2017 has been an absolute fire year for music. 2016 was great but this tops it. Last year wasn’t really the year for rap on my list of best albums, it had Gambino, Weeknd, Frank Ocean and The 1975 all high. This year has been very rap heavy, it’s been heavy on great albums in general. Below has got my top 40 albums of the year that I’ve heard.
40. DJ Khaled- Grateful
What. The. Fuck. Is. This. Shit. Worst album I’ve heard this year. it’s 90 minutes which is around 40 minutes too long. 7 tracks he didn’t actually produce, there’s approximately 10 features too many and 13 tracks too many. There’s more fillers than bangers and is probably the most jumbled album I’ve ever heard. You can tell that people have put no effort into the features, they just there getting paid. At this point DJ Khaled is just one massive massive meme and I’m god damn sick.
39. Ed Sheeran- Divide
Ed and Khaled had a good scrap for my least favourite album but Khaled won by an inch. Ed is just unbearably popular for someone who doesn’t really offer a lot to me. I hear the same old shtick, ‘he’s the hardest working man in music’ ‘nobody deserves it more’. OMG did you know he use to busk that’s crazyyyy. He loves his fans but charges them the earth for tickets then dares call out touts despite being the worlds biggest tout. I’m sure he’s a good guy, but he’s a sellout and fraud and makes average music.
38. Nav- Nav
Many thought he would be an XXL Freshman, and I for one am glad he isn’t, he’s an average rapper in an age were rap is atop of the music game, this mixtape was boring, his voice is boring, no great flow and no amazing production, not a fan, without The Weeknd this man wouldn’t be known, XO sucks as a record label.
37. The XX- I See You
The XX returned early in the year with yet another critically acclaimed album, which for me was their worst album yet, I’d go as far to say it was mediocre. They came with a new sound which is commendable, but for me something just didn’t click. I’m not sure if my music pallet has changed but I used to love The XX, something feels different now.
36. Big Sean- I Decided
Another year another bang average Big Sean album, surprisingly his best album ever in my opinion. He’s really not special, and I don’t understand the level of hype he gets. When your biggest song is ‘Bounce Back’ which is frankly a sub par hip hop anthem then there’s something missing.
35. Lil Yachty- Teenage Emotions
This was such a damn shame, all the hype surrounding Lil Boat, all the excitement, all for it to fall flat, such a mediocre piece, too long and too jumbled. For all the hype there wasn’t even a ton of cool features to spark interest. A few bangers, but from 23 songs do expect a few bangers?
34. Big Boi- Boomiverse
We all at this point know that Big Boi is one of the most underrated rappers of all time, he’s always been in the shadows but on the solo stage he’s made amazing albums, this isn’t the case this year sadly. It’s not going to be remembered as an all time Big Boi great, and not something I’ll hear again if I’m honest.
33. Future- Future
Mumble rap was one of the biggest things going in 2015 and 2016, and is still massively popular this year, but for me it’s losing it’s touch, not that mumble rap is bad, it’s just being poorly executed and over played, without ‘Mask Off’ what sticks out here? Pretty much every single song sounds the same as the last.
32. Future- Hndrxx
The only artist to have two albums on this chart, and the only man to knock himself off the number 1 spot on the album chart, this album was FAR superior in my opinion. It had more about it, unlike the other album this one had more variety, a better R&B sound, and a couple features that stood out.
31. Bryson Tiller- True To Self
I was a huge fan of Bryson Tiller when he dropped his debut album, I’m a fan of the man and the story behind the man, but this was a step back for him, it’s good but when you make an album like ‘Trap Soul’, this feels like it falls flat on it’s face, it’s sometimes harsh to draw comparisons but I’m unlikely to listen to much of this album when I can listen to the one prior.
30. Khalid- American Teen
This is a solid release for a young man who’s got a huge future ahead of him, it’s somewhat forgetful because this a year full of great albums, but when you look back at it, Khalid has some big songs here and a very underrated voice. Hopefully his recent work with Calvin Harris brings him some more attention for the future.
29. Gucci Mane- Droptopwop
I for one am beyond happy that Gucci is FREE, this missed the mark a little for Gucci’s high standard music, I feel like he’s being over played and over saturated, that being said there is some decent production as always, it’s hard for Gucci to put a foot wrong, if he slows down and take a bit more time with his work we will see him once again in his full form.
28. Steve Lacy- Steve Lacy’s Demo
Steve Lacy made a 6 song demo on his IPHONE and it’s better than what most people can make, he’s 19 and he’s helping produce with some of the worlds best artists, this man is just a genius who is far more experienced than a lad of his age should be. We are truly blessed with people like him
27. Young Thug- Beautiful Thugger Girls
I’m sorry guys but I’ll have to go against the critics here, this is one of Thuggers worst projects yet. Although it feels like a tight album, it simply doesn’t sound as good. I love Thugger when he makes a solid rap album, this just doesn’t cut it for me I’m afraid, it’s good, not great, certainly not Thuggers usual Tupac level.
26. Rex Orange County- Apricot Princess
I’m always open minded with music and always on the search for it, and on the search I stumbled across Rex Orange County, who’s made somewhat of a chilled indie album, blended with the occasional rap and soul vibes. It’s well written and well produced, if you get a chance give it a listen, it really is solid stuff.
25. J Hus- Common Sense
I’m really not the biggest fan of English rap, I think there’s a few stars and then the rest of the guys are just average, so I was skeptical with this album, but it’s pretty good, as far as the UK go, this is unique, it stood out to every grime artist, because it’s not really grime, hopefully the UK can continue to evolve because it’s 100000% going in the right direction.
24. Loyle Carner- Yesterdays Gone
Sticking with the boys from the UK we have Loyle Carner. Overall a good album, I’ll be honest when I say it’s a bit much to listen to at points for me, it’s certainly not something I want on repeat, but when you look at the bigger picture it’s very well structured and thought out. Again, it’s not some average grime album which makes me appreciate it a lot more.
23. Matt Martians- The Drum Chord Theory
A long time member of the Odd Future group ‘The Internet’, Matt Martians along with other ‘Internet’ members went solo for the first time in their careers, and didn’t disappoint, Matt brought us a fantastic debut that was jazzy, soulful and psychedelic.
22. Playboi Carti- Playboi Carti
Dubbed as Carti’s debut mixtape, although to me more of an album, was a very solid first release, it doesn’t show Carti to be a great rapper, nor does it show him to have any depth in lyrics, but sometimes all we need in life is to bump ‘Magnolia’ and sesh hard, it’s very feel good and that’s always a good thing!
21. PnB Rock- GTTM: Going Thru The Motions
2017 XXL freshman PnB Rock released ‘GTTM’ early in the year off the face of his well received track ‘Selfish’. It’s a very very solid debut release, PnB wasn’t meant to do as good as he did, he’s making a name for himself quick and it’s going to be interesting to see if he can top a very good album.
20. Cashmere Cat- 9
Cashmere Cat gave us one of the most star studded albums of the year, the producer enlisted the likes of The Weeknd, Ty Dolla Sign and Ariana Grande to make some major tracks, Cashmere Cat was a severely underrated, and hopefully following this it’s a thing of the past.
19. Kodak Black- Painting Pictures
4 words, ‘Tunnel Vision, Patty Cake’. Both absolute certified bangers, the first of the two mentioned is in my top 5 songs of the year, you can’t have songs like that on an album and it be bad, the rest could be trash but that would save it. Lucky for us, it wasn’t all trash. Will I ever listen to it again fully? Probably no. But this is the perfect album to cherry pick from.
18. Harry Styles- Harry Styles
I’ll actually fight you all to the death about this. Easily the best solo project by any 1D member, by a million miles. It was actually really really good. Clearly Harry Styles didn’t like the direction he was going in ‘pun intended’ and much like Zayn, when split from the lads he made very different music, clearly something he cares about, and when you care about something you make better music.
17. Migos- Culture
These guys blew up BIG TIME, from the biggest hit in music for quite some time with ‘Bad And Boujee’ the Atlanta rap group would gain major attention as Culture would go number 1 in the rap charts, and the album was flames. My biggest problem with these guys, through no fault of there own might I add, is that they are massively over played. They’re becoming over exposed much like Drake is, the difference being that Drake is simply better.
16. SZA- Ctrl
It’s been a year of amazing debut albums, and SZA is up there as one of the best. An amazing singer, combined with stunning songwriting made for a fantastic piece of work, the hip hop vibes were clear throughout including some major features from the likes of Scott and Kendrick.
15. The Underachievers- Renaissance
Relatively unknown to some, The Underachiever’s dropped ‘Renaisance’ a few months ago, and while it garnered little to no mainstream attention, for me it’s one of the top albums of the year, the most underrated group in the game at the moment.
14. Mac Demarco- This Old Dog
Same old Mac for me really, as always he’s made a brilliant album, it’s super chilled out, you can tell with ever Mac album that he’s very passionate about having everything flow and have everything work, a real good guy for music.
13. 2 Chainz- Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
I’m not usually the biggest 2 Chainz fan, he’s good but I never rate him highly, but this album is actually amazing, very few weak spots, and a huge surprise that I enjoyed the entire thing, after getting to the halfway point I felt like it would lose pace but it didn’t remotely. For those who don’t know ‘Good Drank’ is one of the songs I’ve heard most this year, ULTIMATE BANGER.
12. Thundercat- Drunk
I’ll be honest, before his work with Kendrick Lamar in 2015 I had no idea who Thundercat was, but now I know, and I’m very glad. This album is something completely different to me, but it’s super groovy, and really enjoyable. If anyone has more music like this in their playlist please show me, the world needs more stuff like this.
11. Stormzy- Gang Signs & Prayer
The first ever grime album to reach number 1, ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ is an historic album for the genre, an album that mixes the classic Stormzy bangers yet still manages to bare all. There is a mixture of emotions with this album, which was welcomed as it was something I never really expected to get feelsy, there’s a couple fillers, but all in all a wonderful album, very surprising for me to enjoy it as much as I did.
10. Gorillaz- Humanz
The Gorillaz have been sorely missed, and while they’ve been gone a lot has changed in music, but as always this unique group more than kept up with the times, the album is star studded and for the Gorillaz, I would certainly say more funky than usual. At times I find it a bit jumbled as project but on the whole it has some seriously catchy tunes, and Danny Brown gifted us with one of the best verses of 2017.
9. Syd- Fin
Syd’s first project as a solo act was simply stunning. The second member of ‘The Internet’ to make this list, Syd Tha Kid, brought us a 90’s RnB vibe which always welcome in a time were the world feels like it’s going at 100 miles an hour all the time, slightly more pop sounding then ‘The Internet’s’ previous work, there are subtle differences. 99% of this album is self produced which makes it all that bit better.
8. Drake- More Life
The biggest name in rap at the moment more than made up for the trash that was ‘VIEWS’ last year, More Life, although being a few tracks too long, is full of certified bangers, nothing more and nothing less. Star studded is an understatement, a big problem is that Drake got killed by some of his features shoutouts to Giggs. If he could’ve matched Giggs and others then its a 10/10 but it’s a 9.5, every album from here on out is a 10/10.
7. Smino- Blkswn
If you don’t know who Smino is please listen to him as soon as you get a chance, this album is beyond lit. I’ll be honest I didn’t know who Smino even was until a month ago, then when I was introduced to him I listened to this full project and it’s beyond brilliant, it’s albums like this that make me question how mumble rap is so highly praised as anything more than music to get turnt to, this is an unknown masterpiece.
6. GoldLink- At What Cost
When you’ve got KAYTRANADA, Badbadnotgood, Matt Martians and Steve Lacy on production it’s always going to go well, and this album is just pure brilliance. While not a commercial success, Goldlink managed to make a jazzy rap album, and if you have the ability (which Goldlink does) a jazzy rap album, to me, is a beautiful thing.
5. Lorde- Melodrama
Some album right here, I always expected Lorde to make an amazing album, she did it before and she’ll do it time and time again. This woman is beyond dynamic, personally for me she’s probably the top woman in music right now. I always find it admirable when an artist can sing, write and produce a masterpiece, and that’s what this is.
4. Sampha- Process
‘Process’ the debut album of Sampha, might be overlooked as one of the best albums this year, he bares his soul throughout, incredible lyricism and production makes you listen with intent, the album is powerful and it brings music back to more basic roots that everybody needs sometimes, it’s nothing flashy, it’s just amazing music.
3. Kendrick Lamar- DAMN.
This is the first time I can remember for a very long time that Kendrick Lamar won’t be number 1, this album was 10/10, it was beyond good, but this year has been an amazing one for music, other people pipped Kenny to the post. This album was something else when it came to sales, it actually beat Drake, that’s something special, he’s the king of rap and he’s the king of commercial, he’s the man.
2. Joey Badass- All-Amerikkkan Badass
When Kendrick Lamar announced he was dropping an album, I instantly assumed it would be number 1 for 2017, then Joey Badass ups his game and drops, for me, a better conscious rap album than Kendrick, something I never thought I’d be saying. Comparisons can always be drawn between to rappers like these, and it’s not that Kendrick dropped the ball by any means, it’s just that Badass upped his game like never before. The second half of this album is better than the first, it gets stronger with every song, fantastic work and a brilliant surprise as to how amazing it actually is.
1. Vince Staples- Big Fish Theory
It has been coming for a while, but finally I can say that the man that is Vince Staples is number 1. In a year full of Grade A* rap albums Vince stands out, and I think at the end of the year this will still be number one. The production on this album is unique and seamless, it’s a blend of all sorts of rap genres which ultimately produced some heavy bangers, it’s creativity at it’s finest that the modern day mumble rappers are missing, every single song is amazing, no fillers needed here, the inclusion of surprise verses from the likes of Kendrick Lamar add star power. Vince has been lurking around the top for a while, then when he dropped this album, it catapulted him to the top, nobody has come close in 2017 for me.