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Last year, I gave you the 25 Best Albums of 2016, this year, I’m back with another year end list edition. And just like last year, damn, this year went by incredibly fast. Looking back throughout this year, amazing things have happened to me. I had the pleasure of covering music festivals again this year, I covered “Manifesto 2017” and “NXNE 2017” and “Way Home 2017” and “Canadian Music Week 2017”.
I started writing for this website called “The 405” this year and I’ve now managed to accumulate 10 published pieces, which was my goal this year to have 10 or more pieces. Amazingly out of the 10 pieces, it’s five opinion articles and five interviews published, so I’m really happy it balanced out like that. When it comes to the interviews, I’ve interviewed to name a few “Goldlink,” “Smino,” and “Nick Grant.”
When it comes to written pieces, just to name a few, theres’ “The Rise Of A Poster Like Post Malone” and “Revisited: How Lorde’s debut album challenged pop music at the time.” With all that being said, 2017 has gone by really fast, but the year has been good to me. When it comes to music releases, there has been a ton of amazing albums, amazing mixtapes and amazing projects, but boiling it down, in my opinion and what I’ve really been listening to this year, “Here’s The 18 Best Albums Of 2017.”
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Reason: I might go crazy and say this album deserves to be on this list literally just because of this song right here. “Fuck Love” is a classic song and one of the best songs of 2017. Trippie Redd and XXXTentacion both come so correct on this track, it’s flawless, but the great part is the rest of the album “17” is good too. Tracks like “Jocelyn Flores” and “Carry On” are just as quality as “Fuck Love” so the album definitely deserves to be on this list, just not ranked that high.
Release Date: January 27, 2017
Reason: I’m going to be honest, Migos really surprised me this year with their album, “Culture.” This album was being heavily pushed by their massive, massive single, “Bad and Boujee” but there are so many quality tracks on this album that are just as good as that track. My personal favourite is “Big On Big,” but there’s “T-Shirt” and “Kelly Price” featuring Travis Scott and “Deadz” featuring 2 Chainz. I’m going to be honest too and say there’s even more amazing songs on this album, but these were the highlights for me. Now as of right now, Migos are preparing to drop “Culture II” and I gotta say it, they have a hard act to follow.
Album: Santana World
Release Date: July 17, 2017
Reason: “Fuck a beat, I was trying to beat the case, but I ain’t beat the case, bitch I did the race.” And with these bars and his song “The Race”, we were introduced to a new artist by the name of TAY-K. And I’m not even going to get into the context of the song or what TAY-K’s whole ordeal is with his impending case, I’m going to talk purely about the music and the project that he released was full of hits.
There’s “Dat Way” and “Murder She Wrote” and the heavy Eazy-E influenced track, “I Love My Choppa.” Now will he get out of jail, who knows? But “Santana World” is an amazing body of work from the young artist. If “The Race” is the only track you know of TAY-K, I’d advise you check out “Santana World.”
Artist: Playboi Carti
Album: Playboi Carti
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Reason: Everybody and their mamma is going to say, “Magnolia” is the best track on Playboi Carti’s self titled debut album because it’s the popular track, but the truth is that the best track on the album is the first track and that is, “Location.” Harry Fraud is a genius for the production, it’s flawless, amazing and Carti’s flow just makes it out of this world incredible. Apple Music’s description of the album had it absolute correct as to why it’s one of the best albums this year, “the album is simple, breezy, but hypnotically catchy.” It’s this reason alone as to why I was playing it all throughout this year.
Artist: Tyler, The Creator
Album: Flower Boy
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Reason: Looking back on Tyler, The Creator’s last album, “Cherry Bomb” I really didn’t like it. It did have the impossible task of being the follow up to what I still consider Tyler, The Creator’s best album, “Wolf” so it did have that going for it and I’m not saying the album was terrible in anyway, It just wasn’t amazing to me.
Now with that being said, that is just simply not the case with “Flower Boy.” This album is amazing, it came out in July and I’m still playing it and I genuinely can’t wait to see this being performed live when Tyler, The Creator comes to Toronto this upcoming February.
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Reason: When it comes to any artist, one of the main components of me genuinely liking them as an artist, especially singers is if they can sing. Like, really sing. And SZA can sing. She can really sing. Seeing her live a few months ago confirmed that to me even more than I had already knew. Now talking about this album, it’s amazing. I’ve seen other top year end lists labelling this the album of the year and I can see it being labelled that because it’s truly amazing, but it’s not my album of the year.
And this isn’t a knock to SZA or this album, I hope she grabs Grammys for this piece of art, but it’s not getting the top reward on my blog. Overall though, “CTRL” is an incredible body of work and I’m looking forward to what she has next.
Release Date: June 30, 2017
Reason: ”4:44” is Jay-Z’s best album since he released “The Black Album.” What I really love about this album is the fact that it’s just 10 tracks. Its simple, gets to the point, the samples on the production are outstanding, shout out to No I.D who did it all and Jay-Z really comes through. And all the short films that came with the album were amazing too and just overall, an amazing album and amazing rollout with everything. Can’t believe he actually cheated on Beyoncé though.
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Reason: First things first, I still don’t like the track, “Humble” I think its trash. I didn’t like To Pimp A Butterfly, I still don’t, so when I heard “Humble” as the first single of “DAMN” I was prepared to be disappointed again, but Kendrick Lamar came through. “Damn” is like if Section 80 and Good, M.A.A.D City were thrown together, which are my two favourite Kendrick Lamar projects. I really don’t care for TPAB and I don’t care for Untitled, Unmastered, so for me “Damn” is truly a return to form for Kendrick Lamar.
Artist: Jaden Smith
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Reason: I’ve been waiting for Jaden Smith to drop his debut album since 2012. Since he released his first ever project, “Cool Tape Vol 1.” Like you don’t understand, I was 16 or 17 when Jaden dropped “Cool Tape Vol 1.” Now I’ll be honest, Jaden was 14, so he was crazy young, so what I was expecting? It’s actually great that he’s truly taken his time with his music career, but still. It’s 2017.
I’ve been waiting since 2012, that’s five years. Now over the course of these five years, Jaden continued to release music when he felt like it and followed up “Cool Tape Vol 1” with Volume 2 a while ago, but finally, he released his debut album and it did not disappoint at all. People are now taking Jaden Smith seriously and rightfully so, he’s incredibly talented and “SYRE” truly is one of the best albums of 2017.
Artist: Harry Styles
Album: Harry Styles
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Reason: What can I say? I wasn’t listening to One Direction, but all I can say is I’m a fan of Harry Styles now. This album is incredible and probably one of the most refreshing albums this year. His counter part Zayn, another member of One Direction came out with his debut album full of R&B influences and as amazing as that was, because Zayn’s album was amazing, it just wasn’t groundbreaking. With Harry Styles, this album is something else. It’s wonderful, elegant and just has that classic sound.
Artist: Brent Faiayz
Album: Sonder Son
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Reason: Brent Faiyaz voice is just simply outstanding. This whole album’s vibe was just something else, my god, it’s just so good. This song especially “Sonder Son (Interlude),” it’s short, but it’s perfect, it’s honestly flawless. To sum it up the artist, Brent Faiyaz is R&B at it’s purest. In a year that was dominated by SZA in R&B, Brent Faiayz held it down for the men.
Release Date: June 7, 2017
Reason: This has to be the most fun album of the year. With nonsensical bars, melodic singing, A1 production, Sahbabii brings an element just not heard right now in music. And yes, an argument can be made that he sounds like Young Thug at times, but if you get that out of your head and really hear the music, you can hear the clear talent. Songs like “Purple Ape” and “Geronimo” and “Bullshit,” show that, but you know honestly, there are even more records that are amazing that I can name it’s crazy. This album is just a pure joy to listen to.
Artist: Lil Uzi Vert
Album: LUV Is Rage 2
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Reason: The leader of the new school, debate your mom, I don’t care, Lil Uzi Vert is the leader of the new school. Lil Uzi Vert dropped, “Money Longer” than topped that song with “Do What I Want” than he topped both of these songs with “XO Tour Llif3.” This man is just a hit maker and that’s exactly what “Luv Is Rage 2” was. The album is hit after hit after hit, it’s an amazing record, but it just misses my top five releases this year.
Album: More Life
Release Date: March 18, 2017
Reason: Drake’s playlist “More Life” is like a collage of his entire discography. There’s moments that sound like “Thank Me Later” which can be found on the second half of the track, “Since Way Back.” There’s the “Views” influence that can be heard on tracks like “Blem” and “Passionfruit.” Then you have “Teenage Fever” that can be easily thrown on “Nothing Was The Same” or “Do Not Disturb” that gives you that end album closer that was “The Ride” on “Take Care.” Of course, this is just how I see it and you seen it differently.
This is just how I see it and I think Drake did an amazing job with “More Life.” For stans like myself that are massive Drake fans, the project was a pure joy to listen to and it’s still amazing to listen to. I just wasn’t playing it as much as I did the other albums that rank higher on this list. Now we have to wait until 2018, so Drake can gives us what he calls, “The Summary.”
Artist: Drain Gang
Album: Drain Gang Complication
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Reason: This is the project that I literally prayed for. Bladee, Ecco2k and Thaiboy Digital kept teasing this would drop, but I never thought it was going to, let alone be a project that has 17 songs! There has not been a single day this year where I have not listened to this project. I still can’t believe it’s real. I mean damn, Ecco2k is actually on this project with multiple verses and has his own solo records. If you don’t know about Ecco2k, you just need to know how rare that is. It simply doesn’t happen.
It’s 2017 and we still don’t have a full length Ecco2k project, but honestly, what more can I say? This album is life. Shout out to Bladee, Ecco2k, Thaiboy Digital, Whitearmor, Yung Lean and everybody else who might have been involved. This project was very much needed in my life in 2017.
Artist: Lil Peep
Album: Come Over When You’re Sober PT.1
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Reason: Regret is defined as a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done. When Lil Peep’s debut album dropped, I listened to it, thought it was amazing, tried to get people to listen to him, but the person that I asked didn’t care, so I went back to the album and only played it here and there. In the months since releasing, I’d come back and listen a few times, but I never truly appreciated the album.
After Lil Peep’s passing, I went back to the album and since then, I’ve played it every single day. And the saying is really true, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. When Lil Peep came to Toronto to perform, I told myself that I’d get a ticket for him if he ever came back, but I really did have a moment when I thought to myself I should get a ticket and not wait, but I didn’t have anyone to go with. It’s hard to really fathom that I’ll never get that chance. But in coming back to the album, it’s everything I’ve ever loved with emo.
The raw emotions, the high energy, the deep sadness sometimes, you gotta listen to some sad music sometimes , but honestly the entire record is just beautiful. From the Gothboiclique anthem, “Benz Trunk” to the introspective “The Brightside” to the hit record, “Awful Things” it’s truly an album that will stand the test of time.
Artist: Yung Lean
Release Date: November 10, 2017
Reason: When it’s all said and done in the years that follow this album, “Stranger” will come to be unanimously be Yung Lean’s most cohesive, most put together album in his entire discography. This album is Lean growing up and it shows. He sounds more mature, he sounds more refined and some of the records on this album are just breathtaking. There’s “Agony” and “Yellowman” and the second half of “Red Bottom Sky” is simply art.
I’ve been a fan of Yung Lean since 2014, I missed the whole early wave in 2013 and caught on a little late, but since being a fan in 2014, I’ve been a massive fan. And to see him grow as an artist as he does with each release has been truly amazing, but I can honestly say the growth that he’s made has never been more apparent to me then on “Stranger.” It’s a record I cannot wait to see live when Lean comes to Toronto in Februrary.
Release Date: June 16, 2017
Reason: Lorde did the impossible with her sophomore record, “Melodrama” because she managed to top her debut album, “Pure Heroine.” Her debut album means more to me than I ever thought it would. It coincided with my first year in college and when I think about my first year, I always think about “Pure Heroine.” This album became a time marker in my life, this album is a classic to me and when “Melodrama” dropped, I was afraid to listen to it because of those facts.
I didn’t want to be disappointed because I had waited so long for Lorde to drop a new album that my expectations were at an all time high and with “Pure Heroine” meaning so much to me, I just felt like there was no way Lorde was going to come back as strong as she did, but she did. “Melodrama” not only is my album of the year on my list, but it truly is THE album of the year.
No other record can compare with it this year, with records like “Writer In The Dark” to “The Louvre” to “Sober” to the first single “Green Light” this album is the album of the year. Lorde simply wins album of the year for me because when it comes to releasing a sophomore album, there’s an immense pressure to deliver as an artist and in Lorde’s case, the pressure that she felt just created a diamond and that diamond is “Melodrama.”
MY MOTTO IS: IF YOU WANNA WIN THE LOTTERY, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE MONEY TO BUY A TICKET!
From The 6ix,With Love
Thank You For Reading
Sincerely, Kid From The 6ix
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