Who Comes Out on Top in 2016?

In a year that has so far spiraled out of control, or at least felt like it, at least we’ve had some quality hip hop to listen to. It feels a little early to recap the year, but if you look at the upcoming schedule of releases, there are only a few real major players yet to release an album before year end. With that, let’s look back at the albums we’ve gotten so far this year.

2016 saw prominent releases from Future, Kanye West, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, 2 Chainz, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Schoolboy Q, Riff Raff, T.I., Gucci Mane, Jeezy, and countless other heavy hitters. We also saw 5 releases from Boozie Badazz, but we don’t really need to go in depth on those. We’ve checked the current odds to see who is most likely to have the highest selling album in each region, and we’ll break down the favorites.

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo 

We all know that “Pablo” was huge from the moment it was released. Unveiled at Madison Square Garden, it was the album that truly  helped kick the Kanye West name into the stratosphere, and might be the highest selling album of the year. Quality wise, though, it wasn’t Kanye’s best album, even though he claimed it to be the “album of a lifetime” at one point. One could blame the influence of the Kardashians the studio, and as a big Kanye fan… that’s what I’ll chalk it up to.

Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered 

A surprise release from Kendrick broke the Internet this past year, but it was a victim of context, in my opinion. As the sort-of follow up to “To Pimp A Butterfly”, any project was going to be hard to live up to its predecessor. However, Untitled Unmastered was a smart move on Kendrick’s part. Released  without any hype leading up to it, and with a name that suggests it wasn’t anything special, it takes the pressure off of his next full release. This was a great project, but nobody will say that it was as good as the albums that preceded it.

Kevin Gates – Islah

This album flew under the radar in comparison to the other three albums in this article. Quality-wise however, it is on above many of the other releases that came out this year. This was an underrated release by many standards, but in terms of sales, it is on par with the best. The album help propel Kevin Gates name into the limelight, and it did create a buzz when it initially came out. There’s a very slim chance, however, that it is the top selling or most acclaimed album of 2016.

Drake – Views

You can’t listen to the radio for more than thirty minutes right now without hearing Drake’s voice, and as much as I hate to admit it, he’s on pace for having one of the highest selling albums of 2016. The question at the end of this year for many hip hop fans will be, however, “Was it better than The Life Of Pablo?”. In terms of radio airplay, Drake appears to be winning. In terms of pushing the envelope creatively, it’s Kanye far and away. However, Drake made a more commercially viable album, and it’s likely that he will walk away with the crown this year.

There are however, two releases this year that we have yet to hear; Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic comes out in two weeks, and The Weeknd’s Starboy is due out at the end of November, according to Consequence of Sound. Either one of those two albums could have incredible commercial success, and in the long term, could outsell the other names mentioned in this article. If we close at year end, though, they don’t have a shot.

It seems like a two man race at this point, so who do you think will come out on top, Kanye or Drake? Leave us a comment and let us know.