by Ms. Black Hollywood
2017 was a big year for music which continued to reinvent itself in an effort to boost sales as the old record stores of yesteryear are being replaced by digital downloads and streaming services. Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify and other streaming services have made album sales and single downloads the music industry’s big contender.
Streaming services are still growing into the tech age and so is the competition with new subscription services popping up and old ones expanding. Experts predict the boom in streaming to continue thanks to the rise of homebased tech like Google Home and Echo which makes music enjoyment just a voice direction away.
A big year for music tech and streaming means a big year for artists. Uproxx called 2017 the year that “rap got serious, grew up and both became fiery and polticial, and personable and confessional. JayZ stormed back onto the scene with his own confession in “4:44”. His thirteenth studio album received widespread acclaim from critics and fans who helped it reach Platinum status a month after its release. Kendrick Lamar took it back to old school Billboard, Ranker, Uproxx and a number of music sites have come devised their lists of the Top rap albums of the year. TRN checked a few of them and we’ve come up with our own list of the 2017 Top 5 Hip Hop Albums…
#4 Not many artists would even attempt to release back-to-back albums. Future not only achieved such a feat but he did it with mastery. His “HNDRXX” album debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 only to be replaced by his second self-titled album. Billboard says, “Future is the first act in the nearly 61-year history of the chart to achieve back-to-back No. 1 debuts in successive weeks. The rapper is also the first artist to succeed himself at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 at all (counting not only debuts) since 1968. He’s additionally the first soloist ever to claim the honor.”
#3 It’s hard to believe anybody in any profession had a bigger year than Cardi B. Her debut single”Bodak Yellow was the bridge that transported this once stripper turned reality star to a superstar in the rap world. Noisey Vice called Cardi’s “Gangsta B**ch Music Vol. 1” “the most enjoyable body of music to come out of “Love and Hip-Hop”. Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” reached #1 on Billboard Hot 100, netted two Grammy nominations, and was known as the “rap anthem of the summer”.
#2 News site the Guardian said of Kendrick Lamar– “Broad social commentary like this is what made Lamar’s previous album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, so powerful, with its howl that black lives matter…But his most mesmerising skill is telescoping between these macro observations and closeups on himself and his community, something he does with incredible power on his fourth full-length release, Damn.” Lamar takes his fourth album to new depths-one moment pondering God and the next extolling praises of Black pride. Pushing his creative talents to new heights earned Lamar seven Grammy nominations.
#1 Last year, JayZ began public enemy number 1 after his wife’s “Lemonade” made cuts that told fans about their marital troubles after his infidelity. This year, JayZ responded with an album that confessed about some of own vulnerabilities, fears and mistakes. The 10 track opus “4;44” showed fans a side of JayZ they had never heard before. Billboard said, “Whether he was fighting against his pride on “Kill JAY-Z,” uniting the culture on “Family Feud,” or remedying his partnership with his Queen on the album title track, Shawn Carter showed the humblest version of himself fans had ever seen, but delivered with such singular skill that it was clear the “S” on his chest was still lurking underneath. – C.L