2016 dragged us through the fire. Luckily the year is almost over and we can start counting down to 2017. Why wait until New Year’s Eve? Even though 2016 is considered the worst documented year in history, music helped us get through each day.
Here are the 16 albums that got me through 2016:
“A Seat at the Table” – Solange
Solange’s album was everything we needed at the right time. Listening to “A Seat at the Table” either made you smile, cry or really proud to be black. Solange’s #blackgirlmagic really did leave us in awe.
Favorites: Weary, Cranes in the Sky, Boderline (An Ode to Self Care)
“Her” – SiR
SiR never disappoints and I know this because I played his album “Seven Sundays” for most of 2016. When “Her” was released, I paused everything to focus solely on each of his new tracks. The only disappointment is that this amazing album/EP only lasts for 19 minutes.
Favorites: All in My Head, Queen
“Awaken, My Love!” – Childish Gambino
Who is the amazing artist that can switch up from hip-hop to old school, soul-filled rock? Childish Muthaluvin’ Gambino. After the success of Atlanta, a series about an up and coming rapper, the LAST thing I expected was this release. However, we were not disappointed and lauded Childish Gambino with enough praise thanks to tracks like “Redbone” and “Me and Your Mama.”
Favorites: Riot, Terrified, Baby Boy
“Anti” – Rihanna
Rihanna’s album is still releasing chart topping hits and has grabbed eight Grammy nominations this year. I purchased both the album and tour ticket and can honestly say that Rihanna left me both satisfied and *dry. Rihanna is truly the queen of “F@!k You” music and for that, she will always shine in my books.
Favorites: Kiss it Better, Woo, Needed Me, Same ol’ Mistakes, Sex with Me
*I attended Beyoncé’s Lemonade concert in Raleigh, NC.
“Too High to Riot” – Bas
I recently wrote about this album and it’s still in my top five for 2016. Personally, every song on this album is good, so narrowing down a favorite is nothing short of painful. But, I did it.
Favorites: Clouds Never Get Old, Ricochet, Black Owned Business
“Moon Shoes EP” – Ravyn Lenae
I stumbled on this EP by accident, but was amazed by Ravyn Lenae’s sweet sounds and poetic lyrics. This is definitely an album that you play when you really need to take a break from the chaos that is/was 2016.
Favorites: Blossom Dearie, Everything Above, Right of Spring
“Dangerous Woman” – Ariana Grande
We have to admit that Ariana Grande creates hits and has a vocal range that is out of this world. Sure, she sounds similar to Mariah Carey, but even Carey was not the first to give us whispery pitches. Take some time to google Minnie Rippleton.
Favorites: Be Alright, Into You, Leave me Lonely, Touch It
“Malibu” – Anderson .Paak
When I saw Anderson .Paak on the XXL’s cover for the Freshman Class, I was not sold. However, his BET performance of “Come Down” made me an instant fan. I soon found myself loving every track and feature with Anderson .Paak on it.
Favorites: Without You, Parking Lot, Come Down
An Additional: GLOW UP (off of KAYTRANADA’S 99.9%)
“Heads Up” – Warpaint
Warpaint has been pretty quiet for three years, so when I saw “Heads Up” appear on Spotify I shouted with feminist glee. There is nothing like hearing a group of artistic and musically incline women singing “I birth control.”
Favorites: Whiteout, The Stall, Above Control
Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine
My love/hate relationship with Mac Miller is real, but this album pushed me to love him again. Mac Miller followed the “funk and soul” trend of 2016 and featured artists such as Bilal, Anderson .Paak, Ceelo Green and Ty Dolla $ign. Some people had concerns about Mac Miller appropriating, but that’s a story for another day.
Favorites: Dang!, Cinderella, Soulmate, God is Far, Sexy Nasty
“The Sun’s Tirade” – Isaiah Rashad
Isaiah Rashad is another artist that I accidently stumbled upon, which is surprising because he is signed with Top Dawg Entertainment. Despite the controversy surrounding TDE and its artists, Isaiah Rashad put out a solid album worthy of replays.
Favorites: 4r Da Squaw, Sikk da Shocka, AA, Tity and Dolla
“The Everlasting Wave” – Xavier Omar
“Blind Man” by SPZRKT was by far my favorite song of 2016. It was literally on every single playlists – workout, chill out and ride out. However, during the fall SPZRKT changed his name to Xavier Omar, debuted a new EP and had “Blind Man” on it. The new brand clearly worked because over 3 million people have listened to the track so far.
Favorites: Blind Man, Grown Woman, Special Eyes
“Nightride” – Tinashe
This album surprised me- this was the same artist that debuted “Aquarius” in 2014. Although Tinashe’s single “Party Favors” was not favored on the charts, the album brought us back to the “Amethyst” mixtape.
Favorites: C’est La Vie, Sunburn, Sacrifices, Ride of Your Life
“PHO” – Ari Lennox
Ari Lennox debut album is COOL. Sometimes I am reluctant to spring a new artist at a party, but I took the risk with this artist. A favorite, with over 4 million listens on Spotify, is “Backseat.” Ari Lennox is surely an artist to watch in 2017.
Favorites: Night Drive, Backwood
“Free 6lack” – 6lack
The lyrics. I simply have to give this artist credit for the stories that he puts together in songs like PRBLMS and MTFU. Although “Ex Calling” is a radio hit, there is more that this artist has to offer.
Favorites: PRBLMS, Free
“Hotel Allan” – Allan Rayman
Allan Rayman’s album is like a mix of rap, soul and country all wrapped into one. This album gets really dark, but still keeps your attention from start to finish.
Favorites: Beverly, Tennessee, Barry Moves
“Introduction to Sweet Noise” – Lorine Chia
“Sorry About Last Night” – Rayana Jay
“What About US” – Secret Rendezvous
“Trill Feels” – INGRID