Last year was a big year for the music world. Beyoncé made women everywhere feel empowered with the greatest that is known as Lemonade, Solange reminded Black people it’s okay to revel in the magic that blackness is with A Seat At The Table, and Frank Ocean released his highly anticipated sophomore album Blond. All three albums were fantastic, and received the adequate amount of praise that each deserved. However, there were several albums that were on heavy rotation on my playlist that just did not get the accolades I felt they should have. As an artist, I know the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that go into making real artistry, so I’ve decided to compose a list of my top 10 underrated albums of 2016 to give these musicians the recognition they deserve. Check it out below.
10. “ANTI” X Rihanna
I know you’re probably thinking why is Rihanna on this list, she’s Rihanna? While it may be true that she is an ultra famous pop-star, her album was not given the praise it deserved from the mainstream media world. ANTI told the unapologetic story of what most women feel about their love lives as they journey through their mid to late 20s. I identified with every song on the album, and it may be my most favorite Rihanna project to date.
Dawn is one of those artists that music takes you on a sonically spiritual journey. As you listen to Redemption you can feel the evolution of Dawn’s journey not just as an artist, but as a person.
I’ve always been a fan of Jeremih and his sultry lyrics, so when he released this follow-up album to his 2015 hit Late Nights back in August I had to give it a listen. I was not disappointed. Jeremih took his listeners on a sexy journey through his European tour-stops and gave us a taste of each city using various tempos to match the mood and tone of that particular place.
Vic Mensa has been one of my favorite artists for a while now. His transition into the mainstream music world was a swift one, and he reflected that on this album. Mensa tells the story of what it feels like to be a Black man in today’s society, all while trying to enjoy the fun that comes along with being a young rap star.
Eldorado is uncensored, sensual, and seductive. Ro James reminds you exactly of what real r&b should feel and sound like. It’s the perfect album for a date-night in with your baby.
When this album dropped I kept it on repeat for at least 5 weeks straight, it was just that great. B4 The Heartbreak tells the age-old story of a man that falls in love but isn’t ready to commit just yet, and then finds himself in a bit if a love-triangle. The lyrics are raw and relatable, and paired with well-composed mild tempo beats. There’s just nothing not to love about this project.
I discovered 6LACK through a Pandora Radio station. After researching his music, I discovered he had recently released his debut album. After just one listen to it, I was hooked. FREE 6LACK takes you through the journey of a disastrous love story. You feel every once of pain, regret, denial, and finally redemption.
Yuna is one of those artists that artistry literally feeds your soul. The soft-tone of her vocals are just so darn soothing. Chapters takes you on Yuna’s voyage of letting go of her non-deserving lover, learning her strength as a woman, and then becoming emotionally vulnerable to fall in love again. The album puts you in a trance, and helps you momentarily forget about the world around you.
Words can not express how I love the artist that is known as Banks. With her second studio album The Altar, Banks takes you on her journey of how she’s grown into the woman she’s come to be. As dark as the album is there is this contrasting sense of purity you feel while listening to it.
There is just something so tranquil about Gallant’s voice. Ology exudes the awesomeness that r&b was in the 90s and early 2000s. This album is the perfect soundtrack whether you’re taking a relaxing bubble bath with a glass of wine, or need something vibbie to listen to at an intimate house party. The old-school nature of the album mixed with contemporary undertones made it my favorite album of 2016.
Hope you all enjoyed the list. What were some of your favorite underrated albums of 2016? I would love to hear about them in the comments.