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ESPN's Favorite Albums of 2016 (so far)

It’s September and with fall music releases around the corner, we wanted to round up our favorite albums of 2016 so far.

From X Games to The Undefeated, talent from across ESPN sent us their 2016 music shortlists. While we’ve already seen a swell of Grammy-promised releases, a few stand out as ESPN favorites. Drake’s Views and Kendrick Lamar’s unmastered untitled stacked up the most mentions, with notable nods to Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book.

Marcellus Wiley (SportsNation host and former NFL player)

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo: “Rebounded beautifully from the ego extreme sounds of Yeezus. Pablo spiritually fused entertainment and education highlighting Kanye's brilliance once again.” [Spotify]

2 Chainz - COLLEGROVE ft. Lil Wayne: “I expected nothing less from 2 of the best rappers in the game. This is what happens when Jordan and Pippen lock in together. Their mutual respect and long-standing friendship came thru as music to our ears.” [iTunes]

Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J & TM88 - TGOD Mafia: Rude Awakening: “Sometimes you have to forget your higher angels. This is an album you put on in the gym and burn the most calories and set PR's when it's on. It doesn't take you deep, but it takes you there!” [iTunes]

Drake - Views: “When expectations are sky high, what are you to do? You raise your game to that level and enjoy the Views! Enough said…” [iTunes]

Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP: “He laughs at the sophomore slump label with a uniqueness that's unmatched. Soulful, street wit that's a more thoughtful sound than we're used to hearing.” [iTunes]

Sarina Morales (SportsCenter:AM Anchor)

Drake - Views: "This album is great, not just because 'One Dance' is the most addictive song to listen to. It’s music matched with Drake’s lyrics are good for a nice car ride with the windows down. I can listen to the whole album beginning to end. Champagne Papi wins again." [iTunes]

Meghan Trainor - Thank You: "I’ve never cared for her music, so this is weird for me to put this… but this album is so catchy. I feel like she wore sunglasses the whole time she recorded this album or something because she’s got this cool vibe going. My favorite songs are ‘Me Two’ and ‘I love me’ — I mean who doesn’t want to rock to a song like that?" [iTunes]

Flume - Skin: "Flume is an acquired taste. Start slow with this album -- 'Never Be Like You' is catchy and then make your way to 'Say It'. Once you take those in, I really like 'Smoke & Retribution' and 'Like Water' and 'Free'. This is a “good vibes” album. I am a big fan of their music." [iTunes]

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book: "'No Problem' and 'Blessings' are worth this entire album. This album has like a retro feel. It’s good. Nuff said." [Spotify]

The Lumineers - Cleopatra: "I love their songs. They are honest. They have a nice folksy feel. Any of these songs could be played at the end of a movie and would make you cry at the end. I like this album to listen to when I decompress from work or while I’m cooking dinner. Hard to pick a favorite on this album, but 'Gun Song' and 'Angela' are two of my faves." [iTunes]

Brandon Graham (X Games Host)

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It: “Their sophomore effort has put them into another hemisphere. Easily my favorite album of the year thus far.” [iTunes]

Drake - Views: “No one in hip-hop has dropped more music than him in the last two years. Crazy that he just keeps getting better.” [iTunes]

Ro James - ELDORADO: “When your debut album is the best R&B album of the year you're doing it right.” [iTunes]

St. Lucia - Matter: “The best pop album of the year could've come out in 1985 and we wouldn't know the difference.” [iTunes]

Raleigh Ritchie - You're a Man Now, Boy: “Perfectly crafted debut album that equal parts hip-hop, electronic, and R&B.” [iTunes]

Sarah Spain (espnW columnist and SportsCenter Contributor)

Beyoncé - Lemonade: “Beyoncé's Lemonade takes my top three spots because it's the only album I've bought this year! Chalk it up to a busy six months planning my wedding, I guess. And I know an album about cheating and heartbreak is an odd choice for a blushing bride, but man is it a good one! I love that it can be at different times powerful and empowering, beautiful and rough, sad and angry, subtle and in-your-face.” [iTunes]

Marcus Matthews (The Undefeated)

Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book: “Musical blessing.” [Spotify]

Drake - Views: “Not the hot fire we expected coming off the beef with Meek Mill but still full of bangers to party to.” [iTunes]

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered: “Great surprise and who needs titles when the bars speak for themselves.” [iTunes]

Kanye - The Life of Pablo: “I missed the old Kanye but this new Kanye is cool as well.” [Spotify]

Beyoncé - Lemonade: “Brilliant Bey, as always.” [iTunes]

Jay Harris (SportsCenter:AM Anchor)

Anderson .Paak - Malibu: "It's smooth, it's a groove, it's mixes hip hop, R&B, and rock, and it's lyrically interesting. And I'm a sucker for real instruments and people who play." [iTunes]

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution: "She's a bass player. I'm a bass player. I dig her." [iTunes]

BJ The Chicago Kid - In My Mind: "The audio person on my show played "Turnin Me Up" going into break one morning, and I was hooked. It's soul music." [iTunes]

Beyoncé - Lemonade: "It's Beyoncé. What else do you want me to say?" [iTunes]

Jalen Rose (former NBA player & ESPN Contributor)

Drake - Views [iTunes]

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered [iTunes]

Royce da 5’9” - Layers [iTunes]

Will Reeve (SportsCenter Contributor)

Mumford & Sons - Johannesburg: “It’s not technically an album, but Mumford & Sons’ EP Johannesburg is fantastic. They’ve evolved to have an entirely new sound, but it suits them perfectly, and suits me perfectly when I feel like singing at the top of my lungs (in the car or the shower only, of course).” [iTunes]

The Knocks - 55: “I’ve gotten big into The Knocks this year. Their album 55 is unique and gets me going right away.” [iTunes]

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered: “There’s nobody like (or as skilled as) Kendrick Lamar. untitled unmastered is another display of Kendrick’s continued and incomparable mastery of his craft and the issues that matter the most to him and society.” [iTunes]

St. Lucia - Matter: “Listen to ‘Dancing on Glass’ by St. Lucia—or anything else from Matter—and I guarantee your mood will improve immediately. They have such a fun, engaging sound, and great vocals all around.” [iTunes]

Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book: “Another one that’s not technically an album, but indisputably bangs, is Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book. He’s a guy to look out for in the future; unique flow, fresh perspective. Plus, the features on this mixtape are insane.” [Spotify]

For all the latest music heard on ESPN, check out ESPN Music on Spotify!