Remembering my favorite projects in 2017

The year known as 2017 is literally hours away from ending and what a year it’s been in music. I thought many artists pushed the envelope and released more records then usual. While that creates a over saturated market, it usually doesn’t stop any good projects from performing at a high level. So this is where I come in, as I take a final look at some of my favorite projects in 2017.

Regardless of its genre, I’m going to recognize the sounds that deserve recognition and your attention in case you didn’t know. “Because if you don’t know… now you know.” Damn that was a great time to use that line from B.I.G. I’m proud of myself. Like super, super proud. Ok enough with the long talking.

“Freudian” is a prime example of the great R&B music that came out this year.

“Freudian” by Daniel Caesar

If it wasn’t obvious then, it’s certainly obvious now. R&B is in a great space with all of the projects that dropped in 2017 and “Freudian” was one of them. The Oshawa, Ontario native has such a relaxing and clear sound which discussed love, generational traits and his hometown. Out of 10 songs, I enjoyed seven including “Get You” featuring Kali Uchis and “We Find Love.”

“Process” by Sampha

This was seriously up there for best R&B album of the year. Sampha was already a well known act through the years with collaborations via Drake and Solange but this project was beautiful. It’s so cohesive, well rounded and nothing on “Process” was below stellar quality. Man I was impressed by the U.K. veteran. “Blood On Me” and “Kora Sings” are FIRE.

“CTRL” by SZA

SZA became a superstar overnight by releasing one of the year’s most memorable and opening projects. The songs that make this catalog can cover every feeling, thought and sound while creating a presence on Billboards or at a party. Plus it was dope hearing SZA describe her creative process through out. Top Dawg Entertainment is building some serious momentum right now!

“Morning After” by DVSN & “The Space Between” by Majid Jordan

I’ve already said so multiple times but the conversation OVO Sound has to shift immediately. Drake, 40 and Oliver are creating some high quality records by artists that will last for a while. Their group DVSN has now released two consecutive projects that were stellar while Majid Jordan is showing excellent growth. “OG Heartthrob” and “Nuh Time/Tek Time” have been some of fan’s favorite R&B records in recent months.

“H.E.R. Vol. 2” by H.E.R.

I immediately became a fan after hearing Vol. 1 but this project which combined both catalogs plus her live performance at Radio City Music Hall really made me a believer. She makes remarkable soul music that hits the right mood strings while never losing its rhythm. H.E.R. will be around this game for a while.

If you really think about it… Stoney stole some of the shine from J Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only”

“Stoney” by Post Malone

For someone who could have fell off after dropping a successful single in “White Iverson”, I was very proud of Post Malone’s debut project. It was cohesive, covered a lot of ground and highlighted his songwriting + vocal range. Months later and records such as “No Lie”, “Congratulations” and “Money Made Me Do It” still exist in a good way.

“Everybody” by Logic

There definitely seems to be a growing idea of hating on Logic and I’m not for it. It’s basically to what they did with J Cole. But “Everybody” was a project, I thought was for everybody. I liked the God story line, skits and his verses managed to stick with me. So yes, I won’t be joining the “Hate Logic” bandwagon anytime soon.

“Flower Boy” by Tyler, The Creator

Let me tell you something… this project quickly turned into one of my favorites from 2017. Tyler is such a witty artist with a good ear for production and knowing what could stand out. “9:11/Mr. Lonely” is the best song here IMHO. To clearly express his feelings toward loneliness, self confidence and having perspective was A1.

“Rather You Then Me” by Rick Ross

Easily Ross’s best project in years. Hands down. It’s also my favorite because it’s the only one in his lengthy and respective catalog that I can listen to from start to finish. Ross already has a knack for selecting stellar beats but it’s his growth as a person and artist that makes his music worth while.

“There’s Really A Wolf” by Russ

Russ’s development as one of the genre’s most active and loudest representatives has been very fun to watch and I’m all for it. His versatility and self independence makes him very likely to be consistent and make hit records. When listening to TRAW, you’ll notice it first hand with “Ride Slow”, “Back To You” and “Pull The Trigger.

“American Teen” by Khalid

Considering the amount of momentum Khalid was building up, it didn’t surprise me “American Teen” felt put together with his hottest songs of the year. But it still did a good job explaining his feelings and painting a clear picture. Plus you have to admire Khalid’s vocal range, knack for memorable hooks and pace.

“Divide” by Ed Sheeran

If Ed was looking to show what type of growth he underwent during his break from the industry, then consider a job well done. Unlike other notable pop acts, Ed is natural with his attempts to create records that appeal to different audiences. I don’t think “Shape of You”, “Galway Girl” or “Supermarket Flowers” are records that’ll say otherwise. It’s just more proof of a immensely talented artist.

If Eminem was trying to follow the 4:44 format… well he failed miserably.

“4:44” by Jay-Z

This project just looked, felt and and spoke maturity from a artist that’s the age of Jay-Z. I think it’s extremely important for any artist, especially in hip hop, to have the right perspective and speak about the current events in their life. And Hov did that and then some while offering words of encouragement, honesty and cleverness.

“Still Striving” by A$AP Ferg

I can’t express enough how I enjoyed Ferg’s latest project. It’s unique sound and punchlines created a energy that’s been rarely touched by those in the genre. “Mad Men” featuring Playboi Carti is one of my favorite records from this year regardless of the setting.

“More Life” by Drake

To clarify my thoughts about “More Life”, I actually wrote a in depth piece about it months ago. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from the fact, this playlist has aged very well and makes a strong argument for being Drake’s best and most complete project in recent years. Out of 22, I found it hard to skip more then three records.

“SweetSexySavage” by Kehlani

Sometimes I really feel critics can be off about a project and Kehlani’s first quarter release is one of those times. While some thought this was just “alright” or worse, I really love what she did here. Her vocal performance were strong, the production flowed and once again it was cohesive.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

“ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$” by Joey Bada$$

“DAMN” by Kendrick Lamar

“Teenage Emotions” by Lil Yachty

“Wins & Losses” by Meek Mill

“Say Less” by Roy Woods

“Gangs Signs & Prayers” by Stormzy

“The Autobiography” by Vic Mensa

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