By: Ty O'Neil
While 2017 was a year when you might want to tune out, music gave you a reason to listen. While many artists that tend to grab the headlines produced a fairly quiet output this year, it allowed new artists a platform to grab ahold of new listeners ears. I'll be going through my favorite albums from the following genres: Hip Hop, R&B. These are the only genres I typically associate with, but I'm not opposed to other music; I just don't want to give my loyal readers an unfair opinion.
Hip Hop/Rap: DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar and Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator
The best hip hop/rap albums of 2017 come from two very unique and talented artists, being Grammy winning Kendrick Lamar and perceptual oddball Tyler Okonma. A common similarity brings these two fairly artists together; shredding their perceived images and opening up to their audience. Kendrick mentions his overthinking and perhaps depressed state due to his responsibilities as such an influential character in the African-American community. Tyler raps about his loneliness and ongoing search for his unrequited love. While these albums certainly have not left out their quintessential bangers that have made these artists famous in the first place, such as "HUMBLE" and "DNA" by Kendrick, and "I Ain't Got Time" by Tyler, they still have these underlying themes.
The juxtaposition created by Tyler in his song "Boredom", where he sings about 'finding time', he follows it up with a very fast paced, and energetic record in "I Ain't Got Time", where the chorus quite literally repeats the title. Kendrick provides yet another great performance across the project, with his insecurities he deals with in his fame as open as ever. The story he tells throughout many songs such as "FEAR" and "PRIDE", has his family and other influences helping him questioning his faith, as well as current standing in the world. Kendricks work has been nominated for the best Hip Hop Album category at the Grammy's, which occurs on the 28th of January, 2017. Other honorable mentions for this genre of music for me includes 4;44 by Jay Z, Culture by Migos and Saturation II by Brockhampton.
R&B: Freudian by Daniel Caesar
The best R&B album of 2017 for me would be Daniel Caesars "Freudian." Freudian is a tale of falling in and out of love in the complicated world we live in today. The project includes gorgeous ballads, with several hints of funk and gospel influences sprinkled across the record. Daniel is a fairly unknown, new artist hailing from Toronto, Canada, with Freudian being his first commercial album. The title 'Freudian', is a reference to one of the fathers of psychology Sigmund Freud's views on the human conscience and how it affects our daily lives. This notion takes place throughout the record, exhibiting Daniel's personal views on how underlying thoughts affect people's actions. The album starts with the song "Get You," where Caesar performs a smooth falsetto describing his underlying feelings for his girl.
Responding to what the inspiration behind the track was, Caesar replied in an interview with Genius music, "I was really broke, living with my girl at the time. It was a broke-and-in-love sort of thing. She's like my muse, I guess. It was alive, good conversation, and good loving."
The falling out of love and touch with this girl ended up taking place in the latter part of the album, with songs "Transform" and "Freudian."
Stay tuned for more music reviews in 2018.