As many grievances as 2016 brought, it’d be a lie to say it wasn’t an incredible year of music. Perhaps, that’s how it always works–the best art comes in the worst of times. Music has always been my primary coping mechanism and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the artists that made this year bearable and, quite honestly, pretty damn fun despite it all. These are the songs that soundtracked my best moments and lifted me up during my lowest–I hope they can do the same for you. Happy New Year!
Cranes In The Sky (Kaytranada Edit)
No song quite captured the struggle of depression in a more captivating manner than Solange‘s ‘Cranes In The Sky.’ Kaytranada‘s edit makes it glow even more.
2016 was a well-deserved breakout year for the incredibly talented Moses Sumney. “Lonely World,” with its intense progression, would be my song of the year if I had to pick one.
Autolux were easily one of my favorite discoveries of the year and “Change My Head” is them at their most potent–haunting, grungy and catchy with raw, dynamic percussion.
Moderat‘s III was my favorite album of the year and ‘Reminder’ exemplifies the super-group’s incredible production in both its stark lows and explosive highs.
Drowning feat. BADBADNOTGOOD
This is just a beautiful protest song in so many ways. From Mick Jenkins‘ versatile rapping and singing to Badbadnotgood‘s flawless live instrumentation, it possesses a unique balance and thoughtfulness that few similarly themed songs display. Make sure to check out the entrancing music video as well.
This one’s for Prince! Blood Orange couldn’t have given us Freetown Sound at a better juncture.
Glowed Up (feat. Anderson .Paak)
Two of 2016’s all-stars team up for pure gold capturing Kaytra’s intriguing cadence and Anderson .Paak‘s soulful flows.
Summer Prod. The Kount
Innanet James‘ introduction to the music world comes with this no-fucks-given summer anthem that also highlights The Kount, a candidate for best new hip-hop producer.
By Design (feat. Andre 3000)
Kid Cudi, Plain Pat, Pharrell & Andre 3000…yeah, could’ve guess this one would be in my 16 before I even heard it. Can’t stop listening to this one.
A Tribe Called Quest
We The People
A message of inclusion that came when I needed it and from exactly the crew I wanted to hear it from. RIP Phife Dawg!
“Innerbloom” is truly Rufus Du Sol‘s manifesto–an epic that captures the essence of their endlessly playable 2016 release, Bloom. This song also spawned one of the best remixes of the year from What So Not.
Kenton Slash Demon continue to enamor me with their trippy, textured take on dance music. ‘TT’ manages to feel both ethereal and ready for the dance floor.
White Ferrari (Jacques Greene Edit)
The original version of “White Ferrari” may be my favorite track from Frank Ocean‘s emotional masterpiece, Blonde–capturing both its most and least accessible elements. Montreal producer Jacques Greene released nothing but phenomenal productions this year but this remix of Frank takes the cake.
Ross From Friends
Gettin’ It Done
Aside from having the best name in dance music, Ross From Friends flipped everything I thought I knew about house music on its head. “Gettin’ It Done” certainly makes you want to dance but the lo-fi sonics teamed with a masterfully utilized soul sample create a vibe unlike anything I’ve heard before. If you dig this one, check out this mind-blowing live performance from Ross & crew.
Mall Grab wins the award for my favorite house discovery of 2016 and this take on the sample from Kanye’s “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” was a staple in my DJ sets this year. While I love Kanye’s version, his cringe-worthy opening line disqualified it from any best of lists.
Work Me (Justin Jay Remix)
Werk into the New Year!