49 of the Best Songs of 2016 So Far
Time flies when good music keeps coming. 2016 is officially half over and as far as hip-hop is concerned, we’ve been pretty spoiled so far.
Kanye West‘s seventh solo album caused a hype in hip-hop like nothing else in recent memory, mostly because of its rollout. The rapper debuted the LP live at Madison Square Garden in New York while simultaneously presenting a fashion show of “migrant chic” garments for his Yeezy Season 3 line. And even with the delays, streaming slip ups and CDQ rips, The Life of Pablo birthed some sonic standouts.
Oxnard, Calif. native Anderson .Paak started the year with a bang with his independent sophomore LP, Malibu, and reminded hip-hop that funk ain’t for the faint of heart. Kendrick Lamar put his star power to the test and doubled down, dropping a surprise project of TPAB leftovers on untitled unmastered., which quickly debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Switching coasts, Brooklyn’s own Desiigner has become the breakout star of the year so far thanks to his infectious hit single “Panda.” Though critics say the song sounds too much like the wave of Future, you can’t argue with results. The song went No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in April of 2016 and to date, “Panda” has charted higher than any other Future song in his entire career. To top that off, the spastic 18-year-old rapper recently dropped his first mixtape, New English, proving he’s not merely a one-hit wonder.
Moving from the North to the South, ATL rhymer Young Thug completed his mixtape trilogy by dropping the long awaited Slime Season 3 featuring production from the hottest beatsmiths in the business. ATL God Gucci Mane surprised everyone by getting out of prison early in May and getting right back to the studio, dropping heat of his own and hopping on songs with Kanye West, Dreezy, Kodak Black and more. Speaking of Kodak, the ostentatious Florida MC and newly minted 2016 XXL Freshman has proven he can deliver time and time again, dropping his anticipated tape Lil B.I.G. Pac in June.
From first time collabs to veterans spitting hot fire to anticipated mixtapes and surprise returns, here’s the best new music the first half of the year had to offer. Keep in mind, songs selected for this list were released between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2016.