2016 has been one helluva of a year for music. Those that continue to say “hip-hop and R&B are dead” do not work at VIBE — and are dead to us. Yes, it’s true: it takes some digging these days to find music with substance — especially in rap — but we’re never underwhelmed with what we find.
Artists like Chance The Rapper, Anderson.Paak, Lil’ Yachty, Ro James and more helped make sure the last 365 days were filled with tracks that made us laugh, cry, feel good and hit the dancefloor. Billboard chart veterans like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Drake also delivered some monster singles as expected. Even brand new talent like Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion Mcall killed the scene with undeniable hit music. Unfortunately, we opted to leave “JuJu On That Beat” off the list, because let’s face it — the song would be nothing without Crime Mob’s “Knuck If Buck,” and we did that in 2004 already.
As for the “cut off” date, we took a firm stance and only included music that was released before Dec. 1.* As much as we love songs from albums like J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only and Ab-Soul’s DWTW, they were released after the aforementioned date. So, sit back and press play on the 60 songs that received the most burn at the VIBE offices in 2016.
*Note: These songs are not ranked in any particular order.