February 08, 2023

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Ten Of The Best Albums Of 2016

(Some of) The Best Albums Of 2016

Kanye West
Kanye West working on ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Can we time travel back to 2016 for a second? The decade 2010-2020 had really great music. From the rise of many new artists to different music styles being introduced, I can honestly say that the year that topped that decade off was 2016; “Summer 16” as Drake quotes.

The amount of QUALITY music that came out around this time was incredible. Moreover, the hottest artists were dropping music at this time, and may I say; not many were disappointed. Though the artists who made staple albums in 2016 may make better music now, or before, in some people’s opinions, in 2016 they produced banger after banger.

Here are some of my favorite 2016 albums.

1. Blonde: A 2016 Classic

BLONDE
Blonde Cover – Frank Ocean

To me, this is Frank Ocean‘s best work. The 2016 album will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Frank Ocean has a talent for storytelling important stories while also being able to soothe the listener. The instrumentals he chooses bring a sense of calmness to issues he discusses, and that brings a sense of togetherness. People can relate to his music. In Blonde, he talks about racism, love, masculinity, drugs, and more. In his song “Nikes,” he uses the famous line “RIP Trayvon, that n****a look just like me”; raising awareness for the murder of Trayvon Martin.

The intimacy of Frank Ocean‘s music feels like a comforting hug; especially for the people that go through the things that Frank talks about in his music. He made songs about sad things feel comforting; like “Godspeed.” In detail, the song is about him leaving a lover, but with good intentions and wishing the best. This project is beautiful.

2. Views

2016 Views by Drake
Views Cover – Drake

This album RULED Summer 2016. In Views, Drake definitely lets out his inner thoughts while still making us move our hips. Drake always makes the best music when he’s in his feelings, and a lot of his feelings were released in this project.

For one, one of the most popular songs from that album is “Feel No Ways.” The chorus goes “I tried with you/ There’s more to life than sleeping in and getting high with you/ I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do/ And that just didn’t sit right with you/ And now you’re trying to make me feel a way, on purpose.” If that isn’t “in my bag” Drake, then I don’t know what is.

In addition, the album has songs “Controlla,” “One Dance,” and “Childs Play,” which were played at all of the parties and clubs everywhere. Most can probably say that “One Dance” was the song of that summer.

3. Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World

Lil Uzi Vert
‘Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World’ Cover- Lil Uzi

Personally, this 2016 banger is in my top five favorite albums of all time. This is hands down Uzi’s best project. Every song in this album is great and with people like Maaly Raw and Metro Boomin in the production, you know it’s a great project.

One of the biggest arguments when it comes to Lil Uzi Vert’s music, is that there isn’t always much going on with their lyrics. First and foremost, Lil Uzi is not a lyricist. They make music to get people to dance, and they add their playful personality to their music. One of the most notable lines from this album is “Turn to a savage, pocket got fatter, she call me daddy” from the song “Money Longer.” They don’t rap to have meaning behind thd words, they rap to talk about how much money they have, honestly!

Often, listeners who look for lyricism don’t always understand Lil Uzi. Uzi identifies as a “rockstar.” Each song from this album is very different, and the instrumentals are different as well. Importantly, Lil Uzi changes the tone for rappers of this generation. They are unique and they make sure people know it.

4. Anti (2016)

2016 Anti
‘Anti’ Cover- Rihanna

If this album had a narrative, it would be about disappointment. This album is one of the most notable ones from 2016, with Riri expressing her hurt and frustration. With songs like “Love On The Brain,” “Consideration,” and “Never Ending,” many emotions arise while listening to this album.

One of the most popular from the album is “Work” featuring Drake. This was another song that ruled summer 2016. Though it has instrumentals that can make anyone want to dance, her lyrics give a strong message too. “I believed all a your dreams, adoration. You took my heart and my keys and my patience.” It sounds like whoever this album was about had Rihanna just about DONE.

Actually, this was the last project that Rihanna dropped until recently on October 28th, 2022. She’s just surfaced with the song ‘Lift Me Up’ for the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

5. Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight

Travis
‘Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight’ Cover- Travis Scott

This 2016 Travis Scott album is one of his most notable.

After his debut studio album, Rodeo, which dropped in 2015, Travis had already millions of fans. It’s said that Rodeo was the moment that Travis became rap’s beloved rager.

Though Rodeo did amazing as Travis’ debut album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight was Travis’ first ever #1 album on the Billboard 200. A lot of Travis fans think that this album is underrated because it isn’t his best project. However, many Travis Scott’s love it.

In short, the album uses dark instrumentals, and includes a few of Travis’ most popular songs, like “goosebumps,” “pick up the phone,” and “beibs in the trap.” It was his second studio album and definitely brought his name up way more.

6. PARTYNEXTDOOR 3 (PX3)

 

‘PARTYNEXTDOOR 3’ Cover- PARTYNEXTDOOR

The 2016 PARTYNEXTDOOR 3 album is in my opinion, his best album.

PND was the first artist signed to Drake’s OVO Sound record label in 2013. He is also a cowriter of the song “Work” by Drake and Rihanna, so he knows how to get that island feel into his music. Surely enough, he brings that to PX3.

PND is known for his sensual and soulful music. He will either bring an island vibe, or a melancholy R&B vibe to his music. During the making of this album, it’s reported that PND was going through an ugly social media storm, with his ex and R&B singer Kehlani, dating basketball player Kyrie Irving. Thus, the songs “Come and See Me,” “You’ve Been Missed,” and “Only U” could have been created during that time. The songs vibrate with a lovelorn apprehension. Whatever happened, made for a great album.

7. 24K Magic

Bruno Mars 2016 24k Magic Album
‘24K Magic’ Cover- Bruno Mars

This Bruno Mars album was different from what Bruno usually does, but worked so well. Fans loved it!

Bruno fans know that Bruno is a romantic. His songs like “Grenade,” “Marry You” and “Just The Way You Are” are mostly about love and devotion. With his album Unorthodox Jukebox, he mixes it up a little bit with more soul, R&B, and pop. It’s hard to put a label on Bruno’s style of music; to sum it up, let’s just say he’s a pop star who does it all.

As his third studio album, he brings something a bit different to the table. For example, this 2016 album is full of funk and disco. Bruno brought a little disco with ‘Treasure’ for Unorthodox Jukebox, and it became one of, if not the, most popular song on the album. He saw that it was working for him and brought the funk to 24K Magic.

8. Savage Mode

Savage Mode
‘Savage Mode’ Cover- 21 Savage & Metro Boomin

Notably, this 21 and Metro album is probably the album that propelled 21 Savage even more.

First of all, Metro Boomin gave 21 Savage some of the hardest trap beats in this album. Many people think that their most recent album, Savage Mode II, which released October 2nd, 2020, is better than this one. That may be true, but for 2016 the album was perfect.

Many people may recognize the songs “X” feat. Future, and “No Heart,” which were the two songs that really put 21 Savage on the map before the song “Bank Account” did. In this album it seems that 21 Savage found the sound that worked for him, and stuck with it ever since. Though 21 has taken a massive step up after this album, this one was still notable for the year 2016.

9. Starboy Includes 2016 Smash Hits

The Weeknd Starboy 2016 album
‘Starboy’ Cover- The Weeknd

Undoubledly, this project was a viral sensation in 2016. Especially because of it’s single and first track of the album, “Starboy.”

Specifically, The Weeknd’s third studio album features guest appearances from Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, and Future. In this album, The Weeknd highlights his insanity and his persona changes since the fame. The title of the album, which in urban dictionary is defined as “a womanizer, a philanderer, a man who has sex with many women,” is what he is embodying.

The Weeknd uses this album to tell fans that his fame is causing him to form a new personality, and kills the old one. In the “Starboy” music video, he’s seen trying to murder his former personality. This album shows a lot of growth in The Weeknd and his music. With songs like “Die For You” and “I Feel It Coming,” he takes away from that notion of becoming self absorbed in his fame by singing about how much unconditional love he can show. Starboy is definitely a standout album from 2016.

10. The Life Of Pablo

Kanye West
‘The Life Of Pablo’ Cover- Kanye West

Last but not least, this album was one of the most influential albums during 2016. Kanye West teased this album for almost an entire year, even dropping the single “Only One” with Paul McCartney to get fans eager.

Anyhow, the world knows Kanye leaves interpretation up to the people; he doesn’t feel the need to explain himself. His mind works in complex ways, but his art always comes out interesting and extremely significant when you can figure it out. Fans had confusion over who Pablo was, and why the album is about his life.

He named the album after painter Pablo Picasso, drug lord Pablo Escobar, and Saint Paul, the writer of several books of the New Testament. In an interview with Loren Diblasi of MTV News he said,“[Saint Paul] inspired and was the strongest influencer of Christianity. Pablo Escobar was the biggest mover of product, and Pablo Picasso was the biggest mover of art. And that mix between message, art, and product is The Life Of Pablo.”

This 2016 album includes hits such as “Ultralight Beam,” “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” and “I Love Kanye.” This album was a work of art, much like Kanye’s other work.

2016 And Music

So, there are so many more examples of albums from 2016 that made the year great. This year stood out so much because of the music. I can have a list of 100 albums in front of me, and if I had to pick out my favorites, a majority of my picks would be from 2016. Every decade, music changes. The 80s was a time for classics, the 90s was a time for R&B and Hip-Hop; music is so interchangeable and experimental that we can only get better. But, artists were on a whole other level back at 2016.

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