2017 Year in Review: Albums (i.e., Rap Albums)

I didn’t really put a lot of effort into keeping up with new releases outside of rap, but I tried to at least sample everything that I heard positive reports about.  I don’t think I encountered any masterpieces this year.  Among rap albums, I would go out of my way to say that for me Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN was the worst major release of the year, mostly because of the slow jams.  I was extremely disappointed, because I really liked one or two of the singles, but what a bummer of an album.  On the other hand, Kendrick’s guest spots on other people’s stuff were uniformly excellent.

My favorite rap albums and mixtapes were

  1. Without Warning- 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin.  Perfect trap album.
  2. You Only Live 2wice- Freddie Gibbs.  A leap forward for a great lyricist.
  3. Big Fish Theory- Vince Staples.  Maybe not his best rapping, but the EDM!
  4. Project Baby 2-  Kodak Black.  Kodak gets reflective.
  5. Flower Boy- Tyler the Creator.  Tyler (the ultimate homophobe) comes out of the closet.  Not my favorite musically but this thing is profound.
  6. My Favorite Mixtape- Boosie Badazz.  Cancer just made Boosie harder.  But also more reflective.  Feels like retro 3rd coast shit, with lots of twang.  A little uneven but my affection for it is high.
  7. Pretty Girls Like Trap Music- 2 Chainz.  The best 2 Chainz album.  Nothing groundbreaking,  just a solidly executed trap album.
  8. 4:44- Jay Z.  I got tired of it fast but this is undeniably good.  Hova as provocateur/late capitalist robber baron/motivational speaker/apologetic husband who the whole world wants to smack for this Becky shit
  9. Culture- Migos.  Overplayed but extremely solid.  Well-executed trap.
  10. Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 2- Cardi B.  Cardi is breakthrough MVP of the year.

Honorable mention to Gucci Mane.

There was one jazz new release I got into: Fluku from Large Unit.  I heard the track Happy Slappy on the radio and was captivated. https://pnlrecords.bandcamp.com/track/happy-slappy-2

There was also one electronica release that grabbed my attention: Black Origami from Jlin

The pop releases I liked best were

Utopia – Björk

Plunge- Fever Ray

Take Me Apart- Kelela

I enjoyed Hiss Spun from Chelsea Wolfe but I thought it was weaker than her previous album.  I liked the Lorde album but I’m not proud of that.  I thought the St. Vincent album was her best yet but I got tired of it very quickly.  Please feel free to send recommendations for stuff I missed, especially jazz, metal, electronica and classical.  I just haven’t had the energy to rigorously keep up with new stuff outside of rap.