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Similarly to how it went down for 2015, this year’s list of The Kitchen‘s favorite songs or singles is pretty much what I picked for my Village Voice Pazz N Jop Music Critics Poll ballot.

Unlike last year though, I didn’t really have a true, standout favorite song this year. While I definitely really loved Young M.A‘s “OOOUUU”, if I absolutely had to pick a favorite song, I’d have to go with YG‘s “FDT” (“F-ck Donald Trump” ICUOENO) featuring Nipsey Hussle instead for what should be obvious reasons.

While we’re on the subject of “FDT”, the standout music trend for us was the fact that 2016 was a year marked by the very welcome return of great Black protest music inspired, on the plus side, by The Black Lives Matter movement and, on the negative side, by the ongoing state-sanctioned police violence against Black bodies that led to the formation of the BLM movement in the first place and the outrageous, racist, sexist, nativist, xenophobic and Islamophobic presidential campaign conducted by Donald Trump. They say troubled times creates or inspire great art. This is one time I wish that were not so however.

For those who wanna chirp off about why there’s no “Broccoli”, “Black Beatles”, Beyonce etc. on the list, bear in mind this is our favorite singles, not the ‘top’ or ‘best’ ones, regardless of how those terms are defined or used. No disrespect to those songs, I like them and probably any other ‘noteworthy’ songs for the year you might throw out for consideration fine, they just weren’t our faves so you can take that in, stay mad or kick rocks and go check another year-end list. Anyway, here go…


01. YG – FDT feat. Nipsey Hussle
02. Black Thought Making A Murderer feat. Styles P
03. Danny Brown Really Doe feat. Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt
04. J. Cole – False Prophets
05. CommonLetter to the Free feat. Bilal
06. DesiignerPanda
07. Drake – One Dance feat. Wizkid & Kyla
08. Vic Mensa 16 Shots
09. Nas & Erykah BaduThis Bitter Land
10. The Weeknd – I Feel It Coming feat. Daft Punk
11. Young M.AOOOUUU

Honorable Mentions:
Chance The Rapper
– No Problem feat. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne
Denzel Curry
– Knotty Head feat. Rick Ross
Dubb Santora
Money Came feat. 2Cz
Lil Uzi Vert
Do What I Want
Macklemore & Ryan LewisWhite Privilege II
NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knxwledge)Lyk Dis
TonaRed Eye feat. Fixaveli
– No Limit feat. Young Thug
Yo Gotti – Down in the DM

(note: links in the song titles go to posts on The Kitchen blog about the songs, the artist or the full lengths they are from. Soundcloud playlist above or alternatively, here’s a playlist of these songs on TIDAL also.)

Previously on The Kitchen


[Podcast] Listen to me appearing on this week’s The Swift Chancellor Report radio show


Check me and the homie, Wes Jackson talking hip-hop on his York College radio show, The Swift Chancellor Report from this past Monday. Here are some of the more choice quotes from our exchange:

Joey Badass is to me literally the epitome of what a middle-aged rap fan is looking for in a new artist…

Chance the Rapper can make music that a kid who is excited about the new Tribe record is gonna wanna listen to, but he’s also making records that are kind of art house takes on ratchet music…

Joey might be hampered by being a kid growing up in New York where they are so stuck on trying to revive this moment in time that’s like 20 years old now…

Lil Yatchy is not the SVP of hip-hop!

Learning your legacy [and] connecting to your elders is usually, almost universally, across cultures considered a good thing…

Rarely is ignorance a good jump-off point…

Let me know what you think in the comments (note: I come on in the latter half of the show, around the 33:11 minute mark, but Wes sets up our chat in the first half and it’s a good listen, with some classic, vintage Jay-Z joints in the mix too as he talks on the occasion of Hov’s birthday about why he’s the GOAT, so play it in full if you can spare the time).

Listen to The Swift Chancellor Report on: YCRadio | SoundCloud

[MP3] R.I.P. Malik Isaac “Phife Dawg” Taylor, 1970-2016

Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest

Rumors of the passing of Phife Dawg, from the legendary hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, which started to surface just as I was going to bed last night, were like a baseball bat to the head. Even though it was well known that he was a long time sufferer of type II diabetes and his health was, sadly, up and down at the best of times, 45 is way too young an age to pass.

Phife was the backbone of Tribe, the dude who added the grit to their left-field, black boho sound. When they reinvented the notion of so-called ‘jazz rap’ with the deep grooves on The Low End Theory earning widespread acclaim, including from many who even at that time still didn’t consider hip-hop ‘real’ music, it was actually Phife who got many of the lyrical plaudits for stepping his game up on the album from their debut and making it what it was, a genre and era defining masterpiece.

It’s been a weird past few weeks for me. So many people who have an impact on my life, both directly an indirectly, have passed away as of late and some of them I only learned about in passing or purely by accident.

It’s sobering seeing so many of my peers, in their forties, the supposed prime of life, pass away. What is going wrong with this world that so many in our generation are not getting to live out full, accomplished lives like Bowie, Glenn Frey, Keith Emerson, Natalie Cole, Maurice White, George Martin and other older legends who have also passed away recently? Not sure I’ll ever have an answer to that question.

Ironically, a couple days ago I saw in my Facebook ‘memories’ I had posted an article a couple years back about Q-tip reassembling the group to go back in the studio to work on new music. My comment accompanying it was something to the effect of: “Ian falls to his knees and cries…” I thought about re-sharing it but didn’t since nothing ever seemed to come of those sessions in the end (although apparently I am wrong on that: I am happy to report a new ATCQ album may be released in 2016!).

Now, even though I wish I didn’t, I would have presciently had all the reason in the world to have had that reaction given yesterday’s terrible news. But, as the homie, Wes says in this Brooklyn Bodega post, let’s not be sad, let’s celebrate Beats, Rhymes & Phife! The mini-mix by the UK’s DJ Yoda above does just that in the best way possible: by whipping together some of the 5 ft Assassin‘s best verses into one glorious hip-hop eulogy cum tribute. RIP Phife… #‎RIPPhifeDawg‬

[mix via The Rub, other great mixes there too! Image via Geology]

Update bonus mix: Listen to an amazing, almost 2 hour long, Phife Dawg tribute mix by the T.dot’s own super DJ, Starting From Scratch HERE.


DK 2015 Albums

Picking our Top 10 favorite albums this year was tough! It was an especially good year for music. Many of the Honorable Mentions below could have made it into Top 10 (the same Top 10 I submitted for my Village Voice Pazz & Jop ballot) if I was in a different mood. Truth be told though, those first 8 titles are pretty much a lock and, unlike last year, this list is in rough order of how much liked the albums although after the first four, the order for the rest of the albums is kind of interchangeable.

If you missed any of these last year, click away on your favorite streaming site, they’re all worth your time and attention. And on the flip side, if I missed or overlooked albums you think we might have dig based on these picks, let us know in the comments. As much music as there is out there (and how behind we perpetually were with the messages sent to us with more), we’re always down to hear music we don’t already know about that we might be into.


01. Scarface – Deeply Rooted
02. Raury – All We Need
03. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
04. The Internet – Ego Death
05. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment Surf
06. Justin Bieber – Purpose
07. Planet Asia Zapco Exp EP
08. Badbadnotgood & Ghostface Killah Sour Soul
09. Jill ScottWoman
10. Aleya Carbon Copy Trip

Honorable Mentions:
Azari & III – Rarities from the Extremities
Beach House – Depression Cherry
Big K.R.I.T.It’s Better This Way (mixtape)
Clear Soul Forces – Fab 5ive
Drake – If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt
Foreign Exchange – Tales From The Land Of Milk And Honey
The Game – The Documentary 2 & 2.5
Jack Ü – Skrillex & Diplo present Jack Ü
Jeezy – Church In These Streets
Talib KweliF-ck the Money (Mixtape)
Teedra Moses – Cognac and Conversation
Peaches – Rub
Puff Daddy & the FamilyMMM
Jay Rock90059
Rick Ross – Black Market
St. Germain – St. Germain
SepTOGod Mind
Spek WonSofa King Amazing
Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show
Tame Impala – Currents
Bryson Tiller – Trapsoul
TonaCarpe Diem
Tyler the Creator – Cherry Bomb
Yo GottiConcealed

(note: links in album titles go to streams on The Kitchen blog, Tumblr or other sites)


Check out our Favorite Songs & Singles of 2015 list HERE.


DK 2015 Songs

The 2015 list of favorite songs or singles at The Kitchen is kind of in rough order and not much different from what I picked for my Pazz N Jop ballot. Jidenna‘s “Classic Man” was most definitely my favorite song of the year without a doubt although The Weeknd‘s “Can’t Feel My Face” gave it a good run for it’s money for that #1 slot! Some great music overall this year though with no signs of it slowing down as we head into 2016.


01. JidennaClassic Man
02. The WeekndCan’t Feel My Face
03. Jay RockGumbo
04. Fetty Wap – Trap Queen
05. Jack Ü – Where Are Ü Now feat. Justin Bieber
06. RihannaB-tch Better Have My Money
07. The GameEverybody on the Floor feat. Migos
08. Major Lazer & DJ SnakeLean On feat.
09. Raz FrescoCortez Nikes feat. Chuck Inglish
10. Alessia CaraHere

Honorable Mentions:
Justin Bieber – Sorry
DrakeBack To Back
Flying LotusCoronus, The Terminator
Major LazerWave feat. Kali Uchis

(note: links in song titles go to posts on The Kitchen blog or Tumblr about the songs, the artist or the full lengths they are from or alternatively, check out a playlist of these songs on TIDAL HERE.)


Check out our Favorite Albums of 2015 list HERE.

#DK11: The album, This One Goes To Eleven… OUT NOW



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