AOTY 2019
Exclaim!'s Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2017

Exclaim!'s Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2017

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10. Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer

Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer
February 24, 2017
Critic Score
18 reviews

Both sides of Gang Signs & Prayer come to a head on pointed closer "Lay Me Bare," in which he writes about depression and his absentee father. Far from a weakness, that vulnerability brings welcome depth to Stormzy's explosive and emotional debut.

9. Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time

Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time
October 27, 2017
Critic Score
7 reviews

It's enthralling on a sonic level, but K.R.I.T. keeps up lyrically, his flow more than malleable enough to fit with the jazzy groove.

8. Joey Bada$$ - ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$

April 7, 2017
Critic Score
16 reviews

Courageous and passionate, Bada$$ is a well-timed soundtrack to social and political struggle.

7. Migos - Culture

Migos - Culture
January 27, 2017
Critic Score
21 reviews
Over two decades on from a fellow ATLien's declaration that "the South got something to say," the trio only continue to build on their undeniable influence here.

6. Tyler, the Creator - Flower Boy

Tyler, the Creator - Flower Boy
July 21, 2017
Critic Score
20 reviews

Regardless of whether Tyler has fully matured as a person (spoiler: he thankfully hasn't), the growth exhibited with Flower Boy shouldn't go unnoticed. It's high time the naysayers stopped to smell the roses.

5. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3

Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
December 25, 2016
Critic Score
32 reviews

Run the Jewels 3 is a rap armoury for hard times, a hip-hop bullhorn that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.

4. Drake - More Life

Drake - More Life
March 18, 2017
Critic Score
24 reviews

While VIEWS served as an ominous soundscape to a never-ending winter and reflected a booming hunger in the city, his newest release, More Life, presents the fruits of that labour in a sunnier, more celebratory arrangement.

3. Jay-Z - 4:44

Jay-Z - 4:44
June 30, 2017
Critic Score
28 reviews

There aren't too many MCs from Jay-Z's era who had the opportunity to reach their full potential. In that sense, 4:44 is a refreshing, full-circle moment for hip-hop lovers — and a true pleasure to hear.

2. Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory

Vince Staples - Big Fish Theory
June 23, 2017
Critic Score
26 reviews
There are plenty of fish in the sea, but not many sound or think the same way Staples does.

1. Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
April 14, 2017
Critic Score
36 reviews

DAMN. is the first time in Lamar's career that he hasn't broken new ground, explored old themes in new ways or exhibited sonic growth. That said, it's a small blemish on an otherwise spotless catalogue.

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Songs of 2019 Playlist
Vinyl Me, Please