Members of the Saint Audio team picked their favorite songs and albums from 2017. Listen to our Spotify playlist with selections from the best of the year.
- “DNA” – Kendrick Lamar
- “LAND OF THE FREE” – Joey Bada$$
- “See You Again” – Tyler the Creator feat. Kali Uchis
- “BLEACH” – BROCKHAMPTON
- “Just A Memory” – ODESZA feat. Regina Spektor
- “Get You” – Daniel Caesar feat. Kali Uchis
- “Homemade Dynamite” – Lorde
- “B” – Jaden Smith feat. Willow Smith & Pia Mia
- “OG Heartthrob” – Majid Jordan
- “Watch” – Billie Eilish
- CTRL – SZA: SZA‘s first full-length project makes a case for breakout artist of the year with its rich textures. SZA’s vocal prowess also complements the production effortlessly.
- DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar: Whether you play the album in ascending or descending order, Kendrick Lamar‘s creativity shines in his latest effort DAMN. His lyricism matched with beats normally tailored for the club is a strong point of the album.
- Melodrama – Lorde: After a short hiatus, Lorde returned with a sonically-pleasing project that showcases her growth in musicality. Her songwriting ability lends itself to paint vivid pictures in an intricate manner.
- SATURATION III – BROCKHAMPTON: A late-2017 addition, the rising boyband dropped their final installment of the Saturation trilogy, which does not fail to showcase their experimentation in production. By their refusal to fit an exact genre, BROCKHAMPTON stands out amongst a crowd of imitators.
- Flower Boy – Tyler the Creator: Although Tyler‘s production alone makes it a must-listen album, Flower Boy created the debate on whether or not it is Tyler’s most vulnerable album to date. A notable feature includes a shift in soundscape compared to dark and ominous tones on previous projects.
- Freudian – Daniel Caesar: Canadian-based R&B vocalist Daniel Caesar makes his independent debut with a stripped-down approach in soul music. Based on bluesy-funk influences, Daniel‘s vocals and acoustic production results in a pleasant listen from start to finish.
- ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ – Joey Bada$$: Joey‘s politically-charged album takes an interesting approach in explaining social awareness by using hip hop as its backdrop.
- A Moment Apart – Odesza
- Nyck @ Knight – Nyck Caution and Kirk Knight
- don’t smile at me – Billie Eilish: Comparable to the likes of Lana Del Rey and Banks, Billie’s versatility is found in each successive track on don’t smile at me. Her vocal range and adaptability to production is polished and deems her as a veteran to the game at an early age.
- Big Fish Theory – Vince Staples: 2017 was a banner year for hip-hop music, but no record was more eclectic and provocative than Vince Staples’s Big Fish Theory. The Long Beach native has grown into one of the most promising young artists in any category, producing genre-blending and introspective records year after year. He’s also grown a cult following on the internet for his refreshing lifestyle choices and his extremely hot takes. On his second full -length studio album, Vince pooled his production resources from the electronic music scene to create his most ambitious soundscape to date. This record pulls nostalgic inspiration from West Coast hip hop and UK house music to create a record that is destined to stand the test of time. Vince also delivers some of his most powerful, socially charged, and confident lyrics to date. Despite carrying his signature nihilistic tone throughout the album, Vince shares his strong opinions on politics, law enforcement, suicide, and the music industry. From cover to cover, Big Fish Theory proves that Vince Staples is both a worthy and intelligent voice for our generation, and a musical force to be reckoned with.
- Pure Comedy – Father John Misty: Josh Tillman has never been afraid to express his honest, and often absurd, analysis of the social climate in America. Under the moniker Father John Misty, he’s released a variety of politically charged songs behind a mask of irony and humor. Some of his finest lyrics have come from this lens, including the previously released, “Bored in the USA,” but there’s always been a hint of mockery and sarcasm to keep things light. On his latest release, Pure Comedy, Tillman has stripped down the satire to voice his serious concerns for his home country. The resulting album is truly a lyrical time-capsule for 2017, full of minimalist instrumentation, long-winded narratives, and a pleading call to our population to wake the fuck up.
- Flower Boy – Tyler, The Creator: I’ve been listening to Tyler’s music for years now, but I’ve honestly never been that big of a fan. I’ve always had immense respect for his creative production, and have enjoyed a few of his tracks throughout the years, but his music was always a bit too rough around the edges for my taste. I never thought that I would enjoy his latest project, Flower Boy, as much as I did. This record showed a more authentic side of Tyler that I always thought was missing from his previous releases. The lyrics throughout this album are intimate, confessional, and extremely revealing of a personal life that he’s hidden behind years of antics. His talent as a producer and a curator of sounds can be heard on every track. His instrumental arrangements are soulful and lush, the synthesizers are muddy and playful, and the roster of featured artists on this record is stacked with fresh faces and seasoned vets. Flower Boy perfects the best aspects of Tyler’s previous releases, and introduces a more humble and hungry persona for 2018.
- american dream – LCD Soundsystem: After a 5 year hiatus, LCD Soundsystem resurrected from retirement with one of their most well-rounded and important records to date. The New York natives gained popularity with their sarcastic, light-hearted, and high-energy jams, but after years of playing the hits they decided to create a record with deeper meaning. Backed by pounding synthesizers and kick drums, american dream tackles the heavy topics of depression, social despair, and ending relationships. Although this album is centralized around more serious subject matter, LCD Soundsystem delivers an uplifting collection of new-wave anthems.
- SATURATION TRILOGY – BROCKHAMPTON: Although I must admit that I slept on America’s favorite boy band for most of 2017, these dudes dominated the end of my year. BROCKHAMPTON’s three full length albums proved not only their ability to produce a ton of music, but also their talent across the 14-man group. All three of their SATURATION albums were full of unconventional bars, contagious energy, and versatile instrumentation. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they bring to 2018
- CTRL – SZA: One of Top Dawg Entertainment’s most promising young voices, SZA, made waves with her debut full-length album. CTRL is a collection of intimate stories, detailing her trials with modern romance and self-love. This record features incredible production and guest verses from some of TDE’s finest, but the success of this album really came from SZA’s confessional and compelling performance.
- Crack Up – Fleet Foxes: Six years after their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Fleet Foxes returned to the folk-rock spotlight with, Crack Up. This record may be the group’s most musically ambitious project to date, featuring swooning string arrangements, haunting vocal harmonies, and some of Robin Pecknold’s most personal lyrics.
- Dirty Projectors – Dirty Projectors: Last year, David Longstreth of the band Dirty Projectors went through an extremely public breakup with his former bandmate and girlfriend, Amber Coffman. This year, he wrote a brutal and vengeful album about the heartbreak he experienced. This self-titled record is the seventh studio album from the band, and the very first that Longstreth wrote without his longtime collaborator. The result is a collection of lyrically heartbreaking, and sonically beautiful alternative R&B songs, detailing the emotional rollercoaster of the breakup. The production on this album is some of Longstreth’s best work, featuring powerful brass arrangements, dancehall inspired beats, and over-manipulated vocals.
- Is Everything Okay in Your World? – Yellow Days: Yellow Days is one of my favorite up and coming acts that I discovered this year. The band’s first full-length album features trippy, reverb-heavy instrumentals, and painfully raw vocals. The lovesick 18-year old, George van den Broek, created an intimate, nostalgic psych-rock record well beyond his years.
- Everybody Works – Jay Som: Everybody Works was one of the most immediately appealing projects for me that came out this year. The Oakland based indie-rock band created a deeply personal record, balancing fuzzy and vibrant instrumentals with dreamy pop vocals. Throughout their sophomore album, Jay Som explores the intimate details of the love life of lead singer, Melina Duterte, through powerful bedroom pop.
- Goodnight Rhonda Lee – Nicole Atkins: Nicole Atkins’ Goodnight Rhonda Lee feels so immediate that it almost comes across as an improvisational jam session. If you didn’t know any better, you could believe these songs are all covers, though you may not be able to pin down exactly where the original came from. This is essentially a break-up album where the relationship is with one’s former self. Rhonda Lee is Atkins’ name for her alter ego when she was drinking. Knowing that, the album’s title and lyrics all come into focus as a nakedly personal expression. The thing is, none of it comes across as being quite that literal or ever crosses the line into being wallowing or navel gazing. The fact is, you don’t need to know what it’s really about to enjoy it or get the more universal truths of the lyrics and the emotions behind them.
- The Navigator – Hurray for the Riff Raff: The main creative force behind Hurry for the Riff Raff is Alynda Segarra, who is of Puerto Rican descent and grew up in New York. At 17, she jumped a freight train out of town and crossed the country several times before ending up in New Orleans. Her career so far has been focused heavily in traditional “Americana” so it’s appropriate that this album properly places Puerto Rican influence on the culture in that context. This is perhaps the most political album to come out this year and it happened before hurricanes and the blatantly racist neglect of responsibility by the current administration ravaged the island. Segarra has been politically and socially outspoken her whole career, but this is by far her most pressing and immediate commentary that also happens to be very personal. The fact that it’s wrapped in such a beautifully crafted work of art makes this timeless and breathlessly moving.
- Melodrama – Lorde: Lorde’s second album is much more organic than her debut, Pure Heroine, with the presence of pianos being the most obvious addition. The songs are also more open and inviting. It’s the little moments that most stay with me, such as on “Homemade Dynamite” when the music stops and she quietly sings “Now you know it’s really gonna blow” pause, then her soft, interpretive utterance of the explosion. The humor of that is unexpected and refreshing, and ultimately exposes her playful personality. This is pop music that is well crafted, inventive, and personal.
- WICK – Royal Thunder: This album feels very much like a follow up to Royal Thunder’s last album, Crooked Doors—disregarding the obviousness of its chronological placement, its tied to the first album through a sense of connected themes, lyrically and musically. I can’t help but think this is no accident, as the band has developed their artistry and point of view considerably over the past few years. These songs are not meant to be rousing anthems, but there is a little bit of an 80s metal vibe going on through a couple of songs like “Sinking Chair” and “April Showers” that drives them into your being. And of course, Mlny Parsonz’s vocals are beyond phenomenal. In particular, the ballad, “Plans” is a gut-wrenching and cathartic performance that feels like an open wound, finally getting some healing air after a past due bandage is removed.
- Any Other Way – Jackie Shane: Jackie Shane is an artist more people should know about. A transgender woman who sang R&B in the 60s, but then decided to walk away from it all, she has been a cult figure among record collectors for some time. This album is a collection of all her singles and her only full album, a live recording. It’s a window into an artist and an era that feels more vibrant because it’s not one of the big names we all know. Her range could go from velvet to gritty in a uniquely smooth way that brings a different energy to some of the classics heard on this collection.
- Peach – Larkin Poe: Featuring a mix of traditional blues covers and original songs, this album was entirely recorded and produced in one long weekend by Rebecca and Megan Lovell, who play all the instruments featured. It’s a blend of organic instruments, drum programming, synths and simple editing tricks that captures the old school feeling of two people in a room with guitars, but throws in a laptop without losing the urgency. The Lovell sisters are two of the most talented and dedicated guitar players, singers and all around musicians currently working and this album is the next evolution of their careers.
- Amar Y Vivir – La Santa Cecilia: This album was recorded in various famous locations in Mexico City, mostly on the streets. At various points throughout the documentary on the making of the album, the band talks about how they grew up learning from street musicians and eventually doing it themselves. It’s about reconnecting with the roots of Latin American music. It’s beautifully produced and as always, Marisol Hernandez’s performances are emotionally explosive.
- Crystal Fairy – Crystal Fairy: A super-group made up of drummer Dale Crover and guitarist Buzz Osborne of The Melvins, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta on bass, and vocalist Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Crystal Fairy has a sound that encompasses all its parts and multiplies the experience into something else entirely. It’s psychedelic, metal, prog and I don’t know what else. It’s spooky and trippy and should be played loud.
- Losing – Bully: There are more literal and overtly political soundtracks for this year, but spiritually, I think Bully’s Losing, featuring Alicia Bognanno‘s raspy, empowering wail of exasperation/defiance/relief captures the moment in a more timeless way. These are personal songs about the normal struggles of a young woman in her twenties, but they speak to us all if we take the time to listen. The best part is that the intent isn’t to wallow in anything, but rather to express it all and then move forward.
- Toy – A Giant Dog and St. Mojo – Sweet Spirit (TIE): My number 10 favorite album(s) of 2017 is a tie because I feel like they are two sides of the same artistic expression and fit well together. Both of these highly energetic bands are fronted by Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashern and feature their distinct sense of fun and melody in genres ranging from punk to country to pop to everything in between. With music and lyrics that can be wild, humorous and unexpectedly poignant, this are two bands I’ve been listening to a lot this year. The pairing of these two albums works almost like a double album. You don’t have to listen to them back to back, but I find it hard not to at this point and it really doesn’t matter which goes first.
- “FEEL.” – Kendrick Lamar
- “AMERIKKAN IDOL” – Joey Bada$$
- “Lens” – Frank Ocean
- “Pray” – Sam Smith
- “Don’t Choose” – dvsn
- “Crew (Remix)” – Goldlink feat. Gucci Mane, Brent Fiayaz & Shy Glizzy
- “Right Time” – Mr. Tophat
- “Homemade Dynamite” – Lorde feat. Khalid, Post Malone, SZA
- “DNA.” – Kendrick Lamar
- “Location” – Khalid
- DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar: I’m a self-proclaimed K dot stan, so this kind of has to be the top for me. DAMN. strikes a perfect balance between the commercial viability of good kid, m.A.A.d city and the insight of To Pimp A Butterfly.
- Morning After – dvsn: dvsn’s sophomore album is smooth and sexy as can be. It is solid the entire way through and a definite top album contender for any R&B lovers.
- Planetary Prince – Cameron Graves: Cameron is the most underrated member of the West Coast Get Down. This album is a modern masterpiece in jazz, dominated by Cameron’s unique piano style.
- ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ – Joey Bada$$: This album can be intense at times, and is not for anyone who thinks that politics and rap shouldn’t mix. At its best, it is both a positive outlook and the rawest, most passionate response I’ve heard in response to 2017’s societal and political issues.
- This Old Dog – Mac DeMarco: Mac does what he does best—he creates a beautifully nostalgic and comical ode to past relationships, with This Old Dog focusing on his father.
- The Thrill Of It All – Sam Smith: Smith brings ballad after ballad on The Thrill of it All. A beautiful album from start to finish.
- Gang Signs & Prayers – Stormzy: Although a little cheesy at times, Gang Signs & Prayers was a breakthrough album for grime. Stormzy has become a household name throughout the UK with bangers like “Shut Up” and “Big For Your Boots”. The album overall, however, is very diverse, offering the hits, traditional grime, and even sing-alongs.
- CTRL – SZA: This album cemented SZA’s place as a total badass in the music world.
- Humanz – Gorillaz: I had to chose between the return of N.E.R.D or the Gorillaz, but the Gorillaz definitely took it with Humanz.
- Love What Survives – Mount Kimbie: While not as groundbreaking as their earlier work, Love What Survives continues the group’s fusion of alt, jazz, and house for an impressive piece of work.
- “20 Something” – SZA
- “Thas My Girl” – Swet Shop Boys
- “What’s Good” – Fenne Lily
- “Blue Lights” – Jorja Smith
- “Magnolia” – Playboi Carti
- “Rough Soul” – Goldlink, April George
- “XO Tour Llif3” – Lil Uzi Vert
- “Turn Me Down” – Jess Connelly
- “Kept Me Crying” – HAIM
- “2nd fiddle” – Leikeli47
- Melodrama – Lorde: I haven’t stopped listening to this album ever since its summer release; each track stands on its own whilst seamlessly flowing together. Not only does the album offer rich melodies, but the lyrics are full of honest emotion. If I had to pick a favourite track, it would be a tie between “Writer in the Dark” and “Supercut,” I’ve listened to those nonstop—they’re such emotional songs, but in two different ways. Melodrama is definitely my album of the year, I absolutely love it and the musical genius that is Lorde.
- Freudian – Daniel Caesar: There was a lot of hype about this album so I was skeptical at first, but after listening to it, I can say that the hype is justified. It’s such a smooth album and easy to listen to for hours on end. I didn’t know it was humanly possible for vocals to harmonize so beautifully, but here we are. The melodies sound comforting, in a way. That’s the only way I can describe it, but they evoke a sense of comfort and warmth. “We Find Love” is my favourite track on this album—I’m completely in love with the piano, the gospel influence, and the lyrics.
- Ctrl – SZA: The lyrics throughout the album are vulnerable and self-reflective, which gives the album substance. SZA covers a range of topics, from insecurities and the desire for validation to relationships and independence. Her versatile voice works so well with the melodies—there isn’t a weak track on the album.
- Take Me Apart – Kelela: The lyrics in this album are honest and vulnerable, yet empowering; Kelela’s vocals are subtle and powerful at the same time and the ethereal melodies take these tracks to an entirely different level. It’s clear that Kelela took her time and put a lot of thought and effort into making this a cohesive album. “Jupiter” showcases those soft vocals and smooth melody, and I wish it was longer than two minutes. “Better” reflects on a past relationship with a bittersweet perspective and showcases Kelela’s songwriting talent because it’s such a relatable and emotional song.
- War & Leisure – Miguel: I still listen to “Adorn” at least once a week because I love Miguel’s majestic voice that much. The artist has a confident attitude in this album which was kind of lost in 2015’s Wildheart. As always, the sultry vocals flow with the rich melodies, and we can see the maturation in the songwriting as he subtly weaves politics into some of his tracks. My top two from this album would definitely be “Pineapple Skies” with that Prince reference and “Come Through and Chill” because J. Cole and Miguel are a hell of a pairing.
- “If I Was President” – Las Cafeteras
- “Sober” – Lorde
- “Praying” – Kesha
- “Love Galore (feat. Travis Scott)” – SZA
- “Undercover” – Kehlani
- “Get You (feat. Kali Uchis)” – Daniel Caesar
- “SUMMER” – BROCKHAMPTON
- “Ayo” – Bomba Estereo
- “Electric (feat. Khalid)” – Alina Baraz
- “Sorry Not Sorry” – Demi Lovato
- Aromanticism – Moses Sumney: As someone who is on the asexual and aromantic spectrum myself, it meant a lot to me that Moses Sumney based his debut album on his own experiences with aromanticism. Described by Sumney as “a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape,” Aromanticism aims to challenge the notion that romantic love is normative and necessary. Sumney’s artistry shines through here with a record that blends elements of folk, soul, and jazz to offer us an ethereal and dreamlike listening experience.
- Melodrama – Lorde: The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Melodrama is its undeniable rhythm, with addictive tracks like “Sober” and “Homemade Dynamite” that I listened to on multiple occasions throughout the year. I love the direction that Lorde took with her sound for this record, and I think she’s carved a unique spot for herself in the world of pop.
- Rainbow – Kesha: After years of legal battles, Kesha finally made the ultimate comeback with Rainbow, and to say that she delivered would be an understatement. I love the eclecticism in this record—she goes from traditionally pop tracks to more rock-influenced ones and even includes some gentle, folksy acoustic tracks. “Woman” is one of my favorite songs of 2017 to blast in the car—whether it’s to hype myself up for an interview or to get in the mood for a party.
- Freudian – Daniel Caesar: Freudian is arguably one of the most romantic records I’ve ever heard. Daniel Caesar’s voice is beautiful and pulls you in with every track, and his features for the album complement him perfectly. Every time I listen to “Get You” is just as amazing as the first time I heard it.
- CTRL – SZA: Ctrl is an incredible album from start to finish. SZA’s voice is irresistible, delivering raw emotion with a combination of power and vulnerability that makes the entire record an R&B masterpiece. Favorite tracks are “Love Galore” (feat. Travis Scott) and “The Weekend.”
- DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar: Kendrick delivers yet another outstanding rap album with this one, and I was hooked on this record from the moment I heard the beat drop on “DNA.” As someone who is partial to R&B, my favorite track to listen to is probably “LOVE.” (featuring Zacari).
- Lune Rouge – TOKiMONSTA: Lune Rouge is TOKiMONSTA’s first record since her recovery from Moya Moya, a fatal brain disease. I love this record because I never want to skip a single track, and the record manages to be diverse yet cohesive in its sound.
- Native Invader – Tori Amos: Native Invader is actually my first exposure to Tori Amos, and I loved everything about this album. Her vocals haunt in a way that’s reminiscent of Kate Bush, and every song feels magical. My favorite track by far is “Cloud Riders,” especially the guitar riff that loops over and over.
- Ayo – Bomba Estereo: There’s no denying that Bomba Estereo knows catchy music, and this record is just another example of that. My favorite tracks from this record are “Ayo” and “Internacionales.”
- Masseduction – St. Vincent: St. Vincent has such a unique sound—she toes the lines of pop and rock with an emphasis on the experimental. “Los Ageless” is probably my favorite song from this album—“How can anybody have you and lose you and not lose their minds, too?” is such a perfect line.
- “Trees On Fire (feat. Amber Mark and Marco Mckinnis)” – DJDS
- “Told You So” – Miguel
- “The Basement Is Burning” – Marquis Hawkes
- “Little Bubble” – Dirty Projectors
- “Big Fish” – Vince Staples
- “When You Say That” – Brasstracks
- “Sunlight (feat. Gaika and Mista Silva)” – L-Vis 1990
- “How Does A Moment Last Forever” – Celine Dion
- “On My Mind (feat Jorja Smith)” – Preditah
- “Mi Gente (feat. Beyoncé)” – J Balvin and Willy William
- Feel Infinite – Jacques Greene: Wow. This album. 2017 was a very strange year for me. A lot of ups, a lot of downs. Feel Infinite is a near-perfect musical time capsule of my personal life, spanning every frequency of my emotional wavelength. There hasn’t been an album that can totally wreck me and then bring me to elation in one sitting—until now. It’s just phenomenal, and heartbreaking, and a way to tell you about what kind of year I had. Luckily, Feel Infinite ends on a tremendously hopeful note, and I think my experience with 2017 does too.
- War & Leisure – Miguel: On his fourth studio album, Miguel cements himself as a living R&B legend. His voice is in peak form on War & Leisure—the angelic flourishes in “Banana Clip” to the revving stretch of his tenor on “Pineapple Skies” show a curated depth and mature sense of control. The growth is there in the lyrics, too. War & Leisure is subtle in its sensuality, opting out of most classic R&B lothario tropes for a smoother, more abstract allure. That’s not to say Miguel’s brazen approach has dulled in any way; in fact, it’s quite the contrary. On War & Leisure, Miguel finally shows us just how brightly his star power shines in this thoughtful, adventurous work.
- Common Sense – J Hus: It’s pretty rare for me to love every single song on a rap album—or any album really—and rarer still for me to keep coming back to replay an album in full more than two or three times. Yet throughout 2017, I found myself returning to 21-year-old J Hus’s first studio album over and over and over again. He nails every single beat with his precise, ultra-engaging flow, and his lyricism is just as diverse. I’ll be bumping Common Sense well in 2018.
- Take Me Apart – Kelela: Heady and intensely personal, Kelela goes in deep on Take Me Apart. She’s got a voice that’s subversively powerful—that otherworldly, icy, and delicate soprano lilt makes lean in until you’re close enough to feel the raw heat of her words.
- First Opus – Sinjin Hawke: I’ll admit that Canadian producer Sinjin Hawke’s debut full-length album didn’t initially strike me as revolutionary; upon my first run-through, I felt like Hawke was treading over sonic territory that’d been done to death over the past four years. But after a chance re-encounter with First Opus a few weeks ago, it hit me: Sinjin Hawke invented this hyper-surrealist sound that we’ve heard imitated in many, many watered-down Soundcloud producers’ remixes. The gossamer vocal effects and synths over crunchy, industrialized, atonal percussion is a style that only Sinjin can really do well, and in tracks like “Don’t Lose Yourself To This” and “Onset”, it’s made all the more obvious.
- Painted Ruins – Grizzly Bear: After waiting for 7 long years, I finally saw Grizzly Bear perform at The Riviera, just over a month ago. It was the best concert I think I’ve ever been to—their talent is totally mind-blowing. Not only did they perform most of Painted Ruins, they actually made it sound even more perfect than the studio album. A beautiful, timely, and magical addition to this band’s already plentiful catalogue.
- Dulce Compañia – DJ Python: This is one of the most interesting electronic LPs I’ve heard in the past 3 or so years, primarily for its unusual fusion of genres and the naturalism DJ Python brings to the pairing. He seamlessly blends new-age tonal elements with the traditional thumping rhythms of Latin music for a richly textured, trance-inducing effect.
- SATURATION II – BROCKHAMPTON: There’s not much more praise I can heap upon BROCKHAMPTON that hasn’t already been said by the Saint Audio team, but I’ll add that “QUEER” is one of the most groundbreaking songs rap saw this year. The whole album knocks.
- Backwater – Kllo: Kllo was a new discovery for me in 2017, and their debut album is a stunning introduction to any new fan. Drenched in buttery-smooth production throughout, Backwater is fresh and nostalgic all at once.
- 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time – BIG K.R.I.T.: A battle with alcoholism and a departure from Def Jam helped to inspire this showstopper of a double-album from Mississippi lyricist Big K.R.I.T. 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time was the first project from K.R.I.T. in two years, as well as his first independent release on his new label, Multi Alumni. It was a risky creative move for the rapper, but it paid off: 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time is K.R.I.T.’s best work to date.