2016 is a lot of things in different aspects.
One thing I think many of us can agree on is that this year was a great year for music. For the most part everyone delivered and there was a lot to look forward to.
The AD Report would like to end the year right by giving you my 10 favorite songs of the year from a few of the genre’s. These will be short and sweet. It was hard to come up with ten especially for Hip Hop/Rap. However, like a sports team, there are cuts.
The first artist to make the team is none other than Young Thug (please save the overstated critiques for another day).
Bread Winners – Young Thug x Young Butta (I’m Up)
I was never a believer in Thugger from the get-go. I could understand why people would like him but his music was never really for me. It didn’t hit me like it would for someone else. I’ve slowly but surely warmed up to him now and this song is partially responsible.
Young Butta opened the song with his verse and he came out swinging. Followed by Thugger who followed up with jabs and hook with high energy on an energetic beat.
This song is perfect in the aspect that their flows throughout the song matched with the instrumental and that is something I can appreciate. Seems simple but the praise is warranted. The word play on this track good too. You can tell these two LOVE money and for good reason. This is just two guys make a energetic song just for the hell of it and it paid off.
Neva CHange – Schoolboy Q x SZA (Blank Face LP)
Moving to something a little slower, this song from Groovy Q is as smooth and sailing as it gets.
The drums that kick in at the beginning of the song is one of the key pieces to the puzzle. It gives sort of a mellow song like this a bit of juice. Q touches up on a few topics in the song where from afar you’d think it would probably be in some way a love song telling from the instrumental. Q can rap very well and it’s evident in this song.
SZA was also a star on this track. Her hook was money, soft, and sweet. I should dive into her music more. A matter a fact, I’m doing it as we speak!
My favorite song from what’s perhaps one of the best hip hop albums of the year.
Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 – Kanye West (The Life Of Pablo)
The beginning of this song is heavenly.
There is a gospel sample included and then once you hear the Metro Boomin tag followed by the hook by Kid Cudi then that’s when you feel like stepping outside in the rain, closing your eyes and letting yourself go.
Letting the power of the song get you charged up and feel…liberated! (see what I did there?) It’s all good until Kanye starts rapping about bleached butt holes.
Other than that, I enjoy the song for what it is. A good executed use of samples, instrumentals, and vocals. Kanye can bring out the best in artists. Seriously, when was the last time Kid Cudi was on a level like this?
Blessings (Reprise) - Chance The Rapper (Coloring Book)
Chance is one artist everyone can root for. He’s a good guy, makes people feel good in many ways, and works hard. “The People’s champ must be everything the people can’t be.”, so he says.
Chance showcases some of his talents in this song. He gets off a nice verse and does a little singing. After his work is done, a slew of vocalist come in on the outro and bring it home.
This is my favorite part of the song. A bunch of people singing in harmony as if the sun is coming out from an awful storm. It’s obvious Chance holds religion to a high standard and I don’t know how to describe it but it’s nice that he weaves in those ties into his music.
Do What I Want – Lil Uzi Vert (The Perfect LUV Tape)
This song will forever be tied to Russell Westbrook. The triple double specialist of basketball.
Say what you want about Lil Uzi Vert and the rest of these 2016 XXL Freshmen but the thing you can’t take away from them is that they seem like they’re having fun with making music. And it’s obvious Uzi is having fun on this.
From the catchy hook, to the catchy beat, and the cool adlibs, I have fun listening to this song and you should too. Uzi isn’t necessarily a good rapper yet in my eyes at least but for what he is, he’s good. I bet this song would be fun to hear live as I hear he’s good live.
And if after reading this you disagree emphatically and say I don’t like “real hip hop”, I don’t care because NOW I DO WANT, NOW I DO WANT.
Find a Topic (homies begged) – Isaiah Rashad (The Suns’s Tirade)
Like Young Thug, I’m just now coming around to one of TDE’s top prospects.
This is the type of song you just ride off into the sunset with the windows down. Maybe not have the song on blast but at a moderate rate. Rashad’s voice on this track is soothing and I didn’t know his ear for beats are very solid.
This song is short and sweet to the point. The chords and bounce on the song are what I like the most. A good way to close out a good album. An underrated album a that.
Coordiante – Travis Scott x Black Youngsta (Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight)
Maybe I like this song because it sounds…so familiar…ah never mind!
Anyway, this song has major punch to it. The intro immediately captures your attention and Travis comes through with the hook and the use of auto-tune. I’m kind of surprised this song isn’t as big as it is considering this would jump off in clubs.
I also feel like auto-tune should be firmly apart of him from here on out since he uses it so much. His timing of adlibs is also something I enjoy. He uses only three of them “Yeah!”, “Straight Up!”, and “It’s Lit!”. Overall, this song gets me going in the gym so I had to give the track its due. Leg day goes by quickly when this song is in the rotation.
Real Friends – Kanye West x Ty Dolla $ign (The Life Of Pablo)
Yeezy makes his return on the list.
This song feels nostalgic. I don’t want to get into this “Old Kanye” talk because it’s futile. Artist should evolve, experiment, not remain stale and the new Kanye (artistically, I repeat, artistically) is fine (in some ways though, he's always been like that).
With that said, Real Friends is a good song and reminds you how versatile he is/can be. His delivery in this song was solid, he did a good job of trying to tell you a story, and gives you a hook which is as real as it gets. Ty Dolla compliments Ye well on this song with some signing. He knows how deliver on those notes.
Add in the melodic, slow, memorizing beat, and you get one of my favorite songs of the year.
Get Bigger/Do U Luv – NxWorries (Yes Lawd!)
NxWorries consist of rapper/singer Anderson. Paak & producer Knxwledge. Together they make very good music.
Paak is a hook smith. He doesn’t miss when it comes to that and I’m not sure he ever will. He also gives a pair of verses that are cool to follow along with. He’s not the best rapper I’ve ever heard but he does well enough for me to take notice. He’s smooth on delivery and is someone who thinks about the past often.
Knwledge on the other hand is cold on those boards. The soul feel in this song is dope and the beat switch is dope. Other artists need to start hitting this guy up because chances are he won’t disappoint.
We The People…. – A Tribe Called Quest (We Got it From Here)
A song that came out at the right time. The song tackles issues facing America consisting from police brutality, racial/religious discrimination, lack of equality for women, deportation threats, and conflictions from the media.
Q-Tip is still as good as ever when it comes to being a lyricist. His hook on the song is straight forward. Even our president-elect would agree. Phife Dawg has a posthumous verse after Tip’s first hook. It was sharp and direct. He was something special back in the day. I had the opportunity to go back to some of their early albums and I can say he had some HEAT.
Everything about this song is in your face and straight forward. Combine these two with Ali Shaheed Muhammed and there is a reason why Tribe is considered one of the best. This song just reinforces it. They are for the people. Rest in peace, Phife Dawg.
Welcome to the AD report.