25. Lil Yachty Lil Boat
Why: There's no question that we will be receiving flack for our 25th pick, but we couldn't deny Lil Yachty's impact on hip-hop in 2016. Whether you love him or hate him, Lil Boat helped place the red haired rapper into the major leagues.
His unique style of monotone crooning, propelled by autotune, takes some getting used to. That much we can admit, but his melodies become more infectious and addictive with each spin. This boat may get you seasick, but thekids can't get enough of Yachty.
Did we mention he is up for a Grammy with D.R.A.M.?
Guest Features: Burberry Perry, Quavo, Skippa Da Flippa and Young Thug, Big Brutha Chubba and Byou
Notable Producers: Ducko McFli, DigitalNas, Burberry Perry
24. Gallant Ology
Why: Crooner Gallant experienced tremendous success in 2016 thanks to his pure, unfiltered style of R&B. When school wasn't going his way, he channeled every last bit of himself into his true calling -- music -- and the move proved to be his golden ticket
With the vocal range of a veteran, he made his mark wow'ing crowds at top billing festivals like Coachella. He also writes the bulk of his material, which only expands his musical talents. Gallant's heartfelt songs are littered with deep thoughts about love, life and all that falls in between.
He even brought Seal back to the world, people.
Guest Features: Jhene Aiko
Notable Producers: STINT, Adrian Younge, Patrizio Moi
23. Vybz Kartel King Of The Dancehall
Why: Caribbean music made a huge mark on hip-hop and pop culture this year. Artists like Drake and Rihanna embraced dancehall music, but we really must thank Vybz Kartel for birthing many of the styles associated with current music in the genre.
From behind bars, the pioneer released yet another album that resonated with fans. The legend had little to no support from major U.S. companies, but Vybz' latest project featured hit singles -- "Fever," " Lipstick," & "Western Union" -- which all have millions of plays on Youtube.
Guest Features: MonCherie and Demarco
Notable Producers: Inhouse team.
22. Rae Sremmurd Sremm Life 2
Why: When folks were starting to question if Rae Sremmurd could do it again, the young duo became hip-hop's "Black Beatles" before our very eyes.
Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee worked their way to the very top of the Billboard charts and the social media world with the Gucci Man assisted single.
Mike WiLL Made It helped guide these young brothers to a place where no critic expected. Additional singles from SremmLife 2 like "Yoga" and "Look Alive" are also party starters with the young millennial crowd.
Guest Features, Gucci Mane, Lil Jon, Kodak Black, Gucci Mane, Bobo Swae
Notable Producers: Mike WiLL Made It
21. Kendrick Lamar Untitled Unmastered
Why: 2016 was filled with tragedy after senseless tragedy in the black community at the hands of law enforcement. We we witnessed black Americans get murdered on camera by cops -- with little to no repercussion in most cases. It was albums like Kendrick Lamar's Untitled Unmastered that helped capture -- and ease -- the pain of the oppressed everywhere.
K. Dot didn't even need proper song titles to perfectly paint pictures from his heart.
Guest Features: None. Additional vocals by Terrace Martin, Anna Wise, Mani Strings, Bilal, SZA, Lance Skiiiwalker, Jay Rock, Punch , Cee-Lo Green
Notable Producers: Thundercat, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Adrian Younge
20. De La A Soul And The Anonymous Nobody
Why: New York originators De La Soul's first Kick Starter funded album earned the group a Grammy nomination for Best Album this year.
Teenagers may need do their Googlez to get fully acquainted with the Long Island rap group, but they proved lyrics still matter in hip-hop. Anonymous_Nobody combines the best elements of rap music -- storytelling, social consciousnesses and beats composed of real instrumentation.
Guest Features: Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, Roc Marciano, Estelle, Pete Rock, Justin Hawkins, David Byrne, Usher, Little Dragon, 2 Chainz, David Goldblatt, Damon Albarn
19. BJ The Chicago Kid In My Mind
Why: This Windy City singer's voice is a true diamond in the rough in these autotune obsessed times. True vocalists are a rare find in music today, so consider BJ a musical unicorn.
In My Mind's thick layers gives listeners a glimpse into the inner struggles that the crooner faces on a daily basis. From his desire to remain as a strong Christian man to his taste for temptations -- it's all there in the album's 15 tracks. The Kendrick Lamar-assisted "The New Cupid" is a prime example of how flawlessly BJ intertwines classic soul and modern R&B.
BJ also earned himself a VIBE digital cover earlier this year.
Guest Features: Buddy Constantine, Buddy, Chance The Rapper, Isabella, Isa, Eric Ingram, Kendrick Lamar
Notable Producers: DJ Khalil, DJ Reflex, Da Internz
18. KA Honor Killed The Samurai
Why: Brownsville's unpolished gem released one of the heavier rap albums of the year. Honor That Killed The Samurai may have floated beneath the noses of the youth, but its poetic rhymes and unforgiving beats helped make this one a silent killer.
Do yourself a favor and press pause on the trap rap, and just let these bars soak into your brain.
Guest Features: None
Notable Producers: Inhouse team.
17. YG Still Brazy
Why: There's no doubt that YG was hip-hop's most vocal anti-trump activist out there. His "FDT" single was heard loud and clear by the world. However, Still Brazy was also filled with 16 other tracks of raw Bompton rap.
"Twist My Fingaz" helped fans get back in tune with the red loving rapper -- while comrades Drake and Kamiyah helped YG extend his middle fingers to the detractors.
Guest Features: Sad Boy, A.D., Bricc Baby, Slim 400, Syke 800, Duce, Marley Blu, Burnt Out, Lil Wayne, Drake, Kamaiyah, Joe Moses, Jay 305, The Homegirl, Nipsey Hussle
Notable Producers: Hit-Boy, Ty Dolla $ign, P-Lo
16. Bruno Mars 24K Magic
Why: Bruno's Magic was enough to get Gucci Mane dancing... do we really need to say more after that, people? There's few who could resist the urge to shake somethin' when the crooner's addictive melodies came through the speakers in 2016.
24K Magic finds the crooner reinventing his 70s inspired sound into pure funky bliss. Don't be afraid to put your cool down and admit that this album is fire.
Guest Features: None.
Notable Producers: Shampoo Press & Curl, The Stereotypes, Emile Haynie
15. Flatbush Zombies 3001: A Laced Odyssey
Why: Brooklyn's hard working trio finally saw their official debut album come to fruition this year. Refusing to compromise their sound for radio play or club love, the crew kept it honest and gritty on 3001: A Laced Odyssey..
Unlike many of the emerging rap artists from the East Coast, the Zombies remain true to pure intense lyricism and hard beats.
Guest Features: Anthony Flammia, Diamante
Notable Producers: Erick Arc Elliott.
14. Future Purple Reign
Why: Future and DJ Esco's run didn't slow up in 2016, the Atlanta duo continued to burn down mixtapes and clubs with hit after hit. The rapper's Purple Reign project was his most sonically pleasing of the year.
The release can literally be played from front to back in the club without any sleepy moments.
Guest Features: None.
Notable Producers: Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, DJ Spinz
13. A Tribe Called Quest Thank You For Your Service, We'll Take It From Here
Why: With the passing of hip-hop legend Phife Dawg, A Tribe Called Quest released their final album in his memory. Thank You For Your Service, We'll Take It From Here was started prior to the 5 Foot Assassin's passing, but still has his DNA all over the LP.
Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, kept the album's sound true to the jazzy style of hip-hop that they perfected in the early 90s. The double disc is the perfect marriage of Beats, Rhymes & Life -- the 2017 version.
Busta Rhyme, Elton John, André 3000, Marsha Ambrosius, Abbey Smith, Talib Kweli, Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar, Katia Cadet
Notable Producers: Self produced.
12. Travi$ Scott Birds In The Trap Sing Mcknight
Why: Travi$ Scott's Birds In The Trap Sing Mcknight was one of the biggest Grammy snubs in hip-hop this year. Never one to hold his tongue, Scott already expressed his disappointment, but he has plenty to be proud about.
Birds features top notch production and a supporting cast that would make one of his musical mentors, Kanye West, proud. Moments like Kendrick's voice shifting cameo on "Goosebumps" make this project truly one-of-a-kind.
Guest Features: Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, Kid Cudi, Blac Youngsta, Swizz Beatz, André 3000, James Blake, 21 Savage, Cassie, The Weeknd, Quavo,Nav
Notable Producers: MIke Dean, TM88, Murda Beatz
11. Mac Miller The Divine Feminine
Why: The evolution of Mac Miller has been a highly debated one. Pittsburgh's young talent went from a brushed off novelty rapper to a respected musician with qualities very few critics thought he possessed.
The Divine Feminine is almost like Mac's senior thesis. He took all the best elements from each of his solo albums and elevated the musicality to another level. While he still needs some grooming to be considered one of the best, it should be clear that he's more than just a rapper
Guest Features: Bilal, Anderson Paak, Ty Dolla Sign, Njomza, CeeLo Green, Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar)
Notable Producers: DJ Dahi, Dâm-Funk, Vinylz
10. ScHoolboy Q Blankface LP
Why: Arguably TDE's most charismatic member, ScHoolboy Q released his most polished work to date with the Blankface LP. Lead by the Kanye West-assisted "That Way," Q also ties in social commentary throughout the album's tough gangsta shell.
ScHoolboy flips flows on "By Any Means," connects with Cali legends, Tha Dogg Pound on "Big Body," and gives the world a glimpse into the mind of a living graduate from the gang infested streets.
Guest Features: Kanye West, Jadakiss, Lance Skiiiwalker, Vince Staples, Candice Pillay, E-40, Tha Dogg Pound, SZA, Anderson Paak, Miguel, Justine Skye, Traffic, TF
Notable Producers: Swizz Beatz, Tyler, The Creator, Cardo
Why: Drizzy Drake's fourth studio album was his most criticized, but it still managed to spawn several "songs of the year." The reach of "Hotline Bling" and "One Dance" made the Toronto superstar one of the most streamed artists on Spotify in 2016.
Views didn't fair as October Very Own's best work, however, it's still better than the majority of these other boys' best efforts.
The Guest Features: Rihanna, PartyNextDoor, Pimp C, dvsn, Wizkid, Kyla, Future
Notable Producers: Noah "40" Shebib, Boi-1da, Metro Boomin
8. Kaytranada 99.9%
Why: Kaytranada's 99.9% album was quietly was of the best pieces of music released this year. It's the producer's astounding ability to embed his collaborator's sound into his production that makes him stand out from the rest. When he joins folks like Anderson .Paak or Syd from The Internet, it sounds as if he has known each talent for their entire lives.
"You're the One," "Glowed Up," and "Got It Good" are prime examples of Kay's masterful execution.
The Guest Features: Karriem Riggins, River Tiber, Craig David, AlunaGeorge, GoldLink, Vic Mensa, BADBADNOTGOOD, Phonte, Anderson .Paak, Syd, Shay Lia,
Notable Producers: Kaytranada
7. Kanye West Life Of Pablo
Why: Kanye West remained as one of the most talked about artists in music this year. Whether he was ranting about his gripes with the world, or his famous family was caught up in drama, he made mountains of blog headlines.
Aside from the gossip, though. Yeezy released an amazing ablum with an impressive cast of talent helping fuel his spaceship. The Life of Pablo was the first album ‘Ye ever released that was edited and remastered several times after its release.
“Famous” changed music videos forever, “Ultralight Beam” became an anthem, and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” created vibes that bleach couldn’t even white wash.
Guest Features: Chance The Rapper, The-Dream, Travi$ Scott, Kid Cudi, Desiigner, Young Thug, Post Malone, The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign, Frank Oceam
Notable Producers: Kanye West, Mike Dean, Metro Boomin
6. Andersoon .Paak Malibu
Why: West Coast wizard Anderson .Paak delivered one of the most refreshing albums of the last 365 days. Malibu was the project that the underground sensation needed to reach the world. The crooner mixes jazzy instrumentation and stirring vocals you can feel deep down in your body.
His voice echoes with pain and pleasure when he finds the perfect zone. Just put on "Put Me Thru" or his duet with BJ Chicago Kid, and tell us you can feel the music moving your spinal chord. Anderson even earned himself a VIBE cover with his magnum opus.
Guest Features: The Game, Free Nationals, Sonaye Elise, Rapsody, Talib Kweli, ScHoolboy Q, Timan Family Choir
Notable Porducers: 9th Wonder, Madlib, DJ Khalil
5. Frank Ocean Blonde
Why: The elusive Frank Ocean finally returned in 2016 with his long awaited follow up to Channel Orange. While the wait was grueling, it proved to be well worth the excruciating wait.
Blonde features soul touching tracks filled with intriguing songwriting and arrangements -- not from any common mold -- Mr. Ocean is an innovator. Beginning with "NIkes," Frank croons about the ills of society and grabs listeners with pure melodic genius. Who else could get Andre 3000 to spit a whole song for him?
Frank faces his insecurities, romantic blunders and issues with America head on throughout the 17 track album. Songs like "Solo" are reminders of why the singer is one of the most sought after voices in modern music.
Guest Features: Andre 3000, Additional vocals by Beyonce, Jamine Sullivan, Yung Lean and more.
Notable Producers: Frank Ocean, Jon Brion,
4. Chance The Rapper Coloring Book
Why: Before he earned himself a whopping 7 Grammy nominations off of a mixtape, we already knew Chance The Rapper was the truth. He painted his Coloring Book with enough pieces of rare art to fill several museums. “No Problem” (feat. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz) became an anthem for rappers who choose to stay independent. The project’s intro alone is powerful enough to turn a murderer sinner into a pastor.
Chicago’s wunderkind followed no trends on his critically acclaimed release, instead he created his own styles that were quickly duplicated, which seemed to even have influence on one Kanye West. See: Ultralight Beam.
Coloring Book is equal parts uplifting, entertaining and served as the answer to hip-hop fans seeking music that truly pushes the culture forward. For the culture? Chance is redefining it.
The Guest Features: Kanye West, Chicago’s Children’s Choir, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Jeremih, Francis & The Lights, D.R.M., Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Saba, Towkio, Knox Fortune, Jay Electronica, cousin Nicole, Future, T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Eryn Allen Kane, NoName, Ty Dolla $ign
Notable Producers: The Social Experiment, Kaytranda, Francis & The Lights
3. Beyonce Lemonade
Why: To put it frankly, Beyonce is the queen and king of music right now. If JAY Z is a business, man, than Bey is the corporation that calls the shots. The impact and influence of Lemondae ran most of 2016 -- even if it did fuel some ugly rumors,
When it was time for the ladies to get into “Formation,” she was there. When it was time to flip the bird to ex-lovers, she also there with the perfect answer. It also had the best videos that turned the LP into a stunning visual ride.
Bey’s chart topping album was bold, brave and a showcase of the singer’s desire to remembered as the greatest of all time. She opened up like never before about her love life and personal feelings while inviting listeners to truly feel her pain when the cameras are off and it’s time to confront Becky with the good hair.
Guest Features: Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Jack White, James Blake
Notable producers: Mike WiLL Made It, Diplo, Just Blaze
2. Rihanna ANTI
Why: Rihanna kept fans for what seemed like an eternity for ANTI, but when she delivered, no one was ready for the levels of musicality she introduced on the album. She showed up for work with a new skillset and vocal range.
Undeniable hits like “Work” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL1UzIK-flA (feat. Drake) and “Desperado” helped fire the album onto the Billboard charts like a naval submarine (Hi Rihanna Navy).
On the we album, we didn’t need a rapper to tell us Sex With Rihanna is amazing – nor did we need an ex boyfriend to inform us that she still yearns for"Love On The Brain” despite her bad gal ways.
The Guest Features: Drake, SZA
Notable Producers: Hit-Boy, Boi-1da, No I.D.
1. Solange A Seat At The Table
Why: There’s no doubt in our minds that Solange released the album that spoke to us the most in 2016. From Master P’s moving narratives to the social messages woven into the tracks, A Seat At The Table was there for us on our darkest days – and our brightest days.
Standout songs like “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “F.U.B.U” pinned Solange’s honest views about black pride onto the album’s beautiful gown. With a cohesiveness that blends the themes of the LP together like a rich New Orleans gumbo, the transforming musician released a masterpiece that transcends musical boundaries.
The Best 3 Guest Features: Master P, Lil Wayne, Sampha
Notable Producers: Solange, Sir Dylan, Rapheal Saadiq