Written by Rahoul Naik
2016 has been a crazy year in the world of music, from the death of artist like Prince and Bowie, to the return of Frank Ocean and the rise of Grime. Below, I’ve got my ultimate 5 songs of the year. Expect some Pop, R&B and Hip-Hop. Check it all out below.
Die Antwoord – Banana Brain
For many fans, this is a must add to any top 5 of 2016. Dropping their fourth studio album, Mount Ninji And da Nice Time Kid, they have not only confirmed their spot in the weird and wonderful section of rap-rave culture but also as South Africa’s number one export. Banana Brain combines the best of 90’s rave culture with the hard-hitting beats of ZEF-style music. Ninja’s rap style and Yolandi’s high-pitched singing create the perfect mix for any party.
Credit: Die Antwoord
Kanye West (Ft. Chance The Rapper & Kirk Frankin) – Ultra Lightbeam
Kanye West, better known as Yeezy or Yeezus, dropped one of the biggest albums of the year, The Life Of Pablo, The album has some huge features like Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, Ty Dolla $ign and Future. Kanye has made headlines for some of the right and wrong reasons this year, but the album did follow the hype and this particular song is unbelievable. Boasting a feature from man of the moment, Chance, the song is even up for a couple of Grammys!
Credit: Best Sounds
JMSN – Hypnotized
After seeing JMSN live in Birmingham not too long ago, this has to automatically make an appearance. The singer/songwriter from Detroit is yet to hit the ‘real’ limelight, but has made some serious noise in the industry with his album It Is and features with the likes of Kaytranada and Domo Genesis. His alter ego, Pearl also released a soothing album this year called Closer JMSN will have way more to say in 2017 and for me personally, this song really summed up my 2016.
The song itself really takes on a chilled reggae vibe, where JMSN can really show off his vocal range and really get into your feels. Listen to this, try not to cry.
LEON – Ritual Cannibalism
An odd addition to some, I like to give props to local artist really working hard to make something in the industry. LEON is an Italian national who uses his influences of home and the UK to create his dark, electro-pop sound that will get any party started. This particular song is my favourite from his Talking Shadows EP. The bassline is the key in this song and the imagery created both with his playful sounds and meaningful lyrics allows the listener to see a bunch of Zulu warriors circling a fire. 2017 will also be a big year for LEON, graduating from University and working on his album; who knows what will come next.
Swet Shop Boys – Aaja
Riz MC, Heems and Redinho make up Swet Shop Boys, a mix of UK and US sound that come so perfectly together, woven by Redinho’s beats and production. Taking on big issues like airport security, Donald Trump and growing up as a BME youngster; SSB manage to reach out and speak to many who perhaps do not feel their struggles are understood, someone like me.
Aaja, meaning ‘come’ in Hindi and is a song that speaks to me on a very fun and playful level. It’s a song about girls, but put in a way that South-Asian men can relate to; something like our favourite Bollywood film circling our head as a nice girl walks past.
Whether we get more from Swet Shop Boys in 2017 is an unanswered question, but for now I would recommend bumping their album, Cashmere to ease you into 2017.