Staff Picks: Kevito Clark's 16 Best Albums of 2016
What can we say about this year in music that hasn’t been already been said by others? The rhythms reflected in the revolution exploding in the streets of America have given artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Jamila Woods, Dev Hynes and A Tribe Called Quest ammunition to challenge the police brutality, racist injustices and fear that have turned the country into Planet Donald Drumpf.
In the midst of gun shootings galore, protests and changes in status quo, artists and music have tossed aside the notion of the quick hit for creating a lasting tale that cements 2016 and all of its fuckery. Even as countless icons (#WeMissUPrince) — both musical and otherwise — have left this world to groove out in the heavens, the sounds that have carried us through this basura soup of a year are impactful and were an audio safe place that enhanced the #BlackGirlMagic and #BlackBoyJoy of an oppressed and terrorized nation.
No matter whether you thought everything sucked because of what you saw on the news or were relieved to see musicians, athletes and public officials fight against bigotry — 2016 will go down as one of self-awareness and selfishness. We here at Okayplayer will continue to champion those who let their pen games explode in defense of the former, while checking those fraudulent enough to be a part of the latter. With that said, 2016 was such a dizzying year for music that proved we are more open than ever to receive dope artists (see: Chance The Rapper) and engage in tough discussions (see: Solange Knowles). I personally love where music is heading because you can’t stop the truth from shining, no matter how much “Black Beatles” you try to play.
On the following pages, you will find my best album picks for 2016 in no particular ranking order. Please enjoy these selections, argue with me on Twitter (or @Okayplayer) and bump loudly the music that didn’t abandon us or let us down. — Kevito