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Staff Picks: Zo’s 16 Best Albums of 2016

Staff Picks: Zo’s 16 Best Albums of 2016

Staff Picks: Zo's 16 Best Albums of 2016

10. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

Rap’s golden child was nothing short of exemplary in 2016. Did as he pleased, pleased countless with what he did. Led the first successful charge for independent artists in ages and did all of it with the most spirited outing of the year. But truth is, Coloring Book didn’t take for me at the jump. Its seemingly impossible joyfulness was hardly relatable. Didn’t see that kind of light in the world (or at least couldn’t.) Not until seeing the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille within days of one another, the year’s absolute nadir, did I understand purpose in a record so elated and confident and overtly idealistic. Coloring Book‘s light reveals itself in our darkest moments. What a gift that is.

11. Noname – Telefone

There was a moment this past weekend where Noname joined her fellow Chicagoan, Chance The Rapper, onstage for a performance of “Same Drugs” on Saturday Night Live. She delivers her verse, sings the hook and gingerly smiles while shuffling stage right off the screen. Basically the physical embodiment of her stunningly delicate debut album; playful and soothing as it grapples with more agony than any young heart should bear. Her voice cool, her head cocked, her disposition redemptive. It’s adoration and indictment of/for her hometown to the tune of a post-Dilla acid trip in church, led by one of Chicago’s warmest new voices and a brilliant regime of musicians (Saba, Cam O’bi and more.)

See Also


For years now we’ve only known Ringgo Ancheta, BKA MNDSGN, for his boogie-blessed beat suites. Warm synthesizers that lay over lo-fidelity drum programs with the occasional warbled croon. BODY WASH, his second studio album with Stones Throw, picks up right where “Camelblues” drops off; syrupy straight ahead r&b grooves laced with just enough of that interplanetary funksmanship to make it feel real and seductive. Here Ancheta proves he can pen a hook with the best of ’em allowing his voice to drive slinky melodies that have always been buried in his compositions, but are now full-bloom and articulated. BODY WASH lays the type of foundation that makes you a go-to. Which is to say, I would not be surprised if MNDSGN’s 2017 plays out like Anderson .Paak’s 2016.

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