KARAN’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2017

WRITTEN BY KARAN TELI

Simply put, my top 10 albums of 2017. No introduction needed. However, before I start my list, I feel it is important to include this tweet, which sums up my 2017 perfectly –

10. BILLIE EILISH – DON’T SMILE AT ME

No 15 year old should be able to make music this good. Billie Elish’s music has caught the attention of other young upcoming stars, but none as young as her. A 15 year old with a grown voice and unique songwriting ability. Don’t Smile At Me is only 9 songs long; a short introduction into Billie Eilish. ‘idontwanttobehereanymore’ is one of 2017’s best, and with the co-signs that she has been getting, Billie Eilish is due for a big 2018.

9. MIGOS – CULTURE

Do not let the 2016 success of Bad and Boujee let you forget that Culture was a January 2017 release. The singles, most notably Billboard #1 Bad and Boujee and T-Shirt made Migos a near household name and Culture became an album that fans were waiting for. It’s hard for Trap music to have a replay factor, due to the fact that a lot of it sounds similar. However, on Culture, Migos were able to provide a series of replay-able tracks, not to mention some seriously surprisingly good verses along the way, mostly from 2017 star Offset.

8. SAMPHA – PROCESS

An EP was never enough. We knew we wanted a Sampha album and 2017 finally gifted us with such. Process is emotional, passionate and memorable. Featureless; Sampha did not let us hear anything else other than his voice. Love, death, family troubles and relationships are a snippet of what Sampha discusses throughout Process. Plastic 100 and the emotional single (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano stand out the most to me.

7. VINCE STAPLES – BIG FISH THEORY

Vince Staples has openly said he views rapping as a job. Not a passion or something he was fortunate to stumble upon. A job. So with that in mind, he decided to create whatever kind of music he wanted to and that’s exactly what he did on Big Fish Theory. Inspired by 80’s house music legends such as Frankie Knuckles, Vince rapped on drum and bass and house inspired beats, while implementing his own Hip-Hop style. The sound is perfected on songs like Yeah Right, Love Can Be and lead single Big Fish. Features were not included for the sake of it; each one benefited and added something new to the song, whether this be outstanding guest verses or vocals from the likes of Ray J and Ty Dolla Sign. The albums two interludes; Ramona Park is Yankee Stadium and Alyssa Interlude (which features an interview with the deceased Amy Winehouse) were particular standouts too.

6. DANIEL CAESAR – FREUDIAN

The 2017 R&B album I didn’t know I needed. Get You remains one of 2016’s best songs and a song that created a buzz for upcoming Toronto star Danial Caesar; but Freudian showed his talents as a legitimate R&B star. 10 tracks deep and boasting only a handful of features, it was the perfect way for Daniel Caesar to showcase his ability; both vocally and songwriting. He delivered, providing some of 2017’s most emotional R&B ballads (the song Best Part is somehow emotional catchy at the same time). One of Apple Music’s stars of 2017, Daniel Caesar is a name to remember.

5. BROCKHAMPTON – SATURATION I / SATURATION II

The boyband I never knew existed. 15 members; ranging from rappers to singers to photographers to art directors. Brockhampton really have it all. Most importantly; talent. Some of the best and most creative music videos of 2017. The craziest work rate of any artist in the industry. Saturation III just came out; 3 albums in a year. It is too early to include Saturation III in a list like this, however, the first 2 include some of 2017’s most unique, creative and uncomfortable music. The band is not afraid to touch on homophobia, rape culture and suicide; subjects that are often taboo within Hip-Hop. Brockhampton; not a rap group – a boyband. Never forget it. The Saturation Era was perfect.

4. JAY-Z – 4:44

One of 2017’s best albums was made by a 47 year old rapper. It’s almost crazy to think that. Almost. When you find out that the rapper is Jay-Z, it becomes less surprising. It becomes a testament to the GOAT. Although over the past few years, his music has been hard to relate too, that was not a problem on the entirely No I.D produced 4:44. Starting off with ‘Kill Jay-Z’, Hov spoke those 2 words that practically killed off his ego and superstar status for the rest of the album. He was open about the mistakes he’s made, his infidelity, his financial woo’s and woes and a lot of other things. It was the most open Jay-Z has been in his music in a very, very long time and it rewarded him with one of his best albums.

3.TYLER, THE CREATOR – SCUM FUCK FLOWER BOY

The greatest thing about Flower Boy is progression. The angry teenager who made Bastard and Goblin is now a man, making the best music of his entire career. I’d barely call Flower Boy a Hip-Hop album; which is probably the biggest compliment you can pay to Tyler. Songs like 911, November, Glitter and See You Again are Tyler making music that he loves. Music that he has always wanted to make. He still raps; Who Dat Boy, Where This Flower Blooms and I Ain’t Got Time being perfect examples, but the pianos, the chords, the guitars and instruments Tyler uses is what stands out most. Flower Boy is just beautiful to hear.

2. KENDRICK LAMAR – DAMN.

This may be one of the best album streaks we’ve ever seen. The powerful, spoken, story telling intro caught everybody off guard, before Kendrick jumped into DNA; one of 2017’s best and most hyped songs. Powerful lyrics and stores are plastered all over the album; I expect nothing less from King Kendrick. It was nothing like his classic album TPAB, but it was great in its own right. DAMN. hosts Kendrick’s biggest single too date in Humble, perhaps the most surprisingly energetic song of 2017 in XXX featuring U2, badgalriri’s expert rapping skills in Loyalty and most importantly; some of 2017’s best rap verses and stories. DAMN. hosts something that many complained TPAB did not have (I am not one of those people); replay value.

  1. SZA – CTRL

The R&B album I knew I wanted. I just didn’t know how much. SZA’s debut album was one of my most anticipated for 2017. But I did not think it would’ve been the best. I couldn’t have been more wrong. SZA is so open on this album, it was like reading her diary. She lets you know she’s flawed, she’s made mistakes, she’s sometimes insecure but most importantly; she does not give a f***. The album starts with SZA talking of getting revenge on her ex boyfriend, before going into the one of the albums sexiest tracks: Love Galore. The albums best song features SZA being an unapologetic side chick; but every single song is SZA’s open diary to her listeners. Her debut album was nearly scrapped and took a long time to come out; it was worth the wait.

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