As we pass the midway point of 2016, we have already seen an abundance of big name Hip-Hop artists release some of the most anticipated projects in recent memory. Mainstays in Hip-Hop such as Drake, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar all released full-length albums. While Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa and Skepta attempted to verify the hype surrounding them with their brand new projects.
In my opinion, 2016 has been a very successful year within the Hip-hop industry and these are my Top 5 albums of the year, so far.
Joey Purp – iiiDrops
Favourite Lyric: “They told you that hoopin’ and rappin’ is all we invented”
Favourite Song: GIRLS @ (Featuring Chance The Rapper)
Skepta – Konnichiwa
Favourite Lyric: “Ain’t nothing changed, Boy Better Know a man went to the BRITs on a train”
Favourite Song: Man
Drake – Views
Favourite Lyric: “My enemies want to be friends with my other enemies, I don’t let it get to me”
Favourite Song: Hype
Now for the Top 5…
5. Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
The follow-up to his groundbreaking 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar released a collection of unreleased songs that never made that album. Kendrick projects are usually very polished and cohesive records, which is something that Untitled Unmastered was not in comparison to his previous albums. However, the title did indicate that.
For eight unreleased songs that are essentially just throwaways, this album is still just as thought provoking and unique as any other Kendrick Lamar release that has come before it.
Favourite Lyric: “Before you step out of line and dance with the star, I could never end a career if it never start”
Favourite Song: Untitled 02
4. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
The finished product of The Life Of Pablo lived up the hype, despite changing more than Katy Perry at her concert. Although I do not recognise this as a classic Kanye West album, I still thoroughly enjoyed listening through the hour long collection.
As always with a Kanye West project, the beats and samples were world class and memorable lyrics were scattered throughout the 19 tracks.
Favourite Lyric: “I had a cousin that stole my laptop that I was fucking bitches on, paid 250 thousand just to get it from him”
Favourite Song: Ultralight Beam
3. YG – Still Brazy
Still Brazy is the second studio album from Compton rapper YG. Still Brazy is the first album in recent times to perfectly capture, and progress, the West Coast / G-Funk sound of the 1990s. Deep bass lines and melodic lead synths combined with YGs raw lyrical ability make this album a modern classic that is in its own lane of Hip-Hop in 2016.
If you have not heard much of YG before, I strongly advise you to listen to Still Brazy from start to finish.
Favourite Lyric: “All these maybe maybe maybe maybe’s, I’m about to say fuck it and start squeezing without aiming”
Favourite Song: Who Shot Me?
2. Vic Mensa – There’s Alot Going On
The new EP from Vic Mensa comes after finding major success in 2013 with his mixtape INNANETAPE, with hit singles Down On My Luck and U Mad (Featuring Kanye West) following.
There’s Alot Going On is an EP that is driven by socially conscious raps, diving into issues surrounding police brutality, discrimination and Vics own personal struggles with drugs and fame.
Although only 32 minutes in length, There’s Alot Going On is a progressive record that, in my opinion, has been the second best release of 2016 thus far.
Favourite Lyric: “This for Laquan on sight, when you see Van Dyke, tell him i don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”
Favourite Song: There’s Alot Going On
1. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
The best project of 2016, so far, goes to Chance The Rapper with Coloring Book.
Chance The Rapper is the third Chicago native on this list, with his third full length mixtape Coloring Book. Chance The Rapper is an independent artist who has been a hot topic since his mixtape Acid Rap dropped in 2013. Chance has only ever released music for free and this latest project was no exception, becoming the first ever streaming-exclusive album to reach the Billboard 200 chart.
Coloring Book is a record that fuses gospel, soul and jazz elements with the new school sound of Hip-hop today. The mixtape features an abundance of artists, including Kanye West, Vic Mensa, Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber.
Coloring Book is a diverse project, from songs such as No Problem and Mixtape that make you want to get naked and throw hundred dollar bills off of a high school staircase, to gospel heavy tracks such as Blessings and How Great. This mixtape is the most mature of Chance’s career thus far. Chance The Rapper has become an artist in every sense of the word and this Mixtape is a perfect example of that, earning the number one spot on this list.
Favourite Lyric: “This ain’t no intro, this the entree, hit that intro from Kanye and sound like André”
Favourite Song: No Problem (Featuring 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne)
If you would like to write for Off the Clef, please contact our FACEBOOK or E-mail: JARRODVDSTAAY@GMAIL.COM