Travel Magazine

Our Picks: The Best Music Moments of 2016

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

2016 was about as bonkers as it gets.  Musically, 2016 had its ups and downs: we lost many legendary artists like David Bowie, Prince and George Michael. However, 2016 also had amazing highs as well. Here’s a list of the best of 2016.

2016 Best Song
Ultralight Beam by Kanye West

best music 2016

Photo Credit: Billboard

Ultralight Beam is by far the most interesting song of the year. Kanye appears in the beginning but then disappears to let a choir of gospel singers, Kirk Franklin and Chance the Rapper take over. It’s an uplifting spiritual song that makes the listener feel like getting down: both in the “boogie/I want to dance”-sense and in the “on your knees/repent”-sense. A song that can do both at the same time is definitely worth of best of 2016.

2016 Best Album
Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

best music 2016

Photo Credit: Chance Raps

After dropping the best verse on the aforementioned “Ultralight Beam”, Chance the Rapper dropped his inspiring and highly imaginative album Coloring Book. Like “Ultralight Beam”, this album’s backbone is gospel, but beyond that the album ventures to many places that normal hip hop or pop music doesn’t. It’s a personal album to Chance and speaks poetically about the issues in his life, including the violence in Chicago. However, with guest appearances by Kanye, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, T-Pain and more, there are more than enough songs that will get your booty moving.

2016 Best Retrospective Album
Jack White Acoustic Recordings 1998 – 2016

best music 2016

Photo Credit: Thirdman Store

Jack White can do it all. After a successful run with three different bands – The White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather (sometimes at the same time) – Mr. White has developed quite the catalog. Instead of cashing in and releasing a “Greatest Hits” album, White went back and found old acoustic and demo versions of his songs and put those together. What he came up with was an impressive and fun 26 (TWENTY-SIX!) song double album that takes you on a musical adventure. It’s somewhat nostalgic and totally rocks.

2016 Best Concert
The Formation World Tour – Beyoncé

best music 2016

Photo Credit:

Everything Beyoncé does needs to be seen and ‘The Formation World Tour’ is no exception. Beyoncé strolled into town back in May and slayed every single one of us. She danced with high-energy, she sang with beauty and went ballistic on the Jack White-assisted “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” Aside from a few fireworks, there wasn’t much of a stage show…until she turned the stage into a giant paddling pool for a thrilling final sequence that included “Freedom,” “Survivor,” and “End Of Time.” It was a jaw-dropping moment. Seeing Beyoncé is this generations version of seeing Michael Jackson – a performer that’s larger than life.

2016 Best Moment
Surprise Pop-In from Kanye

best music 2016

Photo Credit: K Joseph Fotos

This 2016 best-of list has been heavy Kanye and Chance the Rapper, but this moment needs to be snuck into the list. Back in September, Chance the Rapper sold out the White Sox stadium to put on a music fest with several big-name acts. Seeing as Kanye had a show in Nashville the same day, it seemed unlikely that he would make an appearance…but around 4pm there was a collective scream from right field. Then a beat dropped and Yeezy himself appeared on stage. The collective freak-out of the crowd was atmospheric. People of all ages rushed closer, fans stood six-deep on top of the White Sox dugout, fans poured onto the field (some even jumping over port-o-potties to get there) and security could do nothing about it. West performed for about 25 minutes but crammed in a bunch of his hits before Chance joined him to perform “Ultralight Beam.”

2016 Best Come Back
A Tribe Called Quest

best music 2016

Photo Credit:

A Tribe Called Quest’s album was a rumor for 18 years. Despite the death of Phife Dawg earlier in 2016, the album We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service finally dropped late in the year and it was worth the wait. Over beats that are fresh, the rhymes by Q-Tip, Phife and Jarobi sound timeless. It’s as if the group traveled in time from the early 90’s to teach 2016 how to groove. The thoughtful lyrics on the album, presented with a slick and easy flow, arrive just in time to save us from a crazy overly-political year. Hopefully, 2017 is listening.

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