2017 was a big year for some of the most established artists in hip hop as well as a good year for a brand new crop of artists who have created a buzz with the youth, and helped extend another subgenre in rap.
Some of the biggest moments in hip hop this year came from the women in rap. Remy Ma & Nicki Minaj going to the bars, and the rise of a new star Cardi B. They will surely continue that momentum into 2018 as they prepare to drop their albums in what can become the new female MC revolution that the genre needs.
This year we saw the unexpected return of two of the greatest rappers of all time in Jay-Z and Eminem. We also witnessed the reshaping of Kendrick Lamar the artist who continues to become more well rounded with every album. Drake also brought us the playlist.
On the R&B side, we were introduced to a very talented singer by the name of Khalid who released a very solid album himself. SZA finally blossemed with one of the best projects of the year. We also were introduced to a mysterious, yet talented singer by the name of H.E.R., who’s EP is playing in a lot of your ex-girlfriends car today.
With so much diversity in hip hop and r&b at the moment, we take a look back at a big year in music with the top 25 albums of the year.
25. A Boogie wit da Hoodie – The Bigger Artist
There is much to like about the Highbridge native. He showed some of his potential in his latest project. Taking from the Drake playbook, he mixes rap with melody in much of his album as he shows off his range to spit on a variety of topics. If this project is any indication of his future than expect him to be an even bigger artist moving forward.
24. Majid Jordan – The Space Between
Following a successful debut self titled album, the duo returned to one up themselves with another quality album in 2017. What stood out about this project is its unique sound which can’t be compared to any other r&b act at the moment.
23. 2 Chainz — Pretty Girls Like Trap Music
Between the marketing to the music the artist formally known as Tity Boi definitely gave something for the girls to shake their a$$ too with this project. 2 Chainz is wildly consistant as an MC, and it shows on this project. His beat selection is great combined mixed with songs you can turn up to as well as tracks that will allow you to lean back on your chair and just ride out on the freeway. Easily one of the forgotten, yet most quality projects of the year.
22. Playboi Carti – Playboi Carti
Highlighted by his single “Magnolia,” this album highlights what to expect from a crop of new artist ready to take hip hop in another direction. Yes true hip hop heads will debate this, but if you have an ear for some of the new music these artists are putting out and give it a chance, you might enjoy it in the right environment.
21. Syd – Fin
Ever since announcing she would be dropping a solo effort, there has been some excitement around The Internet’s lead artist. If you enjoy The Internet’s music, you will certainly love this project as one of the best r&b albums of the year. “Body,” and “Drown In It” My only wish is that she took more chances with the music as was expected before its release.
20. A$AP Twelvyy – 12
Twelvyy had some big shoes to fill following the success of other A$AP Mob members like A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg. The Bronx native brought some very intriguing storytelling, and some real rap rhymes that makes you exhale with a breath of fresh air, and excited to see this underrated MC grow.
19. Future — FUTURE
At this point you know what you’re getting out of Future. Fans got a lot more out of it with his album. While the message can be debated, “Mask Off” still rings off in the club and your soundsystem while linking up with Drake on “Used To This” was gold. Very solid project in a year where we got two separate projects from him.
18. DJ Khaled – Grateful
Another One! It’s safe to say when you need hits, Khaled surely has it covered. It began with “Shining,” “I’m The One” then followed up with a summer anthem in “Wild Thoughts.” Khaled has found success with his formula, and while you would like to see him take some chances next project, he proves that it will continue to win.
17. Amine – Good For You
The artwork alone prepares you for the ride that you’re going to experience going into this album. His experiences and sense of humor make you to relate to much of the music. Amine’s unique style is going to be around for some time.
16. Big Sean – I Decided
Two years ago, Big Sean dropped one of the best albums of the year in Dark Sky Paradise. He started out the first quarter of this year with another project highlighted by Eminem’s verse in “No Favors.” “Bounce Back” and “Moves” prove he still has the skills to make a hit, but it may be a step back from his sophomore effort. Still a very good album.
15. Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls
Thugger showed just how diverse he could be with this latest project. A little bit of country, a little bit of Afrobeat, and of course that signature trap sound some of his biggest fans are used to. Thugger continues to ride around as one of the most underrated artists at the moment.
14. Meek Mill – Wins & Losses
No one knew what to expect from Meek Mill following a turburlant few years beefing with Drake. He did not disappoint and came back with a quality hip hop album. “Young Black America” is still one of the best tracks of the year.
13. Rick Ross — Rather You Than Me
Speaking of consistency, Rozay knows what works for him and he stays along those lines with his ninth studio album. Songs like “Trap, Trap, Trap,” “Maybach Music V” and “Dead President” bring out what we have enjoyed about Rick Ross throughout the years. “Idols Become Rivals” is a standout track on this album.
12. IDK — IWASVERYBAD
The artist formerly known as Jay IDK has been making his mark for years ignorantly delivering knowledge. His album feels like you’re listening to one 35 minute story with seamless transitions which takes you through his journey from a kid, his stint in jail, his family and more.
11. Migos – Culture
This is the album that has cemented Migos as a premier group in hip hop. “Bad & Boujee” was a smash hit. “T-Shirt” and “Slippery” follow up with a consistent sound. All three members are at the top of their game this whole album, which makes it fun for debates at the hip hop dinner table.
10. Drake – More Life
“It’s not an album!” Call it what you want, Drake knows how to put his songs together. You get a little bit of everything on this project. A little bit of house, the United Kingdom grime movement takes a lot of influence on this playlist too. Mix in some Afrobeat and Trap music and you have a little bit of everything to feed your musical tastes.
9. Tyler, The Creator — Flower Boy
Sometimes self-reflection can bring the most powerful content. The Odd Future rapper shows off his growth as he fights with sexuality, and being himself. The production on here is like a breath of fresh air with rich and soothing sounds throughout.
8. GoldLink — At What Cost
It’s safe to say we aren’t talking enough about Goldlink. Some go-go mixed in with funk and futuristic sounds make for a very quality release which is enjoyable inside and out. He got Mya on a track sounding flawless in “Roll Call” which sounds nostalgic, and his single “Crew” might be one of the best songs of the year.
7. Big K.R.I.T. — 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time
Don’t underestimate the Mississippi MC. Split between two parts the project switches from the grit of U.G.K. and the smoothness of Outkast throughout and that’s great company to be in.
6. Rapsody — Laila’s Wisdom
Using the inspiration from her grandmother, it’s fun to watch Rapsody grow as a storyteller. She may not be as mainstream as other female MC’s, but she has been consistent and continues to grow through the years. “Nobody,” “A Rollercoaster Jam Called Love,” and “Black & Ugly” are favorites on the album.
5. Joey Bada$$ — ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$
The Brooklyn rapper gets political with his sophomore project. Those looking for what hey call “real rap” are proud of this effort, as he tackles relevant issues in America including racism, the government, and more.
4. SZA — Ctrl
Watching SZA grow has been a treat. After a long time of delays, the singer puts together a project which tackles a real list of issues every woman can relate to including insecurities, sexuality, and relationships. This project was well worth the wait!
3. H.E.R. – H.E.R.
R&B is in a very good place right now with a new crop of artists delivering a brand new sound. The mysterious artist lets her music be the focus and it ended in one of the most quality projects of the year hands down.
2. Jay-Z – 4:44
It’s his most personal project to date. Hova takes us through a ride into his personal life, and some of the biggest stories regarding racism. Some say this project is in his top 3. The fact that it’s part of the debate tells you how good it is.
1. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
Who creates an album you can listen to back to front seamlessly? K.Dot is one of the best artists of our time. He shows his diversity with a more mainstream sound that we have all enjoyed since its release. Salute to Kung Fu Kenny.