Monthly Archives: December 2016

Best Of 2016

Anthony Hamilton What I’m Feelin’   Hamilton’s seventh studio album stuck to his throwback style and delivered a fulfilling collection of 12 songs. The Hamiltones, his backup vocalists, added to the album and raised their own profile with fun videos like their quick creation of “Put Some Respeck On It” in response to the viral interview given by Birdman.

Ro James Eldorado Ro James’s Eldorado had fans calling him D’Angelo for the Millennials. But James’ sound owes more to hip-hop and soul than the church and the appeal of his G-Funk styled “Permission” drew several listeners into an album that needed no fast forward option on their player of choice.

Beyonce Lemonade Beyonce’s Lemonade was a great pop triumph that even had a country song. The excitement of “Formation” and the whole album was added to with the well-executed Lemonade videos.

Solange A Seat At The Table Solange unapologetically celebrated Blackness with one of the best R&B albums of the year. Sampha, Master P., Questlove, Q-Tip and Raphael Saadiq are some of the artists who contributed to Solange’s Black bohemian R&B paradise.

Maxwell blackSUMMERS’night Maxwell’s blackSUMMER’s night is the second in a trilogy and comes after a six-year break. The falsetto is all grown up and matched well to songs that haven’t endeared him to fans as much since his debut Urban Hang Suite.

Corinne Bailey Rae The Heart Speaks In Whispers  The Heart Speaks In Whispers is the follow-up to 2009’s The Sea and Bailey Rae treads deeper emotional ground. She also had the fortune to write the beautiful “Do You Ever Think Of Me” with Valerie Simpson.

Ugly Heroes Everything In Between Apollo Brown, Verbal Kent and Red Pill personified the sound of the midwest with reality raps, old soul samples and the dim ambiance that comes from having winter four months out of the year.

A Tribe Called Quest We Got From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service ATCQ achieved the miraculous feat of returning to music after 18 years with their sound completely intact and contemporary. The album is their Swan Song with the late Phife Dawg and they effectively address politics and love with their standard rhythmic ingenuity. Andre 3000’s guest appearance demands a new Outkast album.

De La Soul and The Anonymous Nobody… De La Soul’s and The Anonymous Nobody… was completely funded by fans in 2015 and the album came out a year later. Snoop Dogg, Damon Albarn and Estelle are a few of the artists who appeared on the project and help create the group’s ninth album. The hour-long journey proves that De La Soul is still inspired and not done yet.


Omar  I Want It To Be It’s been three years since The Man and anything new from Omar was overdue. I Want It To Be is a four-song EP of Omar’s trademarked ’70’s soul meet world rhythms sound. The EP is an appetizer for his eighth studio album that had an original release date for the fall.


Tall Black Guy Let’s Take A Trip  Tall Black Guy pledges allegiance to the groove and revels in building them with elements of funk, soul and minimal jazz. The trip is a cerebral daydream, a car ride and people dancing close and slow on the dancefloor.

Eric Roberson and Phonte Tigallerro  Frequent collaborators Phonte and Eric Roberson made a perfect R&B album for the summer. Whether rapping or singing both of them approach romance with care and a little humor. On the sonic front, they use a lot of ’80’s music for their foundation.

Common Black America, Again  Common dedicated the whole album to the state of Black America and addresses everything from slavery to Black love. Syd, Karriem Riggins and Stevie Wonder are a few of the artists who grace Common’s vision for a better Black world.

Childish Gambino Awaken, My Love! Donald Glover’s rap alter ego brings P-Funk and Prince to the Millennials with a blatant love for Parliament-Funkadelic. Awaken, My Love! moves in the opposite direction of Because The Internet and holds tight to Funkadelic’s ’70’s output.

Bruno Mars 24K Magic  Bruno Mars brings ’80’s funk and R&B into 2016 and succeeds at having a good time instead of being stuck in the conventions of the time.


Chance The Rapper Coloring Book Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book used gospel and jazz as the bed for its inspirational messages. The Chicago rapper set a new standard with Coloring Book because it earned extraordinary attention from the music industry for an independent album.

Oddisee The Odd Tape Oddisee accomplishes the rare feat of making an interesting instrumental project. Explorations of jazz and soul come together and easily flow into a relaxing beat tape.

Stephen Marley Revelation Part 2: The Fruit Of Life  Stephen Marley’s Revelation Part 2 consciously courts hip-hop, ’60’s soul and a bit of dance music. Marley is keen to collaborate with other artists without losing his credo and sound. Waka Flocka gives a surprise standout performance that makes Revelation Part 2 that much more memorable.



Best Musical Television Performances Of 2016

The Roots On The Tonight Show The Roots showed everyone again why they are the hardest working hip-hop band with their consistent sweat as Jimmy Fallon’s house band. Whether it was Black Thought improving a rap about the Games Of Thrones or their recent appearance with Shigeru Miyamoto to perform the Super Mario theme, they keep delivering the musical goods night after night.


Beyonce and Bruno Mars’ Superbowl Halftime Performances Beyonce stirred-up a lot of people with her double entendre performance dedicated to the Carolina Panthers and The Black Panthers. Her performance was strategic as usual because she debuted her “Formation” video the night before. Bruno Mars’ show at Superbowl XLVIII that he was invited back for Super Bowl 50 and he was just as exciting as the first time.

A Tribe Called Quest On Saturday Night Live  A Tribe Called Quest’s appearance on Saturday Night Live was bittersweet and epic. The passing of Phife Dawg in March was one of the year’s great losses but ATCQ’s SNL performances were passionate and intensified by the presence of Busta Rhymes, Consequence and the painting of Phife that dropped from the ceiling.

Sheila E’s Prince Tribute At The BET Awards  Prince fans are still trying to digest the fact of his death and the Sheila E-lead tribute helped with closure. After the weak Billboard tribute dominated by Madonna it was critical for BET to do a better job and thanks to Sheila E and a host of others, the Purple One got a proper TV send-off.

Solange – Cranes In The Sky Live @ SNL BMF by Blak_Music_First

Solange – Don’t Touch My Hair (Feat… by Blak_Music_First


Solange On Saturday Night Live  Solange surprised everyone by unexpectedley releasing one of the year’s best R&B albums with A Seat At The Table. She brought her picturesque videos to life onstage with performances of “Cranes In The Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” which seemed to divide white and Black viewers on Twitter.

Brandy At The Soul Train Awards Brandy received the Lady Of Soul Award at the Soul Train Awards and she showed everyone why she epitomizes the spirit of the honor. A 10-minute show of hits included an appearance from Mase on “Top Of The World” and had the whole audience on their feet.


Teddy Riley At The Soul Train Awards Teddy Riley’s genius as the architect of New Jack Swing was recognized after 30 years of work with the Soul Train Legend Award. Riley’s performance with Doug E. Fresh, Bobby Brown, Tito Jackson, Wreckx-n-Effect, Guy and V. Bozeman was a historical moment of timeless hits.

Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar At The BET Awards  Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar’s performance of “Freedom” at the BET Awards had fire, water, smoke and an urgency that made it one of the reasons to watch the show again.

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings Luke Cage Jones and the Dap-Kings performed “100 Days, 100 Nights” on the Netflix show and thrilled a new audience while helping to make Luke Cage one of the coolest shows of the year.

Jidenna Luke Cage Jidenna’s album is not out yet but strategic appearances like this one performing “Long Live The Chief” is keeping fans eager for its release. Jidenna’s regal and bold style was perfect for Cottonmouth’s intense demeanor and upscale Harlem nightclub.

Raphael Saadiq Luke Cage Raphael Saadiq sang “Good Man” and raised the question about his next project while adding a vintage musical addition to the show.

Charles Bradley Luke Cage Bradley’s time in front of the camera singing “Ain’t It A Sin” gave lead character Cage one of the most soulful takedown moments in season one.

Teyana Taylor, Dej Loaf, French Montana, The Lox and Lil Mama VH1 Tribute To Lil’ Kim Teyana Taylor and Lil Mama captured the essence of the Queen Bee with a ferocious energy that rocked the stage and reminded everyone why the Brooklyn legend became an icon of the ’90’s.

Fantasia, Monica and Tweet Tribute To Missy  VH1 Hip Hop Honors Fantasia, Tweet and Monica’s tribute to Missy had so much soul and reflected Missy’s as one of the rare artists to have created successful songs in R&B as well as hip-hop.

Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Rah Digga, Lady Of Rage and Yo-Yo Queen Latifah Tribute VH1 Hip Hop Honors Queen Latifah’s all-star performance of “U.N.I.T.Y.” became the anthem of the night and introduced and reintroduced some of the best women rappers of the past two decades.


Media Questions Of 2016


What does Chance The Rapper’s success as an independent artist mean for new artists and the music industry?

What kind of presidency is America headed for with Donald Trump?


Why did so many musical greats die in 2016?









Nneka Returns With Official Video For Nothing

Nigerian singer-songwriter Nneka has returned with a video for her new single, “Nothing.” Last year she released My Fairy Tales and kept a low profile for most of 2016. “Nothing” is the start of her next musical chapter and new expectations from her fans for the next album.


George Clinton Talks About Working With Flying Lotus And The Funk

George Clinton talks about working with Flying Lotus, aging and an upcoming documentary on the legal problems artists face among other topics in an interview with Rolling Stone. Clinton shares the story of how Kendrick Lamar introduced Thundercat and Flying Lotus to Clinton when they were working on To Pimp A Butterfly. He recently praised Childish Gambino’s love of P-Funk which is evident on his highly-praised Awaken, My Love! Read the full interview at Rolling Stone.   The Parliament-Funkadelic founder will bring the New Year’s in performing at The Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas and the show will be streamed live via a webcast and you can find out more about it at his official site.