2016 was quite the year for… things. Things to happen. You know what I mean. At least, that's about as vague as I can put it without possibly starting World War 3 in our comments. And I ain't talking about the classic Gucci Mane mixtape trilogy either. If only World War 3 were any combination of Gas, Molly, or Lean, and not our coming destruction at the hands of either Russian hackers or weird prostitutes who piss on each other for money. Say what you want about Guwop, he would've never let that go down in the bedroom.
Gucci Mane is known for his subtle ways of indicating drug use.
But a lot of dope music came out too this year, and unfortunately, when there's so much hot stuff out, what would've been an instant classic any other year quickly gets filed away as alright. I mean, it's not anyone's fault Drake released Views, Kanye released The Life of Pablo, or Soulja Boy and Bow Wow released… whatever it was that they released. We get tunnel vision. So I wanted to highlight some projects that I felt deserved some more recognition this year.
Council World, by Divine Council
Divine Council ended this year crazy hot, having snagged a record deal with Epic through a cosign by Andre 3000, on top of getting a sweet 3 Stacks feature on their single "Decemba." Andre even directed the video for God's sake! That track alone should have propelled them into the stratosphere. Yet, that song isn't even featured on their debut album Council World, which features a short 5 song tracklist that definitely isn't lacking in either bars or production.
Personal Favorite: "Rolie Polie Olie"
Cozy Tapes, by A$AP Mob
Again, another who's who of hot features, but also built on a solid foundation laid out by the members of ASAP Mob, who only seem to get better with every release. "Yamborghini High" came out so long ago, but that's how you know a song has staying power, when it's still a fresh intro that gets you hype everytime a tape starts.
Personal Favorite: "Telephone Calls feat. Tyler, The Creator, Playboi Carti, and Yung Gleesh"
Project E.T. (Esco-Terrestrial), by DJ Esco
This mixtape produced by DJ Esco and practically carried by Future, who appears on all but two tracks, proved that this was the year of the get-together tape. You know what I'm saying, stuff like Major Key by DJ Khaled, where it seemed like they got together a whole bunch of GOAT rappers, GOAT producers, and essentially came out with an Ocean's Eleven of music. This is that Ocean's Eleven of Atlanta right here. This tape bangs so much, you'll forget DJ Esco isn't even really a producer.
Personal Favorite: "Who feat. Young Thug"
3001: A Laced Odyssey, by Flatbush Zombies
Flatbush Zombies have seem to taken a backseat this year to all the other releases, which is a real shame. This is a solid project, and I'd say it proves the trio from Brooklyn to be consistently good at what they do, which is rap about doing lots and lots of drugs. By the way, if you're reading this, I just have to ask: how do you guys do so many drugs?
Personal Favorite: "The Odyssey"
Feature Magnetic, by Kool Keith
Damn it, I told myself I wasn't going to bring out my backpack for this list, but I couldn't help myself. On his way from opening to sixteenth bar, Kool Keith will always take you to a weird place you didn't even think a rapper would stop by at. If David Lynch listened to Paid in Full, he'd essentially make this album. Don't believe me? Here are some lines from the first verse you hear on "Stratocaster": "Pronounce syllables with oxygen/ Put laundry on Marie Osmond, watch me bring profits in/ Accountant act will come out your esophagus/ I can see your wordplay close up like binoculars"
Personal Favorite: "Bonneville (feat. Mac Mall)"