20 Favorite Albums of 2017

There was a lot to listen to in 2017. From compilations, to collaborations, EPs, LPs, new comers, veterans, producers, beat makers, rappers, singers, crooners, and more - here are our favorite 20 albums from 2017.


20. The Kid Nicky Halt - II/IV: Little Green Apples

The energetic release from Nicky Halt, Little Green Apples was loaded with a variety of tracks for every mood. Packed with a great cast of features, these apples kick off our list at #20.

Bandcamp | Nicky Halt


19. Pistol Pete - The 3 Pete

The Kansas City Chiefs staff member Pistol Pete gave us possibly the best video of the year, when Tamba Hali tweeted it's unlisted YouTube link. With his free-form wordplay and traditional production, Pete gave us a KC hip hop gem with The 3 Pete.

2bad2good Video | Spotify | Pistol Pete


18. X. WILSON - CONTRAST EP

I've watched the electrifying sounds of X. WILSON unfold from his time living in Topeka to his move to KC. His link up with Intelligent Sound is a match made in heaven, as the young musician continues to improve and impress with each release. CONTRAST EP is only 4 tracks, but it's musical value is undeniable. 

SoundCloud | X. WILSON


17. Domineko - Aux King

As I seem to recall 2016 being the year of the Neko, and 2017 still gave us some incredible sounds from the highly regarded emcee. Aux King is a triumph of collaboration, as Domineko paired with the entire Intelligent Sound roster of producers. Released on New Years Day, Aux King set the bar high for the rest of the year.

SoundCloud | Domineko | IS


16. Ricky Roosevelt & Jonah P. - In The Dark

The eerie cover of In The Dark sets the tone for the downtempo electronic vibes Jonah P sets for Ricky Roosevelt's equally captivating vocals. The Vivid Zebra team continues to improve on an already VIP roster of DJs, producers, emcees, and everything in between. 

Apple MusicRicky Roosevelt | Jonah P. | Vivid Zebra


15. Les Paul - Jive Turkey

The long talked about debut album of Les Paul finally arrived in 2017. The Kansas City bred and Chicago influenced emcee delivered a cohesive, well thought out LP featuring some major players like Mickey Factz and Sir Michael Rocks. 

Soundcloud | Les Paul


14. Rory Fresco - Teen Spirit

Despite the fact Rory's music continues to disappear from major streaming platforms, his 2017 release lives on the internets original home of free music, DatPiff. The producer \ rapper \ singer \ graphic designer was blasted into viral stardom in 2016 after catching millions of plays on SoundCloud, when his breakout single Lowkey auto-played after a Kanye West song. Proving he isn't just a one hit viral wonder, Rory followed up with a slew of music and a major remix featuring G-Eazy - all of which is summarized on Teen Spirit, his 12 track project that rated 'Very Hottttt' on HotNewHipHop. 

DatPiffRory Fresco


13. Kye Colors - Milk is Nasty

The Caviart newcomer brought a blend of soulful sampling and new school arrangement on his anti-dairy titled project. Milk is Nasty sews together feel good party vibes and highway cruise music, setting the stage for this very talented rapper and producer. 

*looks like Milk is Nasty has been removed from the interwebs, but I am not rewriting this list*

Kye Colors


12. Approach - Elegant Knock

The veteran musician Approach is more than just a skilled emcee, as he also produces and engineers his own and other peoples music. Elegant Knock is a soulful summary of all these talents with the Lawrence based rapper delivering the vibes we've come to love from Datura Records.

Bandcamp | Approach


11. Reach - Nothing Gold Can Stay

The self-produced album from Reach was a real treat for hip hop aficionados like me. Timeless sampling techniques and innovative arrangements pieced this 7 track EP together to deliver a project with endless replay value. 

Bandcamp | Reach


10. Scotty Wu - WUGOD

At 2 dozen tracks, WUGOD may have the longest runtime of all the albums on this list. The impressive release from the familiar face of Scotty Wu gave something for everybody to enjoy. WUGOD further pushes this once beat maker into his new role of an artist. On a side note, this album's artwork was my personal favorite for the year.

Soundcloud | Scotty Wu


9. DEV3N - EPHNY

No matter where I go, DEV3N's name is held to the highest of standards. The effortless wordplay of a highly intelligent emcee absolutely shines on EPHNY, a 7 track self released album. Songs seamlessly blend together with the use of sound effects and field recordings, pieced together by MAB, his go to engineer. As Dev continues to develop as a rapper, he has also started touching the boards as a producer - with some of EPHNYs beats provided by the artist himself. 

SoundCloud


8. Bad Dreamer - If It Goes Wrong

Bad Dreamer pairs the incredible writing and delivery of Second Hand King with the meticulous sound production of Jesse Bartmess. The debut album of the duo, If It Goes Wrong, was captivating and inventive as the pair navigate into an uncharted territory of perhaps what is a new music genre. 

Bandcamp | Second Hand King | Jesse Bartmess | Sad Trick


7. Billy Early - The Early EP

Before his very public and embarrassing Facebook meltdown that resulted in a family trip to the Dr. Phil show, Billy Early delivered one of the most refreshing projects to come out of Topeka in a long time. The Early EP fuses Billy's undisciplined attitude with veteran production and arrangement. What was undoubtedly a hot topic to close out 2017, it will be interesting to see how Early can bounce back and continue on with his music endeavors. 

SoundCloud | Billy Early


6. Duncan Burnett - Duncan Burnett Presents: Conrad Harris?

The future jazz vibes of multi instrumentalist Duncan Burnett all come together on his debut instrumental effort, Conrad Harris?. In the style of producers like Zo!, Tall Black Guy, Boon Doc and others, Burnett's soulful musicianship shines on this 6 track EP that feels like perfect bachelor pad music. 

SoundCloud | Duncan Burnett


5. Loogey - Jaded

Breaking into our top 5, the tattoo covered multi talented Loogey delivered one of 2017's best albums with Jaded. The sophomore effort picks up where Fleek Hood Mac left off, showcasing the hellhound's skillful vocals and rock \ rap influenced background. 

SoundCloud | Loogey


4. Sheven - Coexisting

A unanimous crowd favorite, Coexisting was at the top of everyone's list for album of the year. Sparing no expense and cutting no corner, Sheven proves that he is in fact one of the areas top contenders with what felt like his breakout album.

Spotify | Sheven


3. Rick Maun - ANXIETY LP

An absolute magnum opus from a staple in Kansas City's music community, the lo-fi master Rick Maun put together an incredible LP featuring some of the scenes most creative people. ANXIETY embodies Maun's SP404 techniques and abstract song arrangement perfectly, as it plays straight through without skipping a beat.

Bandcamp | Rick Maun

 


2. Stik Figa - Central Standard Time

A triumphant return to Mello Music Group, the man who put Topeka in XXL Magazine shows why he is still the Top Dog in the Top City. Stik Figa's Central Standard Time had an absolute all star roster of producers like Black Milk, Nottz, Apollo Brown and more. The only album on this list to be pressed on wax, CST is a must listen whether your a long time fan or new listener to Stik Figa.

Bandcamp | Stik Figa

 


1. Aaron Alexander - Memento Mori

If you don't think this album was the best thing to come out of the area this year, it's because you didn't listen to it. Memento Mori is an incredible achievement in both sound and science, featuring the impressive wordplay of Aaron Alexander paired with top notch production and live instrumentation. Written over 2 years before its release, much of the time spent making Memento Mori was in the studio, tightening up every snare and syllable to perfection. Just as Alexander impressed us with his Radiant Redone in years past, Memento Mori sets the new standard for music moving forward.

SoundCloud | Aaron Alexander