Fists Up: The 20 Blackest Albums Of 2016

In the midst of all that has happened around us, the year in music turned out to be very powerful and unapologetically black. Like always, the cultural and hasty political climate fueled the rhymes, ballads and beats that flowed through our speakers.

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In 2015, acts like Janelle Monae, Kendrick Lamar, Mysonne and J.Cole rallied for those who lost their lives at the hands of police and provided tracks that motivated the soul and mind of activists in the making. While 2016 proved to be of the same rhetoric, artists took things one step further by addressing the economic and social realities of what it truly means to be and live as a black man or woman in a divided nation. Crates were dusted off as soulful samples from the past brought us the sounds of yesteryear, and joyful appreciation of black culture kept our souls warm as non-indictments froze our judicial system.

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These factors played into VIBE’s picks for the 20 Blackest Albums of the Year. The black experience is hard to define given the many layers it embodies, but each project above found a way to invite the uninformed into a quintessential musical space.

Flip through our picks in the gallery above. Whose album would you have added?

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