Best of 2016 | Music Albums

By Dana on December 19, 2016



2016 is almost over so it’s only natural that we share our favorite albums with you. It has been a great year for music with glorious comebacks from the likes of Childish Gambino and Frank Ocean and strong debuts.

Check out the albums we’ve jammed to the most this year (in chronological order)!


Malibu by Anderson .Paak

Released: January 15, 2016

Label: Steel Wool | OBE | Art Club | Empire Distribution

This is Anderson .Paak’s second studio album and it has received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.  Malibu is a groovy mix of RnB, soul and 90’s hip-hop that demonstrates the singer’s versatility. This album is the sum of all of Anderson .Paak’s interests and muses, background and surroundings blending together on mellow instrumentals.

 Get it here.



untitled unmastered by Kendrick Lamar

Release: March 4, 2016

Label: Aftermath Entertainment

untitled unmastered is yet another proof that Kendrick Lamar is one of the greatest lyricists and rappers of this generation. An instant classic, this album cruises through subjects ranging from mortality, politics and ethnicity to sex, life and spirituality. Kendrick’s voice morphs just as easily and naturally from track to track, followed by jazzy instrumentals. untitled unmastered is the product of Kendrick Lamar’s genius in its rawest form, leaving the interpretation in the hands and mind of the listener.

Get it here.



99.9% by Kaytranada

Release: May 6, 2016

Label: XL Recordings | HW&W Recordings

Kaytranada’s 99.9% is a blur of soul, funk, R&B and dance that earned him the Polaris Music Prize.  Mellow but upbeat, the songs on this album feature young visionaries that are bringing back the old funk, soul and jazzy beats while refusing to be confined by genres or trends – Phonte, Syd, Anderson .Paak, GoldLink and Vince Staples to name a few. One of the songs that stands out the most is Lite Spots, a party-ready rework of Gal Costa’s  Pontos De Luz.

Get it here.



Konnichiwa by Skepta

Release: May 6, 2016

Label: Boy Better Know

Grime pioneer Skepta finally returns with his long-awaited record Konnichiwa after being quiet for a few years. The album tackles topical subjects such as the government, press and police, highlighting the fact that institutions are still a bad concept for Skepta. The instrumentals on this piece resemble his old dancehall, jungle and garage ones. Konnichiwa shows a more vulnerable side of Skepta, praises independence and highlights distrust of institutions. Grime is back.

Get it here.



Blank Face LP by ScHoolboy Q

Release: July 8, 2016

Label: Top Dawg Entertainment  | Interscope Records

With a nomination for Best Rap Album, we can’t argue about just how good Blank Face LP is. Q outdid himself on this one, with both visuals and audio components. This album is supported by a couple of short films that stand as music videos but have a common narrative. ScHoolboy Q covers a wider-than-usual range of subjects with this album, balling on JoHn Muir and Dope Dealer, switching it to more personal stuff on Lord Have Mercy and Neva CHange.

Get it here.



The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad

Release: September 2, 2016

 Label: Top Dawg Entertainment

Isaiah’s debut studio album is, by far, one of the best released this year. The Sun’s Tirade is all about self-discovery, doubt and his battle with depression and vices, the singer wears his heart on his sleeve with this record that encompasses both honest, pain riddled lyrics and carefree, mellow beats. The album is different for everyone depending on their current situation, you can either jam to The Sun’s Tirade on a long drive or really hear Isaiah out and let his lyricism hit you.

Get it here.



A Seat At The Table by Solange

Release: September 30, 2016

Label: Saint | Columbia

Funk, psychedelic-soul and R&B all fuse together on Solange’s A Seat At The Table. The subjects touched on this album range from self-care, empowering African-American women and finding peace to vices, anger and loneliness. Critics call Solange’s record a personal testament to black experience and culture and its modern take on soul and psychedelic beats doubled by the singer’s fascinating voice make it an artistic, bold statement.

Get it here.



Nightride by Tinashe

Release: November 4, 2016

Label: RCA Records

Nightride is a representation of Tinashe’s true creative mind: sultry, bold and dark. With names like Metro Boomin, Boi-1da, and The-Dream handling the production, this album slow-burns through the first few songs and blossoms with hits like Company and Party Favors then becomes even more interesting with glitchy yet sensual beats towards the end.

Get it here.



We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest

Release: November 11, 2016

Label: Epic | SME

The group’s final album and an ode to the late Phife Dawg, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service is a masterpiece and a cornucopia of talent with guest appearances from  André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, Kanye West, Anderson .Paak, Talib Kweli and Busta Rhymes. The ever-present East Coast sound blends in with nostalgia and grooves. Even though it may seem like the death of Phife Dawg haunts this album, it’s actually all about life, beats and moving on.

Get it here.



Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino

Release: December 2, 2016

Label: Glassnote Records

Donald Glover returns after 3 years with a new sound and a new identity. On Awaken, My Love!”, Gambino is no longer the nerd rapper with smart wordplay from Because the Internet and instead we get to know the singer’s struggles as a father, as a black man and as a lover. This album is one of the grooviest made in recent history, bringing back Funkadelic beats, soul music and D’Angelo’s singing.


2016 had been a great year for music, that’s for sure. There are many more good releases to praise this year but these are the ones that made the cut for us.

Tell us your favorite albums of 2016 in the comments and join us on Vsound to listen to songs from the selected records and more!