T.I., Nine Inch Nails, Chance The Rapper & Jeremih Lead Albums of The Week - December 23
Thu, 22 Dec 2016 17:40:59
With just a handful of days remaining until Christmas, many artists have already issued their 2016 scheduled albums, they've slated in live shows to celebrate the end of this year and the beginning of next, or they have simply retreated to hibernate with their families and friends. There have been few album releases this week, but those that have been issued simply contain some of the strongest material from some of the most interesting artists in the landscape today. In the three favorite albums of the week we see confrontation, confirmation and celebration.
T.I. expands on his confrontational and incredible EP Us or Else with the album Us or Else: Letter to the System - proving his unrelenting ability to spit fire above the noise of egotism and self-indulgence of others in the game. Legendary industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails make good on their commitment to fans, and release new tunes before the end of 2016; delivering a lengthy EP that represents a return to their edgy best. Chance the Rapper teams up with fellow Chicagoan Jeremih and delivers what feels an essential mix, set for multi-play at any sensible seasonal party.
Chance The Rapper & Jeremih — Merry Christmas Lil' Mama — Soundcloud
Released under the cover of darkness, Chance the Rapper & Jeremih debuted a collaborative Christmas mixtape. The mixtape was posted to Chance's Soundcloud with a simple message, "For Chicago." Wrapping up a pretty good year for Chance, the mixtape is sure to soundtrack a great many holiday parties, and cement the rapper's status as a man of the people, with a generous spirit and a solid sense of community. The tracks - well, they're all pretty sweet too and the entire mix at nine tracks long will demand replay, and replay and replay. Solid stuff.
T.I. — Us or Else: Letter to the System — EMI
One of the most powerful releases of the year was Us or Else - the Ep from T.I. The release was emotionally charged and issued in response to the current political and social climate of the U.S.A. Expanding on the themes explored in that EP T.I. now drops Us or Else: Letter to the System and in doing so he shows the strength of genre in full effect. This is what hip hop can achieve when it steps outside the self-promoting swagger and concentration on material gain. Across 15 tracks Killer Mike, Big K.R.I.T., Meek Mill, Quavo and B.o.B. appear on what T.I. is calling a protest album. He verbalizes his perspective like few can achieve, and the beats are pretty spectacular. Arguably one of the best hip hop albums of the year lands with only days to spare.
Nine Inch Nails — Not The Actual Events — Interscope Records
Trent Reznor had promised new material before the end of 2016 - and here he makes good on his promise. Not The Actual Events, is described by Reznor as being "...an unfriendly, fairly impenetrable record that we needed to make… It's an EP because that ended up being the proper length to tell that story." Of course, Reznor is not wrong - the tracks here are abrasive, big-sounding and arresting. They echo the past releases that made NIN as leaders of industrial rock, but they also point to a revitalised sense of energy from Reznor, along with Atticus Ross, soundtracking partner, who now also gains credit as a member of the band.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff