In a year riddled with the most controversial presidential election EVER, “Harambe” memes, and killer clowns, there was an abundance of great hip hop this year. I put together the top 5 rap albums of the year and don’t worry if you don’t see some of your favorites represented. The only rule is that albums that were released this month (December) will not be qualified, sorry J. Cole stans! Anyways, Hype Street, MA presents Top 5 Hip Hop Albums of 2016.
5. Telefone — Noname
Chicago rapper Noname (AKA Noname Gypsy) seems to be taking steps just like her good friend Chance the Rapper into leading Chicago rap and hip hop into the limelight . Her blissful, tranquil, and gentle demeanor on the album definitely caught the ears of many. Telefone is the debut album many people were hoping for from her. Chicago has quite the lineup of flourishing rappers with Saba, Mick Jenkins, Chance the Rapper and now— Noname
4. The Life of Pablo — Kanye West
….Don’t @ me.
The most influential hip-hop artist of the the 2000’s (IN MY OPINION) definitely put out his most controversial and disorganized album to date. TLOP is essentially Kanye West in a 20 track album. This is Kanye’s riskiest album to date and THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING. From a 44 second ode to his past self (I Love Kanye), to blatant controversy (Famous), to pure gospel beauty (Ultralight Beam), Kanye does what he does best: gather attention. Like Kanye, this album is bold, ambitious and forever a work in progress.
3. Malibu — Anderson .Paak
The multi-talented Cali native has been working on putting him on the map ever since his strong performance on Dr. Dre’s Compton and after the release of Malibu, he is full, front and center on the hip hop and R&B scene. It is a soulful, lyrical and rich album and one of the most soul filling albums of the year. His wide range of musical expertise (primarily hip hop, R&B and neo-soul) is shown throughout the album in the most Anderson .Paak way: humble and honest.
2. We Got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service — A Tribe Called Quest
In a time where the nation was still healing from the aftermath of the presidential election, Tribe found it necessary to pick up our spirits with this album and they did not disappoint. As the farewell album to one of the greatest rap groups of all time, ATCQ brings valued insight and perspective with robust political commentary (We the People and Conrad Tokyo). Tribe also brought a solid amount of guest as well for the album like Busta Rhymes, Consequence, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar and more! Even with the lost of the great Phife Dawg, Tribe still stands strong and this album defines it.
1. Coloring Book — Chance the Rapper
This year proved to be the Chatham native (and disciple of Yeezus) year. Coloring Book (and his verse on Ultralight Beam) skyrocketed him to immense fame and popularity. Coloring Book is the “gospel” album that Kanye anticipated on giving us but in a more organized and graceful manner. Whether you are milly rocking to bangers like No Problems & Mixtape or saying “Hallelujah!” to songs like Blessings (Reprise) and How Great, Chance shows his worth and talent. Like Ab-Soul said on Smoke Again on Acid Rap “take your chance with this rapper” and I’m glad that world took a CHANCE on Chance the Rapper!
Think I snubbed an album that deserves a spot on the top 5, let me know in the comments!