Now that 2018 is here, we’re seeing all sorts of end of the year lists. Whether it’s movies, brands, tv shows, or music they’re everywhere. With that said, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon as well with my own music list. I have compiled my top ten favorite albums of 2017, but with a little disclaimer, I love hip-hop music, so my list is basically that. With that said, let’s begin with some honorable mentions.
Pretty Girls Like Trap Music-2 Chainz
Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1- Calvin Harris
Let’s get it started.
10. Freudian- Daniel Caesar
Highlights: Get You, Best Part, We Find Love
When I think of R&B I think of love songs, but in 2017 it seems the genre has switched from love songs to making love songs and it values lust more than love. What makes this album great is it goes against the grain of today’s R&B as this album is more about falling in love. The album gets off to a strong start when we hear Caesar’s great vocals in the smooth song Get You and it carries throughout the whole album. Had it not been for BROCKHAMPTON, I would have had Caesar as my breakout artist this year across all categories. But, as far as R&B goes, he was the best performer in 2017.
9. Luv is Rage 2- Lil Uzi Vert
Highlights: XO Tour Lif3, Sauce It Up, The Way Life Goes
If you would have told me two years ago, or even at the beginning of this year, that I would enjoy Lil Uzi Vert’s music I would have called you crazy. Let alone have one of his albums crack my top 10. But, Uzi had a great year in 2017 and he kicked off his great year by dropping the single XO Tour Lif3. After sitting on one single for a few months he then dropped Luv is Rage 2, the follow up to the mixtape Luv is Rage. This makes my list because the production on this album is amazing from XO Tour Lif3 to Sauce It Up, the beats are great. Although Uzi isn’t a great lyricist, he had some great vocals on this album shown off from XO Tour Lif3, Neon Guts, Feelings Mutual, and The Way Life Goes. This was a fun album to listen to in 2017 and you could get away with playing any of the songs of this album at a party.
8. 4:44- Jay-Z
Highlights: The Story of OJ, 4:44, Family Feud
It might surprise some people this fell at eight, but Jay-Z has never really done it for me. With that said, this sort of “tell all” Jay-Z album was really good as we hear Jay-Z open up about his marriage troubles that Beyonce exposed to the world with Lemonade. This album was almost like a three-part story, starting as addressing what happened, moving to apologetic and remorse, then he seems to show that he and Queen Bey worked out their problems and that their relationship will get stronger from here. Was this one of Jay’s best albums? Absolutely. It’s a different approach from Jay-Z, but this album was fantastic. Although it was a different approach, we still got some classic Jay-Z as he rapped about money in songs like The Story of OJ (which was also one of the best music videos ever) and Family Feud. No one expected it, it had low expectations, but exceeded all expectations and proved Hov still has his legendary game.
7. I Decided. – Big Sean
Highlights: Voices in My Head/ Stick to the plan, Bounce Back, Moves, Jump Out the Window
The concept behind Big Sean’s latest album was his belief that he has been giving a second chance at life. In his first run on earth, he believed he got through life and accomplished nothing, so the whole album we hear the interaction he is having with his former self to live life to the fullest. Big Sean arguably has the best flow in music right now, and he flexes those muscles in songs like Moves, Bounce Back, and Voices in My Head/ Stick to the plan. But, we also see a softer side of Big Sean in songs like Jump Out the Window where he talks about struggling relationships. One of the most touching songs though was Inspire Me, where he pens a dedication song to his mother. Overall, I decided was a solid album and I do believe it’s been underappreciated this year and gets lost in the shuffle with all the other great albums we had this year. Oh yeah and he had a song with Eminem, but Eminem has been trash for the past five or six years, so there’s that.
6. Flower Boy- Tyler, The Creator
Highlights: 911/ Mr. Lonely, Who Dat Boy, See You again
Tyler, The Creator has never been one for commercial success, as he raps with an “I don’t care” attitude and raps about what he feels, if it goes big great, if not who cares. I have been a fan of Tyler for some time now, ever since his days in Odd Future. I can easily say he is not for everyone and some people may think he’s weird, but he’s a very talented artist. In fact, he prides himself on being weird and that’s what makes this album great. It got extremely successful and Tyler didn’t change a thing. Having his biggest commercial success in the song See You Again, people started to floc to this album instantly. Dropping a few singles before the albums release, it was evident this was going to be Tyler’s most successful album. It was kind of odd to see Tyler take a softer approach on this album, but we still see the same hard-hitting stuff in songs like Who Dat Boy. I loved seeing him have a great 2017.
5. Everybody- Logic
Highlights: AfricAryaN, 1-800-273-8255, Everybody
I never thought much of logic before this year, I always found him annoying and I don’t know why. I never really gave him a chance, but this spring I had a friend show me this album and man is it amazing. Logic is not only a great lyricist with a great flow, but he has a great singing voice as well. Logic may be the most underappreciated artists in all of hip hop right now in fact. The theme of this album was simple, equality. Rapping about issues we have in today’s society such as racism, depression, anxiety, and suicide (we’ve all heard the song) he, with the help of Neil Degrasse Tyson who voiced God, gave us the idea of a religion almost like Buddhism where he has the mind set that we are every person that has ever lived, so what we do to others we are doing to ourselves. While this idea may be totally false, it does bring the idea that we should treat everyone how we want to be treated. This album would have landed higher on my list, but the only issue I have with this album is in every song Logic raps about being biracial, almost to the point where fans were like “we get it”. My favorite song on this album is also the longest, AfricAryaN. I like this song so well because Logic shows of his vocal range throughout the whole 13-minute song and we even got a raw feature from one of my favorite artists, J. Cole, to close the track. This album was great, and it made me more appreciative of Logic and his talent in music.
4. More Life- Drake
Highlights: Do Not Disturb, Passionfruit, Get it Together, Teenage Fever
Although Drake dubbed this a “playlist”, but for all intents and purposes this was an album. First teased in October 2016, Drake kept pushing the release date back and back until March 12th of this year. Drake needed a strong outing after most people believed Views was overhyped and underwhelmed, sure enough the six god delivered. This truly was the sequel to Take Care, Drake’s most successful album, with a mix of upbeat songs and then the sad, cheesy, love songs only Drake can make cool like Teenage Fever (which sampled JLo), Nothings into Somethings, and Since Way Back. This album had a variety of music and it definitely had some vibes that you would hear from across the pond in songs like No Long Talk. He also had some fun songs with some of his best verses like Gylachester, Can’t Have Everything, and Sacrifices. Drake’s biggest song on this album was Passionfruit, as it gave a smooth Caribbean feel to the song that everyone can vibe to. In my opinion Drake gave us one of his best verses in More Life’s outro, Do Not Disturb, as he rapped about how he tries to get everything off his chest when closing out his project. He then goes on to say it would take the rest of 2017 off to get some rest and bring him back to his regular life. He said he would give us the summary in 2018, and being the Drake Stan I am, I’m more than ready.
3. Ctrl- SZA
Highlights: Love Galore, The weekend, Prom, Drew Barrymore
SZA has been featured in a few songs before 2017, but in 2017 SZA finally had her own success with her amazing solo album, Ctrl. Dropping the single Love Galore featuring Travis Scott a few weeks before the album released, people loved the song but I’m not too sure anyone had high expectations for this album. SZA blew everyone away with Ctrl. SZA’s main purpose of this album is she is critiquing herself, whether it with self-doubt or full confidence, she’s just trying to figure it out. SZA only added to TDE’s already successful year as a music label, and with her great voice and flow she will be a force in the music industry.
2. SATURATION III- BROCKHAMPTON
Highlights: BOOGIE, ZIPPER, BLEACH
As I mentioned earlier, BROCKHAMPTON is probably the best breakout artist this year. The group released three albums alone this year, all titled Saturation and each one was better than the last. Therefore, my favorite album of theirs is their most recent, Saturation III. This may be a little high on my list because I might have some recency bias, but I have listened to it non-stop for two weeks. Starting the album off with the fun and eccentric son BOOGIE, it reels you in quick. It then goes into ZIPPER which has a great flow to it as well. The best song on this album though is probably BLEACH, it’s a mellow-toned song but BROCKHAMPTON member Matt Champion dominated this track with an incredible first verse. Coming in high up on the list is SATURATION III.
1. DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
Highlights: the whole album
This album is basically the consensus album of the year across all media and deservingly so. Kendrick Lamar is the best artist right now and has been for a few years now, known for his impressive lyricism, deep conceptual thinking, and the crazy amount of engineering done on his tracks, he always delivers. Not only did Kung-Fu Kenny deliver, he dropped a classic with DAMN. First teasing a new album coming in the song the heart pt. 4, then dropping HUMBLE. everyone was hungry for this album. Kendrick first brings us in with BLOOD. In which he is telling a story in a mellow tone, then out of nowhere he hits us with the hard-hitting DNA. which set the tone for the rest of the album.
Most people thought Kendrick Lamar had a crazy two album concept with this album as well. Assuming there was aother album on the way, this was the conspiracy( that actually made sense) that Kendrick would have a follow up album to DAMN. in three days.
In reality, the deep concept of this album was it could be listened to backwards as it told the story of Kendrick growing up and the obstacles he had to face to become what he is today. The stories he told in the individual song were great as well, which we’ve got accustomed to with Kendrick. Songs like XXX., FEAR., and LUST. are all great, but my favorite has to be DUCKWORTH. In DUCKWORTH. he tells the amazing story of how his music manager, Top Dawg, robbed the KFC where his father worked. But Kendrick’s father helped out Top Dawg by giving him free food and consequently, Top Dawg spared his father’s life. I could honestly do a whole post on this album alone…damn.