Since we are only in the infancy of 2017, I thought I’d post a list of my top 10 favorite hip-hop albums of 2016. While many of these also appeared on the Top 40 Albums of 2016 list and the Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2016 podcast, I wanted to focus in on a genre that had a really great year in terms of creative output. As you will see, my taste in hip-hop leans toward the more experimental and alternative, but if you’re interested in reading about some of the most innovative, thought-provoking hip-hop albums of 2016, this is the list for you. For some of these posts I used excerpts from past write-ups (I hope you don’t mind!).
I think we can all agree that 2016 was not a great year. From terrorist attacks to deaths of beloved celebrities to the tumultuous presidential election, it’s easy to compile a list of 2016’s lowlights. What has been lost in this sea of let-downs and despair is the amount of great music that was released this past year. Once again, I’ve compiled a list of some incredible albums that hail from a wide range of genres. Give the final 20 a read through and a listen. I’m sure you’ll find something you also enjoy, and maybe you’ll discover something that strayed beyond your listening peripheral in 2016.
In this episode we take a look at some of my favorite albums of 2016 so far, including Anohni, Car Seat Headrest, Miles Davis & Robert Glasper, Death Grips, Mutual Benefit, Kaytranada, and Anna Meredith. I also discuss the Carter Family documentary “The Winding Stream”, and we continue our look at Bob Dylan’s “Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”.
Check it out HERE or better yet, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher (search: BDWPS).
Anohni “Why Did You Separate Me From the Earth?”
Car Seat Headrest “(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School For Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)”
Miles Davis & Robert Glasper “They Can’t Hold Me Down”
Death Grips “Giving Bad People Good Ideas”
Mutual Benefit “Skipping Stones”
Kaytranada “Got It Good”
James Blake “Love Me In Whatever Way”
Anna Meredith “Taken”
Carter Family “Keep On the Sunny Side”
Bob Dylan “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna-Fall”
2016 has been a comeback year for “the album” with artists like Beyonce, Chance the Rapper, Radiohead, Drake, and Kanye West dominating news cycles with the surprising arrivals of their new full-length albums. I see this as both a blessing and a curse. As a fan of the long-form listening experience, I love that albums as a whole are getting love in the age of Spotify playlists and Pandora radio. On the other hand, many of these albums do not deserve the hype that surrounds them (i.e: Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book pales in comparison to his last effort, Acid Rap, and Drake’s VIEWS might be the most uninspiring, uninteresting albums of 2016). Lost amidst all of this album release hoopla is a lot of the great music not getting the attention it deserves. That’s where we here at BDWPS come. Below you will find 20 original, rousing, and memorable albums that you should have been listening to instead of wasting your time with the latest Rihanna album.
(All of the albums on this list were released before June 1st. I set this cut-off date to ensure I’ve had ample time to listen and connect with albums before placing them on the list.)