Mumble rap surely made its mark over the last 12 months with the ascension of acts like Young Thug and Desiigner, but the real story of 2016 is protest music. This year, more than any in recent memory, saw hip-hop fearlessly stepping up to the plate to represent what’s happening in the real world. Whether it’s Chance‘s joyous gospel, Common and A Tribe Called Quest’s weathered readiness, or YG’s anti-Donald Trump anthem, hip-hop rediscovered its power. The year also saw the Chicago become the new hotspot of brilliant black music, the emergence of TDE as rap’s best crew, and Solange making music fans wonder which Knowles sister had the better album. Read below for my top 16 albums of the year.