The end of the year is near! What have you been jamming to?
Hip-hop has been surging the last few years. With huge names in the industry continuing to make hit after hit, it came as no surprise when Forbes announced hip-hop had surpassed rock-n-roll as the dominant genre in the United States earlier this year.
Just in 2017 alone we saw Jay Z face his past of infidelity, Drake dropped “More Life” on us, Logic took the conscious route on his album, and good Lord did Migos have an insane year.
But what albums have been the best? The bee’s knees? The creme-de-la-creme? Many albums will win awards, some albums will win many awards. We are just here to show you the albums we loved the most this year from the hip-hop culture.
Here are our top five best albums of 2017 in order from favorite to absolute favorite.
5.) Culture by Migos
Look, “Bad and Boujee” alone earned them a slot on this list. The album was an absolute success after it’s initial release in January and by April, it had already gone platinum. The tracklist boasts features from some of the biggest names in the rap game right now including Travis Scott, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, and Lil Uzi Vert. Songs like “Slippery,” “T-Shirt”, and “Kelly Price” showcase the groups dark and gritty side while songs like “Call Casting,” “Get Right Witcha,” and “All Ass” show just how great a Migos’ club banger can be.
4.) 4:44 by Jay Z
As previously mentioned, Jay Z’s newest album “4:44” is perhaps his most introspective album to date. Jay Z is typically known for his big and boasterous east coast ego with iconic tracks like “99 Problems” or “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” but this time around Jay Z took a different direction. This album was created for the diehard Jay Z fan. The fans that don’t need banger after banger to stick around and listen to an entire album. In tracks like “Smile” and “4:44,” Jay shows his reflective side from when he cheated on Queen Beyonce or tells the story about his mother who lived her life in the closet for fear of judgment. Jay Z also didn’t hold back on social and political talk on the track “The Story of OJ” where he breaks down the relationship between black Americans and society.
3.) All-Amerikkkan Badass by Joey Badass
When Joey Badass dropped this album, it was a little unexpected. Previously, Joey infused boom-bap rap elements with conscious rap coupled with braggadocious bars about being from the streets or grinding harder than the rest of the competition. But in “All-Amerikkkan Badass,” Joey really focuses on his conscious rap style where he provides social commentary on things like police brutality and racism. Songs like “For My People,” “Temptation,” and “Land of the Free” are some of the greatest lyrics on the album and Joey’s singing voice has much improved since his last album. Perhaps the most catchy song on the entire tracklist comes in as a victory song called “Devastated” where Joey tells the story of the come up and how it feels so damn good to be where he is now. Congrats, Joey! I’m rooting for you.
2.) Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator
“I hate Tyler, the Creator because his music is too in my face and loud,” you, probably. That’s OK, I was thinking the same thing after “Cherry Bomb.” But in Tyler’s newest full-length feature album, we see the side of Tyler that truthfully I didn’t know existed. Besides the two songs “I Ain’t Got Time” and “Who Dat Boy,” “Flower Boy” is the most emotionally gripping and captivating album Tyler has ever released. In songs like “Boredom,” “See You Again,” “911/Mr. Lonely,” and “November,” we see that Tyler is actually lonely and he straight up misses his friends. (Wonder if this has any relations to Odd Future breaking apart?) Beyond that, we see that Tyler really doesn’t know how to cope with these emotions of loneliness so he just sits around his house waiting for someone to hit him up to simply just hang out. The melodies of the album were beautifully made and the concept was perfectly done as many lyrics and punchlines revert back to the theme of nature the album is surrounded around. This album really was a breath of fresh air from Tyler.
1.) DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
Like there was any question if King Kendrick would be crowned album of the year. Kung-Fu Kenny absolutely has the Midas touch when it comes to the rap game and his latest album “DAMN.” was nothing short of gold. Kendrick takes on the task of attempting to comment on some of life’s biggest nuances like love, God, lust, and pride. It was a huge task to pull off and he came through in a big way. Kendrick has this way of talking about his emotions and fears in life without sounding whinning or complaining; he’s really just telling it how he sees it and boy is it insightful. Everyone and their mother has heard “Humble” by now, but other tracks like “God,” “XXX,” and “Fear” serve as some deep tracks that are just as good as the hits. Other songs like “DNA,” “Love,” and “Element” are already radio hits and it’s for good reason. But, my favorite thing about the album is the intro. Listen to “Blood” and let it play into “DNA” and your iPhone might catch on fire because the two songs together are incredible.