Name: Shawn Grant
Social Media Handle: @SHAWNxGRANT
1. SZA – ctrl
I’m notorious for attaching to an album, specifically R&B, and playing it until I know every single word, the structure of the instrumentation and more. That was the case with Anderson .Paak’s Malibu and I last year and once again with SZA and this masterpiece. No one can’t tell me that “Broken Clocks” is not the hardest song to drop in 2017. She owned this year, she the real MVP.
2. Jay-Z – 4:44
Jay-Z’s inclusion at number two only amplifies how much SZA’s album was great to me. I am a Rocboy since 96. Nothing Jay drops in my eyes is wrong, I found the joys in Kingdom Come and will debate you about that today. So for an album to top 4:44 it had to be impressive. But for the 13th solo album, Jay shut me up. I had no clue what Jay-Z, almost at 50, had left to say. And for me at 26 I definitely didn’t think the man who rapped “I’ll be forever mackin” on “Big Pimpin'” would unleash a cheating manifesto, classify jagging a perfect woman as Eric Benet and then giving me a cosign to the stage at my point in life to stack my bed. Thank you Hov.
3. Ty Dolla $ign – Beach House 3
I was scared to hear Beach House 3 would be the title of this album, mainly because BH2 is the project that made me a Ty $ stan and made me realize his immense talent. But Beach House 3 did not disappoint one bit and “Droptop in the Rain” and “All the Time” will get infinite plays form me. I will take a summer trip somewhere to just let this run in the sun.
4. Big K.R.I.T. – 4Eva is a Mighty Long Time
K.R.I.T. is my guy. His albums never live up to the early mixtapes or the ones that he dropped preceding the formal release but nonetheless, I believe in him. I am also happy to see that he was able to depart from the grips of Def Jam to adequately release an album that will resonate with fans like me who have been around since K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Who can body a double album like this? And y’all better stop underrating his ability to spit.
5. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom
I saw a tweet earlier this week that wanted to get rid of the title “female rapper” and I 100% agree. That shit trash and Rapsody will body your favorite rapper head to head. She held her own on the same track as Jay Electronica and Chance the Rapper in the past and clipped Kendrick Lamar on this album. Throw some respect on her name and this quality project.
6. Rick Ross – Rather You Than Me
Look, if I could have a career as a rapper for just one album I would do it only if Rick Ross can Executive Produce my shit. This man’s ear for quality beats is amazing. By far he has one of the top 5 ears for beats in rap history. I will debate it. Then he hops on it and fuckin floats. Tell me you knew were “Santorini Greece” was before hearing this album and I’ll tell you that you are a liar. “Game Ain’t Based on Symphony” is smooth, “Idols Become Rivals” is facts, “I Think She Like Me” makes me feel like I’m rich and then he rolls out bangers with Gucci, Thugger and Gotti. Album has it all.
7. Smino – blkswn
I could be biased because I have followed Smino since he was Chris Smith Jr. and I was Content Manager at a little Missouri blog called NEOCLEF, but Smino is both my Rookie of the Year and dropped a quality project. There is no one who sounds like Smi, can create like him and has the ability to flip flows and melodies as the STL spitter. If you need to be sold, and you shouldn’t be cause why would I lie? Listen to “Father Son Holy Smoke.”