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15 Great Albums You Didn’t Hear in 2016

Rolling Stone critics choose LPs that flew under the radar

15 Great Albums You Didn't Hear in 2016

These albums may not have burned through your playlists in 2016, but a Rolling Stone editor or contributor thinks at least one should have.

Princess Nokia, ‘1992’

Share this mixtape with a powerful girl in your life – and fork over your lunch money, too. Nuyorican MC Princess Nokia is not just a Calvin Klein model, a black feminist crusader and a D.I.Y. evangelist: She is the future. The Spanish Harlem native evolved from anime cyber-fairy to earth mother in her eclectic 2014 debut, Metallic Butterfly. She then served vintage Donna Summer goodness in last year's Honeysuckle. Now Nokia goes full New York underground in her unrelenting mixtape, 1992 – her Sailor Moon cosplay gloves are off this round, and she's not holding back punches. In "Tomboy" she wears a schoolyard taunt like a badge of honor; in "Brujas," Nokia taps into the mysticism garnered from her Yoruban and Taíno roots to cast a level-hundred curse on all her haters and oppressors with a fire-spitting incantation: "Don't you fuck with my energy." We wouldn't dare. Suzy Exposito

Barbra Streisand, ‘Encores: Movie Partners Sing Broadway’

For Barbra Streisand's 35th album, the iconic vocalist teamed up with movie stars to sing selections from classic Broadway shows like A Chorus Line, Annie Get Your Gun and The Sound of Music. While Streisand is a clear standout, it's the moments of unearthing musical talents from stars who haven't previously shown off their singing chops that carry the LP to the next level, like Melissa McCarthy's perfect comedic timing on "Anything You Can Do" and Star Wars: The Force Awakens breakout star Daisy Ridley holding her own against the Funny Girl and Anne Hathaway for "At the Ballet." Brittany Spanos

Adia Victoria, 'Beyond the Bloodhounds'

Adia Victoria, ‘Beyond the Bloodhounds’

It would be a mistake to try to neatly classify Nashville-based Adia Victoria's debut Beyond the Bloodhounds as country or Americana, since it doesn't seem particularly intended for either audience. Songs like "Mexico Blues" and "Head Rot" bear unmistakable traces of country, folk and blues, but they're shocked with dissonant blasts of electric guitar and set on fire with Victoria's trenchant observations about life in the South as a woman of color. "I don't know nothin' 'bout Southern belles/But I can tell you something 'bout Southern hell/When your skin give 'em cause to take and take," she chants on "Stuck in the South," recalling Nina Simone's activism from a corner of contemporary music where voices like hers remain under-represented. Jon Freeman

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