Top 30 Records of 2017

 

Congratulations! We’ve made it to the end of the hip hop/r&b lists for 2017! It’s been a hell of a year and I thank every person who has visited this site infinitely. Still can’t believe I get to do this with my life.

Below is the top 30 albums across hip hop, rap and r&b from this past year. Thank you for your patience while I compiled this, I really wanted to let everything sink in before I ranked the music. As you’ll soon find out, we were gifted with some incredible records in 2017. Regardless of all the madness going on in the world around us, it was nice to take mental breaks and get lost in the thick beauty of art. Let us begin.

 

 

30) Katori WalkerIgnorance EP

The music video for Katori Walker’s song ‘Ormoni’ blew up on Instagram a few months back. I was impressed by the snippet I heard so I listened to the project it was featured on. After peeping Walker’s Ignorance EP my opinion was solidified. Katori is a young rap phenom. He kills it 100%. His bars are in tune with reality, while still being both entertaining and energetic. A balance I admire dearly. Strongly recommend this project to all listeners. 10 minutes of some of the best hip hop you’ve heard all year.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Missiles,’ ‘Ormoni,’ ”Ignorance,’ ‘Noose’ & ‘Lower Living Theory’

 

29) Open Mike EagleBrick Body Kids Still Daydream

Mello Music Group’s Open Mike Eagle has always been an artist I’ve enjoyed listening to, but Brick Body Kids Still Daydream brought this enjoyment to greater heights. Lyrics are absolutely tremendous – it’s evident that Mike puts a lot of time into his craft. If you have never heard his stuff then this is the one to get in on. Appreciated his perspective in 2017. Flow always on point too.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Brick Body Complex,’ ‘Legendary Iron Hood,’ ‘Happy Wasteland Day,’ ‘Tldr (Smithing)’ & ‘Daydreaming in the Projects’

 

28) IDKIWASVERYBAD

I’m still somewhat surprised at how little reception this record received on year-end lists. Did people listen to this thing??? IDK’s passion and emotion are intense to say the least, the production is stacked and the collabotors on here will raise both eyebrows. Swizz Beatz, MF DOOM, Del the Funky Homosapien, Thelonious Martin, Mother Marygold, Chief Keef, Yung Gleesh, Tae Beast, Alexander Spit and more all appeared on the LP – big shoutout to Adult Swim. And even bigger shoutout to IDK.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Black Sheep, White Dove,’ ‘Pizza Shop Extended,’ ‘No Shoes on the Rug, Leave Them at the Door,’ ‘Mrs. Lynch, Your Son is the Devil’ & ‘Baby Scale’

 

27) Billy WoodsKnown Unknowns

Billy Woods is a vicious MC. I mean anyone can have their tastes and aesthetic preferences, but when the truth is spoken Woods is one of the nastiest from this entire decade. It will be etched in stone on the base of every mountain and bellowed from their frosty tops. Criminally talented artist.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Keloid,’ ‘Superpredator,’ ‘Cheap Shoes,’ ‘Fall Back’ & ‘Bush League’

 

26) The UnderachieversRenaissance

My favorite Underachievers release yet. Don’t get me wrong, UA have some magnificent projects. Ones that are solid front to back. Renaissance, tho. Renaissance is their crown jewel thus far. Cohesive, fast-paced and filled with spastic rapping, this record showcases exactly what Solace and Gold are all about. Expression, knowledge and dope ass hip hop.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Gotham Nights,’ ‘Super Potent,’ ‘Phoenix Feathers,’ ‘How We Roll’ & ‘Kiss the Sky’

 

 

25) Reuben VincentMyers Park

One of 2017’s breakout stars. You already know how good of a year 9th Wonder had – putting on this MC was one of his grandest accomplishments in my eyes. Reuben stands as the young up-and-comer in the Jamla squad, already outrapping countless MCs five years his age. Myers Park introduced Mr. Vincent with a bang. Keep walking the path Reuben, I’ll be listening attentively. Mad love to the album art too.

Favorite Tracks: ‘Walk This Way,’ ‘Myers Park,’ ‘Teen Spirit,’ ‘Waves in the Water’ & ‘Chains on Me’

 

24) WikiNo Mountains in Manhattan

To be blunt, Wiki’s music excites me. He’s one of those rappers that gravitates me to the performance at hand, regardless of the stage. He released his debut album in 2017 and it was a knockout. Wik balances solo tracks with features precisely and the producer list is filled with talented names. From Ratking to Lil Me to No Mountains in Manhattan, Wiki has consistently been a captivating artist in the rap game. This album proved that he can shine on a solo major label level – raw, uncut hip hop talent at its finest.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Litt 15,’ ‘Made For This,’ ‘Leppy Coqui,’ ‘Jalo’ & ‘Mayor’

 

23) Mick JenkinsOr More; The Anxious EP

Any time Mr. Waters drops a project it’s instant year-end material. This EP was cut from that same cloth. Right from the jump this one goes. Jenkins commands your attention. His words are precise, sharp and always complete with meaning. If this was the appetizer for his new music then the rest of y’all better be scared for the entrée. Spread love.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘C is For Cash Money,’ ‘Vampire in Brooklyn,’ ‘The Layover,’ ‘Gucci Bag’ & ‘Happy Gilmore’

 

22) Statik Selektah8

I’m going to say an almost unbelievable statement: “Statik Selektah outdid himself.” Not only is 8 the most polished album of his career from a production standpoint, but he literary brought the whole game out on here. Prodigy, Sean Price, Royce da 5’9″, The Lox, Joey Bada$$, Raekwon, Westside Gunn, Conway, Run the Jewels, B-Real, Curren$y, 2 Chainz, Cousin Stizz, Action Bronson, Tek, Everlast, Wiz Khalifa, Wale, Phil Ade, Anoyd, Chris Rivers, Joyner Lucas, G-Eazy, No Malice and even more ALL appear on this sophisticated soundscape of a hip hop album. Statik is THE New England producer for me. What an inspiration.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Slept to Death,’ ‘Put Jewels on It,’ ‘8,’ ‘Watchin Myself’ & ‘Disrespekt’

 

21) Cyhi the PrynceNo Dope on Sundays

Not going to lie. This album was a long time coming. But oh how was it more than worth it. Dense is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Cyhi’s bars. The way he delivers high caliber lines over and over again is mind-bending. He stacks entendres in every verse; I also thought No Dope was his most fluid project from a production standpoint too. The praise is well-deserved – the Prynce shall reign.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Get Yo Money,’ ‘Trick Me,’ ‘Closer,’ ‘God Bless Your Heart’ & ‘Free’

 

 

20) MigosC U L T U R E

Quavo, Takeoff and Offset’s trap opera. Do y’all remember how much these three took over when this album dropped? They were everywhereeee. You couldn’t turn a corner without hearing ‘Bad & Boujee.’ The way this project opens up is almost too gnarly. The first four songs alone put most “trap” – that word is in quotes for a reason – music released in 2017 to shame. Culture II on the way…

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘T-Shirt,’ ‘Kelly Price,’ ‘Call Casting,’ ‘Bad and Boujee’ & ‘What the Price’

 

19) LuteWest 1996 Pt. 2

BARS (Funx Flex voice). Lute surprised the f*ck out of me this year. Recognized his name from one of the Dreamville projects, but this LP completely rocked my world. His style is so pure, so true to the pillars that it’s almost impossible not to like him instantly. 35 min of excellence – West 1996 Pt. 2 is a near-perfect rapping performance.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Ford’s Prayer,’ ‘Crabs in a Barrel,’ ‘Juggin’,’ ‘Still Slummin’ & ‘Birds & Bees’

 

18) BROCKHAMPTONSATURATION III

The boy band outdid themselves. The “best” of the 3 in my ears. Best being in quotations because, at the end of the day, it is a very subjective word. SATURATION III‘s production alone is gawk-enducing. A tsunami of beautiful clusterfuck hip hop energy. If you haven’t heard, I chose Brockhampton as the #1 artist or group from 2017. Their music/overall art was groundbreaking. Give SATURATION III a spin and you’ll understand why.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘BOOGIE,’ ‘JOHNNY,’ ‘RENTAL,’ ‘BLEACH’ & ‘ALASKA’

 

17) Your Old DroogPACKS

Your Old Droog is absurdly underrespected. Just wanna make sure that is known. Ever since he burst on the scene a few years back the man hasn’t slipped on his pen game. In fact, he’s grown as an artist. Not only did Droog murder every verse he spit with ease, but he collabed with some other incredible artists. Danny Brown, Edan, Wiki, Chris Crack, Heems – hell, he even had comedian Anthony Jeselnik on a few skits. Step yo verses up if Droog’s in the area. Dude is consistently nice. Peep the Rap Genius if you don’t believe me.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘White Rappers (A Good Guest),’ ‘Bangladesh,’ ‘You Can Do It! (Give Up), ‘Grandma Hips’ & ‘Rapman’

 

16) Big K.R.I.T.4 Eva is a Mighty Long Time

Technically this is two albums, but let’s not get into semantics. Krizzle has been one of my favorites for over half a decade now – one of those discographies that will stand the test of time. This epic of a southern rap album elevated KRIT’s status – both disc one and two shine on their own. Packed with personal verses, thundering drums and pure flow, 4 Eva is a Mighty Long Time displays why K.R.I.T. will always be a king of the game. What a flex.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Get Away,’ ‘Big Bank,’ ‘Mixed Messages,’ ‘The Light’ & ‘Aux Cord’

 

 

15) ThundercatDrunk

Full volume funk. I remember back in February when this dropped I already knew it was going to be on this list. I mean, who else is playing bass like this human? Mothaf*cka brought Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald in on the same song. And then followed it up with a track featuring King Kendrick. All in between a fusion of good vibes, basslines and modern times. Add in some top-tier vocals from Thundercat himself and it’s a party. BRAINFEEDER!

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Friend Zone,’ ‘Show You the Way,’ ‘Walk on By,’ ‘Lava Lamp’ & ‘Inferno’

 

14) JonwayneRap Album Two

Timing, and patience. That’s what Jonwayne’s art re-taught me in 2017. Between this fantastic album and his stellar live show, I was inspired to be more patient. Growing up, I almost looked at patience as a super power. If you can control your time you can control your destiny. Well, at least as much as we think we can.

Today however, it’s more challenging than ever to stay on a path of infinite patience. Everything from our communication to our shopping to our art consumption is instant. Instant gratification across all generations, slowly deteriorating our species’ patience.

At least, if you’re not checking yourself. There needs to be a clarity, an appreciation, in every day life that allows you to see the forest through the trees and slow all the busyness down. I heard this clarity in the music of Rap Album Two. It’s a clean, well-structured and masterfully paced album. Don’t even get me started on how ill Wayne’s self-production is too. If y’all don’t have a goal for this year I’ll give you one. Get familiar with Jonwayne and his label ‘Authors Recording Company.’ On top of hearing dope music, you also might learn something. Maybe even something about yourself.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘City Lights,’ ‘Human Condition,’ ‘These Words Are Everything,’ ‘TED Talk’ & ‘Rainbow’

 

13) Vince StaplesBig Fish Theory

Mr. Vince Staples. Does the rap game deserve a figure this poignant and real? I’m honestly not sure these days, but I will say I’m thankful for his voice. Not only that, but he also is ONE OF THE MOST GIFTED HIP HOP ARTISTS OF THIS GENERATION.

Pick into his sophomore effort, Big Fish Theory. Released just two years after his instant-classic debut Summertime ’06, this album is a f*ckin monster. First of all, Vince switched it up on us like a doctah. The production is more futuristic sounding, often blending industrial and electronic vibes. The subject matter is ambiguous, but not impossible to decipher. To me, Vince is making some observations on the life he was born into, the life he grew up in while living in Long Beach. The ‘Ramona Park is Yankee Stadium’ skit especially. Perhaps the life Vince and his fellow males lived may have contained some displaced meaning. But you can’t just say these things. You have to show these ideas. We then have to read between the lines. Not fully my place to speak on these topics, but these were my gut reactions from an analytical stance.

Whenever I listen to the album’s closing track, ‘Rain Come Down,’ I look at the fish bowl on the cover. The same fish bowl we see in the video for ‘Big Fish.’ To me, perhaps this is supposed to represent Vince. He is the big fish. This could be his theory, after all. And, although he can see the infinite sea of opportunity surrounding him, there is still a plane of glass separating him from this sea. But, if the rain pours from the sky (symbolizing a cleanse, perhaps), then the water will rise and the fish can swim out of the bowl. Or maybe the fish is a metaphor for both Vince and his people. I’m not too sure. As David Lynch says, the answer is never truly that important. The thought process surrounding it is. Vince made me think this year, while putting out a rap album full of heat. That cannot be praised enough.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Crabs in a Bucket,’ ‘Yeah Right,’ ‘Big Fish,’ ‘Party People’ & ‘745’

 

12) J.I.DThe Never Story

Still a little taken back at how naturally nasty this MC is. There isn’t a skill he lacks – songwriting, voice, flow, uniqueness, wisdom – it’s all there. AND THIS IS A DEBUT ALBUM! The beginning of the greatness. That multiples the album’s acclaim for me. Haven’t been this impressed by an artist’s early work in a minute. Genuinely happy for the dude – he’s pushing the competition forward.

From the way J.I.D has been talking on social media lately it looks like he has plans for a takeover in 2018. After steady playing The Never Story all year, I do not doubt the man one bit. Dreamville!

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘NEVER,’ ‘Underwear,’ ‘Somebody,’ ‘D/vision’ & ‘Hoodbooger’

 

11) SamphaProcess

Sampha’s voice is a powerhouse of emotion. Throughout his album Process I was leveled by the volume of it. He bellows through the production, planting his words inside your consciousness as you listen. I was often too transfixed by the performance alone to really register what was being said – I was in it. That’s not an easy feat. Especially in today’s overly saturated world of sound. A gorgeous 10 songs. Hold them close to your heart. Sampha’s music healed me a lot in 2017 and I have to thank the man for that. Exemplary r&b/soul in the modern era.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Plastic 100°C,’ ‘Timmy’s Prayer,’ ‘What Shouldn’t I Be,’ ‘No One Knows Me (Like the Piano)’ & ‘Take Me Inside’

 

 
 
 
 

 

10) SminoBlkswn.

We’re in the top 10! Smino is an artist I thankfully discovered towards the end of 2016. The minute I heard ‘blkjupitr’ for the first time I knew his music was something special. Fast forward to spring 2017 and Smino released his debut album. Brimming with funk, soul and passionate hip hop energy I again immediately knew this was something different. No one is making music like this. The singing, the cadences, the f*ckin’ swagger of it all. Almost too much! Smino’s vision is focused; my gut tells me this won’t be the last time we hear from the St. Louis great. Blessed to be on this journey so early.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Father Son Holy Smoke,’ ‘Blkswn,’ ‘Netflix & Dusse,’ ‘Amphetamine’ & ‘Glass Flows’

 

 
 
 
 

 

9) Daniel CaesarFreudian

A tour de force of tranquility. Caesar grabbed my attention in 2016 with ‘Get You,’ but I was damn near addicted to his music in 2017. Couldn’t go a week or so without throwing this album back on. It’s a life soundtrack. Put it on and all your stress alleviates – if you let the music hit you. And, if it does, there’s no going back. Did I also mention this was a debut album too by the way? I beleive the word is “wunderkind.”

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘We Find Love,’ ‘Get You,’ ‘Freudian,’ ‘Take Me Away’ & ‘Best Part’

 

 
 
 
 

 

8) MiloWho Told You to Think??!!?!?!?

For the longest time I thought of this album’s title as a confrontational statement – “who told you to think?” Now, I almost view it as a declaration. Almost saying, “who told you to get inside your own head!? who told you think think!?”

Information is how we piece life together. The information and lessons you receive throughout your upbringing can mold your entire universal view on life. What happens if you don’t step back and examine yourself from a neutral 3rd person perspective? Will you ever truly learn? Maybe we have to escape our own heads to see what our full being possesses. In my ears, Who Told You to Think??!!?!?!? sounded like a manifestation of self and an urge to question who defines us, what defines us, and how we define ourselves. Regardless of all this stimulating thought, Milo put out a gem of a project sonically too. It’s of the highest production value front to back, the lyrics and references are as thought-provoking as they are impressively obscure and each feature is placed with precision. I was incredibly inspired by Milo this year. Many thanks to this album. It will age like the fine rap bordeaux it is. Local roots!

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Sorcerer,’ ‘Embroidering Machine,’ ‘Poet (Black Bean),’ ‘Call + Form (Picture)’ & ‘Take Advantage of the Naysayer’

 

 
 
 
 

 

7) Roc MarcianoRosebudd’s Revenge

I don’t even know what to say about Sir Roc Marciano. He makes albums that sound like the hip hop equivalent of The Godfather series. You’re automatically thirty levels cooler whenever you’re listening to him. Silk flow. Dynamite bars. Gangster smooth voice. Production dripping from the rafters. Brain cannot compute the flyness. Fly sh*t all over. Staining the carpet and sh*t with the flyness. Icy like the cooler on the 4th of July. Ya heard?

What just happened? What did I just say? Did I just overdose on the flyness? (just listen to this album, yo. please.)

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Already,’ ‘Move Dope,’ ‘Killing Time,’ ‘Rosebudd’s Revenge’ & ‘Pig Knuckles’

 

 
 
 
 

 

6) Jay-Z4:44

This ranking falls under the “self-explanatory” category. Jay came full force on 4:44, no holds bar, everything out in the open. Laying bare the sins of his unfaithful ways. With No I.D. at his side, Hov dropped his most personal album yet in 2017. And, as we all know, this was a masterpiece. Not a bar, nay, word wasted. No’s beats are just stuuuuuuupid too. Those Nina samples are gorgeous. This honestly could be in Jay’s top 3 albums, which is a statement I honestly did not expect to be saying way back last January. I hope y’all took Jay’s words and advice to heart. It’s not every day a person of his status breaks it down as real as he did. Roc Boys forever.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Family Feud,’ ‘Smile,’ ‘The Story of O.J.’ ‘Caught Their Eyes’ & ‘4:44’

 

 
 
 
 

 

5) Joey Bada$$All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$

Brooklyn in the house. Funny that we just went from Jay to Joey, almost seems kismet. Let’s get right into it. I respect the fuck out of Joey for what he accomplished on this LP. A selfless attempt to bond himself to his people – to all likeminded people. People who carry the mindset of peace. Of awareness. Of education. Of hope. The music was beautiful. From the heart. Heavy. And elite. You hear just how much these words mean to Joey. You know this is exactly the album he knew he had to put out. That’s why every song is special in its own regards. You can spin ‘TEMPTATION,’ ‘FOR MY PEOPLE’ or ‘DEVASTATED’ to motivate yourself. You can bump ‘RING THE ALARM’ or ‘ROCKABYE BABY’ to get hyped and active. If you want to hear pure heat, play ‘LEGENDARY,’ ‘LAND OF THE FREE,’ ‘Y U DON’T LOVE ME’ or ‘BABYLON’ – hell play any of them! There is not one bad song on All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$. This is a young artist thriving at his peak. You have to love that.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘TEMPTATION,’ ‘BABYLON,’ ‘ROCKABYE BABY,’ ‘Y U DON’T LOVE ME’ & ‘RING THE ALARM’

 

 
 
 
 

 

4) SZACTRL.

SZA rocked the music world in 2017, no question about it. Her highly-anticipated debut album dropped in the summer and forever changed the young artist’s career. Instantly praised by critics, fans and fellow artists alike, CTRL. sounded like a culmination of all SZA’s potential so far. The lyrics and themes are bold and vulnerable – but important topics we should discuss. Who is controlling our lives? Are we going out and living the best lives we can, are we in control of our lives, or are we playing into cultural/external forces that we aren’t fully aware of? Who or what is motivating our actions? If we truly want to live, we have to be in our own driver seats.

SZA’s music is beyond moving; it’s mesmerizing. Few artists pack as much voice into their work as she does. CTRL. made me feel emotions I haven’t felt in a long time – that’s the biggest compliment I can give. Art is felt the most when it’s created and consumed directly in the heart.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Broken Clocks,’ ‘Supermodel,’ ‘Love Galore,’ ‘Doves in the Wind’ & ’20 Something’

 

 
 
 
 

 

3) Tyler, The CreatorScum Fuck Flower Boy

TOP 3 ALBUMS LET’S GO! AND TYLER THE CREATOR WILL BRING US IN. I’M FINNA KEEP TYPING ALL CAPS JUST SO Y’ALL UNDERSTAND HOW WATERSHED THIS ALBUM IS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE TYLER’S STYLES OF THE PAST? HORRORCORE? ABRASIVE? LAYERED? CHAOTIC? I’M NOT SURE – IT CAN BE QUITE CHALLENGING TO PUT LABELS ON THINGS. REGARDLESS – THIS ALBUM DOESN’T SOUND LIKE ANYTHING WE’VE EVER HEARD TYLER PUT OUT! IT’S LIKE MODERN ROY AYERS COMBINED WITH HEAVENLY POST 90s R&B MELODIES AND INTIMATE RAP VERSES. THIS SH*T IS CRAZY! JUST STUPID! BANANAS! IT’S AN 11/10 FROM A PRODUCTION STANDPOINT. TYLER DID IT AGAIN TENFOLD. HIS TALENTS BEHIND THE BOARDS ARE SOLIDIFIED FOREVER.

FLOWER BOY IS ICONIC. A UNICORN RIDING THROUGH A RAGING MUSHROOM CLOUD OF GLITTER. IT SHOWED ME THAT SH*T DOESN’T MATTER BUT ART. CREATE AND EXPRESS YOURSELF. FEEL AND DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT NAYSAYERS THINK. BE YOURSELF AND LET YOUR CREATIONS REFLECT THAT. CONGRATULATIONS AND INFITE RESPECT GO TO MR. SC*M FUCK – THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU.

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘911/Mr. Lonely,’ ‘Pothole,’ ‘Forward,’ ‘Glitter’ & ‘See You Again’

 

 
 
 
 

 

2) Kendrick Lamar DAMN.

It took me way too long to figure out what to talk about for this album’s blurb. How can you describe the work of Kendrick Lamar in less than ten pages? I’m serious. This isn’t some “deep” album you find on the shelves of some underground hip hop record store. This is the pinnacle, a near perfect creation of hip hop music. Thought-provoking as it is catchy, aggressive as it is peaceful – it is the past, present and future. There is no spacetime continuum when DAMN. is spinning. Only a Kenny continuum. I could tell you that Kendrick is the best of our time. That no one has rapped like this, ever. That ‘DUCKWORTH’ might contain the most mind-blowing plot twist in hip hop history. But you know that already.

I will say this. Are we all going to stand around and say “Kendrick is king” without taking his words to heart? Change begins at the personal level. We can all do better. If you truly want to show this man his respect, go out and be a good person. An open-minded person. Try to switch your perspective. As I said, we all can do better. DAMN. motivated me to be in my best mindset all year. Everything from the backwards structure to Kid Capri inspired me to think different from the norm. To switch it up on them. To feel what’s inside my body, my soul, and not overthink what I want my existence to be. Like all of Kendrick’s work, this will only grow in acclaim as the years pass. In a decade filled with mainstream imitation, it is more than comforting to know that Compton’s golden boy is always there to push things forward.

 

Favorite Songs: ‘DUCKWORTH.,’ ‘DNA.,’ ‘FEAR.,’ ‘XXX.’ & ‘FEEL.’

 

 
 
 
 

 

1) Rapsody Laila’s Wisdom

Let’s be real. If you’re going to beat Kendrick on a year-end top albums list, you better be coming with some unreal heat. Like human torch sh*t. And don’t y’all worry. That is exactly what Rapsody did.

Laila’s Wisdom is the type of album that makes hip hop nerds like myself fall in love with the game all over again. Rapsody is one of the best of this generation, no doubt. She’s been in the lab for the past couple years with both Roc Nation and Jamla – working closely with 9th Wonder and Young Guru. That combo alone is bonkers. With those two at her side, Rap brought the fury on Laila’s Wisdom. She drops knowledge on every single bar. Literary – each song is a lesson plan. If you want to spit game – rotate this LP a few times. Rap was headhunting from the first second to the last.

The production roster is disgusting as well. You already know 9th and Young Guru had their fingerprints all over it, but so did Nottz, Khrysis, Eric G and Ka$h Don’t Make Beats. If you’re not aware, most of those cats rock with the Jamla crew. A.k.a. the illest team of producers in the world. Let’s dip on over to the guest features now. Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Kendrick Lamar, Terrace Martin, BJ the Chicago Kid, Musiq Soulchild, Anderson .Paak, Moonchild, GQ, Lance Skiiiwalker and Gwenn Bunn make up the collaborators for the project. Need I say anything else about that department?

My biggest praise for this album has to be its momentum. There are sooooo many classic tracks on here. Legit, more than half the album is made up of timeless songs. Songs that will be remembered forever. They keep rolling into each other one after another – the pacing is masterclass. It all builds into the last track ‘Jesus Coming’ – which is a song I almost can’t even speak on. The emotion Rapsody instills into the listener is devastating. It’s pure art. Combine it with 9th’s soul chopping wizardy and I dare you not to tear up.

The more I write about music, the more I realize how truly difficult it is. How do I convey my opinion to you so that you feel exactly how I feel? And, the more words I’ve put out, the more I realize it’s essentially impossible. An emotion cannot be felt in one sentence. It is an explosion of all of our memories and dreams radiating throughout our entire bodies. What I can say is I would give up all the music created in 2017 just to keep this one album. That’s how high it shines in my skies. Rapsody, 9th Wonder, Young Guru, the whole Jamla and Roc Nation squads – y’all pushed this culture forward more than anyone truly will know. We’re all living under a microscope right now. Every move is witnessed, discussed and critiqued. When the dust settles down though, and the power of hindsight kick in, y’all will see. Laila’s Wisdom deserves the 2017 crown. There is no doubt in my mind.

One love to all and thank you for reading. S P R E A D L O V E and support hip hop! See you all throughout 2018. 🙂

 

Favorite Tracks: ‘Chrome (Like Ooh),’ ‘Laila’s Wisdom,’ ‘Nobody,’ ‘Black & Ugly’ & ‘Power’

 
 
 
 
 

Honorable Mention
Action Bronson – Blue Chips 7000
Karriem Riggins – Headnod Suite
Nyck @ Knight – Nyck @ Knight
Danny Watts – Black Boy Meets World
BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION II
Kelela – Take Me Apart
Cousin Stizz – One Night Only
Myke Bogan – Pool Party
Freddie Gibbs – You Only Live 2wice EP
Brent Faiyaz – Sonder Son
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Oddisee – The Iceberg
Ravyn Lenae – Midnight Moonlight EP
Quelle Chris – Being You is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often
GoldLink – At What Cost
Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION
Injury Reserve – Drive it Like it’s Stolen EP
MIKE – By the Water EP
Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs – Gems From the Equinox
EarthGang – Rags EP & Robots EP
Brother Ali – All the Beauty in This Whole Life
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – Brainiac EP
G Herbo – Humble Beast
Stik Figa – Central Standard Time
Apollo Brown & Planet Asia – Anchovies
Vic Mensa – The Autobiography
A$AP Twelvyy – 12
Talib Kweli – Radio Silence
Kool G Rap – Return of the Don
Future – HNDRXX
A$AP Mob – Cozy Tapes Vol. 2
Gorillaz – HUMANZ
Logic – Everybody
Big Boi – BOOMIVERSE
Aminé – Good For You
Jered Sanders – Nobody Famous.
OverDoz. – 2008
Lou the Human – Humaniac
Khalid – American Teen
ZotheJerk & Frost Gamble – Black Beach
Drake – More Life
Yung Simmie – Big Smokey
Slaine vs. Termanology – Anti-Hero
Mozzy – 1 Up Top Ahk
Nikobeats & Noah Rhyme$ – Madfriendly
Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls
Lil B – Black Ken
P.O.S. – Chill, dummy
Gucci Mane – DropTopWop
Lando Chill – The Boy Who Spoke to the Wind
J Hus – Common Sense
Matt Martians – The Drum Chord Theory
GQ – E 14th
Ivy Sole – East EP & West EP
Jay Worthy – Fantasy Island
Musiq Soulchild – Feel the Real
Supa Bwe – I Hate Being Alive
Fabolous & Jadakiss – Friday on Elm Street
Wiley – Godfather
The Alchemist & Budgie – The Good Book Vol. 2
Ransom – Greatest Rapper Alive
H.E.R. – Every Kind of Way
DJ Harrison – HazyMoods
Armand Hammer – Rome
Prodigy – Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation)
SiR – Her Too EP
Jimi Tents – I Can’t Go Home
21 Savage – Issa Album
Pete Rock – Lost Sessions
Joey Fatt$ – I’ll Call You Tomorrow II
Lil Uzi Vert – Luv is Rage 2
Fashawn – Manna EP
Hot Sugar – The Melody of Dust
Deniro Farrar – Mind of a Gemini II
Corbin – Mourn
Snoop Dogg – Neva Left
Buddy – Ocean & Montana
L’Orange – The Ordinary Man
Stalley – New Wave
2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
Skyzoo – Peddler Themes
Playboi Carti – Playboi Carti
Cunninlynguists – Rose Azurio Njano
Kari Faux – Primary
Defari – Rare Poise
Caleborate – Real Person
Wu-Tang – The Saga Continues
Talib Kweli & Styles P – The Seven
Little Simz – Stillness in Wonderland
The Cool Kids – Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe
Homebody Sandman – Veins
Deem Spencer – We Think We Alone
Bryson Tiller – True to Self
MC Eight & DJ Premier – Which Way iz West
Raekwon – The Wild
Meek Mill – Wins & Losses
Knxwledge – Yes Lawd! Remixes
Metro Boomin, 21 Savage & Offset – Without Warning
Pool Cosby – Blind Gold
N.E.R.D. – No One Ever Really Dies
Ugly God – The Booty Tape
Iman Omari – IHY
Travis Scott & Quavo – Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho
Kiefer – Kickinit Alone

 
 

*more honorable mentions to possibly come*

 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 

images via Roc Marciano, The Underachievers, KCBLA, Red Bull, Cyhi the Prynce, Cam Kirk, Your Old Droog, Vince Staples, Smino, Zero Fatigue, Daniel Caesar, Golden Child Recordings, Milo, Ruby Yacht, Marci Enterprises, Jay-Z, Roc Nation, Joey Bada$$, Pro Era, Cinematic Music Group, SZA, TDE, Tyler The Creator, Columbia Records, Kendrick Lamar, Rapsody, Jamla Records & all rightful photographers

 
 
 
 
 
 

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– Benny P

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