2017 was a good year for Hip Hop. I haven't listened to everything, but I've made an effort to check out some new people. I'm not going to do a Top 5, or some sort of categorised "best of" compilation. Instead I'd like to shout some artists and albums that I feel have been exceptional in 2017.
I'd feel like an idiot if I didn't mention this boy band. Hitting with a fire first album, SATURATION, back in June it seemed like they came out of nowhere and were noteworthy out of the gate. Just two months later they drop the follow up, SATURATION II, which already commented on some of what people found special about their presence in this genre.
As if two great albums in a single year wasn't enough, mere weeks before 2017 drew to a close SATURATION III was released complete with the bouncy, funky production and co-ordinated vocals the group had given us up until that point.
Shout out to these bars (SATURATION II - Junky):
"Why you always rap about bein' gay?" 'Cause not enough niggas rap and be gay
J.I.D - The Never Story
Watch this guy; he's going to blow up. His "The Never Story" was one of my favourite projects this year and demonstrates incredible talent beyond what one would usually expect from a first studio album. The promise in this 27 year old is not to be underestimated.
Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva is a Mighty Long Time
I'd happily just call this my favourite album of the year, or rather, my favourite two albums. KRIT could have dropped either side of this double album and it would have been "stop what you're doing and listen to this right now", but for anything with 22 tracks (20 excluding skits) to be this consistently incredible - it goes past "wow" and into "how?!".
It kicks off with a song called "Big K.R.I.T." which starts slow before transitions smoothly into the high energy rapping and from there we get carry on with the absolute bangers; "Confetti" and "Big Bank" (featuring none other than the other King of the South himself, T.I.). I would love to go through each track and sing it's praises, but I'll finish by touching on the second disc wherein we get a more introspective and personal KRIT, exemplified by his choice to give the first song his family name "Justin Scott". Please listen to this, if nothing else of what I mention.
IDK - IWASVERYBAD
Another rapper that I hadn't previously heard but massively impressed me with his debut album. The journey over the 12 songs was incredibly well executed. The succinct set up of his mother's exasperation played well with the empathy created for IDK in his adoration of his Mum as the album rounds out. Each track demonstrates passion and serious skill.
Thought I'd just take some time to mention that I didn't hate Revival, I rather enjoyed it. I also still massively believe in this guy and hope that the severe criticism of his latest albums lights even more of a fire under his arse. If the Chloraseptic Remix is anything to go by, Shady has a lot more to give us.
I'll admit to being a massive Stan by the way. As far as I'm concerned Em is probably the G.O.A.T. and is certainly my favourite artist of all time. That being said, Encore was straight trash, so I do know a bad album when I hear it.
Cunninlynguists - Rose Azura Njano
When people don't know about these guys it's hurts me a little inside. They have to be one of the most solid Hip Hop trios still going and each of their projects has been one of my favourites of it's released year.
This album touches on the political climate of America in a manner which feels simultaneously gentle and forceful.