2016 has been a great year music wise. From Kanye West‘s The Life Of Pablo, Drake‘s Views, Rihanna‘s ANTI, Beyoncé‘s Lemonade and Chance The Rapper‘s Coloring Book. However, so far this year we have witnessed many great albums that did not receive the same amount of hype as the ones named above.
Here are our top 10 albums which we believe deserve the same amount of recognition (Stop sleeping ya’ll):
1) Sept. 5th – dvsn
This is easily my favorite album this year, after Coloring Book. It’s got everything an R&B head needs. For those who do not know, dvsn is a Canadian R&B duo that recently signed for Drake and Noah 40 Shebib‘s label company OVO Sound, composed of singer Daniel Daley and the famous record producer Paul “Nineteen85” Jeffries.
Both Daniel and Jeffries have been working together for a minimum of 6 years. For Daniel, we can definitely notice how his delivery, lyrics, melody and style have matured over the years. “Early on in my producing, I would just layer on every single sound I wanted to hear. Getting all my dreams out on just one song.”, Jeffries told FADER earlier this year. All of this certainly proves that the dvsn sound did not come together overnight.
Sept. 5th was produced by two of Drake‘s most vital producers, Jeffries and 40. The album speaks to the trio’s experiences as artists and their decisiveness as R&B innovators which was extremely difficult to achieve in Toronto. So far, 2016 has been treating dvsn really well. Not only did they drop one hell of an album, but they also made a guest appearance on Drake‘s fourth studio album, Views, on the track “Faithful”. They are currently the opening act alongside fellow OVO Sound member Roy Wood$ for Drake and Future‘s Summer Sixteen tour.
Our favorite track: Try / Effortless
Similar artists: Majid Jordan, Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd
You can purchase Sept. 5th on iTunes.
2) There’s Alot Going On – Vic Mensa
The Chicago based rapper has lived up to his reputation remarkably over the past few years. From spitting bars with a few friends, to collaborating with Kanye West, to penning a contract with JAY Z‘s label company Roc Nation. He is arguably the second most successful member of the Chicago collective, SaveMoney, right after Chance The Rapper. The group also includes local artists from Chicago, Illinois such as Donnie Trumpet, Taylor Bennett, Joey Purp and many more.
After listening to this project, I believe that Vic Mensa genuinely made rap more fun and interesting. When he first started his career, people thought his 2013 mixtape INNANETAPE was actually an Acid Rap knock off. However in 2014 and 2015, Mensa spent most of his time widening his horizons by exploring the interchange of both house music and hip-hop which resulted in the gems he used to upload on his SoundCloud page. Later on, his music did not reflect what his true colors really were. And to actually switch lanes from the collaborations with Kanye West and Skrillex to dropping this project that actually reflects who he truly is, and to open up about everything he’s been through, it purely shows his quality. I really hope Vic Mensa never retires.
Our favorite track: There’s Alot Going On
Similar artists: Chance The Rapper, Vince Staples, Ab-Soul
You can purchase There’s Alot Going On on iTunes.
3) 99.9% – KAYTRANADA
Generally, when you ask someone to name a few music producers, they instantly think of Metro Boomin, DJ Khaled, DJ Mustard and if you’re lucky, Pharrell Williams! However, earlier this Summer, KAYTRANADA released one hell of an album. 99.9% is a a beautifully sound-oriented album which features many talented artists such as Karriem Riggins, Anderson .Paak, Vic Mensa, BADBADNOTGOOD, Little Dragon and many more.
What KAYTRANADA achieved in this album is that he managed to bring a lot of music styles and vibes together under one roof and have them transpire effectively.
Our favorite track: You’re The One (feat. Syd)
Similar artists: Little Dragon, JMSN, The Internet
You can purchase 99.9% on iTunes.
4) Prima Donna – Vince Staples
Prima Donna ([ˈpriːma ˈdɔnna] – the leading female singer in the company, the person to whom the prime roles would be given.
If you stare at the album artwork for a while, you can probably analyze why Vince named the album Prima Donna. I’d like to think that the reason behind the bobblehead is because it symbolizes some rappers’ enormous ego. Hope you see this Kanye, but we still love you.. sometimes. The term is lately used for the modern day diva and narcissist and i’m sure most of you agree.
Prima Donna is not your usual project. The EP is a concept album which starts off with the rapper committing suicide and ends with him being famous. It’s basically a story told from the end to the beginning, like Star Wars. The project consists of 7 tracks with only 2 guest verses from Kilo Kush and A$AP Rocky.
Our favorite track: Smile
Similar artists: Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky
You can purchase Prima Donna on iTunes.
5) The Sun’s Tirade – Isaiah Rashad
Isaiah Rashad is like that new kid on the block. You might not click at the beginning, but later on you’ll find out that you have so much in common, more than you could ever imagine. That’s how I personally felt with Cilvia Demo, his debut extended EP which was released 2 years ago. Ever since Cilvia Demo dropped, the Chattanooga MC went through depression and got addicted to Xanax and alcohol which almost resulted him being dropped from Top Dawg Entertainment. After that, Isaiah got clean and started focusing on himself and his music. Thankfully, his TDE family intervened and is helping him with his sobriety.
The Sun’s Tirade is the project where Isaiah truly find his voice. It’s completely different from Cilvia Demo, where the songs are sharp, sobering, and much more detail oriented with huge guest verses from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, SZA, Syd and even more.
Our favorite track: 4r Da Squaw
Similar artists: Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock
You can purchase The Sun’s Tirade on iTunes.
6) Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan
Majid Al Muskati sings, Jordan Ullman produces. Majid Jordan set off this year’s OVO roster with their first studio album Majid Jordan. This project works as an extension to their 2014 EP, A Place Like This, where they proved to us once again how beautiful Majid‘s soothing vocals work in conjunction with Jordan‘s production.
Our favorite track: Learn From Each Other
Similar artists: dvsn, Roy Wood$, Bryson Tiller
You can purchase Majid Jordan on iTunes.
7) Konnichiwa – Skepta
The entire world listens to rap & hip-hop, but why doesn’t the rest of the world listen to grime as much? For those who don’t know what grime is, it is a genre of music which emerged in East London in the early 2000’s. It is a development of both UK Garage and Jungle. The likes of Dizzee Rascal, Ghetts, Skepta and many more are grime’s most eminent artists to this day.
You’ve probably heard of Skepta since he’s basically best friends with Drake. From all the hype around “Shutdown” to both of them collaborating over Nigerian artist Wizkid‘s “Ojuelegba“, everyone still didn’t give grime nor Skepta the recognition they both deserve. Skepta had to go HAM on Konnichiwa, and we can happily say that it was successful.
Maybe this album was slept on compared to the likes of The Life Of Pablo and Views, but you can notice how the majority of teenagers across the States, Canada and Europe are actually imitating Skepta. From calling friends “fam” and “man dem” to wearing the track suits on the Air Max 95’s. Skepta did his job successfully, now its time for the rest of the world to do their job and give grime a listen. It just might be your cup of tea, who knows fam?
Favorite track: That’s Not Me (feat. JME)
Similar artists: Stormzy, JME, Dizzee Rascal
You can purchase Konnichiwa on iTunes.
8) Genesis – Domo Genesis
Domo Genesis is probably one of the most underrated artists lately. For a debut album, Genesis featured some of the biggest artists such as Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Anderson .Paak, Tyler, The Creator, Juicy J among many more artists. The album debuted at number 110 on the Billboard 200.
Our favorite track: Dapper (feat. Anderson .Paak)
Similar artists: Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Tyler, The Creator
You can purchase Genesis on iTunes.
9) Telefone – Noname
This album is one of my personal favorites to drop this year. When I first heard Chance The Rapper‘s “Lost” from his previous mixtape Acid Rap, I was so mesmerized by Noname‘s punchlines, flow, and the way she portrays a story. After three years of catching everyone’s attention through her mysterious guest verses every now and then, Fatimah Warner finally dropped her solo debut album earlier this year. Telefone proved that it was definitely worth the wait.
Our favorite track: Diddy Bop (ft. Raury & Cam O’bi)
Similar artists: Chance The Rapper, Saba, Towkio
10) Baggy Eyes EP – Michael Christmas
Michael Christmas established a name for himself when he dropped a verse on !GO FISH! Volume 3 with Mac Miller. Later on, the Boston MC released an EP which consists of 8 tracks that features talented artists such as Vintage Lee, $ilkmoney and Polyester The Saint.
A few days ago, Chance The Rapper heaped praise on Christmas on Twitter, saying “That’s my guy“.
Our favorite track: Cell Phone
Similar artists: Mac Miller, Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper
Think we forgot any albums? Share your opinion below in the comments section!