"It might blow up, but it won't go pop." Words famously said by De La Soul. That was the sign of the times in the 90s when De La rapped it. Popular music was saturated with artists that many felt were ready made; not real. Yet, today, with the digitalization of music - the ability to make music and get it out quickly and easily - pop music has changed. Pop music now sets the tone and can be seen as a guide to how well the year has been musically. At KNG2LA, we believe its been a great year for music. Here are ten albums released in 2016 that will be in our speakers long into the new year.
THE LEMON TWIGS: Do Hollywood
This Long Island duo, currently living in Los Angeles, feel much like your father's record collection mixed with contemporary attitude. The sounds are intricately placed with purpose and the harmonies have Brian Wilson's soul. If anyone tells you, you didn't know anything as a teenager, point them to this record as evidence you just might have known a whole hell of a lot.
This album is so packed with music, I find something unique with every listen and it reminds us that 2016 got the collaboration model down to a science. One of these mad scientists is KAYTRANADA. Never does a note nor rhythm not feel right for the collaborator. From Anderson .Paak's rap and sing smasher on "Glowed Up" to SYD's 90s R&B-electronic retrograde "You're The One," the collaboration is never forced. Rather, 99.9%'s is a "how to" map.
SOLANGE: A Seat at the Table
This album took the KNG2LA crew by storm. It's remorseful and introspective, while also being uniquely fed up. The nouveau neo-soul vibe fits the message and the melodies perfectly. As the yang to her sister's yin, Solange takes a minimalist approach musically; yet somehow comes out with a more rich album when compared to Lemonade. An album filled with questions that don't necessarily need an answer or resolution. The listener sets the artist free through listening and feeling. Making A Seat at the Table an experience that is rare in music and should be experienced by anyone with a pulse.
ATCQ: We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your service
We reviewed this record when it came out last month here. What was true a month ago remains the same today. One of our musical hip-hop guides took us on a journey through our current world. A state of the union. The people listened and joined the journey en masse. We the people.
Flume's record is another collaborative effort that shines. Flume's brand of trip-hop electronic bashments churned hit after hit this year. Whether it's their early single "Never Be Like You" with Kia, or the "Lose It" with Vic Mensa; it's a grand ride.
DVSN: Sept. 5th
R&B, out of all the genres in music, is in constant flux. Always changing. Which makes DVSN's release Sept. 5th all the more interesting. As Bon Iver and James Blake bend the genre to a subtle infusion of electronic sound, DVSN goes the other way. Less subtle and more in your face. A confident way that is more Smokey Robinson out at night, shining in the glow of the fluorescent nightlife. Take DVSN's advice and be the confidence hopeless romantic you've always wanted to be.
Anderson .Paak: Malibu & Nx Worries
This is Anderson .Paak's world we're just living in it. Well, it sure feels that way. His critically acclaimed Malibu is on the top of everyone's list - and surprises with every listen. An introspective renaissance never felt so relevant and now. It's so LA. The grit, the struggles, the beauty, the hope. It's all in there and it glows. Then, Knxwledge and Anderson .Paak release Yes Lawd!; a follow up to last year's smash "Suede." A hip-hop R&B medley that continues Anderson .Paak's journey through love and sound. So, keep it up Anderson, LA and the world needs you.
Tropical house. It's an interesting sub-genre. We have debates here at KNG2LA about the validity of the claim that many songs, which are dancehall in their structure and vibe, are "Tropical House." Yet, when you hear Zhu's record GENERATIONWHY, you realize what tropical house really can be. It sounds like Miami sound machine meets an electronic pop long lost cousin. Some outlets have downplayed the falsetto-laden summer jams as too "pop." For us, it's just the right amount of summer vibes.
Kanye West: TLOP
I know what you are thinking. Kanye West ... ugh. Here's a good story. I have a friend, who's musical opinions I value greatly. He is always saying "I miss the old Kanye." Yet, every time I play a track from TLOP, he says: "this is the only good song on the album." Now ask yourself, is this you?
This album is chalk full of dancehall influence, we almost put it in our top 5 reggae albums. An ode to his hometown of Toronto, 6 offers us a window into the cities cultural mix through its musical stylings. Drake offers a more honest reflection on this record as opposed to last years, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, where we saw a harder more edgy Drake. This year, we get back to the familiar with a little twist; Drake exploring his struggles with love in the face of money and fame, island style. Get your vibes and love right next year while continuing to blast this record.