2016 was an absolutely cracking year for music and 2017 shouldn’t be any different. Last year saw the likes of Drake, Beyonce, Frank, Yeezy and Rihanna all shine, but who will do it this year? There’s a lot to be excited about with a lot of artists set to blow up, while some artists are set to return with new albums and massive tours. Here’s a look through a few names that spring to my mind that should be watched in 2017.
Mac DeMarco had a relatively quiet 2016 releasing only a small demo, and late on in the year announced that he’d “finished mixing the new disc” it’s likely that a new album will drop early in the year which would be welcomed with open arms. His more recent studio albums seem to be gaining more success and he has gained a cult following of his own, no doubt he’ll do his usual round of festivals in the summer and could have a career high year with his album most likely be his most successful in terms of sales and mainstream attention.
Tyler The Creator
2016 was a very busy year for Tyler, he had a lot of work with Golf and Golf Le Fleur, had his own fashion show, a 12 page spread in Vogue and hosted his annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, the carnival was his biggest and best yet. Musically Tyler was fairly quiet, dropping only two songs and a feature in ASAP Rocky’s ‘Telephone Calls’ as well as the remix of Zayn Maliks ‘Pillowtalk’. The lack of music release makes me assume he’ll be more active on that front this year, I can see it being another ‘Cherry Bomb’ kind of album in a sense of Tyler having so many ideas for music that an album can’t keep within a theme, it should be glorious nonetheless. Personally I’m hoping for a mixture of ‘Find Your Wings’ and his verse in ‘Telephone Calls’.
Throughout 2016 Earl dropped multiple tracks and often hinted that a third studio album was being made, the deep rap of Earl’s is not everyone cup of tea, but purely from a rapping aspect, Earl is probably the top guy from the old Odd Future gang along with Domo and Hodgy, and with almost a guaranteed album drop this year we could hopefully see the Earl of old. Having recently done a few shows with Tyler, there’s always hope that there could be an EarlWolf feature on an album from either of them, and I’d fanboy for the rest of 2017.
Bryson Tiller had a lowkey 2016 only managing a few features and releasing 1 track. Luckily us fans were still vibing from the success with his debut album ‘Trapsoul’ and this year it’s highly likely that Tiller drops a second album. On top of that he will be touring with The Weeknd and a collaboration of some sort between the two is highly likely and would no doubt be insanely successful.
In 2016 King Kendrick surprisingly dropped ‘Untitled Unmastered’ which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200, and that short 8 track demo was nothing more than B sides that didn’t make it on to ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ That’s how good Kendrick Lamar is. With last years surprise drop it would be foolish to discount Kendrick from releasing an album this year, personally I feel like the Kendrick/J.Cole collab album won’t be out this year but I’d love to be wrong.
Another artist from the Odd Future alumni, Syd Tha Kyd is set to go solo in 2017 and has recently announced that she has finished making her debut album ‘Dive’. If her solo tracks are anything like neo soul band The Internets, we are in for a treat. Her most recent project was ‘Ego Death’ in 2015 with the band, and it was a personal favourite of mine from that year so I’m expecting very big things in 2017.
Jaden Smith dropping jewels and people don’t believe him because he’s Jaden smith. He’s as eccentric as Young Thug but he receives criticism for it while Young Thug gets praise. 2017 will be the year Jaden drops his debut album ‘SYRE’ we’ve heard a snippet of this from a track released late last year called “Fallen”. The leader of the MSFTS will be dropping jewels in the near future no doubt about it.
Drake is a man on a mission as of late, everything he touches turns to gold, in the eyes of mainstream 2016 was his biggest year in music to date with Drizzy smashing near enough every record there was to smash. ‘More Life’ is expected to be released very early on in 2017 and with the production credits showing The Weeknd, Kanye and 40, we can expect some bangers, as well as the inclusion of 21 Savage and hopefully some more big names, this playlist could top what I considered an average album in ‘Views’. On top of all this Drake is going on a world tour with the help of Young Thug.
The 2016 Freshmen List
Not all of the freshmen list was fire, but a solid 50% are ones to be watched this year. Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi, 21 Savage and Anderson Paak could all be in line to put in some solid work. Uzi already announced that he will drop a project, along with no doubt a drop from Lil Yachty and 21 Savage. Desiigner went from the 2016 freshman front runner to becoming a bit of a meme to be honest, hopefully he can get back on track and drop some fire mumble rap with quality production.
The 2017 Freshmen List
No different to 2016, and no different to any XXL list, you should definitely watch out for the 2017 freshman list. Although the list hasn’t been announced yet, previous years have seen J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, Future and many many more, if that’s the previous years, it’s hard to not watch out for this years.
The XX haven’t dropped an album since 2012, both of the previous albums are outstanding, and Jamie XX’s ‘In Colour’ was one of the albums of 2015, it’s near impossible to see why The XX will fail in 2017, their long awaited album ‘I See You’ will drop this month and they are already scheduled for several tours and festival appearances.
Kanye West And G.O.O.D Music
2016 saw Kanye and G.O.O.D Music dominate for the majority of the year, we saw one of the albums of the year early on when Kanye dropped ‘TLOP’. Along with that we had releases from Big Sean and Travis Scott. Although the likes of 2 Chainz, Travis Scott and Chance the Rapper aren’t actually signed to the label they will do a lot of work with Yeezy in GOOD Music, as Kanye once said “If you make good music your in GOOD Music.” This year I am massively anticipating ‘Cruel Summer’ which could feature an abundance of stars. On top of this there’s always the chance that Kanye drops ‘Turbo Grafix 16’ on us, which could make for the best year in GOOD Musics history.
Vince Staples has the potential to be the biggest thing in rap, along with Kendrick, J Cole and Chance I think Vince Staples is leading the new era of rap. He has all the talent in the world but hasn’t had a lot of releases as of yet, with only one studio album here’s to hoping that Vinny drops another album this year. If he does drop an album there’s no doubt in my mind, with Vince being a household name for rap fans he could likely get some massive production and massive features, and it could be the best album of 2017.
In the back end of 2016 ASAP Rocky started releasing music, mainly through the ASAP Mob with ‘Cosy Tapes Vol. 1’, but a few solo pieces were also released. Flacko also signed a deal with in the back end of 2016, making him a creative director, all this success could build to a cracking 2017, there’s a big chance that he drops an album this year, and with a bit of luck he builds on 2016’s success and not the average 2015 album ‘ALLA’.
The list could go on and on, from the likes of English rapper Dave, to releases from Kehlani, Gorillaz and Arcade Fire, constant work from Migos and Gucci, even to a rumoured Chance X Childish collab, we could be looking at one phenomenal year for music, and one I’m massively excited for. Happy new year to all!