2017 was a solid year for music. A wide variety of releases throughout from various Hip-Hop artists from mainstream to underground. Here are is a list that is in no order of my favorite projects that released that should be checked out if you haven’t already!
Process – Sampha
With Sampha making an appearance on Kanye West’s song Saint Pablo was when the artist first caught my hears and I quickly saw something special. Before his debut dropped, he only had a couple short EPs at his belt that gave a small taste of this artist’s potential. Now that Process has been out for many months, it is easily one of the best releases from an R&B artist this year. The album is a journey through heartfelt grief from his rough past and a reconstruction of who Sampha is as an artist and person. His strong performances of his vocals combined with his electronic and Hip-Hop instrumentals is some his best work ever. The song “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano” is a piano ballad that probably one of the most heartfelt songs on the project and gives the listener a small taste of the past that Sampha has experienced.
Flower Boy – Tyler The Creator
Tyler The Creator and his past with group: Odd Future will forever hold their influence in music even if the group have all went their own ways. Tyler himself has a very vast discography that at the beginning seemed very controversial and eventually began to find his own sound after each release. While Cherry Bomb explores different perspectives of Tyler as an artist from his past releases, in my opinion I just never seen the music from the project as good. With Flower Boy, Tyler had caught my interest with the great singles that dropped: Who Dat Boy and 911/ Mr Lonely, but I still had doubts due to his past release. Having listening to Flower Boy for many months, I can proudly say that Tyler proved me wrong and this project might be his best drop to date. While this album doesn’t connect to the story told in his past trilogy in any way, the music shows Tyler at very mature point in his life and has finally found the sound that best showcases his talents.
Lalia’s Wisdom- Rapsody
Having first took notice of this artist from her excellent’s verse on Kendrick Lamar’s Complexion from “To Pimp A Butterfly” that gives a taste of the poetry she shows through song. It wasn’t until her debut album with Roc Nation: “Lalia’s Wisdom” that shows Rapsody as easily one of the best rappers currently. This project filled with magnificent soulful production that Rapsody uses to showcase her amazing storytelling talents. With the combination of her lyrical abilities with great features from artists such as: Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes and much more makes this project easily one of the best of this year. The closing track: Jesus Coming is probably one of best tracks that will probably come out in 2017.
4eva Is A Mighty Long Time- Big K.R.I.T
Big KRIT’s discography in the beginning was nothing short of brilliant, “Return of 4eva” is easily one of the best mixtapes of this decade. KRIT had a very strong presence in the underground scene and had signed to Def Jam in 2010 where things began to change. With releasing a couple projects under the label, it was well aware that KRIT wasn’t as expressive compared to his past work that effected the quality of his music. Leaving the label in 2016 may have been the best decision he’s made. It took some time, but with his first release in 2017 free from Def Jam: “4eva Is A Mighty Long Time”, KRIT is back and may have just dropped a two-disc masterpiece. This album spans across 22 tracks in a time where longer albums are now frowned upon as many artists cannot keep a consistency, but KRIT proves that wrong. There is maybe one moment throughout the two discs where there is small stump, but it easily picks itself back up soon after. The first disc consists of vintage KRIT that is full of bangers that pay homage to his past discography. The second disc gives a more introspective aspect of the life KRIT has experienced being in the shadows for so many years and may be my favorite part of the album. Subenstein is easily one of the craziest and hard hitting tracks to drop in 2017.
Saturation Trilogy- Brockhampton
Brockhampton is a group of talented individuals that known themselves to be the “the Internet’s first boy band” and have a sound like no other. Led by artist: Kevin Abstract, the group first came together from a music forum: “Kanyetothe” and the rest is pretty much history. In June, they released their first album Saturation I with critical acclaim and was an album filled with a sound that was very unique. While being very different, the group pays homage to legendary Rap artists and groups that allow them to have excellent hooks throughout the project with also great verses from the collective. With slowing building a fanbase, Brockhampton shortly began to release another round of singles and an announcement of Saturation II to release in July only weeks after their debut. Saturation II, while following the same formula as the first was very great due to the fact that Brockhampton is making music that is so just so fresh currently. With a successful release of the second project that showcased them as a very talented group with a now strong following, they announced a third project of the trilogy to release in December. Saturation III while being more melodic than the past two releases, solidified Brockhampton as group that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Releasing 48 tracks of quality in a year is no easy feat and Brockhampton had a crazy run this year. If you haven’t heard this group yet, make sure you do so as soon as possible.
All-Amerikkkan Bada$$- Joey Bada$$
With a sound in the past that consisted of hard raps under boom-bap production showcased Joey as an excellent lyricist with plenty of potential to grow. His debut album: “B4DA$$” stayed true to the sound that made him great with excellent thought provoking subjects spanned across the album. The question for many fans was where Joey was going to go next with his next release. While Joey was great in his sound that paid homage to 80’s/90’s rap, it was a direction that could also stagnate his career. With “All-Amerikkkan Bada$$”, Joey has now evolved into a whole new sound while still being able to stay true to his roots. With still keeping eye on the negative aspects of contemporary America to spread a message, Joey was able to do it in a way that not many expected. The album spanning across 12 tracks showcases Joey’s talents as an artist in general. Filled with great melodies, hooks,lyrics, and great features makes this album easily one of the best this year.
CTRL – SZA
Sza is apart of rap collective: Top Dawg Entertainment, home to many artists such as Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul, and more. 2017 has been SZA’s year and her progression to stardom is well deserved. Previously she had a rough patch in her musical career due to many things such as the constant delays with CTRL. At one point, she was even considering at quitting music from the many complications with the album. After the release of her EP in 2014 under TDE: “Z” she had fallen under the shadows for many years with many fans wondering if she was ever going to return. Now with the release of her debut album: “CTRL”, SZA is now on the forefront of the label with a strong following. The album is filled with many tracks that explore the complex emotional aspect of being the other women over great production. While at moments some ideas in some tracks aren’t fully fleshed out compared to others, this is an excellent debut that showcases SZA as an artist with great talent.
DAMN- Kendrick Lamar
Well this one shouldn’t be a suprise.
Kendrick Lamar, from rap collective Top Dawg Entertainment is an artist that deserves no introduction at this point due to many feats he’s accomplished through his musical career. Coming from his masterpiece: “To Pimp A Butterfly”, many fans questions the direction he could go for his next project and if he had the ability to keep a clean sheet of quality projects under his belt. Randomly with short notice in March, he dropped The Heart Part IV, that showed Kendrick as still having the hungry drive that he’s had since the beginning. With lyrics at the end of the song that hinted at a new project in April. Shortly after, Kendrick’s 4th LP was here and the man really can do it all. It’s much more straight forward then his last, but it’s still really good. The subtle intro into the second track: DNA was crazy first listen and the song still hits hard now. As the album progresses, it is filled with a variety of songs that not only appeal to a more mainstream sound, but are also still very lyrical heavy. If you haven’t heard this album than I’m not sure what you’re doing. This is definitely not Kendrick’s best project and was definitely question by some loyal fans, but the payoff from this album was worth it.