#1 Rap Albums of 2017

6 min readMar 2, 2018

Migos — Culture (“Bad And Boujee”) 1 week
Big Sean — I Decided. (“Bounce Back”) 1 week
Future — Future (“Mask Off”) 1 week
Future — Hndrxx (“Selfish”) 1 week
Drake — More Life (“Fake Love”) 3 weeks
Kendrick Lamar — DAMN. (“Humble”) 4 weeks
Logic — Everybody (“Everybody”) 1 week
DJ Khaled — Grateful (“I’m The One”) 2 weeks
Jay-Z — 4:44 (“4:44”) 2 weeks
Lil Uzi Vert — Luv Is Rage 2 (“XO Tour Lif3”) 1 week
NF — Perception (“Let You Down”) 1 week

Migos — Culture

Atlanta trio Migos (Quavo, Takeoff and Offset) were the breakout stars of 2017. They topped the chart with their sophomore album after Donald Glover shouted them out at the Golden Globe Awards. They also guest starred in an episode of “Atlanta”, the show Glover was accepting an award for. Click below for my track-by-track review of this album.

Big Sean — I Decided.

Big Sean gets his 2nd straight #1. Sean spreads his wings and really shines on his best and most personal album to date. Eminem is featured on “No Favors”. Migos feature on “Sacrifices”. Click below for my track-by-track review of this album.

Future — Future
Future — Hndrxx

Future is the first artist to go #1 in back-to-back weeks with 2 new albums. Of course, it’s also rare for an artist to release new albums in consecutive weeks. A legal and personal battle rages between Future and Rocko, owner of A1 Recordings. These are the final 2 albums of Future’s 6-album A1 deal. All 6 were released under Epic / A1 / Freebandz (Future’s own label). After the last 4 went #1, A1 will be cut out of the picture. “Mask Off” from Future inspires some memes. The Weeknd is featured on “Coming Out Strong” off Hndrxx, the better overall album of the 2. Click below for my track-by-track review of Hndrxx.

Drake — More Life

Drake ups his record of #1 albums to 7-for-7. Categorizing this one as a “playlist” makes as much difference as calling If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late a “mixtape”. These are albums. There’s a lot more rapping going on here than on Views, but Drake still delivers more of a pop flavor. Some of these songs didn’t have as much commercial momentum as I thought they would, but expect to hear them here and there for a long time.

Kendrick Lamar — DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar solidifies his position as the best rapper of the new generation with another terrific album, his 3rd #1. This was the best-selling album of 2017. Not just rap album, album period. No album was #1 for more than its 4 weeks (tied with The Weeknd’s Starboy). This is a versatile project with traditional bangers (“Humble”, “DNA”, “Element”), introspective tracks (“Feel”, “Pride”, “Duckworth”), and pop hits (“Loyalty” featuring Rihanna, “Love”). U2 features on the unorthodox “XXX”, and the disparate artists mesh in a way that showcases both well. I went to see Kendrick on The DAMN. Tour; click below for my review of the show.

Logic — Everybody

Logic already has 2 gold albums under his belt. This is his first #1. This is his most ambitious project, a concept album inspired by Andy Weir’s “The Egg”. The main character Atom (Adam) dies on the first track, enters the afterlife and meets God, voiced by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. One thing Logic is not is smooth, so the execution is awkward at times, but he can rap his ass off and has something to say here.

DJ Khaled — Grateful

DJ Khaled had his first #1 album last year, and now has….another one. He’s a father now; that’s his kid Asahd on the cover. Once again an all-star cast joins forces with Khaled (and Asahd, who’s an executive producer here) to give you a snapshot of the pop rap scene. Click below for my track-by-track review of this album.

Jay-Z — 4:44

Jay-Z adds to his count at the top of the rap pile with his 14th #1 album (11 solos, 1 each with Linkin Park, R Kelly and Kanye West). The Beatles are the only act in history with more. They have 19, so Jay’s not catching them any time soon. After Beyonce aired him out on Lemonade, Jay responds with an apology, and is generally more mature here than on previous albums. He’s 47 years old, so that’s appropriate. On 2013’s Magna Carta, he was fumbling for a place to speak from. On 4:44, he has found his footing as an elder of hiphop, sagely shining the light on the way forward. I went to the 4:44 Tour, my 4th time seeing Jay-Z perform live. Click below for my Jay-Z concert reviews.

Lil Uzi Vert — Luv Is Rage 2

Lil Uzi Vert’s major debut goes to #1. During a late summer trip to Greece, “XO Tour Lif3” is one of maybe 5 rap songs I heard played during a week’s stay. Ed Sheeran sang it at the MTV VMA’s. It’s a crossover smash, but only time will tell if Uzi goes down as a one-hit wonder or something more.

NF — Perception

I never heard of this guy until I saw his album was on top of the chart. Michigan’s Nathan Feuerstein is a Christian who doesn’t curse on records. He gets a bit bland over the course of a whole album, but it's worth a listen. Fans of Logic should dig this.

Click below for my retrospective of every #1 rap album on the Billboard 200.