DEHH Staff Writer Picks: Top 10 Albums of 2016

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DEHH Staff Writer Picks: Top 10 Albums of 2016

Donnie Skillz

Took me a minute to actually adjust to Kendrick’s Unmastered and good lordy- it is mighty great which says a lot about his work ethic royceand eclectic musical direction- I do hope he doesn’t stray too far on his future projects though. Anderson Paak. is an animal, dropping 2 SOLID projects in 1 calender year is unheard of (since DMX) but homie is just too talented to NOT give us enough material to last till summer 2017. Huge props to legends ATCQ for totally blessing us with a GREAT final lp- I must admit I had my doubts but they perished it once I hit the play button- dopeness from start to finish I must add. Honorable props to De La Soul as well.

1.Royce 5’9”- Layers
2.Knwxledge -Yes Lawd!
3.Kendrick Lamar- Unmastered
4.Ab Soul – DWTW
5.Anderson Paak- Malibu
6.ATCQ-  We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service
7.Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
8.Skepta- Konichiwa
9.Common- Black America again
10.Vic Mensa- There is a lot going on

Jake Miligate (MILFENCE)

My number 1 and 2 were easy this year. Both the Tribe album and the Danny Brown album have classic potential for me; Tribe A-Tribe-Called-Quest-We-Got-It-From-Here-Thank-You-4-Your-Service-1478899602-640x640dropping a pure hip-hop album, and Danny Brown dropping one of the best experimental hip-hop albums made in a long time. The storytelling and lyrics alone gave Lead Poison the 3 spot. uu would’ve had the 4 spot…but RTJ had to go ahead and drop that last minute fire to ruin that didn’t they? The Healing Component may shock people, but honestly the positive vibes this album brings are something we needed for this sh*tstorm of a year (plus the production was excellent). I haven’t stop playing Yes Lawd! since it dropped and its one of the sexiest albums I’ve ever heard. Empty Bank was an excellent concept album and easily one of the most slept on projects of the year (SERIOUSLY GET FAMILIAR WITH JAY IDK). Blank Face is a solid gangsta rap album with some of the hardest songs of 2016, and Malibu proves why Anderson .Paak is one of the most creative musical talents we have in today’s day and age (yep, I had Anderson twice on here, SUE ME). There were several other GREAT projects that came out this year that were not included on the list. In my opinion, this was an excellent year for hip-hop, and I expect 2017 to be even better.

  1. We got it from Here…  – ATCQ
  2. Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown
  3. Lead Poison – Elzhi
  4. Run The Jewels 3 – Run The Jewels
  5. untitled unmastered – Kendrick Lamar
  6. The Healing Component – Mick Jenkins
  7. Yes Lawd! – NxWorries
  8. Empty Bank – Jay IDK
  9. Blank Face LP – ScHoolboy Q
  10. Malibu – Anderson .Paak

Paul Dickerson

2015 has maybe ten hip hop albums that I still bump heavy to this day, so it was only expected that 2016 wouldn’t be as profound. But 5f06f7f62016 hasn’t just been a disappointment—it’s been a pretty atrocious year in hip hop in general. None of the albums in my top ten are bad by any stretch, but Blonde stands alone as the only album I’d consider great, and it’s hardly even a hip hop album. Blonde also happens to be my new favorite Frank Ocean project, which is something I can’t say about any other artist and their respective album on this list. I just couldn’t love Telefone as much as I love the song “Reality Check.There’s just so much filler on albums like The Life of Pablo, The Sun’s Tirade, and Blank Face, even if each album has a decent number of good-to-great tracks on it too. Outside of Blonde, The Life of Pablo and Lil Boat have definitely had the most replay value for me, but both have some of the absolute worst songs on this list as well. Of my current three favorite rappers in music right now (Vince Staples, Kendrick Lamar, and Danny Brown), Vince’s Prima Donna didn’t quite reach its potential, Danny’s Atrocity Exhibition has incredible singles and production but is a challenging album to return to, and Kendrick’s untitled unmastered. didn’t have nearly enough replay value for me to even put it on this list. We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service, Awaken, My Love, Do What Thou Wilt, and RTJ3 were all considered for this list and may make a future version, but ultimately I haven’t listened to any of them enough to properly rate them at this point in time.  

1.Frank Ocean—Blonde
2.Kanye West—The Life of Pablo
3.Isaiah Rashad—The Sun’s Tirade
4.Chance the Rapper—Coloring  Book
6.Vince Staples—Prima Donna
7.Schoolboy Q—Blank Face
8.Danny Brown—Atrocity Exhibition
9.Lil Yachty—Lil Boat
10.Death Grips—Bottomless Pit

Sam Bejak

2016 gifted us with some incredible hip-hop, often times from unexpected sources – the new Tribe album in particular I think I can safelyatrocity-exhibition-cover say took everyone by surprise both in its incredible quality and its existence in general. Anderson. Paak kicked the year off with his stellar album Malibu. California in particular gifted 2016 with creative and hard-hitting releases from Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, YG and Kendrick. Isaiah Rashad delivered an incredible sophomore record in The Sun’s Tirade. Political wrecking balls El-P and Killer Mike of Run The Jewels saw fit to bless us Christmas day with their third album. My favorite of the year by a wide margin though was Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition. The bonkers production and mind-bending lyricism on that record is absolutely astounding.

1.Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
2.A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service
3.Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade
4.Anderson .Paak – Malibu
5.YG – Still Brazy
6.Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
7.Kendrick Lamar – untitled. Unmastered.
8.Run The Jewels – RTJ3
Rock – The Impossible Kid
10.Ab-Soul – Do What Thou Wilt

Ashley Clayton

Honestly, 2016 was one of my favorite years for music recently. Everything from Hip Hop to R&B was just gold. Thus, making it prettyCzNNEW1UUAAf6Ak hard to make a top ten list. Originally it had 15 albums but I had to reduce the list and let me tell you that was one of the hardest things to accomplish. We had artists make strong comebacks like Ab-Soul and A Tribe Called Quest whose albums came out at just right time to end 2016 strong. While other’s released albums that didn’t garner as much press but were just as amazing such as Joe Budden and The Game. Furthermore, NxWorries and Chance The Rapper released two of the most critically acclaimed albums for 2016. Everybody and their mom wouldn’t stop playing Coloring Book and I’ve listened to Yes Lawd! enough times to the point where I can recite every verse off the top of my head. We definitely can’t forget about Common though he came completely out of left field and dropped some knowledge with  Black America Again. For hip hop 2016 was a force to reckon with and it reminded me what I love most about the genre. It’s the story telling and the ability to relay messages of that everyone can relate to. I don’t know what 2017 holds but I know it has a lot to live up to.

1.Ab-Soul – Do What Thou Wilt
2. Chance the Rapper- Coloring Book
3. NxWorries – Yes Lawd!
4. Joe Budden – Rage & The Machine
5. Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
6. Tech N9ne – The Storm
7. The Game – 1992
8. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
9. Common – Black America Again
10. Kid Cudi – Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’

Terrence Sage

The Holy Grail of Lists is none other than the Top Albums. 2016 featured an impressive number of albums this year and picking just tenAwaken,_My_Love! was a challenge in itself. From ScHoolboy Q delivering a hard-boiled album that shows all manner of street life in Blank Face. The weirdest album rollout from none other than Kanye West gave us plenty to dissect with The Life of Pablo. Anderson .Paak had us all grooving twice this year with his solo effort Malibu and then the team up that was NxWorries. The best album though, came during December from the man with EGOT potential, Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover. Awaken, My Love! was a complete departure from when we last heard him and it proved the man can’t be stopped.

1.Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love!
2.Bruno Mars- 24K Magic
3. Frank Ocean- Blonde
4. Schoolboy Q- Blank Face LP
5. Anderson .Paak- Malibu
6.A Tribe Called Quest- Thank You 4 Your Service
7.Kanye West- The Life of Pablo
8.Rihanna- ANTI
9.NxWorries- NxWorries
10.Kendrick Lamar- untitled.unmastered

Mike Klein (@DukeAM_)

So I may have worked the rules a little bit for my list this year. Technically Archy Marshall dropped at the end of last year, I left Run coverthe Jewels off this year on purpose being so late (it’s great though), and some people may not see Malibu and Blonde worthy of being on a hip-hop list. But these albums were so good and had a enough hip-hop in them that they got a pass for being so late or just outside the bounds of hip-hop. Besides that, I think this year got overhyped as far as hip-hop and music in general goes. There were some fantastic releases by big name artists, but I feel like a lot fell short or were just average and hyped because of how popular the artist was and it left the year feeling just alright. Everything on this list and even the honorable mentions were definite standouts from this year. A New Place 2 Drown brought back some fantastic, dark trip-hop while Koi Child brought back some work to make Dilla and Nujabes proud. We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service took us back to the roots of the hip-hop genre while Atrocity Exhibition created a whole new one. Regardless of what records may fade away, these deserve a round of applause for years to come.

  1. Archy Marshall – A New Place 2 Drown
  2. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
  3. Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
  4. Skepta – Konnichiwa
  5. Frank Ocean – Blonde
  6. Anderson .Paak – Malibu
  7. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
  8. YG – Still Brazy
  9. ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face
  10. Koi Child – Koi Child

Honorable Mentions

Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
Mindset – Deeper Meaning
Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade
Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book


Michael Stover

2016 was a pretty strange year for hip-hop both good and bad in my opinion. The year started with a lot of heavy hitters dropping nolanprojects, but I was genuinely disappointed in Kanye, Drake & Chance for dropping average (which is being nice in some cases) albums. However in the background and once all the hype died a lot of artists stepped up and released some amazing projects. Danny Brown marked his return with the most Danny Brown album yet, the trio of Red Pill, Verbal Kent & Apollo Brown dropped their sophomore effort as Ugly Heroes, NoName gave us her debut album and so much more. With the election being one of the nation’s lower spots in history, A Tribe Called Quest brought us their final album bringing some positivity. The beat tape and instrumental scene doesn’t get nearly enough credit so I had to put JahShootah from nasa8’s beat tape “Latch2Wax” on here. Last but not least, I couldn’t stop talking about Nolan the Ninja’s “he(art)” a versatile album, packed with backbreaking beats. Nolan crafted a brillant album that calls upon the old school he was raised on while taking it to the next level. His lyrics will grab your ears, but you’ll soon realize despite his gruff, commanding voice and lyrics that’s he’s here to provide hope and positivity as well.

1.Nolan the Ninja- he(art)
2. A Tribe Called Quest- We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
3. Danny Brown- Atrocity Exhibition
4. Red Pill & Ill Poetic- Instinctive Drowning
5. NoName- Telefone
6. Ugly Heroes- Everything In Between
7. Ivan Ave & mndsgn- Helping Hands
8. Kendrick Lamar- untitled.unmastered
9. MidCentury Modern- The Goodness
10. JahShootah- Latch2Wax

Honorable Mentions

Elaquent- Worst Case Scenario
P.A.T Junior- Learning to Live
Lessondary- Ahead of Schedule
Kno- Exoskeleton
J57- I’m the J57




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