Fashionably-Early’s Top 50 Albums of 2016

25. Rihanna – ANTI

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl)

ANTI was a grower for me. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the overly repetitive “Work” (PARTYNEXTDOOR’s original version was better too), this song had gems that I ended up coming back to consistently. I personally don’t look to Rihanna to give me a masterful album that plays perfectly front to back but I expect Rihanna to give me a few songs that really stick and she did that in unique fashion with a song like “Consideration”, thanks to an abstract beat from The Antydote. There’s a lot of styles on this album it’s definitely a little jumbled and messy but its high points are what makes this album so memorable. – Trixx


24. Meek Mill – DC4

meek mill dc4


PURCHASE: iTunes

The hype for the fourth edition of Meek Mill‘s Dreamchasers series was very high for a long period of time as fans waited to see how he would respond with a full project following a 2015 summer beef with Drake. After a multitude of delays, we got DC4 this fall and got another dose of classic Meek Mill – hard hitting lyrics over massive production. Even if some of the songs were indicative of recent hip-hop trends (evident by features from 21 Savage, Young Thug, YFN Lucci and Lil Uzi Vert), much of the album is just a return to style for Meek, mostly tailing away from the pop sensibilities of his last studio album. “Litty”, which features Tory Lanez, is a strong contender for hardest track of the year, while “Shine” is a classic Meek come-up anthem that all fans enjoy. This album may not appeal to someone who isn’t already a Meek Mill fan, but his core fans were all pleased with the release. – Mitch


23. Future – EVOL

future evol

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (MP3, Vinyl)

Future‘s only retail release of 2016 was EVOL. The 12 track set continued Future’s trend of keeping the features to a minimum, as The Weeknd appeared on the album’s most popular track ‘Low Life’ – which was released nearly two months prior to the album. The album is right in line with Future‘s impressive run of projects dating back to the release of Monster. You are smacked in the face with banger after banger, slowing down only for tracks like ‘Lie To Me,’ the aforementioned ‘Low Life,’ and ‘Fly Shit Only.’ Tracks like ‘Ain’t No Time,’ ‘Lil Haiti Baby,’ and ‘Maybach’ are top-level Future bangers along with the late addition of ‘Wicked.’ The track was previously featured on his January release Purple Reign but was commercially exploited and tacked onto EVOL two months after it’s release. Overall, EVOL does not suffer from any low points but it does not contain the highs that would be necessary to push this project to the next level.


22. dvsn – Sept. 5th

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl)

The highest ranking OVO Sound release of 2016 comes from the dvsn outfit. dvsn consists of vocalist Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85 who crafted one of the strongest and most memorable R&B/soul albums of the year with Sept. 5th. The album is led by deeply sensual pre-release singles ‘Hallucinations,’ ‘Too Deep,’ ‘With Me’ & ‘The Line.’ The only downfall with the album is that all of the album’s pre-release singles are the most captivating songs on the project. The album as a whole is very, very good but without adding any notable highlights beyond 3-6 month old singles for the album’s release definitely holds this album back. Then again, the four singles are so strong that they carry the album and help give the album the critical acclaim that it deserves. – malbin


21. Gallant – Ology

PURCHASE: iTunes || Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl)

Perhaps credit goes to Gallant‘s team but i’ve heard songs from this album all over the place this year and that really what made me realize how strong this album is. You can play his songs at all occasions and whether they’re familiar or not, the music hits the right chords with people. His name’s new to many folks but his sound is appealing and easy to grasp. He definitely found his stride on his debut major label album Ology and he put together a brilliant piece of art. When it comes to new age singers, he and Daniel Daley (of dvsn) are among the most talented as they possess this remarkable range and falsetto. A song like “Talking To Myself” brilliantly shows this off throughout as well as how remarkable of a songwriter Gallant is. I truly think it’s only a matter of time until he gets a smash hit. – Trixx

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