It’s my second annual musical offering of my favorite songs that are appropriate for the best holiday manufactured to sell cards, fill restaurants, and stress test your romantic relationships.
Micah’s Picks: 2016’s Top 10 Albums
It’s been a great year for music. Here’s my second annual roundup of my favorite releases of the year, now with a top fifty song list and a complete list of songs that made my rotation this year.
It’s been amazing to watch Anderson .Paak’s rise to prominence over the last year. From his initial link up with Knxwledge. to working with the likes of Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, Kendrick Lamar, and Eminem, he’s truly become a force to be reckoned with. If you’ve been sleeping on him, here’s a little playlist to get you started:
Micah: I have been waiting for this album for a long time. Acid Rap came out three years ago, and Surf felt more like a Social Experiment album featuring Chance than the other way around. I’ve been missing that positive, bouncy, gospel-tinged raps from the fiercely independent Chance the Rapper. Since he got on the map, Chance has reinvested his momentum back into the musicians that helped him create his music, the city he lived in, and his sonic foundation.
Henry: It’s tough working with a dead person’s art. How can we know if we’ve stayed true to their vision? The obvious answer is that, well, we can’t. Posthumous releases will necessarily be a projection of what we thought the artist would have wanted, and the degree of the projection depends on the completeness of the work as it has been left to us, and the extent to which the creator gave instructions for how they wanted their legacy to be fulfilled.
Micah: No one could start a verse life Phife. His charisma, off-kilter lyricism and delivery are often the first thing to stick with me when I get into a new Tribe song. It’s tragic to hear that the Five Foot Assassin has departed, leaving A Tribe Called Quest permanently unwhole for the first time. He will be missed, but we still have his music. Thank you Phife. Rest in peace.
Henry: Phife Dawg was one of the first rappers I ever heard to unabashedly rap about whatever happened to be on his mind. In a genre so often caught up in beefs and battles and debates over who is the GOAT, it’s easy to take oneself too seriously, to try too hard and end up forcing it. Phife never did, and that’s what makes A Tribe Called Quest the most listenable rap group of all time. His style finds a universality in its easy humor, always putting smiles on faces, never losing sight of just how much fun it is to rhyme.
Micah: Kendrick officially entered my personal top 5 emcees of all time with his last release. I know he’s still very new compared to the greats, but his progression and domination of the culture are undeniable, and barring an unexpected misstep, Kendrick might be the greatest to ever do it. The one-two-three punch of his first albums is not only comparable to Kanye’s first trilogy, but arguably better. Kendrick has shown drastic artistic growth along with a doubling down on his integrity. If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon already, it’s time. This mix begins a bit dense, but gives you an idea of what kind of experience you can expect from Kendrick. If you want the lighter stuff, start around track four.
Henry: What he said. Just listen to the music.
Henry: This one is for all you salty heads like me who just want the old days back. Micah dug up some classic Kanye joints just for you. We’ve got spotify playlists and some good old fashioned youtube links for a few of the deeper cuts. However you feel about Yeezy now, you gotta admit, he’s come a long way.
Micah: To go along with the release of The Life of Pablo, here is a collection of my favorite old-school Kanye songs. The first disc features Kanye’s early beatwork for other artists and the second contains some of his best vocal cuts released under his own name.
Henry: It’s something of a truism that all art is about love and death. But now, for that most sappy of hallmark holidays, let us indulge in at least half of that old cliche once more, because who doesn’t love love songs.