Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums Best of 2016

8. Common
Black America Again
(ARTrium Recordings/Def Jam Recordings)

The world Common creates on his new LP is almost science fiction: a world where Hillary won, where America's black communities acknowledged the struggles they faced but looked forward in hope. It's fair to say that Com probably thought the album, released on the eve of a presidential election which just about everybody assumed was a done deal, would reflect reality. We have never wished harder for a black hole to a parallel universe, but in the absence of one, at least we have the truly incredible Black America Again.
Common is better than he's been in years here. The picture he paints on the title track and "Little Chicago Boy" are extraordinary, and the sheer ferocity with which he attacks the mic on "Pyramids" will make your jaw hit the floor. His work with producer Karriem Riggins is as good as anything he did with Kanye or Dilla, and the entire package — a landmark — is a joy from start to finish.
At a time when everything seems well and truly fucked, Black America Again is a reminder that good things can still happen. We are not lost yet.
Rob Boffard