My Top 5 Rap albums of 2016
Before I get in to this list I just wanted to give props to the likes of Chance, Childish, Drake, Giggs & Kano. All of them came hard this year, and while I think they shined on individual tracks I felt the albums fell a little flat.
5 Redpill – Instinctive Drowning
Instinctive Drowning is the second studio album from the Detroit rapper. His first Look what this world did to us was a subtle confession of all the faults the man b
ehind the mic saw when he looked at himself in the mirror. It is more of the same this time around, fuelled with more venom and a lot more production the second album is just as powerful as the first. When it comes to hip-hop honesty is the best policy and this album has it in abundance. The tracks The New Normal, When the Devil comes knocking and Gin and Tonic are the real masterpieces on an otherwise solid album.
4 Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
What is there to say about Kanye West that everybody doesn’t already know? The Life of Pablo was very highly anticipated. Yeezus saw the Chicago lyricist change his musical direction and it worked a charm. This time around if you wante
d TLOP you had to subscribe to Tidal, it wasn’t coming to itunes, but then it did and people everywhere rejoiced. TLOP is a strange one, it has 19 tracks and a lot of love and hard work went in to it, yet it still feels raw and unpolished. This is what makes it stand out as a truly great hip hop album. Kanye has been able to craft records that are commercial radio successes but still hold rap credibility. The stands out tracks on the album for me are Fade, Ultralight Beam and Wolves.
3 Watsky – X Infinity
The fifth studio album from spoken word artist turned rapper George Watsky is a real evolution musically. His soft rap style of Cardboard Castles has been ditched, the slow paced stories from All you can do have been adapted and Watsky sounds better than ever. Always honest, Watsky has perfected his flow, his lyrics are heartfelt and hit a little harder with each listen and the tracks have outstanding beats. The highlight of the album is the final four tracks which all fall under the heading of Lovely Sweet things. These tracks beautifully cra
ft the tale of Watsky’s identity, where his love of music developed and exactly just what being able to create means to him.
2 Jarren Benton – Slow Motion Vol.2
This Motherf$%@er is crazy. Strike that, he’s CRAZY. The Atlanta artist has been continually putting out albums with insane instrumentals, superfast rhythm and lyrics that make you go “he didn’t just say what I think he did, did he?” Slow Motion Vol.2 is not an album but rather a mixtape. I can only assume its name is indicative of the fact he raps at half his usual tempo but each track feels doubly effective. If you have not been bumping Jarren Benton you have been missing out. Be sure to get on this mixtape and my personal favourite album of his My Grandma’s Basement.
1 Skepta – Konnichiwa
The 2016 Mercury Prize winner, and for good reason. Skepta has been making music since I was in primary school and if you didn’t Bluetooth his grime tracks to your friends Sony-Ericsson you are not a real roadman. This album takes all Skepta’s best qualities and combines them, his London town style, his love for grime production and the deep knowledge of hip hop he has. This is a versatile album, it is helping bring grime to the masses and I feel as though the mainstream adoption of Stormzy really helped this album bang. You can play it in your yard with mumsy and she won’t tell you to turn it down, you can play it at the shubs and the mandem will get turnt up and Skepta and BBK were able to use this album to propel them in to headline slots at many of the countries summer festivals.
My most anticipated album of 2017:
Rag N Bone Man – Human
If you have ears you will have heard the single playing on the radio around 12375634 times a day since November. If you know about music you have probably been aware of the blues/hip hop musician for some time. The Sussex singer has been doing the rounds for a few years and his last release Wolves is the blues album you did not know you needed in your life. It is a bonus he gave it away for free, what a sweetheart. Now being backed by Sony I cannot wait to see what he does with this album, expect a crazy mash up of soul, gospel, blues and hip hop. It should be an all round delight.