#YN The Top 10 Rap Albums of 2017 . Written By @RePete617

It seems like every year...

the rap game grows stronger and stronger. We constantly get introduced to new artists who bring start their own wave and we also get legends coming out with their new heat. From Lil Pump to Meek Mill, a lot of your favorite artists came out with albums this year but which one was the absolute best of 2017? In my humble opinion, these are the top 10 albums of 2017.


10. Without Warning - 21 Savage . Offset . Metro Boomin

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This absolute banger of a mixtape dropped out of the sky just in time for Halloween. No one, and I mean not a SOUL, expected this mixtape. There weren’t even rumors that it was coming out but the day before it did. 21 Savage, Offset and the best producer in the game Metro Boomin announced the release of this mixtape and it shook the rap game to its core.  21 Savage really shined on this album with songs such as "Run Up the Racks", "Still Serving", and "My Choppa Hate".

Travis Scott and Quavo were two spectacular guest features on the tape and they only added to how great it sounded. Offset also may have released one of the best songs of the year with "Ric Flair Drip". This song’s beat and flow were masterful and Offset really held his own on this whole mixtape. I think it’s funny how one member of the Migos dropped a collab mixtape before the other. This is definitely one of the best collab tapes to ever drop.


9. Deadstar - Smokepurpp

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Smokepurpp’s first album DID NOT disappoint and it really flew under the radar. He is one of those rappers that constantly gets bashed on for only rapping about xanax and lean but that hate needs to be put on hold in order to really enjoy this album. He even got a feature with Travis Scott on this piece of art, furthering his uprising as an artist. Purpp is going to be a signee to Scott’s Cactus Jack label and if this album is any indication for his potential as a star then the future is certainly bright for Lil Purpp. “Drop”, “Krispy Kreme”, “Audi”, “Topic”, and “Streets Love Me” ft. Juicy J are all tracks I highly recommend. If you give this album a good listen, you can see why it was one of the year’s most underrated projects.


8. Still Striving - A$AP Ferg

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Although Always Strive and Prosper was probably his best work, Still Striving has to be considered in that same category. A$AP Ferg’s biggest strength is his flow and lyricism to go along with that flow. This was evident on the song “Plane Jane” by starting off with an ode to Juicy J’s Slob on my Knob then continued by giving a brief detail of his life in New York. The song was undoubtedly one of the best of the year but that wasn’t the only banger on this album. “The Mattress Remix” ft. A$AP Rocky, Famous Dex, Rich the Kid, and Playboi Carti is an absolutely great track and I love the chemistry between all the artists on the song.

I also like how Ferg gave Dex, Rich, and Carti features on his album because it not only helps  these young rappers cred but also introduces them to new fans. “East Coast Remix” features absolute legends on one whole track. Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky, French Montana, Rick Ross, and Busta Rhymes are all guest features and they bring their own legendary bars. Other hits include Awwh Yeah ft Lil Yachty, Coach Cartier ft Famous Dex, and Nasty (Who Dat) ft Migos. Ferg certainly did get creative on this album and I look forward to his next project.


7. SahBabii - S.A.N.D.A.S.

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One of the most unique projects of the year came from an up and coming artist known as SahBabii. S.A.D.N.A.S had a Young Thug type feel to it along with unique beats and lyrics. The remastered version of the mixtape serves as a coming out party for the Atlanta artist. The remastered version features “Marsupial Superstars” which can be considered a top 10 track of the year for its blend and creativity. SahBabii gets very creative with his lyrics on tracks like “Eazy”, “ Cracks and Crevices”, and “Titanoboa”. His hit track “Pull Up wit Ah Stick” is also featured on the mixtape. This was a great piece of work by a young and talented artist and his next project should not disappoint.


6. Quavo and Travis Scott - Huncho Jack Jack Huncho

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Now this may be a surprise entry but really think about it. This is a mixtape we have been wanting for almost two years now and there is not a single bad song on this project. In fact, this can be considered one of the best collab tapes ever made. So putting all that in mind, you can realize that this is indeed a top 10 project of the year. The only features it has are Takeoff and Offset so you can see how personal Quavo took this tape. The two legends wanted to make sure this tape was absolutely perfect and for long as it took to come out, you can tell they spent countless hours working on this masterpiece. This was WELL worth the wait and again, there is just not one bad track. This is truly a well thought out, excellent produced album.


5. HNDRXX - Future

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This came as a complete surprise. If you recall when Future dropped his first self titled album, there were rumors that another album would come out just one week later and little did we know that Hendrix would outdo himself. This wasn’t your typical Future album, in fact it was completely different from anything that we have heard from Hendrix. It was a soulful, straight from the heart masterpiece. You would expect something like this from Drake but Future seemed to outdo him at his own game. From “Incredible” to “Selfish” ft Rihanna this was an album a lot of people can relate to personally and Future should consider dropping more projects like this. He proved to everyone that he can be versatile and connect with people on an emotional level which is something you didn’t expect from a trap rapper.


4. Wins and Losses - Meek Mill

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Throughout his whole life, Meek Mill has endured every trial and tribulation possible. Growing up on the rough Philadelphia streets has molded him into the rapper he is today. Those stories were told loud and clear on “Wins and Losses”, from the stories about his deceased friends to the injustices facing African Americans and minority groups in America this album told all. This also had a few turn up songs like “Ball Player” ft Quavo and also a few soulful tracks like “Whatever You Need” ft. Chris Brown and Ty Dolla Sign. This album speaks volumes especially after what Meek went through this year and what he is still currently going through, being failed by our flawed justice system. This was a straight from the heart album that we will have to enjoy until Meek is rightfully freed.


3. More Life - Drake

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Drake announced at the end of 2016 that he would be released another album and many thought it would drop in the same calendar year he dropped his Grammy nominated “Views”. Though Drake waited until the first quarter of 2017 to drop “More Life”, it was well worth the wait. This album had every type of track you wanted. From tracks from the heart like “Teenage Fever” and “Passionfruit” to more party tracks like “Portland” ft Quavo and Travis Scott, there was something for everyone on this album. “Glow” ft Kanye West was also a great track and the Yeezy-Drizzy combo is something that should be on a stand alone album but that is wishful thinking. I would think Drake goes on a U.S tour for this album very soon


2. DAMN - Kendrick Lamar

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Behind Good Kidd, M.A.A.D City, this is Kendrick Lamar’s second best piece of work. This is also one of the hardest albums to drop in the last five years. The effort Kendrick put into this album was evident on every song and he continues to show why he is the greatest rapper in the game. “Humble” was without a doubt the song of the summer and along with his hit track, he introduced us to “DNA” in which he absolutely snapped on. He took a more calming approach with “Love” ft Rihanna and later proceeded to spit some facts on “Element”. Yet another Grammy nominated hit from Kung Fu Kenny dominated 2017 but it wasn’t the best album this year.


1. Culture - Migos

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An absolutely legendary album started off the year of rap in 2017. The genre dominated the world and became the most popular genre on the planet. You can thank the Migos contribution to the trap culture for that because when they dropped their hit album Culture, they changed the landscape forever. This is one of those projects that lacks a bad track and almost half the album (including the album itself) is certified platinum.

“Bad and Boujee” absolutely smashed the rap charts when it first dropped and also raised the stock of Lil Uzi Vert. “T-Shirt” was an absolute hit and “Slippery” ft Gucci Mane showed us how good Takeoff can be and how he should not be slept on. “Deadz” “Get Right Witcha”, “Brown Paper Bag”, “What the Price”, “Call Casting”, and “Kelly Price” ft Travis Scott all found their way onto the top rap charts and also found platinum and gold statuses. THIS is the album that should win the Grammy for Rap Album of the Year because of the influence it had on the game. Migos will have a hard time out doing themselves with “Culture 2” but I have no doubt in my mind it will be just as, if not better than the first one.

#YN #WritersChoiceSpotlight . @TaylorJTakeover . Written By @DerekGodown

Writers Choice Spotlight

Taylor J


Taylor J

Taylor J

Photo Via - Sicness.net

Full Name: Walter Taylor Jr.

Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

Height: 5 ft, 5 in.

Handedness: Right

Style: Smooth R&B melodies and vocals mixed with powerful hip-hop delivery and lyricism

Freestyle/Written: Both

Business: Scenious Society


Early Life

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Walter Taylor Jr. (also known as Taylor J) was raised as the only child in the home by his mother, Frances Ellis. With four siblings at his father’s house, Taylor had plenty of family. However, it was his older brother who performs under the artist name ‘Renegade’,  who would grow to be his original inspiration that led to his venture into a music career. In St. Paul, Taylor grew up seeing people make their ends meet any way possible. Some worked steady jobs, some sold drugs, some robbed. Taylor knew that his route out was in music.

Taylor grew up with the bigger picture always in mind. Through school and his adolescence, he knew that he was eventually going to have to make a big move to break the mold of his environment. After his older brother was sent to jail in 2003, Taylor’s move became more obvious and he set out to fill  the void that his brother left in the music world. They kept in touch through phone conversations and visits, where Taylor would learn more about his brother’s message and vision for his movement. On top of their casual conversations, Taylor would also spit him some of the stuff he wrote which boosted his confidence and his practice. Growing up listening to Biggie, Pac, Nas, etc from his brother and his mother’s influence, he understood the roots of hip-hop when it was at its peak. As he grew and shaped himself as an artist, he became part of two local groups, Mid-west Mafia/New Era, before setting off for a more independent scene when he found his passion and enjoyment for the craft.

Taylor J

Taylor J

Photo Via - Illuminati2g

The Music

Taylor J’s overall sound incorporates a lot of different elements that keep his final projects interesting and each song a degree different than the other. In summary, Taylor brings piano keys and r&b traces and layers them with sharp hip-hop beats and precise vocals combined with a flow that ties every song together. His melodic singing works as both a filler and a main part of his songs. His vocal range plays well aside his precise delivery with his verses. When asked how he decides when and how to sing or rap, his strategy is simple. When he hears a beat he hears the whole song, when and how a certain part should be sung, what ad-libs are going to go where. It all formulates in one step in his mind and the rest of the process is simply adding the pieces.

With no background in singing, aside from his time studying music at McNally Smith College of Music, vocals come a little too naturally to Taylor. His melody mixes flawlessly with his ability to rap on top of a variety of different beats as he shows in his vast portfolio of work. His message is clear throughout his work, he states time and time again that he’s the next up and coming and is going to take over every platform on his way. His mother is a top motivator for Taylor and he proves it time and time again in his lyrics. He tells about his trials he faced on the way through music and about betrayal from those close to him, which has only motivated him to surpass them as far as possible.

They shitted on me but it made me the shit, what a wonderful feeling
— First One, Who Would’ve Thought
Taylor J

Taylor J

Photo Via - Singersroom

Taylor has worked with some of the greats in music already such as Gucci Mane(who after meeting Taylor attempted to sign him), Nipsey Hussle, Jazze Pha, Gorilla Zoe, and more. Topped off with a mentorship by the well-known, and well established Shaheem Reid; he has built himself into a veteran of the game with years of hard work. Though he is still after many features and projects with artists, his most desired has always been Andre 3000 of Outkast. Who Taylor had already had a run-in with, but under different circumstances.

One time, when i was working on a project at a studio down in Atlanta, we decided to take a break and drive to the mall, on the way we stopped at the gas station for gas and drinks and whatever. We were walking into the building when my friend nudged me and pointed out a man to the side of us who, sure enough, was Andre 3000. At first I thought it was a lookalike due to his truck not being what you’d expect to see 3 Stacks in but he was always a humble man so I wasn’t entirely surprised, he had the hat and everything. I approached him and we started choppin’ it up about music and life and everything inbetween. While we were talking for what seemed like hours he mentioned his truck needed a jump. My friends came over and helped him out and he took off. We went our separate ways to the mall and stayed in Atlanta to work more on the project. Well 2 days later we drove past the same gas station and there was Andre again at the same gas pump, this time with a brand new truck and himself looking just as new. It’s a story I’ll always remember and most people don’t believe it at first.
— Taylor J

Taylor references this run-in on the song “Impossible” in which he showcases his singing ability and also his unique flow.

I gave 3-Stacks a jump and for once I thought it was all good
— Impossible, Who Would’ve Thought

The song goes on to explain the hurdles Taylor and others have faced as artists and humans overall growing up in troubled areas. While bringing attention to these struggles we also hear throughout the song that none of this will slow or stop his movement, and it shouldn’t stop anybody else.

Recent Chronology / Favorite Tracks

Control-2013

F*** The World

No Good ft. Dose, Gucci Mane

Interlude

Clubs, Drugs, and Hotels- 2013

2 Good

2 Door

One Time

Peer Pressure- 2014

Michael Jordan

Peer Pressure

Money

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Central Ave- 2015

1991

FTSU

1991 - 2015

Little Dreams

White Rain

Nothin

The 91 Family- 2016

Pop Dat

Do For Me

Who Would’ve Thought- 2017

Five Times

I Kno

Ticket

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Scenious Society is the whole idea behind Taylor’s Takeover movement and the inspiration came from a professor at McNalley Smith which he attended. The professor spoke of the term “scenious” and its referral to being a genius of your scene, a master of adaptation and capitalism. Taylor quickly understood this concept and ran full sprint with what would grow into his entire Scenious culture.

It’s all about being aware of your scene. A modern day genius is not necessarily as much book smarts as it used to be. Not everybody is that person so you need to be able to capitalize on who you are and what you have. That goes beyond you as well. Being aware of your scene and what you can contribute/ how you can thrive it in it the important part. Scenious Entertainment covers everything because I’m going to be a master at my scene whatever it is.
— Taylor J

Taylor emphasizes in his music and in our interview that in so many cities around the world, money isn’t just out there for everyone to make. Some people need to go out and sell drugs, rob/steal, etc. just to eat or pay the rent for their family. In his song Little Dreams he stages a conversation between two friends on opposite sides of fortune, both with different options in life. This song is an example of Taylor’s elite storytelling abilities as he assured that the conversation didn’t really take place between him and a friend but it happens every day all over. I asked Taylor what he thought of this years XXL Freshman Class to which he responded,

I think it was much more focused on the youth this year, we’re at a big time where the youth is deciding what’s in as far as the media and trends all over the board. It’s all about setting those trends and making huge statements. I mean- I sound old but I’m still super young; but the difference in age between Lil’ Yachty is the exact reason our music is made the way it is. I like to respect the variety in music of all kinds and I really like where Hip-Hop is at right now, it’s dope.

Music is about keeping your footing and staying involved with the youth as well as your other crowds. Which is something the new generation of artists do very well. It’s important that people be able to see the type of person you are through your music. It’s deeper than just the sound, music is medicine. It can change your entire mood and how your day is going. That’s powerful. It’s important to stay rooted and in touch with your fans because you’ll always have a family to come back to then. Music is the only thing some people have, so you play a big role in some people’s lives.
— Taylor J
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Photo Via - The Hype Magazine

Taylor’s next album, Only Us, will be coming out within the next month. After dropping his single “Feelings” the anticipation has stacked since. Feelings brought together Taylor’s delivery style from his older mixtapes combined with the powerful, clean, new production he has been working on every day for years. Taylor’s work day consists of 20 hours a day of constant work and tweaking of his products with small naps in between. When not in the studio, Taylor works hard on social media promoting his music, videos, clothing line, promotions, etc.

His music video for his song “Five Times” off of his newest album has amassed over 14k views in the 3 months it’s been up. His song “Hunnits” gathered 15k in only 2 months and the video for “No Good” feat. Gucci Mane and Dose has over 231k. His other songs range up to 40-50k as well. His online streams also stack in the thousands with his older stuff averaging 5k and his newer works hitting near the 20k mark with his newest Who Would’ve Thought quickly catching pace. 

I have been an avid fan of Taylor J since I found him while browsing Datpiff one evening a few years ago. Since then I have listened to almost all of his work and noted his progression and have yet to be disappointed with what I find. His keep-pushing mentality mixed with his veteran stature is one that demands respect. 1991 was the first mixtape I listened to and remains my favorite. A very close second is his newest Who Would’ve Thought. Every song on both of these projects provides something knew throughout. He mixes up his flow, tempo, beats, and overall themes enough throughout his projects that the new-age redundancy bore isn’t a factor when listening through.

Each song is a refreshing change from the last. A thing I appreciate most about Taylor’s music is that it appeals to two major fan bases that sometimes disagree. Those who enjoy a soft r&b melody and those who appreciate hard lyricism and strong delivery. Taylor incorporates these into songs. With something for each party and plenty for those who enjoy both. His ad-libs are strong and well inserted as well as his choruses. Overall I expect Taylor J to be a consistent name in the entertainment industry for a long time. His versatility and his motivational drive are two that cannot fail and paired with a talent like his it is bound to take off. Keep an eye out for his local tour dates and his newest album Only Us dropping very soon.

#YN Get To Know The Boston Rap Scene . Written By @RePete617

When you think of the cities...

Boston

Boston

Photo Via - MassVacation

that have produced some of the great rappers of today, Boston is rarely in that discussion. Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have produced more well known talent than the City of Champions but that doesn’t mean there is hidden talent. If you live in or around Boston, you’ve probably heard of these following rappers but if you haven’t, I’d suggest you go check them out immediately. They could change your mind about the Boston rap scene.

Cousin Stizz

Cousin Stizz

Cousin Stizz

https://soundcloud.com/cousinstizz

So obviously the first name that comes out when you think of Boston rappers is Cousin Stizz, a man who is single handedly changing the game here in Boston. Stizz is for all accounts a legend around Boston and those who have dug deep into his collection know how great his music is. Suffolk County and Monda are two classic pieces of work from Stizz’s library. Talk ft. Jefe Replay, Fresh Prince, Gain Green,500 Horses,and Living Like Khaled. Living Like Khaled was such a hit that it is featured on NBA 2K18 and those are just a few of the amazing songs from both albums. Monda really helped Stizz catapult into the stratosphere and it caught the attention of some of the biggest names in hip hop today. Stizz just dropped a mixtape called One Night Only and on it is one of Stizz’s best songs, Headlock ft. Offset is an absolute banger of a song. Lambo and Switch Places are also a few other hits from the tape that are worth having a listen to. Stizz is currently preparing to go on his One Night Only tour with the very last show of the tour being held at the House of Blues in Boston. This show has been hyped up by Stizz himself because to him, it is going to be very special performing in front of his hometown.


Michael Christmas

Michael Christmas

Photo Via - Vice

Michael Christmas

https://soundcloud.com/michaelchristmas

One of the most loveable artists out today is Michael Christmas. His music has this happy feel to it, almost like Chance the Rapper. Some of the songs you should check out by Mr. Christmas are Top Turnbuckle ft. OG Swaggerdick, Don’t Talk About It ft. DRAM, Bubbling, Get Up, and Intercontinental Champion. Christmas’ music can give whoever listens to it a jolt of positivity kind of in the same way a Lil Yachty track does. Christmas shares some of the same qualities as Yachty does. He appeals to the youth and his tracks are relatable to some high school/college students. He is a loveable rapper who brings out good vibes.


Big Leano

Big Leano

Photo Via - Pigeons and Planes

Big Leano

https://soundcloud.com/bigleano

You may have heard of Big Leano if you listened to Stizz’s recent album as he appears on the song The Store. But if you haven’t heard of him then what are you waiting for? Leano has a slower flow to him but it goes along with the beat and creates a certain vibe. Tales From The Mud is probably his best work. I highly recommend listening to Resume, Lean For Sale, Don’t Judge Me, and Woody. His lyricism in these songs makes you wonder why you didn’t find out about him sooner as they tell tales of his life. Leano isn’t one of these “mumble rappers” you hear about these days, he is much better than that but rather he tells a story in his music which is something a lot of rappers today don’t do. Leano just released a song called Broke that is going to be on his upcoming project and if you live in Boston or know about the former mayor, then a line in this song will leave your jaw dropped.


Jefe Replay

Jefe Replay

Photo Via - Pigeons and Planes

Jefe Replay

https://soundcloud.com/jefe-replay

Out of all the rappers on this list it seems like Jefe Replay has the biggest cult following. His motto: Ain’t Sh*t Free has sparked a new wave of fans for him. His line of clothing, Ask for Juan, has some very cool merchandise and not to mention the logo is an unreal play on the old Utah Jazz logo. Jefe Replay was featured in the song Talk and his line in that song really makes you see the potential in him. He virtually aces every flow and he sounds like a mix of Kendrick Lamar and Wiz Khalifa. He also has a song titled Ain’t Sh*t Free which a perfect song for a summer party or if you’re just chilling and want a nice flow.


Plad Finesse

Plad Finesse

Photo Via - Flying Tides

Plad Fine$$e

https://soundcloud.com/itsplad

He is one of the lesser known Boston area rappers but if you are from the area and have heard of Plad then you’ll know he has this untapped potential. His song The Wave has a lot of hits on SoundCloud and Apple Music which gave him a boost in popularity among Boston teens. The good thing about the Boston area is everyone is friends with everyone and there seems to be no competition. It is kind of like how Atlanta area rappers put their affiliates works out there so this means Plad will benefit from being associated with guys like Jefe Replay and Big Leano. He is a hidden talent for sure.


Millyz

Millyz

Photo Via - Killer Boombox

Millyz

https://soundcloud.com/millyz

He is certainly a unique rapper and he is one of the best lyricist in Boston currently. Millyz creates this Eminem type vibe to him and his music reminds you of a young Logic. His flow is very fast and to the point too. He often doesn’t lose track of it and can switch it up beautifully. He is also one of the better storytellers in Boston and also has a Jadakiss feature along with performing with Dave East at one of his shows in the city.


Vintage Lee

Vintage Lee

Photo Via - Noisey

Vintage Lee

https://soundcloud.com/vintage-lee

If you’re a fan of Cardi B or just female rap in general then you’ll love Vintage Lee. Her take no nonsense attitude is evident in her songs as she goes in on every track and she is one of the hidden talents Boston has. Surprisingly, her song Hennythings Possible made it onto the NBA 2K18 soundtrack. I am surprised by this because I didn’t think people knew her like that but I am also proud to here a Boston rapper, especially one who isn’t well known, on a major game soundtrack. Check out some of her work on her Soundcloud and she will make you a believer.


Pistola

Pistola

Photo Via - Respect Mag

Pistola

https://soundcloud.com/pistolahoe

His hair will make you think he resembles Lil Yachty but he is certainly a different breed of rap. Pistola has a calm flow to him but it is still a good flow regardless. If anyone has listened to SahBabii then they should appreciate Pistola. Some of his songs to check out are Jokes on You, Swang REMIX, and Playa. Give each song a close listen and you’ll how good he is.