If 2017 taught us anything it’s to expect anything.
We went through our first year with the Celebrity In Chief, Donald Trump. We also saw racist individuals feel they were given a pass to present their bigoted views without consequences, although that was false for them to believe. Colin Kaepernick continued his crusade to bring attention to systemic racism in America, which was and still is met with backlash and antagonizing criticism from those who don’t understand the movement at hand.
In the midst of chaos this became the moment women decided that their importance would be acknowledged and their stories would be told. Through the #MeToo movement they exposed the sexual deviance occurring in Hollywood and corporate America and through the musical soundtrack for the movement courtesy of femme fatales like SZA, Rapsody and Cardi B.
If last year was a movie these 15 projects would definitely be the theme music. I present, ranked in order the top albums that illustrated the chaos and calm that was 2017.
#1. Kendrick Lamar – ‘DAMN’: Kendrick was told that he couldn’t create a commercially accessible work of art. This album silenced those critics that truly didn’t pay attention. He issued another masterpiece.
Standout tracks: “DNA”, “LOYALTY”, “HUMBLE”, “LOVE”, “DUCKWORTH”
#2. Oddisee – ‘The Iceberg’: The DMV emcee/producer provided a keen point of view with this opus. Incorporating live instrumentation within the production serve to give more colors to be utilized on the canvas of life for this Sudanese American MC.
Standout tracks: “Things”, “Built By Pictures”, “You Grew Up”, “NNGE”, “Rights & Wrongs”
#3. Rapsody – ‘Laila’s Wisdom’: The NC spitta finally shed the “femcee” tag and got the respect and accolades she deserved as being one of the illest on the mic, period. With Jamla and ROC Nation behind her, the culmination of this incredible project was Rap’s first Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.
Standout tracks: “Power”, “Sassy”, “Pay Up”, “Black & Ugly”, “Jesus Coming”
#4. Cyhi The Prynce – ‘No Dope On Sundays’: If there was an award for Lyrical Album of The Year, the wordsmith from Stone Mountain would take home the crown. After countless mixtapes, writing credits and guest verses, the highly anticipated debut from GOOD Music’s lethal weapon did not disappoint.
Standout tracks: No Dope On Sundays, Don’t Know Why, God Bless Your Heart, Dat Side, Nu Africa
#5. Jay-Z – ‘4:44’: When Beyonce created the iconic “Lemonade”, we knew there would be a rebuttal. We didn’t expect this; the Grammy nominated ode to Black manhood, Black fatherhood, Black financial empowerment and simply put, Black excellence. HOVA spoke and the culture changed once again.
Standout tracks: “The Story of OJ”, “4:44”, “Family Feud”, “BAM”, “Legacy”
#6. Big Lo – ‘Wunderland Apokalypse’: The dystopian wasteland that ‘Baron Von Lowenstein, Esquire’ left behind was captured eloquently and viciously on this return EP from the Vero Beach born, Pensacola transplant MC. A lot of lyrical exercise was flexed this go around.
Standout tracks: “The Lux/Double Down”, “Firecracker Popsicle”, “The Green Balloon”, “Wunderlust”, “Breakfast In Dubai”
Standout tracks: “Confetti”, “1999”, “Aux Cord”, “Mixed Messages”, “Keep The devil Off”
#8. Rick Ross – ‘Rather You Than Me’: The evolution of the boss of Maybach Music, Ross solidified his spot as one the most prolific MCs in the game. He created a solid LP of decadence and luxury rap that rivals most of his peers.
Standout tracks: “Santorini Greece”, “Idols Become Rivals”, “Trap Trap Trap”, “I Think She Like Me”, “Maybach Music V”
#9. SZA – ‘Ctrl’: The perfect LP for any Black woman in discovery mode. SZA went through label issues, stuck with TDE, signed a joint venture partnership with RCA, and dropped a lush, smooth LP that made her the Mary J. of this generation. Every dude was checking for her and her word. Every woman related to and co-signed her sentiments.
Standout tracks: “Love Galore”, “Doves In The Wind”, “Drew Barrymore”, “The Weekend”, “Broken Clocks”
Standout tracks: “Show You The Way”, “Walk On By”, “Tokyo”, “Friend Zone”, “Them Changes”
#11. J.I.D. – ‘The Never Story’: Dreamville showed they have a future once J. Cole bows out when East Atlanta rookie J.I.D. grabbed the baton and dropped his debut, garnering accolades from his hometown’s elite and taking top rookie honors.
Standout tracks: “NEVER”, “D/vision”, “Hereditary”, “8701”, “Somebody”
#12. Marcel P. Black – ‘Seven’: The Baton Rouge God MC solidified that spot with a spot on XXL’s Baton Rouge top MCs list, accomplishing his #15StatesOrBust mission and dropping an EP that spoke to the consciousness of Black America as we walked into the era of Trump.
Standout tracks: “Hallelujah”, “#Freeblkppl”, “Freedom Music”, “Hustle Westbrook”, “BR7MC”
#13. Joey Bada$$ – ‘All American Bada$$’: Joey was told he didn’t have music that was lyrically proficient, yet commercially accessible. This album shut down that notion. The ProEra general got radio airplay, critical acclaim and finally was placed in the conversation of dope new-generation MCs.
Standout tracks: “Land Of The Free”, “Devastated”, “Temptation”, “Rockabye Baby”, “Legendary”
#14. J-Coop x Last Name Good – ‘Paid In Amerikkka’: With a short film that accompanied this LP, J-Coop and Last Name Good stamped their place in the indie circuit with this middle finger to the current administration by simply telling our people to “get up and work” and “never see the red light”!
Standout tracks: “Red Light”, “Just Got Put On”, “Tarantino”, “2Pac & Guwop”, “Devil Wears Green”
#15. Logic – ‘Everybody’: The DMV wordsmith presented a world where harmony, dialogue and accountability reigns supreme. The anti-suicide anthem “1-800-273-8255” placed suicide prevention and mental health in the forefront for many to have serious discussions.
Standout tracks: “Everybody”, “America”, “1-800-273-8255”, “Black SpiderMan”, “AfricAryaN”|
CREDITS Written by Jamal STEELE | Photos – Search Engine Exploration | Producer – Liquid Arts & Entertainment | Creative Director – The Liquidation Committee | Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Copy Editor – Mr. Joe Walker | Site Editor – Doug Sims | Webmaster – Doug Sims | Twitter – @LiquidAEMag | Instagram – @liquidmagazine
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