#GeekSwag’s TOP 25 ALBUMS [Thru 6 of ’16]: Geeks, Rhymes and…

While we’ve still got 6 months left and plenty more dopeness to go… the end of June gives us reason to look back at the half-year in geek music. From indie and nerdy hip-hop, to progressive electronica, to relatable R&B/soul, these are the BEST #GeekSwag ALBUMS of 2016–so far.


25. OddiseeThe Odd Tape “The drum programming/execution is on point on all the tracks, and Oddisee’s use of synths, piano’s, guitars and other sounds add to the chill vibe and atmosphere.” – Tyson Rose (3.5/5)

24. [TIE] SamiyamAnimals Have Feelings “Fans of ambient, hip-hop beats should definitely give this a try.” – Ryan Scott /// Rick Rubin PresentsStar Wars Headspace “If you’re a fan of any form of electronic music and Star Wars, this might be the geek mash-up you’re looking for.” – Travis Moody (3.75/5)

23. Hi-RezNever Say Die “With attention to serious topics to making heads bounce shoulders to the fun party side, Hi-Rez delivers one of the year’s most surprisingly strong releases.” – Shawn Puff (3.75/5)

22. RJD2Dame Fortune “Unlike that of his debut, Dame scatters around from Run the Jewelsish electric basslines to slow, simmering strings that completely suspend the adrenaline.” – Travis Moody (3.75/5)

21. D.I.T.C.D.I.T.C. Studios “Paced with sniper precision.” – Frank Simonian (3.75/5)

20. [TIE] BlueprintVigilante Genesis “Even the song titles alone push me to weave together a story like a good Image funnybook.” – Richard Zom /// J DillaThe Diary “No doubt, an album for fans of true hip-hop.” – JaDarrel Belser (4/5)

19. Ill BillSeptagram “Another bloody good album from Ill Bill that’s worth adding to the hip-hop collection.” – Kevin Palma (4/5)

18. Dillon & Paten LockeFood Chain “From start to finish, Food Chain is filled with aromatic sounds and saucy beats.” – Shawn Puff (4/5)

17. Homeboy SandmanKindness For Weakness “Another great project from Stones Throw!” – Kim Brock (4/5)

16. FlumeSkin “Paced like a mixtape, often touching on more than one palette of music at the same time.” – Frank Simonian (4/5)

15. Kanye WestLife of Pablo “Channels all other Kanye’s scattered through time and galaxies to exist in the now, and gives you an album to be absorbed as a single unit of audio.” – Esko Robinson (4/5)

14. Open Mike Eagle + Paul WhiteHella Personal Film Festival “Has that personal touch-your-soul-with-relevance kind of vibe, but stays light hearted enough for you to laugh at your own outrages and insecurities.” – Esko Robinson (4/5)

13. Kaytranada99.9% “He gets to the root of what makes music interesting and unique without completely abandoning a modern day sound.” – Myke Ladiona (4/5)

12. Anderson.PaakMalibu “Kudos to Malibu for bringing back the complete album feeling thats been absent from many LP’s.” – Dana Keels (4/5)

11. DJ ShadowThe Mountain Will Fall “[Has] dark and nebulous–yet chill–melodies that you can bob your head to while driving the longest road, watching the sun go down.” – Derek Vigeant (4.25/5)

10. J-ZoneFish-N-Grits “Brings funk, heart and heat.” – Frank Simonian (4.25/5)

9. Mr. LifDon’t Look Down “Part concept, part personal, this felicitously swift 10-track joint was purely meant for the playback button.” – Travis Moody (4.25/5)

8. Chance the RapperColoring Book “Congrats, Chance, your third mixtape is easily the feel good album of the year.” – Esko Robinson (4.25/5)

7. [TIE] Curren$y & AlchemistThe Carrollton Heist “Chill flows push the story along with a voice that matches The Alchemist’s gritty settings, like.. you were playing poker with mob bosses on a foggy night.” – Tony Pattawon /// Havoc & AlchemistThe Silent Partner “Al’s production and Hav’s vocals mesh together with perfect symmetry.” – Tony Pattawon (4.25/5)

6. Kendrick Lamaruntitled unmastered. “While not mastered, this is still better music than most artists’ best — a perfect blend of blues, jazz, funk, neo soul, hip and trip-hop.” – Tony Pattawon (4.5/5)

5. Flatbush Zombies3001: A Laced Odyssey “This was an Odyssey worth exploring, waiting for, showcasing to the world.” – Latrice Williams (4.5/5)

4. ElzhiLead Poison “A diverse arrangement of harsh boom baps and melancholy melodies, with lyrics that exhibit depth reminiscent of The Golden Era. Song concepts reveal a creativity and vulnerability unseen for far too long.” – Frank Barros (4.5/5)

3. Aesop RockThe Impossible Kid “What makes the emcee’s level of introspection different here than the usual brooding of the past is Aesop’s newfound enthusiasm.” – Travis Moody (4.5/5)

2. BeneficenceBasement Chemistry “One of the best Boom Bap throwback albums in the last 5-years. Buy it.” – Aaron Troy (4.75/5)

1. ApathyHandshakes With Snakes “Undoubtedly, after several afternoon listens, gym sessions and long drives to the Bay and Vegas, the finest hip-hop album of 2016’s first half.” – Travis Moody (4.75/5)

Honorable mention: Epidemic4 Dimensions on a PaperStatik Selektah & KXNG CrookedStatik KXNG, Eric PrydzOpusPlanet Asia & DJ ConceptSeventy Nine, Ras KassLyrical Hip-Hop is Dead, BauerAa, Meyhem LaurenPiatto D’Oro, KygoCloud Nine, Massive AttackRitual Spirit, Blu & Ray WestCrenshaw Jezebel, CookBook & EvidenceA Whole New Cook, Bryan Ford & Killah PriestFor the Future of Hip-Hop.

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