Camiele’s 100 Favorite Albums of 2017
40. Washed Out – Mister Mellow
I honestly had a smile on my face the whole time! Mister Mellow is one of those albums you listen to when you want to lift your spirits. Even when Washed Out gets a little deeper and darker than the albums’ title suggests, Mister Mellow is still a delightful listen. Also… Down and Out describes me 584163 percent!
39. Thundercat – Drunk
Thundercat is king, and anyone he works with him is blessed. His bass work is pure magic, and his wicked sense of humor taps into some really very poignant and honest revelations about his music, his love life, and himself.
38. H.E.R – H.E.R.
Perhaps one of the more stunning albums to come out of 2017 based on just how lovely the voice is. And believe me when I say, Gabi Wilson (more commonly known by her stage name) has an elegantly lovely voice. It’s so soothing, healing in a way. While many women nowadays are taking the harder-edged road to their music (right on! Be hardcore, ladies!), H.E.R opts for a verbally softer touch. There’s no need to be derogatory to get her point across, and I can only respect that.
37. Sudan Archives – Sudan Archives
One word: stunning! Who exactly knew a violin could be so friggin sensual?! The music is simple, earthy, honest, unfettered. Sudan has elements of Julie Dexter to my ear, but the music is so very clearly part of her homeland. This is stripped-down and honest Soul music.
36. Lapalux – Ruinism
Ever since 2013’s Nostalchic, I’ve been in love with Lapalux and his brand of groovy, sensual electronica. Ruinism is classic but perhaps more poignant Lapalux. The album has shades of Massive Attack: deep, penetrating, and poignant music stretching beyond the category of “electronic.”
35. solace – thesis EP
Another entry from the Milky Wavy family. “Wavy” is correct. Or perhaps more Milky, as in the Milky Way galaxy, as in music from the stars. solace gives us a truly stunning debut EP. Ambitious, gorgeous, indulgent. One of the best debuts of the year period.
34. WAVISABIROOM – Vibe
Let me be perfectly clear. Anything, anything Jjang-you does is important to my existence. His collaboration with arwwae and later addition to this list, rapper J-Flow, takes on a different musical slant than his work with DJ DOL in ILLAP. While ILLAP is certainly trippy, WAVISABIROOM has a waviness to the sound that’s more reminiscent of groups like ATCQ and De La Soul, taking cues from more jazz-centric hip-hop groups from the ’90s and giving the unique voices and styles of each contributor time to shine. Vibe has all the elements that made me fall in love with hip-hop in the first place. A grand piece of music.
33. Knxwledge (a.k.a. Knx.[ノレッジ]) – HEX.10.8
Though the main focus was the Yes Lawd! Remix album with Anderson .Paak, I couldn’t ignore the groove and self-indulgence of Knxledge’s Soundcloud release under pseudonym Knx. It was just so much fun to listen to, funky, delightful.
32. B. Cool-Aid – BRWN
More celebrations of blackness, and I’m 100 percent here for it. The sound is wavy—there’s a reason mndsgn is involved. There was certainly quite a lot of this music around in 2017, all of it lovely, but a lot of it the same. That being said, it doesn’t make it any less exciting to hear people experimenting with atmospheric softness. B. Cool-Aid brings so much richness to this brand of R&B, and it really was a pleasure to experience it.
31. Syd – Always Never Home
The second entry from the ethereal Syd. For my money, Always Never Home is more evocative than Fin. (even though that album in and of itself was magical). There’s a different slant to this music. It’s not so much softer than the softness has more of a caressing effect. Her sound by its very nature—husky voice, dreamy music—is sensual. So this isn’t so much her “sensual” side, but rather her demanding you take her sensuality seriously.
30. Epik High – We’ve Done Something Wonderful
I swear, Epik High just gets better with age. The brilliance, insight, cerebral expansion…. Their works continue to strive to empower, enlighten, and expand the musical conversation not only in hip-hop, not only in Korea, but across genres worldwide. Tablo continues to challenge himself and fans with the depth of his emotional storytelling. Tracks like Here Come the Regrets and Lost One see him being completely open and honest in his vulnerability, and fans can only thank him for his candor.
29. Willow – The 1st
I have to say I was completely blown away with Willow Smith’s first album. Just… wow. The 1st has hints of Cree Summer and old-school Nelly Furtado in places. Willow has all the makings of a true faerie, quite frankly. Her music is gypsy music, it’s woman music, feminist music, powerful. It sounds like something that comes from the earth. There’s so much growth between her first release and this one. A maturity far beyond her years. Bravo!
28. Code Kunst – Muggles’ Mansion
No matter who you are, if you love hip-hop from Korea you must pay respect to Code Kunst. His understanding of music is never more apparent than in Muggles’ Mansion. One of the most emotive and creative pieces of music out of South Korea. Kunst just has a way with music that’s equal parts haunting and intelligent.
27. millic – Vida
The highest placing entry from clube$kimo could only go to one of its cofounders. Millic is such an amazing (and amazingly underrated) producer. His musicality is stunning, and his ability to craft sounds with as much elegance as he does really doesn’t get the attention it deserves. That he can match his aesthetic with every single member of the new-age collective without losing himself in the process is a testament to his brilliance. I feel such a sense of nostalgia with some of the music on Vida. Treasure Island, for instance, reminds me of In the Waiting Line by Zero 7. In fact, I feel like he draws a lot of inspiration from Zero 7. It’s a blessing that he decided to release his own extended body of work.
The next couple of entries tousled for that Top 25 spot. And they may very well continue to duke it out when it’s all said and done:
26. Year Of the Ox – YOX EP
Next to Dummy, yeah, nobody with ties to South Korea fuckin with YOX. The lyricism is DANGEROUS! The delivery is NASTY! From first note to last the YOX EP is magical.
25. Dumbfounded – Foreigner
Dummy straight CRUSHED every rapper coming out of South Korea with Foreigner. And he did it in just five tracks! He’s probably the most consistent MC to emerge from the of the underground battle rap scene, certainly the most prolific. He continues to release music that delivers unparalleled lyricism and fearless storytelling.
Tl; dr: BARS!
(Available on Apple Music)
24. Tama gucci – Out of Order
GOOD. GOD THIS IS GORGEOUS! SENSUAL. RAW. HONEST. Yes, the caps were necessary. Tama Gucci’s Out of Order just snatched the breath out of my lungs when I first listened to it. Upon further listening I was swept up in just how emotional the piece was. Really, if you want to know what music you should be listening to, get thee to Soundcloud. It was truly a blessing to discover this man’s talent.
23. G. Yamazawa – Shouts to Durham
Hip-hop showed the hell out in 2017! Probably the biggest discovery for me was G. Yamazawa. Good LORD this man is raw as HELL! This is southern hip-hop I can get behind! It’s dirty, foul, pure and unadulterated hip-hop. His lyrical depth is just astounding. Shouts to Durham needs to just be on rotation at all times.
The business end of my list is very hip-hop focused. It goes to show just how much of an impact hip-hop had in 2017, a year that needed a blast of veritas and reality. Each and every one of these albums are different in scope, delivery, and vision, but each one had a powerful impact on my year.
This next series of albums needs a bit of an introduction:
Brockhampton – Saturation Trilogy
I had to tackle all three in order to fully explore the scope of it. Brockhampton is like if Kids was reincarnated as a hip-hop group. Basically this trilogy is a lesson in honest storytelling and raw lyricism. The characterization is flawless. The message is strong, and the skill level is top-notch
Powerful from the first note. Brockhampton very eagerly show their youth with their subject matter and some of the production, but it’s still outstanding for the genre: the energy, the youthfulness, the delivery… Everything has a bit of innovation tinging it, something that some artists (and hip-hop fans) may be hesitant to approach or explore.
21. SATURATION II
BARS ON BARS ON BARS! The second in the trilogy is somehow more poignant than the first part.