HHNM 2016 Year-End List: Favorite Albums

We have already shared our list of 10 favorite songs from 2016 with you so it’s only right that we graduate to albums today. We’ll be brave enough to admit that 2016 didn’t see too many gems being released but one can always find a few selections that match your taste.


This list contains albums which we liked and played the most in 2016 hence the term “favorite”. Sales, radio spins or critical acclaim are no factors. Since the definition of an “album” has blurred quite a bit, we have also considered mixtapes and other digital-only projects for this list. Only those albums released between January 1 and December 31, 2015 have been considered. Take a look at our staff’s picks below.



Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine

This album surprised a lot of people, myself included. I didn’t care for Mac’s music until last year with GO:OD AM. Once I heard the Anderson .Paak featured ‘Dang!,’ I was ready. It was funky and I knew the style was going to be different than anything we would hear this year. With features from Bilal, Ariana Grande, CeeLo Green, Kendrick Lamar, Ty Dolla $ign, and Njomza, Mac Miller put together an album about love without sounding corny. Rappers have a tough time creating songs for the ladies so to do a whole album about the thing that brings relationships together and tears them apart is spectacular. – Joe Coad


Ty Dolla $ign – Campaign

Ty Dolla $ign remains one of the most underrated R&B artists out. Despite hitting the mark with 2015’s Free TC, the LA based artist has never really gotten the credit he deserves for his song making ability and raw talent. Campaign is yet another great example of his skill level. He shows his range with mellow, conscious cuts like ‘No Justice’ and unapologetic braggadocio Hip-Hop with the title track featuring Future. It’s only a matter of time before Dolla $ign gets his just due. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. – Akaash


Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

Did anyone have a more breakout year than Chance the Rapper? There is no doubt that he’s been destined for stardom since 2013’s Acid Rap, but 2016 was the culmination of all the pieces he had put together since then. It started with a show stealing verse on the opener of his mentor and idol Kanye West’s new album in March. He followed that up in May with his diverse and mainstream-breakthrough Coloring Book. He ultimately ended it with his frequently promised Grammy nominations and another SNL appearance as a cherry on top. I like to look at Chance’s mixtape trilogy as moments in time. If 10 Day felt like high school and Acid Rap college, then Coloring book was someone who just graduated and started his first entry level job in the real world. It was an artist who had gone through the normal ups and downs of growing up and was starting to figure out what really mattered to him in life. Apparently working on his proper debut studio album now, one can only wonder what Chance’s next phase will bring musically. – Scott Evans



10. Royce 5’9″ – Layers

Although we were promised three full length albums from Royce 5’9 in 2016, we’re more than happy with what we got. Layers marked his first solo album since 2011 and however silly it may seem now, he had something to prove with it. The project is the perfect introduction to the newer, sober Royce, so much so that it actually feels like a debut album from the Detroit rapper. Nickel doesn’t miss a step and has us anticipating whatever comes next, whether it’s PRhyme 2 or The Book Of Ryan. We’ll take both. – Akaash


9. Lloyd Banks – All or Nothing: Live it Up

A lot has been said about Lloyd Banks and his underrated abilities in rap but let’s admit it – some of his projects have been a little too much of the same old. All or Nothing: Live It Up however, was a great piece of work where he experimented a little more with the production, paid more attention to song concepts and rapped some crazy lines that we’re still trying to decipher to this day. Now let’s just hope we finally get to hear his fourth album in 2017. – Navjosh


8. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

Not much else can be said about an album that’s been discussed as much as Kanye’s 7th solo LP The Life of Pablo. With its mess of a release and its constant updates, it was a fragmented piece of music that perfectly resembles the artist that created it. As 2016 has progressed, West has seen public perception of him return to almost Taylor Swift levels of hatred. Capped by a canceled tour, meetings with Donald Trump, and his wife being the victim of a robbery, the year’s end has been all over the place for West. Pablo is similarly all over the place. Some lyrics are head scratching, the gospel themes inconsistent, but somehow when packaged together it works as some sort of organized chaos. Kanye has always delivered albums that represent his current mind state and surroundings. If The College Dropout was an aspiring superstar and Yeezus was a frustrated entrepreneur, than Pablo is little bits and pieces of everything in between, like some sort of hits compilation made up of new material. – Scott Evans


7. The Weeknd – Starboy

If you didn’t think The Weeknd was a star by 2015, he decided to drop an album full of reasons for you with Starboy. He pulled influence from the likes of Michael Jackson, 50 Cent and David Bowie on this one and the eclectic sound of the singles paid off. His subject matter didn’t change much but that’s all the more reason to love him. He’s just as good at telling us about partying with girls and doing cocaine as Pusha T & Malice were at telling us stories about selling it. This album dropped towards the end of the year which made it fall off the radar a little bit so if you missed this, please do yourself a favor and go back to it. – Joe Coad


6. Rihanna – ANTI

Twitter told us that this album was “trash”. I’m here to tell you that Twitter has lied to you once again. There wasn’t a better stretch of music in 2016 than what Rihanna gave us from ‘Kiss It Better’ to ‘Same Ol Mistakes’. She dominated the radio with this album, even forcing Fifth Harmony to change the name of their ‘Work’ single to ‘Work From Home’. 2015 saw Rihanna going left and it didn’t work. 2016 was Rihanna getting back to what works for her while spicing things up. – Joe Coad