The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt. 7

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • A TRIBE CALLED QUEST – WE GOT IT FROM HERE… THANK YOU 4 YOUR SERVICE
  • KENDRICK LAMAR – UNTITLED UNMASTERED
  • TRAVIS SCOTT – BIRDS IN THE TRAP SING McKNIGHT
  • ANDERSON .PAAK – MALIBU
  • SKEPTA – KONNICHIWA
  • DANNY BROWN – ATROCITY EXHIBITION
  • KEVIN GATES – ISLAH
  • YG – STILL BRAZY

THE WINNER:

  • TRAVIS SCOTT – BIRDS IN THE TRAP SING McKNIGHTtravis-scott

If you listen to only eight albums this year, make it these ones. Every single one of them is a masterpiece in its own right. YG remained the flag-bearer of modern West Coast gangster rap. Skepta crossed the pond with the very British Konnichiwa. Kendrick Lamar managed to get into the conversation by putting out a collection of leftovers from his previous two albums. A Tribe Called Quest surprised everyone by recreating their signature sound in 2016. Danny Brown gave a perfectly gritty account of his drug abuse and mental health over cluttered, biting beats on Atrocity Exhibition. Anderson .Paak properly introduced himself to the world stage after featuring heavily on Dr. Dre’s Compton the year previously with an album that infused countless genres. Kevin Gates went from internet darling to outselling Adele in first week sales.

Despite all this, Travis Scott let his ambition carry him to putting out the greatest album of ate, with fourteen excellent tracks. A star-studded supporting cast including Andre 3000, The Weeknd, Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar and Bryson Tiller helped BITTSM overcome all its competition this year. Peaking at number one in the Billboard 200, Scott became an icon with this album.

SIDENOTE:

ferg

The worst hip-hop album this year goes to A$AP Ferg with Always Strive and Prosper. I’m not sure if it’s just because he’s frequently seen beside the most charismatic man in hip-hop, A$AP Rocky but Ferg is probably the least cool rapper there is. Despite being woefully lame, Ferg’s music is usually pretty good. His 2013 debut album Trap Lord was critically acclaimed and was admittedly excellent. However, this year, Ferg’s music seems to have caught up with his personality. Always Strive and Prosper comes off like it’s confused and directionless and may have driven off some of the fans he won with Trap Lord. Apart from New Level which was brilliant (wholly thanks to Future), nothing here stands out at all. Sure, the production values are high and he has some high-profile features but the lostness and distractedness of it all just makes it unlistenable.

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The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt. 6

TRACK OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • KID CUDI (feat. PHARRELL WILLIAMS) – SURFIN’
  • SCHOOLBOY Q – THAT PART (BLACK HIPPY REMIX)
  • DESIIGNER – PANDA
  • ANDERSON .PAAK – COME DOWN
  • D.R.A.M. (feat. LIL YACHTY) – BROCCOLI
  • KANYE WEST (feat. CHANCE THE RAPPER, KIRK FRANKLIN, KELLY PRICE and THE-DREAM) – ULTRALIGHT BEAM
  • CHANCE THE RAPPER (feat. 2 CHAINZ and LIL WAYNE) – NO PROBLEM
  • DRAKE (feat. WIZKID and KYLA REID) – ONE DANCE

THE WINNER:

  • CHANCE THE RAPPER (feat. 2 CHAINZ and LIL WAYNE) – NO PROBLEM

Chance the Rapper cemented himself this year as music’s hottest free agent and if this song is anything to go by, he doesn’t see that changing for a long time. Flexing about being independent, he aptly calls on the Collegrove duo who have both had label issues in the past. Both Wayne and 2 Chainz delivered probably their best verses of the year which only helped this become such a behemoth of a song. Seeing out huge tracks from the likes of Drake, Kanye West and ScHoolboy Q, Chance went from the next big thing to an indisputable megastar this year. Long may it continue.

SIDENOTE:

While it has been a good year for rap music, we have had our fair share of trash too… Here’s the Worst Track of the Year award too:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • ZAY HILFIGERRR & ZAYION McCALL – JUJU ON THAT BEAT (TZ ANTHEM)
  • G-EAZY – ME, MYSELF AND I
  • MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS (feat. ANDERSON .PAAK AND IDRIS ELBA) – DANCE OFF
  • LIL YACHTY – ALL TIMES
  • MACHINE GUN KELLY – BAD THINGS

 

THE WINNER:

While I don’t recommend any of these songs, I don’t know if I’ve ever hated a song as much as this. I actually like everyone involved in this, Macklemore is usually pretty inoffensive, Anderson .Paak had a great year and you can’t hate Idris Elba. Somehow, though, this is a totally detestable abomination of a song. The concept of it is terrible, the lyrics are cringeworthy and the instrumental sounds unforgivably like some sort of 80’s synth rock impersonation.  I said my piece about the video before and I feel pretty much the same way about the song. Horrible.

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt. 5

DJ OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • DJ KHALED
  • DJ MUSTARD
  • DJ ESCO
  • DJ DRAMA

 

THE WINNER:

  • DJ KHALEDdj-k

It would only make sense, wouldn’t it? Mustard had his moment, but in the last year DJ Khaled has become a parody of himself. Going viral almost daily with his Snapchat escapades, including the birth of his child (while listening to his own music, of course), getting lost at sea on his jet ski (tail-end of last year, I know, but hilarious nonetheless) and of course the groundbreaking release of his ninth studio album, Major Key, which had a who’s who of hip-hop for a feature list. From Nas, Jay Z, Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe to Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Future and YG, Khaled got them all. Behind all the buffoonery, DJ Khaled is actually one of the best DJs in the world and should be respected musically. Laugh all you want, he’s doing the same. All the way to the bank.

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • MIKE WILL MADE-IT
  • SOUNWAVE
  • METRO BOOMIN
  • MIKE DEAN

 

THE WINNER:

  • METRO BOOMINmetro

 

Young Metro has done the rounds. Active since 2010, he’s only gotten better and is still only 23. With producing credits for the likes of Kanye West, Future, Young Thug, Collegrove, The Weeknd, Drake and Gucci Mane as well a joint project with 21 Savage entitled Savage Mode, 2016 has been one hell of a year for Metro. He’ll tell you himself his best work is yet to come. And if he doesn’t trust you, stay well clear of Future.

 

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt 4

LYRICIST OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • J COLE – FOLDIN CLOTHES
  • CHANCE THE RAPPER – ULTRALIGHT BEAM
  • DANNY BROWN – DOWNWARD SPIRAL
  • KENDRICK LAMAR – THAT PART (BLACK HIPPY REMIX)
  • JAY Z – I GOT THE KEYS
  • JAY ELECTRONICA – HOW GREAT

 

THE WINNER:

kendrick-lamar

Even if Kendrick Lamar didn’t release untitled unmastered or any of his guest verses apart from the one on the Black Hippy remix of THat Part, we’d probably still be looking at him as lyricist of the year. Lamar’s dexterity with words has been common knowledge since his arrival on the scene, however he surprised even his most ardent fans with the complex rhyme patterns and content in that verse. To put it context, in just 24 bars, he fits 87 rhymes and they all make sense. He addresses the fact that despite the fact he was a straight-A student, he was still denied higher education because he was a black kid from the ghetto, among many other topics, including a callback to a Jay Z deep-cut we all forgot about. In about 45 seconds, Kendrick did what many rappers struggle to do in a lifetime – be real.

 

SIDENOTE:

The worst lyricist of the year is nearly impossible to crown so I decided to choose the worst lyric of the year instead. It could’ve easily gone to Drake for “Got so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum (they do, they do)”. For a start, no they don’t. And also, wow, that is hilariously lazy. However this highly prestigious award goes to Kanye West. On The Life of Pablo, there are a few lines that could’ve taken it. The infamous Go-Pro lyric, the open fridge line, the bleached a****** line…But the winner has to be from Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1, when the GOOD Music mogul said “Now if I f*** this model/And she just bleached her a******/And I get bleach on my T-shirt/I’mma feel like an a******”. Just an ignorant and stupid line from an otherwise good song.

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt. 3

TRAP ARTIST OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • FUTURE
  • QUAVO
  • YOUNG THUG
  • GUCCI MANE
  • 21 SAVAGE
  • RAE SREMMURD
  • DESIIGNER
  • LIL YACHTY
  • LIL UZI VERT
  • TRAVIS SCOTT

THE WINNER:travis-scott

  • TRAVIS SCOTT

In what was by far the busiest category and one of the hardest to judge, ten of hip-hop’s biggest stars went head to head. 2016 introduced us to young upstarts like 21 Savage, Desiigner and Lil Yachty, saw the escalation to stardom accelerate for rappers like Young Thug and Migos’ Quavo, the confirmation of greatness for trap legends like Gucci Mane and Future. Despite all this, it was the year of a Texan by the name of Travis Scott. Top class features on the stellar DJ Khaled album alongside Lil Wayne and Young Thug’s JEFFERY mixtape put Travis Scott firmly in the public eye. However upon unleashing a fiery, atmospheric album in September, Travis cemented himself as a bona fide A-Lister in rap this year. Getting tier-one artists like The Weeknd, Andre 3000 and Kendrick Lamar on his sophomore album is an achievement in itself, but for the tracks themselves to be so infectious and compelling is a triumph for Scott. To show off the other contenders, a supersonic year was needed. Travis Scott had just that.

 

SIDENOTE:

While he didn’t do a whole lot this year, Rich Homie Quan didn’t have one of his better years. From his crew being involved in a North Carolina nightclub shooting, botching a classic Biggie verse on TV, getting dissed by Young Thug, being sued by his own label and delivering possibly the worst radio freestyle of all time on Westwood… The list goes on but let’s just say Quan took a lot of L’s this year.

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards, Pt. 2

GROUP OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
  • MIGOS
  • COLLEGROVE
  • FLATBUSH ZOMBIES
  • A$AP MOB
  • RUN THE JEWELS
  • RAE SREMMURD

THE WINNER:atcq

 

  • A TRIBE CALLED QUEST

 

Who would’ve thought that in 2016 we’d be celebrating the return of everyone’s favourite 90’s rap group? It was made even less likely when the group’s lovable enigma, Phife Dawg passed away in March. Little did we know, Q-Tip and his merry men had been cooking up an album – We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service – during Phife’s final months. Despite this, a lot of reasonable doubt still hung over whether the group could come close to surpassing their previous classic five albums. However, upon release this doubt was blown out the water in typical Tribe style. Calling on frequent collaborators like Busta Rhymes and Consequence helped it retain its soulful authenticity, while Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and more were called on to give the new album a fresher, modern feel. Overall, this group breathed some retro life into 2016 and let us reminisce a little about the Tribe’s glory days. Migos and Rae Sremmurd had their time in the spotlight, but will we look back in 20 years at their work as fondly? No. For that reason, this award goes to A Tribe Called Quest.

 

SIDENOTE:

The worst group of the year has to be the makeshift duo of Twenty88 (Big Sean and Jhene Aiko). After some decent singles together on Sean’s previous solo album and becoming a real-life item, ‘Twenty88’ decided to lazily create some carbon copies of those singles and make a whole album of them. Brilliant. Big Sean’s lethargic imagery weighs down the overall merit of the project, while Jhene Aiko’s talk-singing is fine on a song but grating on a whole album. The full on battle-of-the-sexes theme of the LP is weak and totally swallowed any musical chemistry they might’ve been building. I really didn’t like this.

The Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards

2016 has been an upside down year across the board. We’re talking losing greats such as Prince and Bowie and of course Phife Dawg. We’re talking police brutality happening throughout the world. We’re talking Brexit, numerous terrorist attacks and Trump as president for crying out loud.

Musically, however, it has been one of the most distinctive years in recent memory. We had new verses from OGs like Nas, Jay Z and Andre 3000 and albums from GOATs like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. On the other hand, emerging forces like Migos, 21 Savage and Lil Yachty had their best years to date. The stars we’re accustomed to came back looking strong too, with stellar projects from The Game, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Drake and so many more. It’s fair to say that the hip-hop of 2016 helped us to escape from the real world for a bit at times.

Here’s the first installation of the Boom Bap and Acid Rap 2016 Year End Awards!

VIDEO OF THE YEAR:

THE SHORTLIST:

  • YOUNG THUG (feat. QUAVO) – F CANCER
  • LIL YACHTY – 1NIGHT
  • FRENCH MONTANA (feat. NAS & KANYE WEST) – FIGURE IT OUT
  • SCHOOLBOY Q (feat. KANYE WEST) – THAT PART
  • 2 CHAINZ – WATCH OUT
  • FRENCH MONTANA (feat. DRAKE) – NO SHOPPING
  • SKEPTA – THE MAN

THE WINNER:

  • SCHOOLBOY Q (feat. KANYE WEST) – THAT PART

Despite stiff competition from two very different French Montana efforts, a hilarious 2 Chainz video and the characteristically weird Young Thug ‘F Cancer’ among others, Top Dawg’s resident gangster from Hoover Street wins this category by the skin of his grillz. The Colin Tilley-directed video features Q getting dropped off at Kanye’s house, before West stumbles around the house in one take, wildly rapping lines such as “walkin’, livin’ legend, man I feel like Kobe”. All the nominations are worth a watch but this video is just so trippy and captivating, it would be hard to give this award to anything else.

SIDENOTE:

The worst video of the year, if you’re interested, was comfortably Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Anderson .Paak and Idris Elba’s ‘Dance Off’, which made close to 9 million people cringe on YouTube this year. If you can sit through this, you can sit through anything. Don’t be surprised if this track pops up again…