As far as I'm concerned, Black Messiah is a Christmas Madeleine, an album inextricably linked to the memory of its moment. Its sudden release in the wake of the Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo acquittals, came ten days before Christmas, following a 14-year hiatus. For me, this means it will live on as an end-of-the year classic.
Dam-Funk - Invite the Light. Throughout, Dâm seeks to uplift, fixated on better days. “Don’t you ever stop, we continue,” goes the album’s first hook. “I’m just tryna survive in this big city” goes the third. “When will we see, virtuous progression’s what we need?” asks the song’s deepest posse cut. Non-pedantic anthems in trying times. For those who question why Kendrick didn’t recruit a keytar if he really wanted the funk.
Vince Staples – Summertime ’06. Contrary to its title, Summertime ’06 is not a feel-good album–it’s also not nostalgic or sentimental. It’s an uncompromising record about young black lives on the bleeding edge of terrorist police harassment in Donald Trump’s America. It’s not an album that you really want to hear while spending time in a nightclub, nor does it offer much time moralizing with tales of unearned redemption. Instead, Vince refuses to blink, masterfully narrating the story of his life as a young gangbanger with a caustic wit and an potent dose of humanity.