I know what you’re thinking: not another “End of the Year” list. The internet is bombarded this time of year by everyone’s opinions on the “top” this and “best” that. When it comes to music, it seems like critics love to present only their favorite artists with their empty “Album of the Year” honors. This is not that type of list.
The following list of albums are some of the most important works to be released in 2016 by Black folks, in collaboration with Black folks, and/or for Black folks.
It has been popular to say that 2016 was a terrible year, but that was not true concerning music releases. Works like Alwasta by Oddisee perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the time with songs like “Lifting Shadows” which describes the discrimination faced by many Muslims in the United States and around the world. While A Seat at the Table by Solange powerfully illustrated Black complexity and affirmed Black humanity through her songwriting.
I’ve removed the numbering system associated with traditional “End of the Year” lists because I don’t think about the arts as a competition, but rather as a conversation, and I hope you take some time during this holiday season to give each artist’s music here a spin.
Andre Loftis Jr, Graphic Designer