Looking Back At Some Of The Best Albums Of 2017
Now that the new year is in it’s early swing, we can look back at some of the best projects that were released throughout all of 2017.
From beginning to end, 2017 was a year full of joy, issues, trials and tribulations, and overall great stories in the world of hip hop. With great projects that oversaw and became the reason for many of these stories, 2017 was surely an unforgettable year for the music industry. Let’s take a look back at some of those memorable projects from great artists that made 2017 hip-hop what it was.
Future – FUTURE/HNDRXX
When 2017 began, everyone started to question what Future was up to. The artist who once came out with two albums and two mixtapes in the course of about 8 months, was almost non-existent from April 2016 to the end of 2016. And then, February came around. On February 17th, Future returned to release his self-titled project, FUTURE. With Future returning to his trap-sounding roots, this album was sure to be a hit. Listening to tracks such as “Draco,” “Feds Did a Sweep” and one of the biggest hits of the year, “Mask Off,” we all knew Future was back. And then, 7 days passed, and he was back AGAIN. On the 24th of February, the Atlanta rapper then released HNDRXX, igniting even more excitement from fans. Something unheard of; an artist of this magnitude dropping two albums in back to back weeks. HNDRXX became a more R&B-sounding project with songs such as “Selfish” with Rihanna, and “Coming Back Strong” with The Weeknd. It was a great two weeks in hip-hop, as Future returned to the consistent hit-maker he’s always been.
Drake – More Life
When this project was announced in November of 2016, and expected to be released in December, everyone was disappointed it wasn’t. January and February had then passed, and still no Drake. Then, it was March 18th, and OVO Sound Radio went live. The much anticipated “playlist” premiered, on a platform that can’t be used by many other artists. With hits across the board, such as “Free Smoke,” “Passionfruit,” “Portland” with Travis Scott and Quavo, and “Teenage Fever,” along with numerous others, Drake mastered yet again what appeared to be a newer sound. The project was more groovy and boom-bap sounding, featuring more UK rappers such as Skepta and Giggs, and more low-end singers such as Black Coffee and Jorja. It certainly acted as a great bridge from Views to his next album hopefully releasing in 2018. And as a bridge, it was still one of the best projects of the entire year.
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Arguably the album of 2017. Nominated for multiple Grammy awards this year. Kendrick Lamar returned in 2017, after dropping To Pimp A Butterfly in 2015, to prove why he’s one of the greatest MC’s maybe of all time. With hits such as “XXX,” “DNA,” “Duckworth,” and arguably top track of the year, “Humble,” DAMN Proved to be one of the more solid bodies of work from Kendrick, and that’s saying something. Features from Rihanna and U2 also show the importance of this project and the talented insight that went into it. Kendrick is on the up and up, and DAMN of course makes all fans excited for the Compton rapper.
Eminem – Revival
He’s back. Yes, Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, arguably one of the best rappers to ever live, is back. For the first time since 2013, we finally got a solo studio album from Eminem himself. And the Detroit rapper had A LOT to talk about. With features from Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Phressher, and Kehlani, Eminem was able to construct a more rock-sounding album with hits and political insight on different issues. With also discussing his past mistakes and relationships with his ex-wife, Kim, and daughter, Hailie, Marshall addressed a lot on this project, and gave fans a lot to work with on what could be his final studio album. Let’s all hope that it isn’t.
JAY Z – 4:44
When Magna Carter… Holy Grail released back in 2013, everyone wasn’t surprised to see the classic Brooklyn MC put together another fantastic body of work. However after that, he was kind of quiet. People wondered what he could be up to, and all we got was a video of Solange attacking him in an elevator, and a Beyonce album addressing what seemed to be the reason for that attack. And then came June 30th of 2017, when 4:44 released, a day that will go down as one of the brighter days in hip-hop over the course of the year. JAY Z returned to his throne that The Notorious B.I.G. left him, as the king of New York rap. “Kill JAY Z,” “The Story of O.J.” and “Family Feud” are great tracks from an album immersed in Hov’s problems, issues, and impasses in and out of the studio. One of the top albums of the year without a doubt, and is sure to be an album that rap fans, old and new, enjoy still in 2018.
Lil Uzi Vert – LUV Is Rage 2
From the announcement late 2016 from the Philly rapper, fans all around were waiting patiently to the sequel of his debut mixtape. We got Luv is Rage 1.5 EP in April, with four new fantastic tracks, including Uzi Vert’s biggest single to date, “XO Tour Llif3.” Then, 5 new Uzi Vert songs premiered on DJ Drama and Don Cannon’s SiriusXM show, which fans dubbed Luv is Rage 1.9. And then, on August 24th, Uzi Vert tweeted that “2, the album” was coming “tonight.” And still to this day in 2018, no one is getting bored of it. “Sauce it Up,” “Neon Guts,” and “The Way Life Goes” are played in clubs, parties, in earphones on the way to class, and in car radios every day. Lil Uzi Vert improved on his ability to make music as he’s continued to do each time he’s put out a project. Each of the Luv is Rage, Lil Uzi Vert vs The World, and The Perfect LUV Tape mixtapes were great bodies of work that led to what’s one of the best projects of the entire year. Well done Uzi, you revolutionized a new form of hip-hop and haven’t disappointed fans one bit.
SZA – Ctrl
After months of battling TDE regarding the withholding of her debut album’s release, SZA finally dropped what all fans have been waiting for. With an acoustic twist onto great lyrics from the Top Dawg singer, SZA’s debut album proved her worth in the music industry. She has fantastic talent that can put together great tracks with meaningful messages. With features from Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar on the album, assisting her on the tracks, “Love Galore” and “Doves in the Wind,” respectively, SZA has the connections she needs in the hip-hop world to help make these fantastic records. That’s good for her future, because from this album, it seems she could become one of the biggest singers in all of music quite soon.
Migos – Culture
Quavo, the god of the hook. Offset and Takeoff, very solid lyricists. Put them all together, they have the formula. And on Culture, they reveal that formula to fans. From beginning to end, there are hits across this project, such as “Bad and Boujee,” “Slippery,” and “T-Shirt,” and basically every other song on this album. Migos right off the bat proved to be one of the more dominant hit-makers in hip-hop for the entire year. And with Culture 2 releasing this month most likely, they keep dominating with whatever they make and release.
Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Bada$$
B4.DA.$$ was an instant classic, and showed how big Joey would be in the New York/East Coast rap scene. Songs like “Christ Conscious” and “Paper Trails” got Joey going with the lyrics from verse to verse and built upon the lyricism he proved in earlier work. And then, his sophomore album released, and everyone was expecting a solid project. And that’s exactly what we got. Joey Bada$$ has solidified himself as one of the best lyricists and overall rappers in the hip-hop industry with this project, and showed the importance of the meaning behind each track. Songs such as “Temptation,” “Land of the Free” and “Super Predator” have Joey rapping his head off about problems within our nation and his stance on the political issues that have arose. People believe he’s too political with the album, but I think the whole political aspect mixed in with his hit-making ability came at the right time. Joey can still put together awesome music, that hasn’t gone away at all.
Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy
What was once the screaming, cursing, wilding-out Ladera rapper that we heard on tracks such as “Yonkers” and “Tron Cat,” has transformed into one that can make some great alternative-pop hits. Tyler the Creator has put a new spin on rap, and proves how talented he really is as an artist. “Boredom,” the album’s first single, was an incredible piece of work with help from Rex Orange County and Anna of the North. Other tracks such as “911” and “Who Dat Boy” have fans jumping in the club, but also vibing out by themselves. The album goes in numerous directions, but all are great directions, and that’s the talent that Tyler possesses. One of his better albums without a doubt, and definitely one of the better bodies of music the entire year.