2016 has not only proved to be an interesting year for comics, but it has also proven to be an interesting year for hip-hop music as well. It felt as if every hip-hop artist released an album. Kanye gave us The Life of Pablo which through insecurities and financial circumstances, was not the “album” he wanted to give us but released anyways. From the leaks of unfinished tracks that followed after to the announcing of a summer album, which never released. TDE was very active this year with Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Isaiah Rashad, and Schoolboy Q each releasing albums respectively. Future blessed us also, and well it’s just way to many albums to name. So let’s just jump into MY top 3.
#3. Bas – Too High To Riot
This album held a sound that you could never forget. If you’re asking what I mean, listen to a track called Dopamine where the lyrics he laid on top of the instrumental soothes your soul, drowning you into a lossless relaxation. The entire has a calm and slow tune that made you want to sit down and just listen to the music for a change. A lot of rappers these days release music for clubs and parties. Bas does that also but this album was meant for the fans that want to dream while laying down. This was an album to open your mind and take you on a journey that you have been longing for since the beginning of time, a trip so magical and longing that you see yourself in the garden running through the blades of grass as a child with a wide smile and imagination. My favorite track Ricochet is debatably the most soothing hip-hop song of 2016.
#2. J. Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only
“Around the same time is when you came in the world. Me and your momma thinking what the f*** we naming this girl. I told her nina. The prettiest name that I can think of.” 4 Your Eyez, do you understand me? This album honestly should’ve been my number one but it was barely beat out. J. Cole never fails to deliver and this time around, he gave us a hidden story that many were not meant to understand. The last track speaks to my heart as he delivers lyrics from the personality of a friend of his that in the story is no longer with us. Giving us the last track as a letter to his daughter where J. Cole finally arrives and begins to rap in first person handing off the message. The rest of the album follows his friend as he continues to grow and mature, finding the love of his dreams and continually fighting the trials and tribulations that the average black male faces in his lifetime. Unfortunately, there was no happy ending. It’s safe to say it was pretty accurate. Deja Vu, another favorite of mine, tells the tale of love at first sight and everything is set in stone from than on.
#1. Dave East – Kairi Chanel
Man Dave East. Dave East is hard, gritty, and street. Dave East is what the hip-hop and rap game has been missing. This album is nothing short of amazing. From the reminiscent lyrics of the late 90’s, to the style and vibe that the early 2000’s delivered. I sat down and listened to this album for the first time when it released not knowing who Dave East was and I was immediately reminded of Nas, The Lox, Biggie, Cam’ron and Dipset. At the end of my listen, I knew that real New York and East Coast music was finally back for good. From tracks such as Type of Time to 30 N***az Dave East opens up with hard hitting lyrics to get the listener fully involved, not missing a second of the beat or a word of the story being delivered. Heavy hitting track Keisha brings us a story of the tricking business as he is led and robbed by an attractive female he sleeps with, waking up to his cell phone and money stolen with the assailant no where to be found. S.D.E. brings us down memory lane featuring lyrics from Killa Cam himself and a hook delivered by Dave that screams that he isn’t going anywhere.
“I’m feeling like I ain’t took a nap in weeks
I’m up, couple thousand tucked, right in back the jeep
I’m stuck, diamonds in the cut make an actress speak
Sports, drugs, and entertainment, think I’m Master P
Sports, drugs, and entertainment, think I’m Killa Cam
20 grams, spin it like a ceiling fan
Pan, pan, old Harlem niggas pitching grams
Kill the streets then hit the beach, go get a tan”
If you haven’t heard of Dave East, than the time is now. Grab your headphones or bluetooth speakers or whatever you need while at the gym or in the house cleaning on Saturday morning and turn on Kairi Chanel.
What are your favorite hip-hop albums of the year? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss.