30 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2017

2017 was a great year for music.

Kultar Singh Ruprai
10 min readJan 12, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed making the most out of all the streaming platforms available, and have compiled a list of what I believe are the best hip-hop albums released in 2017. Enjoy.

30. Grateful — DJ Khaled

Grateful — Deeee Jaay Khaaaalid

Love him. Hate him. Eitherway you can’t deny the impact DJ Khaled has.

This album got added by default, simply due to the fact that array of songs alone on the album there will be at least one banger that you will like (if you can stand his usual shouts every few seconds).

Standout tracks: Shining, To the max, Wild thoughts, Good man, Billy Ocean

29. Righteous / Ratchet — Humble The Poet

Righteous / Ratchet — Humble The Poet signing in…

This 6 track EP will take you by surprise. Just like the cover, it’s bold and see’s Humble raising his own bar in creativity and lyricism. The general body of work is of a higher standard not yet done by the MC.

Standout tracks: I will, H.A.I.R.

28. Manna — Fashawn

Manna — Fashawn

This EP / Album probably won’t get the recognition it deserves, just like Fashawn. He tackles some tough subjects and whilst being honest, courageous at the same time lyrical with that iconic flow.

Standout tracks: Manna.

27. Gems from the Equinox — Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs.

Gems from the Equinox — Meyhem Lauren & DJ Muggs

This album is hard.
Hard beats. Hard lyrics.

With the veteran producer on the beats Meyhem doesn’t hold back and let’s rip from start to finish. However, it does seem mundane at times with the same cadence and lackluster features.

Standout tracks: Street Religion. Murder Rap.

26. Vicious EP — Skepta

Vicious — Skepta

Skepta is no doubt riding the high wave; after a successful album with Konnichiwa, numerous world tours, promotions, fashion collaboration and he’s managed to still drop new music.

This 6 song EP has some heavy hitters.

Standout tracks: Still, No Security, Hypocrisy.

25. SYRE — Jaden Smith

SYRE — Jaden Smith

Jaden’s in full creative flow with this album. With a variety of beats and sci-fi-esq lyrics he’s sure to impress and keep you entertained from start to finish.

Not what you expected from the kid.

Standout Tracks: Breakfast, Icon, Batman.

24. Raskit — Dizzee Rascal

Raskit — Dizzee Rascal

Dizzee is one of the orignators of the UK “Grime” scene. The Kingpin if you will. And with the recent blow up it’s only right he returns with his sixth studio album. No longer the boy in the corner, he continues to cater to his worldwide audience and show his growth.

Sharp rhymes, with a combination of frantic to mellow beats to keep all happy.

Standout Tracks: Focus, Space, Bop’n Keep It Dipping, Slow Your Roll, Man Of The Hour.

23. The Saga Continues — Wu-Tang

Wu-Tang can’t seem to catch a break. I’ve been waiting for a solid release from the clan since The W / Iron Flag.

This album was compiled by one of the groups founding members, and so has that ‘Legendary Weapons’ type vibe, with lots of skits and an effort to get back to the groups original essence.

The album received lots of hype and praise but for me, a die-hard fan, it comes up a little short. Method man continues to outshine and hold the clan together, like glue. Still nothing to fuck with tho’.

Standout tracks: Lesson Learn’d, If time is money, Pearl Harbor, People say.

22. Peddler Themes — Skyzoo

Peddler Themes — Skyzoo

Gritty, soulful cuts deom start to finish. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice until after that this EP has no features!

A testiment to Skyzoo who holds it down, commanding on every track. This should be higher on the list too in hindsight.

Standout tracks: Short Money, Finesse Everything, For Real.

21. In the Beginning: Before the Heavens — Blu & Exile

In the Beginning: Before the Heavens — Blu & Exile

Blu & Exile return and collaborate to recreate the magic that was Below The Heavens. This definitely feels like a Below the Heavens continuation, with the same vibe, feel for beats and lyrics but not a potent as I guess. Still a very well put together album.

Standout tracks: Another day, All these ladies, Hard workers, Sold the soul.

19. Rosebudd’s Revenge — Roc Marciano

Rosebudd’s Revenge — Roc Marciano

Roc’s pen and word play have always been slick. This independant release is most certainly a quiet-storm. Not quite on par with Reloaded, but close enough.

Standout tracks: Move dope.

20. The Iceberg — Oddisee

The Iceberg — Oddisee

An ecletic album infused with many elements from disco, jazz, soul, funk, Hip Hop, and R&B. Oddisee doing what he does best on the best with laser beam lyrics. Great album from the underground artist who will no doubt blow up big at this rate.

Standout tracks: Things, NNGE, Want To Be.

18. 7 Days 7 Nights — Krept & Konan

7 Days 7 Nights — Krept & Konan

The British rap duo dropped 2 mixtapes: one that is more hard-hitting with grittier beats (day) and the other more R&B influenced (night). Both are done really well and to the high standard the duo usually work to.

Standout tracks: Champions League, Wo Wo Wo, On My Life, Get A Stack,
For Me, Wrongs.

17. Which Way Iz West - MC Eiht

Straight west-coast album. Back by Premier. What more should I say?

Standout tracks: Compton Zoo, Pass Me By, Got that.

16. Friday on Elm Street — Fabolous & Jadakiss

Friday on Elm Street — Fabolous & Jadakiss

This album receive mixed reviews, yet I thought it was a good consolidated effort from the two veteran rappers.

Not everyone can mimic Watch the Throne or Run the Jewels type collaborations, but these two definitely compliment each other and hold there own.

Standout tracks: Theme music, Soul food.

15. All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ — Joey Bada$$

All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ — Joey Bada$$

By far Joey’s best piece of work yet. Similar to his original style but shows a lot of growth especially since he’s tackling different subject matters such as race, government and politics.

Standout tracks: Good morning Amerikkka, Devastated, Rockabye baby, Super predator, Legendary.

14. You Only Live 2wice — Freddie Gibbs

You Only Live 2wice — Freddie Gibbs

This albums almost serves as a reintroduction to Freddie Kane after what was a traumatic experience while on tour and time away from the game.

He returns and serves up this this 6 track EP with a renewed fire and a lot on his mind to wet our appetites before he releases he next album.

Standout tracks: Crushed Glass, Amnesia, Homesick.

13. Vibes — Berner & Styles P

Vibes — Berner & Styles P

With hardly any promotion and some heavy featuring artists, such as B-Real & Dave East, this album flew under the radar and was slept on.

Styles P and Berner bring there A game for some serious vibes.

Standout tracks: Turkey Bag, Table, Pictures, Vibes.

12. More Life — Drake

More Life — Drake

Playlist or Album? Whatever it is, this is Drake’s most versatile body of work yet. Octobers Very Own wasn’t afriad to experiment with numerous influences from around the world; tropical vibes, dance beats, UK grime etc.

Some worked well. Some didn’t. Regardless Drake continues to dominate.

Standout tracks: Free smoke. Passionfruit, Get it together, Madam riddim, Blem, Skepta interlude, KMT, Lose you, Do not disturb.

11. 4:44 — Jay Z

4:44 — Jigga

Never has a veteran rapper, on his 13th album, sounded so fresh. Brutally open and honest of Jay-z addressing numerous topics, recorded with a gritty mic and less flamboyant beats.

Cover may be a copy or subliminal jab at Kanye?

Standout tracks: Story of OJ. Family Feud.

10. Gang Signs & Prayer - Stormzy

GSAP — Stormzy

Stormzy has had a great year. This album has a great balance of hard hitting tracks and experimental gospel songs that balence well.

Was not a big fan of Stormzy at first but this album really was not what I expected - and completely turned me around. I’m now a believer.

Standout tracks: First thing first, Cold, Blinded by your grace, Lay me bare.

9. The Wild — Raekwon

The Wild — Raekwon

This album somewhat reminds me Rae’s second installment: Immobilarity.

What I mean by that is Rae on a different level of thinking and serving up a different sound than his usual cadence; much more reflective and less flamboyant, especially when compared with F.I.L.A.

This album features no clan members and see’s Rae experiment with some different flows. Well worth checking out.

Standout tracks: This is what it comes to, Marvin, Visiting Hours, Crown of Thorns.

8. Trust the process — Ace Hood

Trust the Process — Ace hood

Ace Hooooooooood returns with renewed energy and vibes for this album. The track ordering is a little odd with the skits, but Hood remains consistent with flows, bars and positive messages.

Standout tracks: To whom it may concern, Play to win, Life After, Interludes 1 and 2.

7. Loyalty is Royalty — Masta Killa

Loyalty is Royalty — Masta Killa

Long overdue from the Masta. Last few albums have been a little off and not up to par with his remarkable debut but it looks like taking that extra time paid dues as this is more of a solid album where the few experimental efforts seemed to work.

Standout tracks: Return of thee masta kill, Therapy, OG’s told me, Tiger Mantice

6. Blue Chips 7000 — Action Bronson

Blue Chips 7000 — Action Bronson

Bam Bam Bronsolino returns this year and does not disappoint. Classic Action Bronson with a wide range of beats and witty lyrics. Probably his best body of work yet since Well Done.

Standout tracks: LA Luna, Bonzai, 9–24–7000, Chop.

5. Visions EP — Akala

Visions EP — Akala

Akala has always been underatted. He’s super knowledgable, and it shows in his lyrics. This EP is different; a creative take on a comic comprising of “5 chapters” from Mr. Fire in the Booth himself.

Standout tracks: ALL.

4. DAMN — Kendrick Lamar

DAMN. — Kung Fu Kenny

Kendrick offers another masterpiece of consciousness, storytelling and mastery.

This album, as previous albums, has been done in a completely different style and tone. Rumors after the release were true that the album could be played backwards.

Sometimes I feel Kendrick is overrated, other times overlooked for being too lyrical. Eitherway this album delivers and has a nostaglic feeling to the golden era with those Kid Capri shout-outs.

Standout tracks: DNA, Feel, XXX.

3. Everybody — Logic

Everybody — Logic

What a journey Logic has been on!

Another album that is unlike anything in his catalogue that continues his concept story and carries a righteous and positive message throughout. This album / cover has many subliminals.

Standout tracks: Confess, Take it back, America, Most Defiantly, 1–800–273–8255, Anziety.

2. Paranoia — Dave East

Paranoia — Dave East

THE hottest rapper right now, and Dave East certainly had a good 2017. This time last year he was somewhat under the radar, but has now blown up featuring everywhere.

Paranoia took a few spins to get into, but is banging with that signature East flow, hard gritty lyrics and with the right amount of features.

Standout tracks: Wanna be me, Find a way, Maneuver.

1. 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time — Big K.R.I.T

4eva — Big K.R.I.T:

The one man Outkast.
Krizzle has always stayed true to his core even if that meant leaving major labels and remaining independant.

For the first time ever he dropped a double LP (which are relatively unheard of these days) which is true to his core and not watered down.

Filled with songs topics ranging from his sub to his soul with that lyrical down south flow!

Standout tracks: Get away, Big K.R.I.T, Confetti, Price of Fame.

Honourable mentions
They either didn’t make the cut or haven’t been heard enough to make a judgement call. Most likely the latter.

Strange days — Big Lenbo
Boomiverse — Big Boy
The King & I — Faith Evans & B.I.G
Imperius Rex — Sean P
Rockness A.P — Rock
Drogas Light — Lupe Fiasco

Don’t sit on the speakers — Killah Priest
Double or Nothing — Big sean & Metro Boomin
Neva left — Snoop Dogg
Revival — Eminem

That’s it!
What did you think? Did I miss any out? Let me know your thoughts.