The 5 Best Rap Albums Of 2017

Jeremy Chassang

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After ten months through the year, it’s time to highlight the best hip-hop albums of 2017. This year, things are pretty much different from previous years, with artists who didn’t release any album for a long time.

The Circular asked for Maxime, a French Rap specialist working for independent Rap magazines in France. And on the top of this list of course “probably the best album of the year” following Maxime’s opinion is Kendrick Lamar’s last release.

1. Kendrick LamarDAMN.

Damn by Kendrick Lamar - Credit photo: Top Dawg Entertainment
Damn by Kendrick Lamar – Credit photo: Top Dawg Entertainment

Kendrick Lamar’s Album “DAMN” is still first on charts in USA and UK. Maxime explains “From the first song to the end of the album, Kendrick is bringing you in deep and a ferocity world, there is a kind of fear of God and fear more generally of the human being transcripted on this album.” Maxime adds “it is the major piece of the message of Kendrick, it’s emotional experience deep inside the feelings of the artist himself.” Kendrick’s third studio album is clearly focusing on a black man’s fear of God and the terrible struggle with pending damnation in America with an emotional point of view of contemporary society he’s living in.

2. JAY-Z4.44

4.44 by JAY-Z - Credit Photo: Roc Nation
4.44 by JAY-Z – Credit Photo: Roc Nation
  • Release Date: June 30, 2017
  • 2 Songs selected: “The Story of O.J”, “4.442
  • Label: Roc Nation 

We were waiting for Jay-Z since a long time and he finally came back with one of the most mature studio’s album, he has done.” Firstly released on Tidal, the platform only for Rap Music and then on all others platforms, Jay-Z’s fans became crazy listening this album. Maxime adds “he talks about his life experience in this album, in “Kill Jay-Z” he talks about his ego, in “4.44” he talks about his infidelity and finally his “trauma” if I can say so in, “Legacy“. Jay-Z samples in this album amazing artists like Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone of Hannah Williams. On Maxime owns “Jay-Z is nowadays one of the most experienced and professional rappers, with this 13th album, he just showed to everybody that rap music has still long life to live.

3. Tyler The CreatorFlower Boy

Flower Boy by Tyler The Creator - Credit Photo: Columbia Records
Flower Boy by Tyler The Creator – Credit Photo: Columbia Records
  • Release Date: July 21, 2017
  • 2 Songs selected: Boredom, Who Dat Boy
  • Label: Columbia Records

Odd Future is far away right now“, those are the words from Maxime, and “that’s the most ambitious project of Tyler The Creator, sonically, the album just washes over you when you listen a kind of Californian sun, you can’t do anything else laying on a hammock with a cup of tea.” This album just mixes the feelings of Tyler, he goes from him and his a lonely heart in “911/Mr. Lonely”, to what his heart truly desires in ” Garden Shed”. Maxime thought about this album are simple: “Tyler is No.1 spot on the Billboard 200 by a mere 1,000 equivalent album units, but for Tyler’s discography, it stands like a sunflower.

4. Joey Bada$$ALL-AMERIKKAN BADA$$

ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ by Joey Bada$$ - Credit Photo: Pro Era
ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ by Joey Bada$$ – Credit Photo: Pro Era

This Joey Bada$$’s Album just shows that arts can sometimes help people to fight against politics. “Joey Bada$$ is really engaged on this album, and it’s really fascinating to see a rapper getting involved this much into politics, he really illustrates what the majority of the people think in the United States, since Trump’s election,” Maxime says. But Joey’s socio-political turn is nothing new, but the making of this topic the main subject of this album was really ambitious from his part, he just launched a “need help” message, to the world, saying “look at the situation of Black-American.” Joey Bada$$ after searching for a long time, has finally found his message and a powerfull way to transmit it.

5. DrakeMORE LIFE

More Life by Drake - Credit Photo: Young Money Entertainment
More Life by Drake – Credit Photo: Young Money Entertainment

Drake’s marketing is always amazing, for this album he decided to make a playlist, after Views, his previous album it could have been dangerous, but this is still one of the 6 God’s most enjoyable releases from Drake. Maxime is delighted about this album, “once again Drake succeeds once again in making the perfect mix between dancehall songs, bouncing trap and grime bangers he collaborates with like Skepta in this album, that’s just marvellous.” He adds “ that’s pretty much everything we need nowadays in a Rap Album.” And if The circular can add something, not every album needs amazing lyrics, but at least every memorable playlist needs a great DJ behind.

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Jeremy Chassang

  • Hannah Collins

    Great reviews Jeremy!

    • Jeremy Chassang

      Thank you Hannah, if you have an artist you’d have like to see in this list, let me know

    • Jeremy Chassang

      Thank you, hope you discovered some good rappers here.

  • Léo Garnier

    Tyler The Creator is just timeless man, thanks for the list

    • Jeremy Chassang

      Tyler just released THE album of his career so far. Can’t wait for the next one.