10 Slept-On Albums From the First Half of 2016

5 months into 2016 and there’s already been a lot of great music to drop this year. Here are 10 albums you probably haven’t heard from this year that you need to hear NOW.
[hr gap=”2″]

Payroll Giovanni – Big Bossin, Vol. 1

payroll giovanni big bossin vol 1

DOWNLOAD | STREAM

After Doughboyz Cashout split from Jeezy‘s CTE label, it seemed like there was little direction in where the individual members would go with their careers. Well, Payroll Giovanni (who was always the clear standout of the group), was the first to make a big splash with the release of Big Bossin’, Vol. 1, produced in full by none other than Cardo. If you’ve listened to Cardo‘s beats before, you pretty much know what you’re in for with this one. Some might call him formulaic, but to me, it just sounds really strong and that’s all that matters. This is the perfect type of production for Payroll, as he fits like a glove with his relaxed flow and rather relaxed lyrical content. A couple of features from members of the Cashout on here, but for the most part, Payroll handles this all on his own. The album is almost 70 minutes long but never drags at all, with Payroll always bringing bars, ranging from hilarious to deep to storytelling (or all three at once). If you’re looking for an album to play at your summer barbeuque in background or blast from your car speakers on a hot day, this is pretty much the perfect soundtrack. – Mitch


[hr gap=”2″]

Jerreau – Never How You Plan

never how you plan

DOWNLOAD | STREAM

2016 marked the end of Fly Union and beginning of Jerreau as a solo artist. Never How You Plan It stands at 14 tracks and allows us to receive brutally honest lyrics, witty metaphors, confident flows and distinct production. Despite Fly Union members providing production on 10 of the tracks, Jerreau is able to separate himself from his former group and show us an upgraded version of himself.

Led by his breakout single – the LeBron James & Beats By Dre cosigned ‘Really Got It’ – the album is reaching a massive audience and showcasing that authenticity will shine through all the bullshit that has been released in 2016. – malbin


[hr gap=”2″]

FM-84 – ATLAS

atlas

DOWNLOAD | STREAM

Before this year, I would go out on a limb and say I never listened to a dreamwave song in my life. Thanks to a SubmitHub submission, I was able to stumble upon FM-84‘s Atlas and I have been in love ever since.

The album bobs and weaves through sun-soaked instrumentals and emotionally draining pop vocal records. Cuts like ‘Don’t Want to Change Your Mind’ & ‘Running In The Night’ with British vocalist Ollie Wride showcase the highest points of the album with the perfect combination of heart churning vocals and gazing production.

Atlas is an emotional, nostalgic journey. The album features songs that feel like they will somehow find their way into some of the most memorable moments of your life. A truly timeless piece of work. – malbin


[hr gap=”2″]

Niko G4 – Worth the Risk

niko g4 worth the risk

DOWNLOAD | STREAM

Longtime Dom Kennedy affiliate Niko G4 had been very quiet since the release of 2013’s Roll the Dice, but he returned from a long hiatus in January with Worth the Risk, a monumental improvement on all ends. The increase in quality is very apparent just from the collaborators – names such as Mike Free & J. LBS show up on production, and Casey Veggies, Jay 305, Dom Kennedy, Kool John and more stop by for guest spots. For a west coast hip hop album in 2016, this is as good as it gets. Niko’s gruffy flow and delivery works extremely well over the wide array of beats he is given, and he does a great job of detailing life in and throughout Los Angeles. For fans of guys like Dom Kennedy and Skeme, this album will be right up your alley. At the end of “Paid Dues”, west coast legend Kurupt mentions how they “do all of this shit for the coast”. Worth the Risk stays very true to this statement. – Mitch


[hr gap=”2″]

Sylvan LaCue – Far From Familiar

Sylvan Lacue FFF

DOWNLOAD | STREAM

Maybe it’s the name change that made Sylvan LaCue viable for this list but along with all the other constituents here, Sylvan had a really strong album this year.

Sylvan’s storytelling is A1, and the whole album is truly a loosely told tale, as each track flows into the next as naturally as a grand river flows into a lake. And if you’re a simpleton that doesn’t listen to full albums, then there’s still a bevy of songs of all shapes and sizes. “Back To The City” bumps beautifully in the car for when you want some attention and alternatively there’s smooth jams like “Emeryville” where Sylvan channels his inner Donald Glover and belts out a soulful tune. – Trixx


CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE

Explore Other Finds