Some of you may know that last December I wrote about my top albums of 2016 on my old website. I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet this year in preparation for another list but I’m starting to realize while looking at upcoming releases that a lot of my favourites I might not even get the chance to mention. After all, there’s Kendrick, Pusha T, and Vince Staple albums coming soon and so many more. So I decided I’ll try and talk about some of my favourites from the beginning of the year to the end of March, in no particular order, and be ready for what’s to come with the rest of 2017.
(The new Freddie Gibbs album came out as I was writing this so I don’t know if it is any good yet but if it is maybe I’ll mention it the next time I do this, who knows, and who am I kidding you really don’t care about this disclaimer.)
Quelle Chris – Being You is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often
Aside from just being one of my all time favourite album names, Being You is Great is also just a straight up high quality alt rap album. With the sardonic, spoken-word-esque flows synonymous with the art trap trend, Chris puts together a celebration of being in an existential crisis and reassuring yourself of self-worth. It’s basically Formation for slackers.
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Killer Mike and El-P just keep on killing it. Their chemistry on these tracks is basically unparalleled, and El-P has brought a unique and creative range of beats that still manage to flow seamlessly. RTJ3 is their most overtly political album yet, but they don’t let having a message get in the way of making just all around great hip-hop.
Sun Kil Moon – Common as Light and Love are Red Valleys of Blood
This album is intensely sad, and I can’t say I’d recommend it to many people. The total album comes in longer than two hours, with most tracks around ten minutes in length of vocalist Mark Kozelek rambling about various things. Despite all that, Common as Light and Love is one of the most emotionally moving albums I’ve heard in a long time. I was in the mood for a nostalgic cry before the first track “God Bless Ohio” was even finished. This album is a commitment and a trek to get through, but it is also extremely rewarding if you can put in the time.
Thundercat – Drunk
One of the funnest and weirdest albums to come out so far this year, the lyrics on this album perfectly capture Thundercat’s eccentric character. If you don’t want to be his best friend by the end of the album, you’ll at least want to have lunch with him and figure out what the hell his deal is. The backing instrumentals are also exceptional and make for some great music to have on whether it’s just in the background or you want to give it a good listen. Also has the GOAT album cover.
Wiley – Godfather
Did you enjoy the concept of British rap music on Drake’s More Life but wanted to find some on an project with actual quality and any kind of emotion put into it? Welcome to grime music, enjoy this album. I don’t really have a lot to say about this album except that it’s simply well-produced banger after well-produced banger. The braggadocio-filled bars bring the necessary level of hype to go with the very hard-hitting beats. Just B A N G E R S.
Honourable Mentions I was too lazy to write anything about:
- Sampha – Process
- Oddisee – The Iceberg
- Jonwayne – Rap Album 2