At the end of each year something I really look forward to is looking at everyone’s best albums of 2017 years list and seeing how it compares to one I’d make. This year I’ve finally decided to create my own. It was a lot harder than I expected. Managing to write a list of albums that had been released throughout the year that I loved was easy, cutting it down to my top 10? Not so much.
This year I’ve had a lot of moments that will stay with me forever so a lot of these albums really take me back to certain time and place where I enjoyed them most. Being able to create a list of my top albums from the year is such an enjoyable thing to do as not only does it showcase the incredible talents of the artists of this time but reminds me of the wonderful times and memories I’ve been able to create with them as my soundtrack.
I love each of these albums for different reasons so I physically can’t put them in order from ten to one so instead I’ve decided to put them order of their official release date. Taking you through a journey of music of the year. Kick starting my list is Wiley’s Godfather album released on the 13th January 2017.
I have always enjoyed Wiley‘s music, even more so as I’ve grown up and understood Grime better as a genre. When this album was first released I listened to it on replay over and over again and loved each and every track. It’s one of those albums where you don’t skip a single minute. It was just under 4 weeks after its official release where I really fell in love with the project. For my 21st birthday my closest friend bought us tickets to watch Wiley perform the album in full at the Roundhouse in Camden. It’s fair to say that it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended and a night to go in the history books.
Like most of the world, I fell hard and fast for Sampha‘s dreamy debut album Process. To me it’s an album full of emotion and honesty. Its a perfectly perfect album. His stunning voice and incredible production made me fall in love with the album the first time I heard it and even more with every listen. I constantly played this on my commute to London for lectures and had no doubt it would make it onto my top albums of the year but then was lucky enough to witness his stunning performance at Lovebox Festival which really sealed the deal. It was no surprise that the rest of the world loved this album as much as I did making him this year’s Mercury winner.
It was no shock that Stormzy‘s Gang Signs & Prayers went gold in just over two weeks. With grime making a huge appearance in recent years in music Stormzy managed to create an album which touched both gospel lovers as well as grime fans making it an album for all to enjoy. A close friend of mine took me to see Stormzy in a small venue in Bristol a few years ago when he only had very few tracks and we’ve been following his journey ever since. I immediately fell in love with his debut album and grabbed tickets to his headline Brixton Academy show. To watch an artist come from small venues with small crowds to be on a huge sold out stage really made me love him and the album even more.
I’ve been a big Drake fan for years and always get super excited for him to give us new music. His More Life playlist (or as I’m considering it, album) was no exception. For me, it was the best project that he had released in years. With hints of Grime, Caribbean Dancehall and South African House and features from Kanye West to Giggs, there’s at least one track on More Life that everyone will love. Made clear as he spent over 30 weeks on the album charts. My love for him and his music continued to grow after seeing his incredible performance at the O2 Arena back in February.
It was no surprise for me that Damn made the critics favourite album of 2017 according to BBC’s “poll of polls”. It’s Lamar‘s 4th studio album and nothing less than a masterpiece. Whilst commuting to London I discovered I could fit 2 full plays of the album to the exact time I was on my trains/tubes, so I did. For weeks. I couldn’t get enough. To me it sounded like his deepest work yet, delving into his own mind and history. Bringing back whats known as “traditional” rap to fans. Snatching up some tickets for his UK tour for this February I can only imagine my love for this album will grow.
For me, I love raw Hip-Hop/Grime beats but there something about rap over a more instrumented track that I love. Which is exactly what afrobeat tracks and therefore J Hus supplies. The trumpet laced album makes you want to sing along to every word on every track. I read that Common Sense is a “post-Stormzy, post-Skepta, post-Drake-going-roadman album, and an important stepping stone along the path to the UK establishing itself world-beater at beats and rhymes” and it is. It’s a new an exciting twist on the current world of urban music.
An album which I feel like I waited forever for. I was hooked on Mura Masa‘s 2015 Someday Somewhere EP and couldn’t wait to hear what the 21 year old could create for his debut album. It was definitely worth the wait. Apple described the album as “Tropical bangers fit for a premium BBQ playlist” and thats exactly what it is. It makes the world feel sunny even when its not. With it’s forward-facing and futuristic beats you can’t help but smile whilst listening.
It seems you’ll either love or hate Tyler the Creator. His tracks have often been refused radio play and even banned from counties all together. With that said it’s easy to understand why you wouldn’t want to hear his work. But Flower Boy (promoted as Scum Fuck Flower Boy) seems to be Tylers attempt at self correction, and it worked. It’s a truthful balance between nostalgic past events and growth. Compared to his previous work its a more gentle approach to music and it suits him.
This is one of those “I might crash my car because this is too good” albums, and I swear I almost did on my first listen. Driving up to London the day of release with this blaring, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to hear each individual track for the first time. I could hear my phone repeatedly buzzing for the 2 hours I was in the car and pulled up to see my friends texts of “oh my god you better be listening to this album right now” messages. After Drake‘s KMT dropped featuring Giggs, he received a lot of criticism from many Americans who purely didn’t understand his work. It’s said that this album was for Giggs to make a point on what his work is all about and I think its fair to say that he did.
Back when I was younger I was a big fan of N.E.R.D and when I heard they were making a comeback I couldn’t wait. They are known for pushing boundaries and exploring music in a way that isn’t typically done. This album is no exception. The suspense of not knowing what the next track will consist of is all part of the experience that N.E.R.D wants to give you. With a ton of features and messy beats, it’s definitely one to check out. You can also see my full review on the album here.
It’s not until you go through each an every album you’ve enjoyed throughout the year that you realise how much incredible music the year had to offer. It’s safe to say that 2017 gave us far, far more than these top 10 albums.