Top Rap Albums of the Summer- 2016

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Art was made this summer. New Kendrick, new Vince, and just recently, new Thugga. Chance has turned the world of rap on its head and it will never really be the same. Legends are dying and heroes are rising. And though all this music is truly great, we have to find out who stands at the top.

But first, some honorable mentions:

“Seven Mirrors” – Drapht
Australia has never really had a presence in the American rap world. Iggy Azalea COULD count, sure, but she’s never been much more than a walking target for hate. Drapht has the most potential in America because of his feel-good beats and witty lyrics. Although he doesn’t seem close to an American breakthrough yet, we have seen that all it takes is one hit song and he will stay around for a while.

Other Honorable Mentions:
“The Life of Pablo” – Kanye West
Best Song: “Ultralight Beam”
“Bobby Tarantino” – Logic
Best Song: “Super Mario World”
“Major Key” – DJ Khaled
Best Song: “Holy Key”
“The Sun’s Tirade” – Isaiah Rashad
Best Song: “Wat’s Wrong”
“Monda” – Cousin Stizz
Best Song: “500 Horses”
“x Infinity” – Watsky
Best Song: “Don’t Be Nice”

Now on with the top 5 albums of the summer, beginning with number 5:

5. “Jeffrey” – Young Thug
It was very unlikely that Young Thug would stay silent for the rest of 2016 after releasing “I’m up” back in February and striking gold with his weird alien noises on “Slime Season 3” in March. “Jeffrey,” however, is different from either of those. Each song on the album is named after each of his idols or influences, and each one has a different sound. With names like RiRi, Kanye, and even Harambe, the album changes and twists rap music to its limit, while still being so foundationally sound. It truly is Thugga at his finest.

4. “Telefone” – Noname
Chicago rapper Noname’s breakthrough was on Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” when she had a beautiful verse at the end of “Lost.” She collaborated with Chance again on the song “Finish Line” on Chance’s newest album “Coloring Book” (See No. 1). Very soon after, she dropped “Telefone,” a melancholy tape about life and death, particularly acceptance of both. It’s not as much traditional rap, but it is an exquisite form of hip-hop where you can find beauty in every word, every line, and every verse. It has been severely underrated, underhyped, and simply needs much more credit as one of the best albums of the year. It’s gorgeous lyrics and silky flow launch it into the top 5 albums of the summer, and definitely one worth listening to.

3. “Prima Donna” – Vince Staples
Vince Staples is everything music should be. All the pauses, changes in inflection, lyrics, beat, everything is where it is supposed to be. Vince produces a multitude of sounds that can appeal to pretty much anyone. He has edgy tones, a smooth flow, and the ability to seem powerful while also remaining incredibly calm. In “Pimp Hand,” Vince shows himself off as a beast. At the same time, he’s got a downtrodden tone to his song, lacking emotion, but having so much passion all the same. Vince is well on his way to immortality, just a few steps away from greatness.

2. “Untitled Unmastered” – Kendrick Lamar
Before we start, let’s make one thing clear; Kendrick Lamar is the best rapper alive today. J. Cole is nothing compared to him. Drake is nothing compared to him. Even Kanye West has fallen far, far beneath the gold standard set by Kendrick. This album is coming off the success of “To Pimp a Butterfly” and it could not have been weirder. TPAB was a high energy, showstopping album that won a Grammy for rap album of the year. In contrast, “Untitled Unmastered” is very slow and very trippy. It doesn’t bring energy, but the beats are still enjoyable. It’s like having vibes launched straight into your brain without having to pick through anything else. The best part is, Kendrick pulls it off just as well as he has with anything else, and remains king of the rap game.

1. “Coloring Book” – Chance the Rapper
“Coloring Book” is of course standing above all else. Any other tape being at the top spot would be a tragedy. Chance’s rap career has been skyrocketing lately, and that’s no coincidence. He doesn’t have the major label backing that Drake does (he refuses to sign with one). He’s been relying solely on the gleaming quality of music and word of mouth to get his music, which is all free through multiple music sharing websites, out there. “Coloring Book” is the result of that. It has reached worldwide status without being truly “sold”. Through radiant composition as well as the help of many feature artists such as 2 Chainz and Kanye West, this album is the peak of his career. Chance’s raps feel like rain does on the skin, like jumping in a pool on a hot day, like ice cream in the summertime. It is beautiful. It is real. It is unfadeable.

 

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Daniel Baier
Danny, a senior at Mountain View High School, loves rap music with a passion. In his free time, he can be found watching Scrubs on Netflix and finding new music to listen to. He has a notion that he is a born winner, but everybody knows that really isn't the case.
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