So, this will be the FIRST of the BEST OF 2017 Lists to come this year. The Rules, criteria, and other things you need to know about how I reach my final list is outlined in the previous post. You can find it here, if you haven’t seen it yet!
With that said, let’s get to it!
30) V-zilla – The (Re)Wind Down
Houston based rapper V-Zilla comes in here with a lethal dose of lyricism laced with some of the most dynamic beats and music this year. For fans of: Army Of The Pharoahs, Vinnie Paz, Immortal Technique
29) Raekwon – The Wild
Wu-Tang member comes in with his newest joint. Wu style, that’s all that needs to be said!
28) Warporn Industries – War Porn
Rap Collective featuring Everlast, Sick Jacken, and Divine Styler. Some of the strongest work that Everlast has turned in in the past decade. Heavy, dark beats coupled with deadly serious lyrical content.
27) Wreckonize – Into The Further
leader of the group, Mayday, turns in his second solo effort. Full of spacey beats looped over Tech N9ne style rapping, it’s a record that’s full of killer hooks.
26) Dirty Heads – Swim Team
Cali based Reggae meets Hop Hop. Full of big, booming Kottonmouth Kings style tunes, it’s perfect for those stoner type moments when you just want something to chill to.
25) Esham – Scribbles
Detroit based Esham returns with his best effort in years. While Eminem gets most of the attention when it comes to Detroit, It was ESHAM that truly put Detroit on the rap map. Gritty, hard, and extremely abrasive in places, nobody does it quite like Esham.
24) Hi-Rez – Missing Pieces
One of the few NEW rappers that I actually respect. Intelligent word play with emotionally charged beats that hit you right in the feels. Full of hooks that you will be signing long after the record ends.
23) Machine Gun Kelly – Bloom
MGK has grown on me as an artist. He comes in here with his strongest record to date.
22) Rittz – Last Call
Rittz has always been a bit hit or miss with me as an artist, but he comes in here with a rock solid collection of tunes that hit with maximum effect. “I’m Only Human” is a brutal tune with a gorgeous backing track that just gives ya goosebumps.
21) Madchild – The Darkest Hour
Not the best thing that Madchild has done in his career, but still effective enough to register here. Full of the style that we’ve come to love from him.
20) Kool G Rap – Return Of The Don
One of the originators of the art of Street rap, Kool G returns with a booming collection of street anthems that is sure to please the lovers of East Coast style hip hop!
19) Bone Thugs – New Waves
This one kind of caught me by surprise with just how catchy and singable the damn hooks are on here! A great record to chill with that won’t put you to sleep!
18) Lecrae – Al Things Work Together
While I’ve heard LeCrae get disrespected because of his lyrical content, I don’t get it. Easily one of the best pure lyricists in rap today, this record is just another example of what makes him so special!
17) Delinquent Habits – It Could Be Round Two
Cali duo returns with their first effort in almost a decade. It’s an inspired, boombastic record that hits all the marks for West Coast inspired hip hop. Big, fearless, and full of beats that are guaranteed to sound great in your ride!
16) Big Boi – Boomiverse
Big Boi lands here with a giant sounding record full of funk meets disco style beats and fun raps that are built to destroy club speakers everywhere! “Mic Jack” is a sure fire way to get any party jumping.
15) Mayday – Search Party
Big, bouncy beats over rapid fire lyrical delivery. Mayday can get a bit ‘spacey’ at times but not in a bad way. These guys really know how to mix their styles up and keep it fresh.
14) M-Dot – Ego and The Enemy
East Coast style rap in vein of Vinnie Paz or RA The Rugged Man, this is perfect for fans of people like The Snow Goons. Real to the core style rapping with unforgiving wordplay and flawless production.
13) Hopsin – No Shame
Easily one of the most well rounded artists in the rap game, Hopsin returns with yet another unforgiving collection of tunes, that while not for everyone, never fails to be as brutal as ever. If you want in your face, they don’t come any better than Hop!
12) NF – Perception
With comparisons to Eminem, it’s easy to write NF off as a clone but I personally find him to be a far better lyricist than Em with a greater delivery. It’s also great that he can deliver amazing tunes without all the vulgarity that is so common in most rap music.
11) Brother Ali – All The Beauty In This Whole World
Few people have a style that is so uniquely their own like Brother Ali. Some of the most intelligent lyricism in the business that can deliver a brutal message without sounding preachy. This is essential listening for any true fan of Hip Hop music.
10) Public Enemy – Nothing Is Quick In The Desert
15 records and 30 years into their career and still as devastating as ever! Chuck D delivers pure fire on this record with Flava in the background proving why he’s one of the best Hype men of all time!
9) Twiztid – The Continuous Evilution of Life’s ?’s
While extremely polarizing among most hip hop fans, I personally love Twiztid and always look forward to what they release. They’ve gotten even stronger since striking out on their own and forming their own label. This record is proof that they are more than capable of carrying their own brand!
8) Jay-Z – 444
There isn’t a record that I WANTED to hate more than this one this year yet ended up being blown away by it. Easily the best thing that Jay Hoova has done, IMHO. I’ve played this a ton and that’s something that I’ve never done with a Jay Z record.
7) T.O.N.E.-z – These Words
One of the hardest working men in the rap game as well as one of the smartest! Whether it’s dropping nuclear style bombs like this or doing mash up style mixtapes, TONE-z delivers like a Hip Hop assassin!
6) Jelly Roll – Addiction Kills
I’ve watched super stardom elude Jelly for a while now while us true fans have screamed every time some shitty rapper with with the next 5 minute craze comes along. One of the best freestyle rappers I’ve ever heard while also having the ability to deliver gritty, real as fuck lyrics that pull no punches. If you want REAL, this is the record that will deliver it in droves!
5) Merkules – Trust Your Gut
I discovered Merkules after seeing one of his youtube freestyle videos. This Canadian rap monster delivers a 13 track soundtrack that would be perfect for kicking the crap out of any enemy. When you think FIGHT music, this is some of the best this year!
4) Volcano & The New Radio Standard – The Bloom Street Journal
Hailing from Detroit, Volcano and his cohorts deliver a blazing set of tunes that combine Hip Hop with Rock music in an unrelenting style that will have you dancing in your seat and your first pumping in the air. If there was such a thing as ‘Arena Rap’, this would be it! How this guy doesn’t have labels beating down his door is almost criminal.
3) Propaganda – Crooked
Like a mix of Brother Ali and Lecrae, Propaganda delivers a brutal set of lyrical genius that teaches without preaching. This may be considered ‘conscious’ rap by some, but to me, this is how all hop hop should be delivered. One of the smartest records this year, regardless of genre.
2) KRS-One – The World Is Mind
KRS-One has always delivered some of the smartest lyrics ever laid on wax, but here, he steps it up even more. This is the epitome of what conscious rap should desire to be. Open your mind and let this classic elevate your intelligence!
1) Yelawolf – Trial By Fire
Much like Rittz, Yelawolf has always been a bit hit or miss with me but with this new record, he’s truly came into his own and created a monster record for the ages. Combining the best elements of Hip Hop, Country, and Blues with rapid fire lyricism built on ultra personal experiences. The song ‘PUNK’ is the Hip Hop tune of the year. An absolutely propulsive tune that makes me just want to jump up and break shit! This is my most played rap record of the year and by far my favorite!