2016 has been a great year for music. A lot of older heads that I know from Chicago, would probably write this year off like they write every year after ’98 off. It’s sad, because there is so much great music getting made that a lot of it never really gets the place in history that it deserves. Chicago Hip Hop heads should be happy though…a lot of great projects came out this year from Chicago.
Chance the Rapper dropped Coloring Book, which may very well be the hottest record made all year. It dropped while I was in Berlin and it ended up making every single playlist I made from that point out. Chance is a great travel buddy.
Noname is another young artist from Chicago that dropped a bomb this year with her LP Telefone. Noname is a thriving artist that can be found on tracks with Chance as well as other great Chicagoans. Below is a video with Noname performing with Chance on SNL.
YG dropped the most gangster shit you could ever ask for in an age of PC zombies… Still Brazy. You want to talk about someone who doesn’t have any fear. These days we see Hip Hop pulled in so many interesting directions, so it’s nice to sometimes come across an LP from a new artist that makes music for the drop tops.
A Tribe Called Quest has stepped back into the limelight. Thank god! For someone who grew up on that nineties boom bap, this is the gift you give them for Christmas. We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service, Phife Dawg died immediately following the completion of this LP. In a year with so much conflict and strife the world needed this record…hell I needed this record.
Kaytranada dropped one of the soundtracks to my life this year. 99.9% came out in May and it, like Coloring Book was a constant friend during my travels. If you ever find yourself on a boat heading to the Amalfi Coast, this is the album to listen to. You’ll slide right into paradise and move with the waves of the Mediterranean like it’s all natural and shit.
Blood Orange may be one of my favorite artists releasing music in this current state of affairs. Freetown Sound is another album that filled my brain since it’s release. I’ve played his music for so many people and it’s always the same reaction…first the what is this you are playing for me phase…then the head knocking phase…then the I listen to that album you played me everyday now phase.
The Weeknd released new music this year as well. His album Starboy which featured guest spots from Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Ray, and Future. This wasn’t my favorite project by him, but this False Alarm song is a get up a go kind of track…and the video straight up will blow your mind.
Rae Sremmurd who I’ve never really taken to, got me dancing with the single off their new album SremmLife 2…that Black Beatles track featuring Gucci Mane is flat out contagious.
De La Soul…if you haven’t heard and the Anonymous Nobody it’s time to come back home. Like ATCQ, De La has brought us all back to where we belong. They give you that wacky contagious style that has been around since 3 Feet High and Rising.
David Bowie gave us one last gem before he left the earth for a home amongst the stars…his Blackstar LP was something that really touched down with a thunder. In an interview Bowie said that this album was inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly…and you can feel it. Thank you David, you will be missed…enjoy your eternity with the Gods.
Travis Scott who I must admit didn’t hit with me for a while…but this Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight is a killler…a dirty dirty killer. The Kid Cudi influence stands out and I love it. Plus Kendrick and Young Thug are on the album.
Kweku Collins another Chicago native I’m gonna put on here as well. It’s nice to see more hip hop artists out of Chicago getting shine. His album Nat Love has made major waves amongst a sea of great releases this year. I wonder who else we will hear from in 2017 from Chicago.
The twelve artists listed above are just a mere tip of the iceberg for music in 2016…dig deep people. If you are trying to come up on new music and don’t have the time to keep up with the blogs and the bullshit, then the year end lists that people put out online is really a great way to introduce yourself to new works out there.