The Best Album Of 2017 – Elimination Style

best album of 2017

I have an idea. Rather than do the normal top 10 or 20 list of the best albums in 2017, I’m going to eliminate albums until I get to my favorites.

Think of all the albums that came out in 2017. I’m going to eliminate them all until I get to the best album of the year. So I’ll get to write about some bad ones too and let you know why they don’t make the list. It might be a slightly negative way to talk about music, but it will also be fun.

A few things about how it will work:
- Every album is on the table. While I heard a lot of music this year, there’s going to be stuff I missed. And let’s be real. I didn’t give Charli XCX’s Pop 2 all that hard of a listen. If I don’t mention the album by the end of this, you can just assume that it didn’t make it (when it really means that I didn’t listen to it).

- I’m going to eliminate a lot of albums at one time in groups. This just means that it gives me the opportunity to bulk eliminate stuff that I don’t really care about or have a ton to write about. You may call it lazy. I call it efficient.

- By the time I get to the end, the list will get more conventional and I’ll actually have a top 10 list. So if you are all about lists and can’t handle anything but lists, just skip to the bottom.

Okay, I think we’re ready to go. By the way, if you don’t understand what’s going on here yet, just wait. I think you’ll soon understand.

No Trap Music

Remember how during Wayne’s World (which is a good movie and one you should watch every three years or so) when Wayne picks up the guitar at the guitar store and starts playing “Stairway To Heaven” and the employee points to a sign that reminds Wayne that he can’t play that song? That’s how I feel about trap music.

Trap music – denied.

While I understand why trap music has become popular and can enjoy the beats, I generally need three things in my hip hop; wordplay, flow, and bars. If I don’t feel like the rapper is trying to be clever, I’m usually out. And it’s rare when I feel like trap artists are trying to be clever. I also like it when I can understand what the hell the lyrics are. That is often an issue for me with trap.

Thus, here are the albums that are first to be eliminated.

All 12 albums Gucci Mane released in 2017

Future – Future

Future – Hndrxx

Lil Uzi Vert – Luv Is Rage 1.5

Kodak Black – Painting Pictures

Tee Grizzley – My Moment

XXXTentacion – Revenge

Lil Yachty – Teenage Emoticons

2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Like Trap Music

Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls

21 Savage – Issa Album

ASAP Ferg – Still Striving

ASAP Mob – Cozy Tapes Vol.2: Too Cozy

Rick Ross – Rather You Than Me

French Montana – Jungle Rules

See how many albums we already eliminated?

But please don’t think I’m completely anti-trap. I can have just as much fun with a Future album as anyone. I just can’t put it on the same pedestal that I would put other albums.

And even rap music that trends more to the type of style that I enjoy is about to earn some Ls too. Actually, let’s get some of those out of the way.

Old Heads Get Dissed Too

Lupe Fiasco – DROGAS Light

Raekwon – The Wild

Talib Kweli and Styles P – The Seven

Wale – Shine

Brother Ali – All the Beauty in this Life

TPain & Lil Wayne – T-Wayne

Kool G Rap – Return Of the Don

Public Enemy – Nothing Is Quick In The Desert

Fabolous and Jadakiss – Friday on Elm Street

Wu-Tang – The Saga Continues

Some of these albums were really fun. If Fab and Jada dropped Friday On ELm Street in 2001, that thing may have exploded the universe. But alas, it’s 2017 homies. And the Wu-Tang album goes hard. It’s not necessarily the truest Wu-Tang album as there’s no U-God (though, he wouldn’t be in the top five of Wu artists that you’d miss) and it’s produced solely by Mathematics rather than RZA, but the sound is still true.

And that’s another 12 albums that we just eliminated. We’re just getting started.

Some Big Artists Dropped Big Garbage

Okay, garbage is harsh in some cases, but as a headline, it reads smoothly. I’ll give a little bit of color for some of these.

Big Sean – I Decided

Pitbull – Climate Change

Trey Songz – Tremaine The Album

Taylor Swift – Reputation: I definitely respect Taylor’s hustle. But this is an entirely reactive album. It’s pretty clear that she’s obsessed with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. And maybe, just maybe, this is entirely tongue-in-cheek, and I’m just missing the joke. I’m waiting for her to grow up a little bit with her audience, too.

Me and my buddy Big Money Mike talked about her a bit on The #BALLSOHARD Podcast last week. He thinks she’s going back to country soon.

Chainsmokers – Memories…Do Not Open

Machine Gun Kelly – bloom: MGK isn’t really a big artist. I just didn’t know where to kick him out.

Bryson Tiller – True To Self

Katy Perry – Witness: This was so bad. It’s like Katy had no idea what to do with this album.

TLC – TLC: I’m not sure how you can record music when the L has been gone for so many years.

Fifth Harmony – Fifth Harmony: Similarly, how can you still be called Fifth Harmony when you are now only four?

Fergie – Double Duchess: I’ll admit that I’ve been hard on Fergie Ferg in the past. She’s a culture vulture, but she’s clearly not the only one to do so. (I may be a culture vulture just for writing the phrase culture vulture.) She just does it so badly. I half-heartedly enjoy bits and pieces of her very first album, but she’s been chasing trends for how many years now? It also must irk her a bit that the best Black Eyed Peas song features Justin Timberlake instead of her. Okay, now I feel a bit sorry for her since Justin is one of the biggest culture vultures.

Macklemore – Gemini

Miley Cyrus – Younger Now: This album wasn’t bad at all. It was a nice change of pace for Miley. It’s just hard for non-hardcore fans to take her seriously when just a couple years ago she was throwing up middle fingers and peeing in the streets.

Nelly Furtado – The Ride: Who knew this album even came out?

Eminem – Revival: I saved the best (or worst) for last here. I’m not sure that I ever wanted to hear Eminem’s political hot takes. But if you wanted those, this album is for you. Even if I did, it’s hard to take him seriously when half of this album is him at his silliest. Maybe he figured that’s what sold big for him back in the day. But if you ever wondered who defines not maturing as an artist, here’s your guy.

That’s another 16 albums that aren’t the best album of the year. This is fun.

No Flat Earth Truthers On This List

B.o.B. – Ether: Sorry B.o.B. I used to really like you. I’m also so thankful that you were the first to put Bruno Mars on. But you’re slipping. And you’re a flat earth truther. No flat earth truthers can be on this list. Sorry.

Aunties Gone Wild

I love auntie music. And we had some good auntie albums come out this year. They just weren’t good enough to make it to the top of this list.

Mary J. Blige – Strength Of A Woman

Faith Evans – The King & I: This was a weird one in which Faith sings with Biggie’s vocals to make it a duet album. It was deeply personal for her, but we need to let Biggie rest.

Chante Moore – The Rise Of The Phoenix

Keyshia Cole – 11:11 Reset

K Michelle – Kimberly: The People I Used To Know

La’Porsha Rene – All Read Already: She’s a little young to make auntie music, but it’s still auntie music.

Sevyn Streeter – Girl Disrupted

Kelly Clarkson – Meaning Of Life: Let’s be honest. She makes auntie music. And I dig it.

Albums That Were Critically Acclaimed, But I Thought Were Just Cool

Ed Sheeran – Divide

Khalid – American Teen: It was a tad boring for me.

Logic – Everybody: My youngest is a huge Logic fan and after it dropped, even he thought it was just okay.

Jamiroquai – Automation

PartyNextDoor – Colours 2

Lady Antebellum – Heart Break

Imagine Dragons – Evolve

Haim – Something to Tell You

Coldplay – Kaleidoscope

Dizee Rascal – Raskit

Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life

Sam Smith – The Thrill Of It All: Let’s cool on Sammy being the male Adele. I still haven’t really been moved by Sammy one time yet.

Evanescence – Synthesis

G-Eazy – The Beautiful and Damned: He’s too handsome to be a rapper.

That was a nice chunk there. We’re moving through these albums like a hot knife through butter.

Good But Not Great Albums

Kesha – Rainbow: Kesha made a rock solid album that was very personal. I don’t think she has a very good voice and that takes away from my enjoyment, but I can still appreciate it. It was anthemic for some.

John Mayer – The Search For Everything: I’m a huge John Mayer fan and anything he puts out, I’m going to enjoy. I think he is catering to his fanbase more and more these days, rather than chasing pop charts, which to me, is a good thing. There’s really good stuff on here including “Rosie” which I’m convinced is about Rosie O’Donnell. Prove me wrong.

BBD – Three Stripes: This album was released so early in 2017, that I’m sure it’s more forgotten than anything else. But not by me. It was so great to hear my guys in 2017. In some instances, they sound better than ever.

Michelle Branch – Hopeless Romantic: Remember her? She’s grown now.

Pink – Beautiful Trauma: Thanks to my buddy George for letting me know that I left Pink off the list. My apologies to Pink. There are very few who are as consistently good as she is.

Kacy Hill – Like A Woman: This album is a tad boring, though I like the idea. And I think I like her.

Jack Johnson – All The Light Above It Too: You could’ve recycled songs from all of the other Jack Johnson albums and put them out as brand new and I wouldn’t have known the difference.

Paramore – After Laughter

Tori Amos – Native Invader

Living Colour – Shade: These guys are in their 50s/60s and are rocking harder than ever. What Public Enemy is to hip hop, Living Colour is to rock.

Darius Rucker – When Was The Last Time: Don’t hate. I love Hootie.

NERD – No_one Ever Really Dies: I think NERD tries to be weird, but I didn’t find this release all that weird. Skateboard P’s genius with this album was in getting Rihanna to rap. She gets it how she lives it.

These Albums Were More Fun Than Good

Maroon 5 – Red Blue Pills: This song is dope.

DJ Khaled – Grateful & Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1: I’m grouping these two here because they have the same idea. Get some hot artists, give them nice beds of music, and let them do their thang. While folks may shun both because we’re not sure if they’re actually producing music, or just piece meal-ing songs together, but both albums got a lot of play from me, especially in the gym.

Each also featured an entry for song of the summer. “Wild Thoughts” from Khaled’s album is a contender, but “Slide” is my pick.

Fozzy – Judas: What? A heavy metal band on my list? For whatever reason, Fozzy is a go-to of mine. It’s heavy metal music smoothed out on a pop tip, especially when it comes to their hooks. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a big Chris Jericho fan, but I do enjoy the music too.

I’m Still Bitter From Not Being Able To Delete Their Last Album From My Phone

U2 – Songs Of Experience

Not The Biggest Country Fan So I Don’t Know How To Rate These

Luke Bryan – What Makes You Country

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw – The Rest of Our Life

Shania Twain – Now

It kind of hurts to eliminate Shania. If you’re not in it for love, she’s still outta here.

Young Artists Who Put Out Fire

Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom

Jamila Woods – Heavn

Kehlani – SweetSexySavage

Sampha – Process

BROCKHAMPTON – Saturation, Saturation 2, and Saturation 3

Khalil – Prove It All

Syd – Fin

Dvsn – Morning After

I’m buying stock in all of these artists. They brought a little something different to the table.

It took me a while to get into BROCKHAMPTON. It actually happened after my kid said he’d listen to an album I sent him if I listened to their first album of this year. The self-professed boy band doesn’t fit all my hip hop requirements and they’re silly as hell, but they figured out a way to touch the young fans while still showing creativity and promise. I’m not in all the way, but I’m in with at least a baby toe.

No Chris Brown Albums Will Ever Make My List

Chris Brown – Heartbreak on a Full Moon

What About Drake?

Drake – More Life: I’m not offended by Drake anymore. He’s just going to be around. He’ll be around when I make eggs. He’ll be there when I’m picking out my clothes for the day. I know that I won’t be able to avoid him. So while I won’t be able to live another day without him in my life, I can say that his “playlist” was like stuffing 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag. It was bloated as all hell. But I still found myself listening to it more than I’d like to admit.

I Almost Forgot About The Smith Kids!

Willow Smith – The 1st

Jaden Smith – SYRE

Who would’ve thunk it? The Smith kids put out two of the most interesting releases of the year. This isn’t Willow whippin’ her hair back and forth. And Jaden isn’t rapping 16s with Justin Bieber. These are actually thoughtful attempts at being serious artists and for the most part, they worked. If you compare the two, Willow’s singing chops are better than Jaden’s rapping chops, but Jaden might be the more creative of the two. We’ll see where they are in the next five years. But I’m excited for them.

Plus, Jaden can do a wicked moonwalk.

We’re getting close to the nitty gritty.

These Three Albums Miss The Final Cut

NKOTB – Thankful EP: I’m just kidding about the New Kids album. Just wanted to put my guys on the list.

Vic Mensa – The Autobiography

Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

Lorde – Melodrama

I missed Vic Mensa when the album originally dropped. Thankfully, because I did so much damn research for this list, I discovered it when looking at all the albums that came out in 2017. There’s a certain grittiness to his music that sounds genuine rather than just part of an act.

I think Vince Staples is a better pop culture correspondent than a rapper, but I really enjoyed this album. I think this guy is going to have a few careers down the line, and being a rapper will just be one of them.

I’m not sure what I think about the Lorde album when it comes to how good it is. But I know there’s substance there and she shows true artistry. It’s one I’m going to need more listens with before I can figure it all out. But she’s not just following any sort of blueprint. She’s just creating.

Albums 10-5

We’re now at the top 10. I’m not entirely sure of the order here, but it probably looks something like this.

10. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me: I’m sure you’re surprised to see Demi so high. Really, so am I. She’s my favorite pop star. She sort of feels real. And her music is getting better as she gets older. I think she’s going to be around for a long time. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

9. Joey Badass – All-Amerikkkan Badass: Joey’s sophomore album is steeped in confidence. He has that New York swag to him and it’s going to carry him. While I don’t think he’s the best emcee out there, he’s street smart and understands his audience. He also knows how to get his point across, as proven by the title of the latest album.

8. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy: Tyler, The Creator is an authentic, emotional human being which makes Flower Boy an authentic, emotional piece of art. In an era where I find it hard to be captivated by real artists, he stands out, and in a good way.

7. Miguel – War & Leisure: My buddy Big Money Mike said it best – Miguel is the closest thing we have to Prince today.

6. Big Boi – Boomiverse: Can someone be as consistently underrated as Big Boi? I guess that’s what happens when the other rapper in your group is Andre 3000. But Daddy Fat Sax continues to produce high quality material, even away from his bro.

Get that Apple money Big Boi!

5. BIG K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time: This is some grown ass rap music.

Albums 4-3

4. SZA – Ctrl: The Top Dawg artist is a superstar in the making. The music is daring and smart. Whenever she decides to release her sophomore album, all eyes will be on her to see how she follows up Ctrl. It’s really the perfect first album.

3. Jay-Z – 4:44: What’s better than one billionaire? Two.

Isn’t this the Jay-Z album we’ve been waiting for since The Black Album? This is someone who is finally in tune with himself as an individual. Forget making the song cry. He’s putting a lot of himself on the line now. Do I believe this is an honest portrayal and not just a marketing gimmick? Not entirely. But whatever it is, it’s not the same old same old that he’s been putting out for the last ten years. This is one of his best albums ever.

Also, remember that nobody wins when the family feuds.

Albums 2-1

2. Juicy J – Rubba Band Business: Okay, I’m just kidding. I didn’t let this touch my iTunes.

2.Daniel Caesar – Freudian: This kid is 22 years old. He was born one year after I graduated high school. And I really hate him for that. But there are very few artists who can do what this guy did on his first album. I didn’t even know who he was until my oldest son nagged me multiple times to listen to him. And I’m thankful because I was soon hooked. I don’t know who he is as a commercial artist (probably not one), but as a respected, critically acclaimed artist, he’s going to be in that Frank Ocean zone. He’s going to have an interesting follow-up too.

1. Wyclef Jean – Carnival III – The Rise And Fall Of A Refugee: Kidding again. I don’t even remember the 2nd Carnival.

1. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.: I didn’t want to do it, but I had to. Kendrick was number one on a lot of lists. But it’s well-deserved. I remember before Tupac died, he said that he based what he was doing on what people weren’t doing. That’s why he went bald. If people were going to go bald, he’d grow his hair out again. That’s what Kendrick reminds me of. He creates trends and patterns. And when everyone’s done following them, he creates more. It is my belief that he’s the single most important young artist in music today. Was DAMN. any better than his previous two efforts? I’m not so sure. But it was necessary. He’s King Kendrick.

Be Sociable, Share!

2 Thoughts on “The Best Album Of 2017 – Elimination Style

  1. Damn-nice list. I have a nice little list of stuff to listen to. And you’d be surprised how much DVSN has come up in the last week or so. Very strange.

    I forgot to add MJB to my list. And I had TLC on the fence. I have a personal interest in that (we put it out) and plus Chilli came into the office one day and I almost fainted. But still–it’s not a bad record. Way better than I expected.

    • No, not a bad record at all. And you met Chili?!?!?!?! I just need to meet her one time and then we can live together happily ever after.

Post Navigation