My Top Ten Albums, EP’s And Official Mixtapes | Thirty Releases Of 2017 Worth Hearing By Alex Gordon

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The task of con­dens­ing a year’s worth of listen­ing into a con­cise list of the best of the best has been an enjoy­able but chal­len­ging one. 2017 has once again seen a bar­rage of high-qual­ity releases, stem­ming from the sub­ter­raneous depths of the inde­pend­ent scene all the way through to the main­stream. These are the best that I’ve heard…

Top Ten Albums

1. Apol­lo Brown & Plan­et Asia - Anchovies (Mel­lo Music Group)
Pro­li­fic left coast vet­er­an Plan­et Asia con­nects with Detroit’s Apol­lo Brown who trades in his hard-hit­ting drums for sparse, dusty beats. Groun­ded in sim­pli­city this is a dis­tinct­ively gritty, soul­ful release which show­cases impress­ive artist­ic growth for both. Some­thing of a slow burn­er and an acquired taste this album takes its right­ful pos­i­tion at the top of the pile.

2. Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time (BMG / Mul­ti Alum­ni)
Rein­vig­or­ated South­ern soul from a crim­in­ally under­rated artist who has spent his career on the cusp of main­stream acclaim. At the third attempt Krizzle finally recap­tures his mix­tape magic on a retail release with this ambi­tious soul cleans­ing double album.

3. G Perico - 2 Tha Left (Car­oline Records)
Throw­back West Coast hip-hop with a mod­ern sound, G Perico’s second release of 2017 is an excel­lent col­lec­tion of synthed G-Funk nos­tal­gia. For those in need of late night cruis­ing music then this is the per­fect soundtrack. His oth­er 2017 album, All Blue, is also an impress­ive release that’s well worth a listen.

4. Prodigy - Hegel­i­an Dia­lectic (The Book Of Rev­el­a­tion) (Infam­ous Records)
When it was released at the start of the year nobody could have envis­aged that this would be the last Prodigy solo album in his impress­ive cata­logue. His untimely passing in June shocked the hip-hop com­munity and this album sees P adopt a more thought-pro­vok­ing approach than his pre­vi­ous works. When this insight­ful wis­dom is mixed togeth­er with the eer­ie pro­duc­tion it only serves to make this feel like a fit­ting finale to an incred­ible career. R.I.P. Prodigy.

5. Roc Mar­ciano - Rosebudd’s Revenge (Mar­ci Enter­prises LLC.)
After a brief hiatus NY nat­ive Roc Mar­ciano returns with his fourth stu­dio album. Fans will be pleased to see that the influ­en­tial for­mu­la which he has per­fec­ted on pre­vi­ous releases is retained through­out. Lyr­ic­ally each bar is delivered with non­chal­ant clar­ity and the sparse vel­vety 70’s soul samples only serve to amp­li­fy their impact. His influ­ence on a small but not­able niche with­in mod­ern NY hip-hop is undeni­able.

6. Nolan The Ninja - YEN (Left Of Center)
On his latest album the Detroit lyr­i­cist deliv­ers a highly ener­get­ic, hard-hit­ting album which rein­forces the Motor City’s status as one of the most under­rated scenes. This release is proof that dusty, lo-fi boom bap is still well and truly alive in 2017 and Nolan The Ninja has enough ver­sat­il­ity to help him avoid get­ting lost in the shuffle.

7. Le$ - Mid­night Club (Slfemp Music LLC. / SxS)
The Hou­s­ton-based rap­per has been relent­lessly releas­ing top qual­ity music for the best part of a dec­ade but remains strangely over­looked. Mid­night Club is 10 tracks of melodic, down-tem­po, sample-driv­en pro­duc­tion cour­tesy of DJ Mr. Rogers and typ­ic­ally laid-back life­style raps from Le$.

8. GQ — E 14th (Jam­la Records / GQ Music)
A mem­ber of 9th Wonder’s Jam­la Records this Oak­land nat­ive has once again hit the mark with his latest album. Opt­ing for heart­felt and hon­est over abstract exper­i­ment­a­tion this is an album which con­tains all of the traits that make a good hip-hop album. Dope beats, dope rhymes and no gim­micks this is back to basics hip-hop in its rawest form.

9. Joey Bada$$ - ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ (Pro Era / Cine­mat­ic Music Group)
Walk­ing the fine line between mass appeal and stick­ing to his roots Joey’s second stu­dio album avoids the dreaded sopho­more slump by show­ing vari­ety and a will­ing­ness to evolve. Socially con­scious and polit­ic­ally raged con­tent can be a sens­it­ive and often unsuc­cess­fully executed angle in hip-hop. How­ever, Joey suc­ceeds with his sin­cer­ity and also his abil­ity to lighten the mood to ensure an enga­ging listen.

10. Cun­ninlyn­guists - Rose Azura Njano (A Piece Of Strange Music / RBC Records)
The Ken­tucky trio have one of hip-hop’s most impress­ive cata­logues and although this latest album doesn’t reach the heights of pre­vi­ous works this is still a great release. Con­cep­tu­ally they have always been adven­tur­ous and this album explores Black music in Amer­ica and its his­toryand impact, per­son­i­fied by the chromes­thesia-afflic­ted Rose. Socially con­scious, thor­oughly soul­ful and them­at­ic­ally absorb­ing.

And once you’re done with the top ten albums check out the top ten EP’s and top ten offi­cial mix­tapes / com­pil­a­tions…

Top Ten EP’s

  1. Fred­die Gibbs - You Only Live 2wice (ESGN Records / Empire Dis­tri­bu­tion)
  2. Le$ - Sum­mer Mad­ness (Slfemp Music LLC. / SxS)
  3. Sky­zoo - Ped­dler Themes (First Gen­er­a­tion Rich, Inc.)
  4. Lil Eto & V Don - Omer­tà: The Film (Tuff Kong Records)
  5. Jay Worthy & The Alchemist - Fantasy Island (ALC Records / GDF Records)
  6. Thes One & DJ Day - Náu­frago EP (Piece­lock 70)
  7. Le$ - The Catal­ina Wine Mix­er (Slfemp Music LLC. / SxS)
  8. G-Worthy - G-Worthy EP (Fool’s Gold Records)
  9. Wil­lie The Kid & V Don - Deutsche Marks (Next Records)
  10. Kankick & Dr. Oop - Kankick Show­case #4: Lose Your Illu­sion (No Label)

 

Top Ten Offi­cial Mix­tapes / Com­pil­a­tions

  1. Camp Lo - On The Way Uptown: The Uptown Sat­urday Night Demo (MVD Audio)
  2. Con­way - G.O.A.T. (GxFR)
  3. Nick Wiz ‎- Cel­lar Sounds Volume 5: 1992–1998 (No Sleep Record­ings)
  4. Blu & Exile - In The Begin­ning: Before The Heav­ens (Fat Beats / Dirty Sci­ence)
  5. Benny — Butcher On Ster­oids (GxFR)
  6. Con­way — Reject On Ster­oids (GxFR)
  7. Nine — Death Of A Demo (Smoke On Records)
  8. Con­way - More Ster­oids (GxFR)
  9. West­Side Gunn - Hitler Wears Her­mes V (GxFR)
  10. Curren$y - The Cham­pag­ne Files (Jet Life Record­ings)
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Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon

Between 9–5 I’m a pas­sion­ate teach­er for teen­agers with spe­cial needs and dis­en­gaged young people. From 5–9 I’m a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record col­lect­or, lov­er of live shows and occa­sion­al DJ.

About Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon
Between 9-5 I'm a passionate teacher for teenagers with special needs and disengaged young people. From 5-9 I'm a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record collector, lover of live shows and occasional DJ.