Revisit the best and most influential albums of 2017
2017 has been quite the year for the hip-hop & rap community. Whether it’s for the better or worse, the community has molted and changed quite a bit since the bottom of last year. Although there were hundreds of hip-hop albums dropped this year, we compiled a list of the best and most influential albums of 2017.
15Jaden Smith – SYRE
Jaden Smith’s debut album SYRE has raised the bar quite a bit for the young rappers of today. Completing a full concept album as his debut, it definetly earned a spot in our top 15. With over a two year process of studio work, the 17 track project is filled with all types of different hip-hop influenced tracks. His hit track “Icon,” earned him over 16 million plays on Apple Music and scored him the No. 6 on the iTunes charts. It’s the versitality in the project that stands out. Each track is different, whether it’s the B L U E collage which utilizes a very soulful tone or the mediterranean beat in “Icon,” or the rock riff in “Watch Me,” the project is versatile sets the bar high for young artists.
14Big Sean – I Decided.
At number 14 we have Big Sean’s I Decided. Though this album has flaws, it has still proven to be some of Big Sean’s best work. The production on this album is excellent with tracks like “Jump Out The Window,” and “Moves.” This album also contained Big Sean’s highest selling single yet “Bounce Back.” There’s a ton of bangers on this project, and the music sounds fun, but it did fail to show any sort of growth from Big Sean lyrically.
13Mike WiLL Made-It – Ransom 2
In 2017 more and more producers are recognized and gaining a following themselves. Producer project’s are starting to get more and more common as 2017 set in. Mike WiLL Made-It has proven his prominence has a producer for awhile now, and this year Mike dropped his best project to date, Ransom 2. Enlisting the help of big artists, Mike mixed and matched artists on his tracks that fit way too well. Leading off his hit single “Gucci On My,” with 21 Savage, Migos, & YG, the album was an instant classic as other hits like Rihanna’s “Nothing Is Promised,” or “Perfect Pint,” with Kendrick Lamar, Gucci Mane, & Rae Sremmurd. Ransom 2‘s versitality makes the project stand out as each song and artist brings a new flavor to the project.
12Dave East – Paranoia
Dave East came up in this game as a true MC, and his testament to bring some of the best lyricism in hip hop still stands as golden. After signing a deal with Def Jam, his debut album Paranoia, served as a pure-form deliverance with hefty production and great lyricism. On his new album however, he advances the delivery he brought on Kairi Chanel with emcee-bars and a complex production that improved his previous sound. It’s almost as if East has been searching for his final and true sound, and he just reached that point on his new album. All in all, Dave East has a big career ahead of him and the flow he brings on Paranoia solidifies his meaning in hip hop.
11XXXTentacion – 17
There’s definitely been so much debate surrounding XXXTENTACION this year, from his persona to his legal issues. However, his debut album 17 solidified himself as an artist. It was a real shock to hear the type of sound X was bringing on his debut, and went completely out of his comfort zone to create a new layer of delivery with his advancing sound. Shying away from the scream-rap trap sound that got X to explode, his newly found Jazz influence made this album so great. Combining folk samples over the soft kicks but deep 808s and baselines, his production made this a one of a kind. Production aside, X has used his power to speak to the youth and help other deal with depression. Again, that is just one of the many reasons why this album deserves a spot on the list, and X is one of the first to cover this topic.
10Migos – Culture
It’s safe to say that Migos has owned 2017 in the community. Dropping Culture at the top of 2017, the trio of Quavo, Takeoff, & Offset has grew their fan base in huge way. Utilizing their distinct voices and insane energy, Culture was made a classic and a huge hit for all kinds of hip-hop fans. Mixed with catchy hook, assult-type versus, and banging 808’s the Migos delivered a well rounded project that built off their image. Leading off their hit singles “Bad & Boujee,” & “Slippery,” the trio enlisted some help from Gucci Mane, Lil Uzi Vert, 2 Chainz, and more to add even more energy and fun to the album. Focusing more on the structure and groove to the tracks each song is it’s own unique taste and enjoyable to everyone.
9Logic – Everybody
Number 9 on this list is the captivating concept album by Logic Everybody. Logic had a nice fan base prior to this album, but after this album he was put on the map as a solidified mainstream artist. However, Logic has a different vision for what he wants to do in the mainstream. As opposed to the normal things we hear rappers talk about in hip-hop, Logic aims to bring attention to serious topics such as mental health, gender equality, and racial equality. This album was easily Logics biggest project yet.
8Meek Mill – Wins & Losses
Philadelphia’s Meek Mill has been one of 2017’s dominant rapper’s. With roughly 16 projects under his belt since 2007, Meek’s following consist of older hip-hop heads, as well as young hip-hop finatics. Meek’s Wins & Losses blends the rigth amount of trap and street influenced raps. While keeping the energy high and beats loud, Meek’s raps are far from mumbling drugs and money. Growing up on the streets of Philly, Meek’s rap base surfaces around the harsh enviroment of the ghetto enviroments and his boastful rise to fame through hard work. Diversity is also key in the album as every song tells a story yet meshes into one well-rounded project.
7Jay Z – 4:44
At number 7 comes Jay Z’s latest album 4:44. This can be argued as Jay-Z’s most personal project to date. Jay takes us into his personal life where we see his issues with his family (specifically his wife), and also relationships with friends such as Kanye West. Jay-Z is well known for his bragadocious bars; however, on this album we see a vulnerable Sean Carter criticizing himself on his track “Kill Jay-Z.” This album is a completely different take on Jay-Z’s music, and it sounds fantastic.
6Ty Dolla $ign – Beach House 3
One of biggest names in not just hip-hop but in R&B, pop, & soul, Ty Dolla $ign has been a go to artist if you need a great hook or verse for a hit. With his dynamic vocals from an incredible singing voice to his trapped out raps, Ty Dolla has been a huge influence in today’s music. Delivering his third installment to his popular Beach House series, Ty Dolla’s goal to deliver a classic yet fun project was achieved. Bringing on the help of many artist, the “beach house” summer-fun feel project delivered some classics to the charts. The hooks are catchy, the features are fitting, and the beats are smooth and bouncy. Ty Dolla has shown some major improvement since last years Campaign, bringing more versitality and fast paced bangers.
5Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
Number 5 on our list is Vince Staples’ album Big Fish Theory. This is Vince’s second full length project and everything about this album is captivating. Not only does Vince bring his A-game lyrically, but he almost changed his signature dark and gritty style for this album. The beats are more upbeat, the tempo is quick, the bars are quotable and the music sounds excellent. Vince has set himself up to be one of the best of this generation with this album.
4Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
At number 4 we have Tyler The Creator’s best work yet. Flower Boy shows Tyler’s maturity as an artist both sonically and lyrically. Tyler orchestrates gorgeous symphonies of music while fuzing it with his own style. The lyrics are very personal, the beats are captivating, and the music is catchy. Easily Tyler’s best work yet.
3SZA – CNTRL
SZA really made a name for herself this year, all thanks to her critically acclaimed album CNTRL. The project as a whole really shows SZA’s skills as an R&B artist, keeeping the listener excited and ecstatic. She touches base on a few topics such as love, lust, and power. It’s no coincidence that Top Dawg Ent has some of the most critically acclaimed albums this year, and they prove their dominance as a powerhouse label. All together, SZA’s flow is unique and gives her a sure spot on this list.
2Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Badass
Joey Bada$$ is certainly one with strong political opinions, and he uses his power to express that through truth. In All Amerikkkan Bada$$, Joey takes a stance on the U.S. government along with social issues in today’s society. The reason this album did numbers bases around the fact that so many have been following his message, which he does so good in portraying. Joey keeps it clean on the bars while giving the fans an unforgettable delivery. This fact alone has given Joey a ton spot as a lyricist, but let’s not forget the complex production he brings throughout the album. This will be one of those albums that will be in rotation for decades to come, and that’s why this album deserves the #2 spot on our list.
1Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
Kendrick Lamar takes a turn for the better on his 5th studio album DAMN., for an undeniable flow that rose Kendrick’s critic reviews even higher. It’s no question that this was the best album of the year, detailing a story of love, lust, pain, and every emotion that got him to where he’s at now. Lyricism is key in Kendrick’s approach to any one of his projects, and he solidifies that on DAMN. Lyrics aside, Kendrick’s production and sound is complex and flows perfectly with his vocals. All in all, the album serves as a true testament of what Kendrick is capable of, and his veteran status is slowly but surely approaching as one of the greatest to do it.