane” stands out to me as not only the best track on the project, but the best song of the year. That track needs a Grammy for its clever lines and the addition of Jadakiss adds onto the persona that Q’s trying to portray.

Isaac Biehl
Oooo the hot takes I love it.

David Chris Otu
Then the switch up I’d say takes the song to a whole other level.

Michael Charlebois
Too bad Views will win.

Isaac Biehl
I’m really pulling out it won’t, but the Grammy’s never do me right. Except for when Beck won album of the year. That was the correct move.

David Chris Otu
That was wrong too but whatever lol.

Keelen Wolfe
Was Chance 3 (Coloring Book) nominated in the same category?

Isaac Biehl
Yeah I believe so. I think he’ll win. “Ultralight Beam” should also win the best rap song in my opinion.

Keelen Wolfe
Yeah Chance should get way more grammy votes than Views. I’d be surprised otherwise. It’s literally too positive.

David Chris Otu
It should be Schoolboy Q. But at the end of the day it’s a freakin’ popularity contest.

Keelen Wolfe
Schoolboy should just be happy he got nominated.

10. Atrocity Exhibition

For Danny Brown’s third LP, he goes full experimental, dropping one of the more uncanny rap projects in recent memory. The critically acclaimed Atrocity Exhibition comes in at number 10 on our list.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

David Chris Otu (#2)
Fantano had this at #1 – he’s hip. Except I put it at #2.

Isaac Biehl (Did not make list.)
Smh.

David Chris Otu
HE’S HIP.

Isaac Biehl
For all albums or just hip hop?

David Chris Otu
All albums.

Isaac Biehl
WHAT.

David Chris Otu
YEP.

Isaac Biehl
Out of all genres?

David Chris Otu
IT’S SUCH A GOOD PROJECT.

Isaac Biehl
He picked Danny?

David Chris Otu
Yup.

Isaac Biehl
I’m sorry, I’ll never be convinced about it. It was IGHT.

David Chris Otu
Don’t act like Danny’s not worthy man we put the fuckin’ Life of Pablo of this record.

Michael Charlebois (#6)
Bruh.

Isaac Biehl
So do i actually lol.

David Chris Otu
WE CAN’T SAY SHIT OVER THIS RECORD.

Michael Charlebois
The first 10 songs are all soooo good.

Isaac Biehl
I can’t make it through the first 10.

David Chris Otu
It’s such a good album it’s sporadic unpredictable and experimental. He did an amazing job.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah but that doesn’t mean it was successful. It sounds like a mess at times and Danny doesn’t pull me in.
“Really Doe” is tight for sure, though.

Keelen Wolfe (#15)
Fantano put it at 1 because he has a bias for experimentation and weirdness.

David Chris Otu
He doesn’t hold bias towards it I’d say.

Isaac Biehl
I think he does.

David Chris Otu
And once again we have TLOP at #2!!! What kinda world do we live in people!?

Michael Charlebois

I mean everybody has their bias but this was a really groundbreaking project for me. The way it sounds is  just as monumental as anything since MBDTF.

Isaac Biehl

Yeah I don’t feel that. I can’t even understand Danny, I don’t think he’s a great rapper.

Michael Charlebois

Yeah I wouldn’t say he’s a great rapper either.

David Chris Otu

WHAT.

Michael Charlebois

He just utilizes his flow to suit the instrumental and his beats are awe-inspiring.

CJ Maruyama (#3)

His flow is really unique though it definitely separates himself from other rappers.

Michael Charlebois

Agreed… The instrumentals are really what draws me in, though.

9. Awaken, My Love!

Fresh off starring in the acclaimed series AtlantaChildish Gambino returned to the music world to drop a huge surprise. Awaken, My Love is no rapping, and pure funk. His wild new ride through the 70’s lands at #9 on our list.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Michael Charlebois (#11)
Lowkey, I’ve always thought Gambino was kinda wack – this is like the surprise album of the year.

Keelen Wolfe (Did not make list)
At the start of his career, Gambino’s singing voice was pretty shit, but he showed promise on more recent songs like “Oakland” and “Sober”, but GAHT DAMN does that fucker have a beautiful and dynamic voice.

Michael Charlebois
Like we knew A Tribe Called Quest could make dope shit, we knew Kendrick Lamar’s b-sides would still be dope – but Gambino making a good funk record?

Neek Azar (#10)
Yeah I really hated Gambino pre-Awaken My Love.

Isaac Biehl (#6)
I think Gambino did great. He did something no one expected, and he nailed it. It’s this modern funk album that it really gets my amped to listen.

Keelen Wolfe
Boys, if you’ve never fully immersed yourself in because the internet you need to. The screenplay and short film change the album.

Isaac Biehl
I’m a huge Gambino guy through and through, and people are mad he isn’t rapping on this one. I’m like, but that’s because he’s one of the most talented people in music and in general. Point blank. There’s no denying it.

Keelen Wolfe
He hid a song in the code for his website, that’s literally the coolest hidden track in the history of the universe. Gambino is our DaVinci.

Michael Charlebois
The guitar on “Me and Your Mama” is one of those moments that makes me FEEL. And “Redbone” is addictingly great. “Terrified” is super dope, too.

Isaac Biehl
Gambino is one of the greatest artists among us I think.

Keelen Wolfe
I just showed a group of people his Fallon performance of “Redbone” and every single one was shocked that he sang it.

Isaac Biehl
Zombies” is so great.

Keelen Wolfe
They all thought it was a woman.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah no vocal manipulations either.

Isaac Biehl
I know you guys might not agree but “California” is fucking wonderful in every sense. I get the vocal style he’s going for on it might be weird or could be annoying, but I totally get it and dig what he did on it.

Neek Azar
Yeah “California” was kinda dope I don’t get the hate.

Isaac Biehl
He put such a modern flip on funk. All the production and instrumentation is phenomenal. I get so like into the album. It attracts your attention and the music like invades your soul.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah man the sonic depth to this project is pretty incredible.

Isaac Biehl
This is one of those albums that people are sleeping on because he went for something different but in a few years people will be like damn that thing was such a gem. I love Bino’s singing. On Kauai tape, “Pop Thieves” and “Sober” and all that was so good. Then this is like the cover version of “So Into You”. This album really showed his range as a vocalist.

Keelen Wolfe
California” is the best non single.

Isaac Biehl
I think Bino’s album should be top 3 for sure. If I re-did my list it would be close to 1, if not 1. The fact it isn’t pure hip hop made me not want to put it there, so that hurt it on this particular type of list.

Michael Charlebois
Shoutout to Troy from Community.

8. Still Brazy

 

YG’s follow-up to My Crazy Life is a G-funk inspired ride through the streets of Cali with hints of introspection and political/social commentary. YG’s Still Brazy life is the fuel for the fire on album #8.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Keelen Wolfe (#1)
Still Brazy the best god damn rap album of the god damn year. I’m G-funk biased, though.

David Chris Otu (#1)
I enjoyed the album. He pulled a lot of influences on this one and did it so well for me.

Michael Charlebois (Did not make list)
Still Brazy is tight and im down with YG getting a little more political and conscious but he’s closer to Young Thug/Future/Travis $cott tier than Kendrick/Chance/Danny/Q tier.

Isaac Biehl (#11)
Interesting you say that cause I throw Danny in the lower category lol.

Keelen Wolfe
It’s hard to compare a gangsta rapper to them, though. Q is gangsta too but he’s created his own style.

David Chris Otu
That’s far from true to me, Mike.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah I was just grouping my classes of good rap artist ability.

Isaac Biehl
I think Kendrick is alone in his own category.

David Chris Otu
When I listen to YG’s album I clearly hear the amount of G-funk in that album. Thug and them do not touch on G-funk.

Isaac Biehl
Future is the worst.

David Chris Otu
Listen to the synthesizers and the piano riffs and beats, it’s as if it’s coming straight out of a 21st century Chronic 2001.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah but I’m talking rapping. YG doesn’t strike me as a super good rapper.

David Chris Otu
It’s G-funk. It’s never too conscious think of Doggystyle by Snoop or Warren G’s The Regulator! They’re never saying shit too lyrical. G-funk’s a very straight to the point, yet funky style of rap.

Keelen Wolfe
YG started with toot it and boot it. Think about that.

Isaac Biehl
I see what mike is saying.

David Chris Otu
YG did that very well on that album, and to me, not only did he deliver to me his best bars, he didn’t miss a beat that’s why I put it as my #1 album of the year.

Michael Charlebois
Don’t got me wring he’s made super impressive strides. But you mention Snoop or Warren G, YG’s flow/wordplay doesn’t compare to them.

David Chris Otu
Valid but did he start his current album that way? Nope he started with “Don’t Come to LA.” And the interesting thing is HE’S NOT EVEN AFFILIATED WITH DR. DRE.

Isaac Biehl
Don’t Come to LA” is one of my least favorite songs on the album

David Chris Otu
So whose providing him with these neo-G-funk style beats?

Michael Charlebois
Terrace Martin and co.

David Chris Otu
Exactly, the TDE roster.

Keelen Wolfe
DJ Mustard. Not on Brazy though.

David Chris Otu
Mustard’s not on that album. They fell out with each other that’s the most impressive part about it.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah this is his G-funkiest record and I love the revival. I just think if it was someone other than YG i would like it more.

Keelen Wolfe
I know, I was just saying Mustard helped revitalize the sound. They homies now though, next album is exec-produced by Mustard.

David Chris Otu
I think I’d like it less. He has the attitude and street cred to do it no one else could’ve done it better.

Keelen Wolfe
Yeah, he got fucking shot bro.

Isaac Biehl
Proud of him for “FDT” though.

David Chris Otu
Exactly he got shot! It’s about him being shot and how’s he’s still a thug nigga for it. Some real nigga shit! And what better way to portray that image than through some G-funk? ESPECIALLY if you’re from the west coast.

Isaac Biehl
Fucking yes.

Michael Charlebois
Hahahahaha. I feel you bro.

Keelen Wolfe
He’s the best to do it since Pac.

Michael Charlebois
Im just saying he isn’t a captivating presence for me.

Keelen Wolfe
YG aka three pac.

David Chris Otu
Lol. All I’m saying is, he impressed me SO MUCH that this album ended up being my favorite album of the year.

Michael Charlebois
I feel that. Anyway my favs are “Word is Bond,” “Twist My Fingaz,” “Gimmie Got Shot,” “FDT” of course. “She Wish She Was” could have been so dope if it wasn’t awkward to listen to the lyrics.

Keelen Wolfe
Still love that song.

Isaac Biehl
Word is Bond” is heattttt.

Michael Charlebois
A whole lotta misogyny on She Wish.

Keelen Wolfe
At least he doesn’t rap about spousal abuse like Cole.

Isaac Biehl
Shout out Ab-Soul for that misogyny though.

Michael Charlebois
Lmao. Yeah, YG is usually casual enough with it but its too blatant for me in that song.

Keelen Wolfe
There’s actually some good moments of empowerment on there. Like a “I’m a strong independent woman who don’t need a man” feel. But it does kind of hate on that, too.

Isaac Biehl
Lol.

Keelen Wolfe
Jk, definitely hates on that.

Michael Charlebois
From a review I read: “It’s a constant theme of west coast gangsta rap in which the men blatantly ignore core fallacies in their argument (here, primarily, that her actions make her come off like a man when she should act like a woman) in order to shame women for reacting to their environment. Gang ridden communities are notorious for their sexual issues, and “She Wish She Was” puts them on blast in a way that’s neither smart nor insightful.”

7. Blonde

In the latter days of summer, Frank Ocean returned from his disappearance and dropped two (!) albums. With Endless being the visual album, Blonde is the traditional audio album, and it’s a harrowing journey through Frank’s life leading up to this point. This beautifully nocturnal experience places at #7.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Michael Charlebois (#9)
Was it better than Channel Orange?

Keelen Wolfe (Did not make list)
Pretty equal imo.

Isaac Biehl (#7)
I can agree with that. Different styles but equally executed.

Keelen Wolfe
Yea I’d say channel orange was a little more upbeat, blonde was moodier.

Michael Charlebois
Orange was wavier.

Isaac Biehl
Blonde was pretty amazing though. Frank didn’t let me down in the slightest.

Keelen Wolfe
Definitely.

Isaac Biehl
She want a ring like carmelllloooo”

Michael Charlebois
It didnt let me down, but, I wasn’t crazy about it. The 2nd half of the album didn’t whelm me.

Isaac Biehl
The worst part for me is the mom calling interlude. So long and not enjoyable.

Keelen Wolfe
I liked both the interludes.

Isaac Biehl
I like the “Facebook Story” one a lot.

Michael Charlebois
The mom one kind of built up “Solo”. Still don’t get the second one – I think he could have done something a little more fun and creative.

Isaac Biehl
In a way, yeah, but I just felt annoyed the whole time. Like, at first I understood it but then it kept going and going. I get the joke and the irony already. It kind of ruined the flow for me. But “Solo” is able to save it so it’s not like it’s terrible.

Michael Charlebois
My biggest issue is how boring it is in parts.

Isaac Biehl
Which tracks make it boring for you? Or is it just the overall vibe of it that’s boring?

David Chris Otu (#5)
Hell yes it was better than Channel Orange, and CO changed my life. To be able to give the allusion that you went into the studio with so little and came out with something so beautiful and sonically graceful is something that not many r&b artists can do. Frank has a gift. Very little drums. Not too many change-ups or melodic beats, but it still came out sounding so loud and beautifully effortless.

Michael Charlebois
I feel that. There was definitely beauty, but sometimes it treaded towards the side of dullness. “Pink + white” and “Ivy” were beautiful and captivating.

David Chris Otu
I would call it simplicity. That gives it a human feel and makes it perfect. It’s not too much, and sure as hell ain’t too little.

Michael Charlebois
I’ll admit, Frank is dope as shit and his approach to music is awesome – I just thought there were some dull parts. Like “Good Guy,” wtf was that.

Keelen Wolfe
I’m with Mikey.

Isaac Biehl
Aw man you don’t like “Good Guy”?

Cj Maruyama (Did not make list)
I agree mike. The Facebook interlude was interesting the first time but it didn’t feel relevant to anything in the album.

Michael Charlebois
Yeah man, like it’s a cool concept but it doesn’t add to any sort of narrative as opposed to Kendrick’s albums or even Solange latest.

Isaac Biehl
But how about “Self Control” though. Mmmmm that’s good stuff.

Michael Charlebois
True bro. The ending to that song is gorgeous.

Cj Maruyama
The skit with his brother was pretty beautiful though.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah that is a touching moment!! Frank has a lot of tracks on Blonde that have a simplistic beauty, like Dave was saying. Frank excelled at making his voice the main catalyst, but it doesn’t ever feel like he’s overshadowing the production, how simple it may be. Like on “White Ferrari,” very simply done track, but Frank makes it so elegant. When the guitar comes in, that’s one of the best moments on the album.

Michael Charlebois
Lemme tell ya – there is no other current artist that can tap into this nostalgic emotion better than Frank. He just has a touching voice and holistic approach that’s really beautiful. But, if there were more tracks like “Nights” and “Pink+White” I would be head over heels.

Isaac Biehl
Frank is the master of nostalgia. Nostalgia ultra for real.

Cj Maruyama
^

6. The Sun’s Tirade

Isaiah Rashad’s first full-length album is a self-proclaimed set of “music for the vibers.” His extremely chill and laid-back commentary on personal introspection goes for sixth place.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Isaac Biehl (Did not make list)

Not on my list, but “Stuck in the Mud” is amazing. The beat makes me vibe out and shake my head haha it’s so good. He goes “Turkey Bacon Cabbages” earlier on and it’s so dope. The SZA feature is perfect. “Dressed Like Rappers” is also super good. Isaiah got really good beats on this thing, damn.

Keelen Wolfe (#12)
Yea it’s vibey af. Jay Rock kills “Tity and Dolla”. My favorite song.

David Chris Otu (#11)
Look, The Sun’s Tirade was great, but Zaywop unfortunately doesn’t have enough grit to hold me for 17 tracks. The album was a lil’ long.

Michael Charlebois (#8)
I feel that. This was extremely dope, but it’s a long ass album that just has a lot of stuff.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah I agree, that’s why I wouldn’t put it top 5. I think it was great when it was but wasn’t an effortless listen necessarily. Definitely top 10 looking back. Sick album artwork, also.

Keelen Wolfe
Yeah, I don’t think it cracked top 10 on mine. Album artwork is meh to me.

Isaac Biehl
Aw damn I love the cover!

Cj Maruyama (#6)
Rashad is the chillest mofo in hip hop right now. Sun’s Tirade is the smoothest shit I’ve heard in a while.

Michael Charlebois
Thats truuu man smoothest album of the year for sure. “I got the music for the vibers.”

Isaac Biehl
He’s got a lot of promise coming up now after this project. Things are def looking way up.

Neek Azar (#12)
I honestly thought this was superb. I listened to it this morning actually, great mix of hazy bangers and even hazier production. I’m just baffled as to why “Smile” isn’t on there.

Michael Charlebois
For me, the songs are are mostly hit or miss, but like, almost everything is a hit. “Free Lunch,” “rope/Rosegold,” “Wat’s Wrong,” “Tity and Dolla,” “Brenda,” – huge hits.

David Chris Otu
The first couple tracks were great! Probably is the length and his dreary attitude on those bangers. They were great tracks! But they could’ve been better to me.

Michael Charlebois
I don’t know man, that doesn’t make sense and he just has a way to make smooth bangers.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah I liked his attitude/style. A lot of this album is about him overcoming the overuse of drugs and alcohol or battling his demons in life. So his attitude on the bangers is perfect. He’s at a new place in life.

Cj Maruyama
Yeah he makes those ’64 impala drop top bangers.

5. Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight

After a lengthy amount of ambiguous teases, Travis $cott finally released Birds at the end of August. Packed with bangers that are rich in texture, Birds rounds out the top 5.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Cj Maruyama (#4)
Birds grew on me.

Isaac Biehl (#2)
litlitlit – all this litlitlit.

Cj Maruyama
At first I was like dude, this fucker needs to chill with the autotune, but then I took it face value. Sonically it’s catchy and ironically the most popular song is the worst (“Pick Up the Phone”).

Isaac Biehl
Thank you!!! That’s my opinion too, “Pick Up the Phone” is my least favorite on there, even though I still would bump it if you asked.

Cj Maruyama
“Outside” is the only 21 Savage verse I can listen to. He absolutely kills it.

Isaac Biehl
Also agreed, usually I can’t do the whole Savage thing.

Cj Maruyama
But the 3k feature was not on point as usual I didn’t really dig the intro. All other features worked well.

Isaac Biehl
I think mikey said this once about how “the ends” is a super fucked up song. Which it is, like what Andre is saying kinda fucked up.

Cj Maruyama
Oh yeah definitely. It’s dark.

Isaac Biehl
I’ve listened to Birds more than any other album this year. It’s never grown old on me, it’s just a good listen each time. I still get hyped when I hear all the beats.

Cj Maruyama
The only thing I wish is that he would have more non auto-tune bars like Owl Pharaoh. Like he’s not a bad rapper when he tries especially for bangers.

Isaac Biehl
I agree. Like on “way back,” he raps a little more without it. I think his solo tracks are very good too and match up well with the features, so he holds his own. Like “sweet sweet” and “lose” are two of my favorites.

Cj Maruyama
“Drove outta the hood Toyota went back to the hood lambo” – best line on the album lol.

Keelen Wolfe (#5)
Should be higher, slightly better than Rodeo, but I say that in part because there isn’t any TI storytelling.

Isaac Biehl
“We go back, like futons and coupons, ” – love that one. And I think so too, for some reason I’m sad it’s only at 5 but that’s still very good considering.

Keelen Wolfe
While that was dope on Rodeo, it made listening to “Apple Pie” impossible which is unacceptable because that song bangs.

Isaac Biehl
While the album is the same theme and sound, I feel Travis did a good showing variation amongst that lane. Like “lose” compared to “goosebumps,” “sweet sweet,” and “wonderful.” He kept it interesting.

Cj Maruyama
Yawp yawp.

Keelen Wolfe
Just went and listened to “biebs in the trap.” Nav’s not a copy cat of Travis but there’s at least 3 other relevant names he sounds like right now: little bit like Jeremih… Nah, literally sounds exactly like Chris Brown.

Isaac Biehl
It’s just sonically better than a lot of things I heard this year. And yeah, Tiller bit Chris breezy hard.

Michael Charlebois (Did not make list)
Alright well I got the opposite opinion on this, I thought it was pretty bad.

Isaac Biehl
🙁

Cj Maruyama
Why is that?

Michael Charlebois
Lack of substance – I felt the aesthetic that Trav was going for was too similar to Rodeo. It wore off on me pretty quickly

Isaac Biehl
Interesting – I thought it was very different than Rodeo.

Michael Charlebois
You know what’s weird, I really like Days Before Rodeo.

Isaac Biehl
That is a good project.

Cj Maruyama
Mamacita cita cita.

Keelen Wolfe
What if you listened to the album with the thought that its supposed to be turned up to live though mike?

Cj Maruyama
I see what Mike is saying.

Isaac Biehl
I remember playing this in the kitchen at my parents place and I was going wild! My mom was like fuck yeah, haha.

Cj Maruyama
“Work it like a stripper. But you’re not a stripper.”

Isaac Biehl
Wonderful is dope, though.

Michael Charlebois
Haha yeah, the lyrics are atrocious and theres mo concept or anything.

Keelen Wolfe
The concept is bangers.

Cj Maruyama
Oh yeah I like the song it’s just a cheesy ass line.

Michael Charlebois
But thats the same with Days Before and I like it. So ¯\_()_/¯.

Keelen Wolfe
Bangers on bangers on bangers.

Michael Charlebois
I like “the ends!” 3 Stacks verse is really dope – it’s just weird he drops a dark ass verse on an album that isn’t dark content-wise. “Coordinate” is pretty sick and moody. But the rest just doesn’t hit me like the sounds on the last two did. I cant even explain it really.

Isaac Biehl
I think Travis put out one of the best projects this year. It doesn’t hit me in the same way Rodeo does, which is fine because I think they are different. I like them both for different reasons. On Birds I think Travis pushed himself into the stratosphere, he’s now an artist people will be keeping an eye on more. I was honestly surprised he didn’t get a Grammy nom because of how well it did.

Cj Maruyama
I already thought he was pretty mainstream Peel. Every song he’s featured on is most likely that artist’s most played on Spotify.

Isaac Biehl
I didn’t think so until this year, like even before Birds. Like you said all his features have been huge.
Once that DJ Mustard song came out I feel like more people jumped on him, at least in Iowa. I don’t think they were on him as much as in other parts of the world.

4. Coloring Book

Capitalizing on the momentum of his mesmerizing verse on “Ultralight Beam,” Chance The Rapper returns with his first solo album since 2013. The bright and cheerful Coloring Book lands at #4.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Vince Cammarota (Did not make list)
Absolutely not. It doesn’t deserve to be so high… “FSMH” > “No Problem.”

Isaac Biehl (#5)
“FSMH” is amazing, but so is “No Problem.”

Michael Charlebois (#5)
True.

Keelen Wolfe (#10)
“No Problem” is more amazing. It propelled chance to new levels, and it’s less abrasive than “FSMH.” It’s way more listenable to a wider range of people. Plus talk of bleached assholes kind of ruins shit…
Here is a better argument: “No Problem” is a celebration of how far Chance has been able to come with the opportunities he’s made for himself whereas “FSMH” is Kanye being an attention whore and trying to say sorry for all his bullshit.

Michael Charlebois
That’s a good point.

Isaac Biehl
“Summer Friends” is probably favorite track on Coloring Book, and one of my favorites of the year. The Jeremih feature at the end is amazing!!

Michael Charlebois
Yeah that song is toooo dope.

Isaac Biehl
And “socks on concrete / jolly rancher kids” makes me feel so nostalgic I love that line.

Michael Charlebois
Dope percussion, too.

Vince Cammarota
Eh, disappointing album.

Isaac Biehl
What made you disappointed Vince? I’d like to know your views on it. It definitely wasn’t a perfect album but I think it was overall a solid effort.

Keelen Wolfe
I was pretty disappointed at first too, but it’s grown on me hard over the past few months.

Vince Cammarota
It’s just too poppy and commercial for my taste and I hoped to see Chance exploring some more experimental tracks instead.

Isaac Biehl
The drums in “All We Got”: FLAMMMMMMMME SAUCE.

Isaac Biehl
I really don’t like the special interlude with D.R.A.M. I skip it basically every time.

Michael Charlebois
Nah b.

Isaac Biehl
Like, I love the music in it.

Vince Cammarota
That’s one of my fav tracks^.

David Chris Otu
It’s an album that promotes youthful exuberance and at the same time a bit of spirituality/holiness. Call it what you want.

Vince Cammarota
I love D.R.A.M.’s voice.

Isaac Biehl
Actually I think I’m lying about it. I’m playing it now.

Cj Maruyama (Did not make list)
6/10.

Michael Charlebois
I love the run of songs from “Summer Friends” to “Same Drugs,” it’s real beautiful.

Cj Maruyama
Thugger verse is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard.

Michael Charlebois
Like bad?

Cj Maruyama
Awful.

Isaac Biehl
Hahahahaha. “Juke Jam” is a fuckin’ baby maker though for real.

Michael Charlebois
I’m meh on that one.

Cj Maruyama
I’m down with “Juke Jam,” “No Problems,” “Blessings,” “Angels,” and “Smoke Break.” The Jay Electronica feature is flames, too.

Keelen Wolfe
I think the only songs I don’t like are “All We Got” and “Mixtape.”

Michael Charlebois
Ou, “Smoke Break” thats like a top 10 song of the year for me. I fuck with that sooo heavy.

Isaac Biehl
Smoke Break” is like my favorite Future track ever. “Finish Line” is wonderfullll.

Keelen Wolfe
Yeah it just doesn’t do anything for me. The Kanye feature was lame as fuck, too. I was expecting something big after “Ultralight Beam” and the relationship they built the few months before.

Isaac Biehl
Mmmm I mess with it. It’s a good way to get me amped.

Cj Maruyama
I think overall, the album has some great tracks but it comes off as corny af sometimes. Chance is like the black Macklemore.

Isaac Biehl
But on “Finish Line:” “Scars on my head I’m the boy who lived / the boy love playing when the boy too sick.” Love it. I agree Chance isn’t exempt from corny lines on the album, sometimes it takes the feeling away from the songs.

Michael Charlebois
I’m happy that it’s #4 – it’s a really warm and beautiful album. It’s not as good as Acid Rap, but still very good.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah Coloring Book exudes positivity. Makes me feel happy about life and where I can take it. Even not being a religious guy, everyone has faith in different things and Coloring Book reinforces that faith and belief in good things happening.

Keelen Wolfe
I think it might be almost as good as Acid Rap, but definitely not as good.

Isaac Biehl
I agree, it’s very close.

Keelen Wolfe
Great way to introduce people to the genre, especially older people I feel.

Isaac Biehl
It’s cool to see Chance’s growth and the impact fatherhood has had on him. You could just hear his sincerity on the whole thing. At his festival in Chicago, it was cool to see so many parents there with their kids and just vibing out with them. Everyone was having a great time. Definitely crossed the age gap as a successful record.

Keelen Wolfe
That’s dope to hear.

3. untitled.unmastered

Only a year removed from the massively acclaimed To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar releases a collection of B-sides from it through the request of LeBron James. This jazzy set of unnamed tracks results in half an hour of sonic bliss. Even K. dot’s leftovers are good enough for #3 in 2016, making the title of “King Kendrick” evermore appropriate.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Isaac Biehl (#13)
I felt like untitled unmastered was good, but not necessarily amazing.

Neek Azar (#5)
Agreed.

Keelen Wolfe (#3)
Every one of those songs would have made To Pimp A Butterfly better.

Isaac Biehl
Mmmm idk.

Neek Azar
untitled 1” is one of Kendrick’s best verses.

Isaac Biehl
I love TPAB.

Neek Azar
But idk if every song on untitled would have made TPAB better.

Keelen Wolfe
I stand by it. Not putting “3” on there was a mistake.

Neek Azar
Maybe if they were fleshed out completely but as it is (for instance) “untitled 02” would have really taken away from it. Good track, but it would have detracted from the overall message and focus.

Isaac Biehl
I didn’t think all the songs were that great.

Keelen Wolfe
I think if you plug them in at the right places they make the journey more complete.

Michael Charlebois (#1)
That’s an interesting theory, where would you put “7/levitate?”

Keelen Wolfe
Not that it wasn’t complete already… and probably after “u.” It would be Lucy rapping, not Kendrick.

Michael Charlebois
Seems like you’ve thought this through.

Isaac Biehl
Some of UU just sounds kind of messy to me personally. I still appreciate a lot with what he did, it’s still great. Kendrick is the man for sure. And his live performances of them are wild and moving.

Keelen Wolfe
Haha I’ve got some thoughts. “3” completely embodies the message of pimping a butterfly. It’s supposed to be messy, it’s all unmastered b-sides.

Isaac Biehl
I know. But that’s why I really didn’t wanna put it on the list. I just felt like since it was a bunch of random cuts, but that it was Kendrick, it would do well automatically.

Michael Charlebois
Dis my #1. Even though it’s b-sides, I don’t find it messy at all.

Keelen Wolfe
I think it’s a huge statement that Kendrick can release an album of throwaways that sounds better than a good deal of the albums on our list.

Isaac Biehl
I agree with that. It’s better than a lot of stuff this year.

Michael Charlebois
RT to that Keelen.

David Chris Otu
Untitled unmastered was amazing and it may not have been perfect but they acknowledged that 100% when they released it. They were tracks that didn’t make in on TPAB and they were still amazing tracks AND were performed in a genius manner on multiple shows. #LongLiveCornrowKenny.

Michael Charlebois
I like how it was all pretty sonically cohesive despite the fact it was like a loose collection of songs.
It wasn’t as linear as GKMC or TPAB but it was refreshing to see Kendrick outside of the narrative. There also isn’t a bad song imo.

David Chris Otu
That, and the fact that it’s out of line mainly because they kept it genuine. They didn’t drop it and try to say it was some sort of introspective TPAB B-Side or TPAB 2, they admitted these were songs that didn’t make the cut but still are inspirational and amazing nonetheless.

2. The Life of Pablo

In what was the messiest rollout of an album in recent memory, the album itself is just as messy. Kanye West’s Life of Pablo is a schizophrenic array of sounds that reach impossible highs and lows. Truly a beautiful disaster – Pablo comes in at #2.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Read: TrueToo Review

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

David Chris Otu (#12)
TrueToo, is that you??? You’re looking a lot like Complex.

Isaac Biehl (#4)
TLOP ain’t a bad album man.

David Chris Otu
Be honest though Peel, is it better than YG’s album? Or Travis’ album?

Keelen Wolfe (Did not make list)
TLOP is weak af but it was #2 on a lot of lists so its not like the majority of us are off.

Isaac Biehl
Got more playback from me, YG’s album is great too though.

David Chris Otu
We put it above Coloring Book? Over MALIBU?! UNTITLED UNMASTERED!?

Isaac Biehl
I think TLOP was pretty solid man… Sure Kanye says dumb shit in it… but he does every album.

David Chris Otu
The man had little to nothing to say and the highlights of the album were tracks that were already released beforehand.

Keelen Wolfe
^
Isaac Biehl
Ultralight Beam,” “FSMH1,” “Waves.”

David Chris Otu
I enjoy the album, but it is nowhere near #2 worthy. So many better albums came out than that I mean good Lord.

Isaac Biehl
I’m just saying it was good, not defending the number 2 spot, that could have been a lot of things. Those tracks I just said weren’t already released.

David Chris Otu
Valid but they weren’t the best tracks. The best tracks are the ones where he’s NOT speaking on bleached assholes and he’s actually rapping!!!!

Keelen Wolfe
Real friends,” “Wolves,” “No More Parties…” Ultralight Beam is the only one not released that I feel rivals those.

Isaac Biehl
I think the production on TLOP is pretty solid, shit gets me hyped.

David Chris Otu
C’mon people WE’RE BETTER THAN THIS. We’re not Kanye dick riders! It’s a solid album but dear Jesus this was an amazing year for music.

Isaac Biehl
That’s true.

David Chris Otu
And we’re gonna shrug all that shit off just to keep this tempered man sleeping at night. There were WAY BETTER ALBUMS THAN TLOP this year.

Isaac Biehl
I think TLOP was probably just more consistent for everyone who voted clearly. Obviously it has it’s downfalls.

Keelen Wolfe
Kanye went from genre-defining to quickly putting together an album just to reassert he was still in the game. I can’t help but feel like its not complete, he just threw a bunch of loosies together with songs that were meant to be the beginnings of an album like “Wolves,” “Ultralight Beam,” and “Real Friends.”

Isaac Biehl
What songs feel like the loosies for you? I realize he made changes after so I get he clearly wasn’t satisfied with it.

Keelen Wolfe
Famous,” “Freestyle 4,” “FML,” “Highlights,” “FSMH2” were all literally stolen.

Isaac Biehl
I think “Highlights” is one of the best on it.

David Chris Otu
I’m bein’ honest with ya, TLOP bein’ #2 fucks with my insides bruh that shits not right to me.

Keelen Wolfe
Highlights” was on there for commercial appeal with Young Thug.

Isaac Biehl
The difference between it and views for me is I think Pablo had intentions of being a fame-centred album… like that’s the idea of The Life of Pablo for me.

Keelen Wolfe
Kanye paved his own way and has continuously introduced new concepts and sounds into the industry so it’s inexcusable to me.

Michael Charlebois (#7)
Didn’t sound industry to me. “Freestyle 4” ain’t fucking industry.

Isaac Biehl
I still think Kanye pushed it – the samples.

Keelen Wolfe
He didn’t push any boundaries though. He went from introducing soul, introducing orchestration, introducing electronic, introducing autotune to not doing anything special.

Isaac Biehl
Idk man I still think he put out something not many would with it. When I first heard it I was like this shit is great. Almost like a mid point between MBDTF and Yeezus in a way.

Neek Azar (#2)
It was like a medley of his old sounds.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah exactly.

Keelen Wolfe
On Pablo he raps about being 50 million in debt. The purpose of the album was so he could tour and make money.

Neek Azar
I really don’t think so.

David Chris Otu
Lol I mean but be honest guys what did he have to say on that album that was worth noting?

Michael Charlebois
This and Yeezus aren’t endearing at all.

David Chris Otu
It’s a good album I won’t deny that but will it go down as one of his weakest next to Yeezus? Yeah.

Isaac Biehl
I think Pablo represents his life now- married Kim, he was already living a crazy lifestyle now with the Kardashisans at his hip, he became even more a center of attention. He might eat that up, but there’s a price with it. His life is a clusterfuck and so is Pablo; but a beautiful mess of one.

David Chris Otu
But the album AS A WHOLE… what did he say that was worth noting? Bleached assholes, introducing a sub par rapper to the world, good production (can’t deny), but average lyrics except for in songs that were already heard!

Keelen Wolfe
When he first started rapping being materialistic and about the music wasn’t a thing, it was one or the other. He’s still the best at that combining those purposes, maybe even the only one, but the best albums these days are heavy on social consciousness.

Michael Charlebois
Ah but imo thats the beautiful thing about music.

Keelen Wolfe
That’s what makes a good album now, just think of TPAB.

Isaac Biehl
Yeah but those socially conscious albums have to be executed well. Just because it falls in that category doesn’t make it better than the next.

Michael Charlebois
Yes.

David Chris Otu
I agree with that it doesn’t have to be conscious to be good what it SHOULD do ultimately is bring something new and exciting to the table whether it be lyrics or a story or plot Iine. TLOP had good production I won’t deny it but it’s production wasn’t better than that of the free nationals.

Keelen Wolfe
Thinking about it, I guess what I mean by being conscious is just having a central theme in general. Everything needs to be tied together.

David Chris Otu
Organization in other words which TLOP didn’t have much of.

Michael Charlebois
That’s the beauty of music tho – objectively TLOP is weak because it has a lack of concept, substance, good bars etc. and that is a drawback – but the way the drop on “FSMH” or the choir on “Waves” just makes you FEEL

Isaac Biehl
Agree with mikey on that feeling.

1. We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

TrueToo’s #1 album of the year comes via the return of one of hip-hop’s most influential acts. After sixteen years, A Tribe Called Quest‘s latest album is sparked by the sudden death of group member Phife Dawg. In a year noted for deaths among famous musicians, We Got It From Here is Phife’s goodbye album. Not only it is the best of the goodbye albums, but it’s the best album of 2016. The Tribe picks up exactly where they left off with moody bass lines, jazzy instrumentation, polished rapping, and a touch of political commentary. “We got to get it together… For mothers and fathers, and dead niggas,” Phife raps on the opening track. There is nothing more harrowing than hearing these words from a dead man, but hearing it gives us incentive to get it together while the rest of us are still alive.

Listen: Spotify Apple Music

Discussion

*(Brackets denote placement of the given album on each individual’s list)*

Vince Cammarota (#10)
Tribe dropped an instant classic.

Michael Charlebois (#4)
Absolutely.

David Chris Otu (#4)
What a way to go out! That’s my perspective on Tribes album even though they said they might drop some more stuff – but I won’t bet on it.

Michael Charlebois
If it is, it’s the perfect way to go out. Just a phenomenal record that not only was a perfect tribute to Phife. It was just like an affirmation that the Tribe is one of the beat acts ever because they can come back from a dead group member and a 16 year absence and make some of the genres best music of the year.

Cj Maruyama (#15)
^ Touché.

Michael Charlebois
Ya know what what I mean tho?

Isaac Biehl
Tribe killed it man. I hadn’t felt so excited listening to a new project like that in a while. Just being able to hear Tip and Phife go back and forth again was extremely satisfying.

David Chris Otu
And Busta Rhymes. I enjoyed them sort of ushering in and encouraging new artists like Kendrick and Kendrick and Cornrows Kenny and Kendrick.

Isaac Biehl
Lol.

Michael Charlebois
Anddddd .Paak, 3 stacks. I like how they incorporated stars without them seeming out of place just for commercial value.

Isaac Biehl
The moment I heard the Willy Wonka sample on the opener, I knew we had a classic on our hands. They chose deserving artists who could fall in that like Native Tongues category.

David Chris Otu
Notice how Drake’s not in that.

Isaac Biehl
What are your guys fav tracks on thank u for ur service?

Vince Cammarota
Ego”. The drums on “We The People”… The intro to “Space Program” is great, like mikey said earlier, Phife Dawg really did a great job.

Isaac Biehl
It’s hard to pick a favorite I love so many elements of each track on the project. “Melatonin” and the classic Tip flow is to die for.

Keelen Wolfe (#6)
Dis generation.” I’m a big fan of Jarobi making a come back to the group too.

Michael Charlebois
“Melatonin” is probably my favourite, too. The Marsha Ambrosius part at the end is so heavenly. But damn there’s a ton of great tracks. The Tribe killed and are a perfect fit for our album of the year.

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