Elliot Thornton

While Chance emerges on the scene once again with his gospel-like Coloring Book, Kanye pads his self-centered image with his Life of Pablo and Drake’s Views From the 6 continues to put the former Degrassi star’s city on the map, one thing is for certain during this enticing time for hip-hop: 2016 is evolving into the year for quality music.

Resembling the booming Golden Age of the ’90’s, this small snippet of artists are aiding in the breaking of barriers and respectively pushing the boundaries of melody this year. Not only is it the immense amount of music they’re bringing that keeps their fans wanting more, but it is also the type of music that is central in marking 2016 as a special time for music enthusiasts.

Starting off at the top of the list is the infamous Kanye West and his alarmingly seductive album Life of Pablo, and the Louis Vuitton Don has an honorable reason to flex his muscles. Aside from the ill-advised innuendos aimed at Ray J, Taylor Swift and even his own wife Kim K, we as music fans cannot ignore the undeniable chip Yeezy has in producing his seventh album.

Whether you like, despise or envy the Chicago rapper, Ye can sensibly turn heads around with his uncut lyricism and enchanting harmonies.

“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” stands as a prime example of the Chicago rapper’s magnetism, introducing fans to his gospel-like persona while bringing in the celebrated trap artist Future to produce one of the most captivating beat drops off the album.

This structured intertwining of rhythm and lyricism alone stands as reflection of Kanye’s musical ingenuity on his records. Methodically piecing together an album so neat with an array of artists like The Dream, Kid Cudi and Chris Brown, it’s this collaboration with his musical peers that undoubtedly place Life of Pablo among the top albums of 2016. For the first time it’s not the narcissist Kanye stealing the show: congrats Ye.

While the outspoken Grammy Award-winner sits comfortably on his throne, the singing/rapping prodigy Drake also has plans in making 2016 his year as well. Hyping fans up with his track “Summer Sixteen” and finally dropping his long-awaited album Views, the blend of “hard Drake” and “smooth Drake” allow October’s Very Own to remain one of the most relevant rappers in the industry.

Offering 20 songs of elaborate punch lines and eclectic rhythms, this musical diversity has many crowning the 29-year-old as the untouchable 6 God of the game. Similar to his highly coveted Nothing Was The Same, Drake provides major hits on the album like “Controlla,” “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling.” However, the rapper infuses a provocative Caribbean groove which helps separate this fresh harmonic collection from any of his previous work.

Still, the eccentric artist plays the desires of his fans to his advantage, balancing just the right amount of inner pop while promoting the assassin-like rapper otherwise known as Champagne Papi.

Songs such as “Pop Style,” “Grammys” and “Views” distinctly showcase another dimension of the Toronto-based musician, a level that is incomparable to Meek Mill or to any other rapper he’s dissed alone.

Whether it be his unprecedented creativity or the charismatic swagger he has chiseled for himself, young Aubrey has once again solidified his presence and set the tone of hip-hop for 2016.

Sure, Drizzy and Kanye’s albums help cement a well-respected position for both artists during this big year of music, but what about those other artists less recognized than the two hip-hop heavyweights? Ones that might not carry the same popularity as these iconic figures, yet are making strides of achievement during this time of production.

Acid enthusiast and soulful musician Chance the Rapper released his third solo album, Coloring Book, earlier this month. A universal mix of rap, electronica and uplifting gospel, the Chicagoan artist delivers an infatuating project that warms the ears and hearts of all.

Evolving from his trippy-like odyssey of Acid Rap and belligerent high-school era of 10 Day, Chance attempts to paint a pure picture of peace, love and unity for his audience in songs like “Blessings,” “All We Got” and “Angels.”

Reflecting on his “Chain Smoker”-like experiences earlier on and presenting a sober yet spiritually free perspective, Chance embraces his drug-employing roots in tracks such as “Same Drugs” and “Smoke Break,” but also frames this in positive lighting to promote a fun and prosperous vibe to his audience. This unique environment of good-natured music holds true to the rapper’s playful title, Coloring Book, and accentuates its current placement as the top trending album of 2016.

From Kanye’s enchanting Life of Pablo, Drake’s undeniably sought after Views and Chance’s cheerfully spirited Coloring Book, these hot albums represent just a small faction of all the flavorful music out in 2016. Kendrick’s untitled unmastered., Future’s Evol and Wiz Khalifa’s self-reflective album have also emerged in the musical limelight. Yet, these pieces do not fully justify the long list of hip-hop right at the hands of our fingertips.

Point being, 2016 stands as an exceptional time for harmonic artistry. As fellow music fans, we simply have the pleasant obligation of appreciating the complexity of their craft and enjoying these vibes.