Music in 2016 certainly didn’t disappoint us.Over the few years, it seems as if creativity was lacking, but we had no shortage of hits this year. Beyonce with Lemonade, Chance The Rapper with Coloring Book, Angel Olsen with My Woman, Frank Ocean with Blonde, Corinne Bailey Rae with The Heart Speaks in Whispers, Bon Iver with 22, A Million, Drake with Views, and so on. Amazingly, we still left out another dozen albums that were in the discussion, and NONE of the albums that were just named made it into our top 5. As crazy as it sounds, that tells you how great a year it was in music.
5 – Tigallero by Phonte & Eric Roberson
There’s usually no way you can lose when stars team up. We saw it with LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in Miami. Oh, sorry, different sort of team. We saw Jay Z team up with R. Kelly for a huge collaborate success that forged two albums before a broken relationship. We saw Jay team up with Kanye to form “The Throne” and make one of the best hip-hop albums and tour of the year. We’ve long heard rumor of ‘Ye potentially teaming up with Drake for a collaborative album. Phonte & Eric Roberson took this blueprint for success and followed it to the letter, and made a huge mark with their album Tigallerro. This is a 10-track album with not one song worth skipping, earning the number 5 spot on our 2016 list.
4 – The Life of Pablo by Kanye West
Despite the shortening of the Saint Pablo tour, Kanye West’s seventh studio album was a huge success although it was only initially available through streaming before being sold on West’s personal website. While it wasn’t a commercial success like his six previous albums, it didn’t lack any entertainment value. Having only sold 28,000 copies, the album still debut at number one due to the 99 million digital streams of the album. With this release, Kanye proved that his genius translates far beyond the production board and the microphone. Although he teetered the line between genius and insanity this summer with some very questionable antics and verbal tirades, Kanye had one of the best albums in 2016 without a doubt, taking the number 4 spot on our 2016 list.
3 – A Seat at the Table by Solange
Debuting at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums and the Billboard Top 200, people who may have only known Solange as the younger sister of Beyonce, became suddenly aware that the family has two stars. Although this is her third album, this is her first that garnered international success, appearing on charts around the globe. The album didn’t dodge subjects and openly discussed black culture, as she always has, and was widely accepted. Thankfully, Solange gave us A Seat at the Table, thus earning her the number 3 spot on our list of best albums in 2016.
2 – 24K Magic by Bruno Mars
If you didn’t find anything to make you move this year, odds are you didn’t listen to Bruno Mars album. The album is filled with feel good music that just makes you want to have fun. With 230,000 units sold during the first week, it’s hard to find someone who disagrees. This is the 3rd album for Bruno Mars, and this one sticks to the script, staying more true to an R&B style, unlike the previous albums that bounced from genre to genre. This album was truly one of the feel good albums of 2106, earning the number 2 spot on our list.
1 – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest saved hip-hop in 2016. Amid a sea of albums masquerading as hip-hop, We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service showed everyone what true hip-hop was, is, and will always be. Just like any other art form, hip-hop has been in a transitional period, and has ultimately been about ear-catching beats than lyricism over the last few years. The Tribe showed that it can still rule, earning the number one spot on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums as well as the Top 200. This album touched some very relevant topics in the hip-hop culture, and brought a consciousness of sorts back to an industry that was lacking. For breathing life back into hip-hop in 2016, we name We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest the best album of 2016.