AOTY 2019
Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums of 2016

Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums of 2016

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15. Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 2

Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 2
August 12, 2016
Critic Score
13 reviews

Even after the countless release pushbacks, the brothers are ready to live their best lives again with SremmLife 2, a rarely relenting party with more substance than the last.

14. Drake - Views

Drake - Views
April 29, 2016
Critic Score
31 reviews

It's a slow album, but through multiple listens, we're treated to the same complexities, but personal and musical, that have made him such a fascinating figure throughout the past decade.

13. Isaiah Rashad - The Sun's Tirade

Isaiah Rashad - The Sun's Tirade
September 2, 2016
Critic Score
12 reviews

The Sun's Tirade is pleasant, but it's not timeless.

12. Kamaiyah - A Good Night in the Ghetto

Kamaiyah - A Good Night in the Ghetto
March 14, 2016
Critic Score
3 reviews

Kamaiyah more than makes up for a lack of variety in delivery and intricate wordplay, with intense Missy Elliott-level confidence on the mic, pairing perfectly with bass-heavy and synth-saturated beats built specifically for blaring from a car on the way to chill with friends at the beach.

11. Young Thug - Jeffery

Young Thug - Jeffery
August 26, 2016
Critic Score
11 reviews

On Jeffery ... he's a singer who raps. Try as he might, Thugga can't rap more than a few bars here before the melody overtakes him. He's got a song in his heart, and he just has to let it out.

10. YG - Still Brazy

YG - Still Brazy
June 17, 2016
Critic Score
13 reviews

YG avoids the sophomore slump with Still Brazy by evoking the crown jewels of West Coast hip-hop royalty.

9. Vince Staples - Prima Donna

Vince Staples - Prima Donna
August 25, 2016
Critic Score
13 reviews

Staples approaches the latest chapters of his story on Prima Donna in bleak fashion, his pen and delivery both as sharp as ever.

8. Common - Black America Again

Common - Black America Again
November 4, 2016
Critic Score
11 reviews

Black America Again isn't an album meant for casual listening, but rather a socio-politically charged album meant to be absorbed so that everyone can truly recognize the "Bigger Picture Called Freedom."

7. Skepta - Konnichiwa

Skepta - Konnichiwa
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
17 reviews

Moments like this don't just posit Konnichiwa as a triumph for the genre, but put Skepta firmly in the driver's seat of its recent resurgence, fuelled by a hunger and post-fame humility we can only hope won't waver or disappear.

6. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
29 reviews

All said, untitled unmastered. is a brilliant mini-album that stands well on its own, but it works even better as a fascinating To Pimp a Butterfly appendix, expanding on and balancing the themes of that album both sonically and lyrically.

5. Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP

Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP
July 8, 2016
Critic Score
20 reviews

Blank Face LP refines the slight missteps that Q's 2014 album, Oxymoron, made; where Oxymoron tried too hard at times to keep up with passing trends, Blank Face LP manages to be versatile without sounding desperate.

4. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016
Critic Score
34 reviews

It remains a modern gospel that is undeniably West's own, with a handful of vexatious moments peppered throughout the undeniably visionary ones.

3. A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
November 11, 2016
Critic Score
25 reviews

We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service proves that after all this time, A Tribe Called Quest can, in fact, still kick it. It's a goodbye on a high note. Thank you for your service.

2. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
September 27, 2016
Critic Score
32 reviews

On Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown is better than he's ever been.

1. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
May 13, 2016
Critic Score
23 reviews

Coloring Book is a spirited musical sermon, and Chance's fellow MCs will covet its perfect union of gospel and rap. Those other rappers had better speak now, or forever hold their peace.

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