My best of list today will be my top 5 albums of 2016. There was some good music put out this year, but honestly, this was probably the easiest list for me to make. When certain people announced they were putting out new records, I hoped for the best, and for the most part, they all delivered. Lets get to it.
At number 5, I have Frank Ocean's "Blonde". This record was tremendous. The wait was totally worth it. After Ocean put out the phenomenal "Channel Orange", he waited almost 2 and a half years before releasing "Blonde". The wait seemed like it would go on forever. The rumors never stopped, especially after he performed on "SNL", that a new record was in the works, and it would be coming soon. But they never seemed to develop. Then on some random Friday, Ocean announced that he had released his record on social media. I bought it immediately and listened to it right after it downloaded, and it was great. It was a perfect blend of R&B/rap/funk and the weirdness that is Frank Ocean. His voice is tremendous on the record. His switching back and forth between singing and rapping is totally on point. The guests on this record are second to none. Andre 3000's verse is one of the dopest things I've heard in years. "Blonde" is one of the first records that I can remember being worth the wait. Ocean is a super star now, and it is because of the success of "Blonde".
At number 4, I have Chance the Rapper's "Coloring Book". This is one of the most uplifting rap records I have ever heard. Chance the Rapper is a shining light in the music industry right now. He is clearly someone that does it for the love of music, not the fame, money or recognition. Every record he releases, he releases them for free. "Coloring Book" was first put on Apple Music only, but there were many other ways to download the record for free, instantly. Every song on the album has his perfect rap presence on it, but his singing is also really good. Take a song like "Blessings". The chorus is great, and Chance's verses are really good, but his singing on the song is just as good as anything else he does. He too has really blown up recently, due to "SNL" and the fact that he is the Kit Kat spokesman now, but he is one of the better rappers doing music right now. The record has straight forward rap songs, but there are some good R&B songs and some, I almost want to say, gospel type songs. "Coloring Book" is a revelation, and Chance the Rapper is on his way to the top. Go get this record now. It is free and it is awesome.
At number 3, I have my all time favorite rap group's newest record, A Tribe Called Quest's "We Got it From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service". This was a much needed record. After it was announced that Phife Dawg passed away, RIP, the remaining members announced that they were putting out a record of original material. They had some of Phife's vocals still recorded, and they made new songs with what they had, and the material was incredible. The album finds the band with a more politically conscious sound than ever, and it suits them incredibly well. They have great voices, and with what is going on in the world now, we needed to get their thoughts. Q-Tip slays on every song on the record. Ali Shaheed Mohammed is right there with the beats and the one liners that he is the master of. Even Jarobi shows up and does some nice things. Then, we get Phife. Man was he the best of the best. His verses were so great. Hearing him one more time on record was so god damn satisfying. I still miss the hell out of him, but at least I will always have his voice on records, and "WGIFH...TY4YS", he is wonderful. The guest list on this record is better than what Frank Ocean has in "Blonde". Andre 3000 is on this record, so is Jack White and the reemergence of Busta Rhymes. Busta Rhymes is a beast and he sounds dynamite on this record. I hope this means he is contemplating a comeback, because I'd love some new music from him. ATCQ is back, and this new album is awesome. Thank you for releasing it. We as a nation needed this right now.
At number 2, I have the new funk record from Childish Gambino, "Awaken! My Love". This album is incredible, unique, weird and awesome. It is as if Parliament came back and recorded a record for the 21st century. Along with making great TV, i.e. "Atlanta", Donald Glover also released one of the best albums of the year. I have been listening to this record almost nonstop for the past month or so. I love every track on this album. Glover goes totally off script and, instead of releasing a new rap record, he delivers a straight up funk record, and it is incredible. His voice is so tremendous. He hits some crazy high notes that I had no idea he could hit. From the opener, "Me and Your Mama", which is a great blend of funk and rock, to songs like "Boogieman", "Zombies", "California" and "Baby Boy", which are all straight up funk, the album is a homerun. The song "Redbone" may be the track of the year. Glover is tremendous on this song, and his band sounds phenomenal. The chorus may be my anthem for the crap fest that has been 2016. Glover sings, "stay woke/they be creepin/they gon find you/gon catch you sleeping". I mean, that is pretty poetic and prophetic for the state of our country. "Awaken! My Love" is a triumph, and further proves that Donald Glover is the most talented person in show business. I have mentioned him everyday in all my lists so far, so he must be doing something right. This record is incredible, and I cannot wait to see what he does next in TV, movies, but most importantly for me, music. I'm sure it will be awesome.
This all brings me to my number one record of the year, "Run The Jewels 3" by, Run The Jewels. I know this album has only been out for 3 days, but damn it is the shit. The band surprised released the record on Christmas at midnight, and as they would say, "it was a Christmas f&*(ing miracle". I have not stopped listening to the album for the past three days. When I go on runs at night, this record gets me through the 3 miles. When I clean the house, this is what I'm putting on my Echo or headphones. When I'm driving in my car, and my kids are not present, this is what I'm cranking. The record is dope, and this, more than any piece of pop culture this year, is exactly what I, and a bunch of other people need to get through these trying times. EL-P and Killer Mike take on the establishment in every track, and they take it down. These dudes are the voice for the downtrodden and they make me want to start a revolution. I would go to war with these dudes, especially Killer Mike. This record makes me want to accomplish things to take down the current state of the government. This record makes me have visceral responses. I will just yell random things, to no one in particular, when listening to this dope ass album. "RTJ3" is an absolute triumph, and RTJ themselves are the best rappers making music right now. EL-P and Killer Mike are phenomenal. They basically crashed the internet when they surprised announced that they were releasing this record early. I do not care that it has only been out for 3 days, it is the best record of 2016, and it will probably be better than anything put out in 2017. It is a god damn masterpiece. I'm getting fired up just writing about how much I love this record right now. Buy it immediately, if you do not already have it. It is the bomb diggity.
As far as the worst record of the year goes, anything that Drake puts out is always garbage, and the Macklemore record, which I have not heard one song of, I guarantee it is a joke of an album. Drake is an overrated, bandwagon fan, and a wannabe. His rhyming is garbage. His voice is garbage. His beats stink. I'd rather listen to anyone from the early 90's rap than listen to any piece of trash that Drake releases. He is, by far, the most overrated emcee of all time. Then there is Macklemore. Talk about a poseur. This dude and his DJ are fake rappers and Macklemore is the leader of this fake ass sound. He is just as bad as Drake, and he thinks he is "rapping" about important issues, and that he alone is bringing this stuff to light. Macklemore is garbage, and his 15 minutes of fame were done a long, long time ago. Do not listen to anything by these 2 guys because they are both equally terrible.
That's it for today. Come back tomorrow for my best and worst sports moments of 2016.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. His dislike of Drake goes back to the Degrassi days. Jimmy Brooks was the worst. Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.
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