502107: 20-16

Like an episode of Scandal written by The Onion, season one of Trump is reaching its season finale. If nothing else positive occurred, 2017 was laced with a wonderful soundtrack. Featuring songs from artists for every mood and moment, follow me as I count down my favorite 50 songs of 2017.

20. “The Weekend” SZA

While I didn’t enjoy her project, I can’t deny the sheer success coming her way. The most Grammy-nominated female artist of the year booked a Maroon 5 duet and an SNL appearance. And all I got was this perfectly 90s R&B single about being the cousin to SWV’s man sharing ways. Being the side chick never sounded so good.

19. “HUMBLE.” Kendrick Lamar

With possibly the hottest line of 2017 (my left stroke just went viral) Kendrick continued his reign as the king of rap. Bars lit with fumes from Hades erupted this bombastic benchmark of bravado from the album that deserves that Grammy win.

18. “1999” Big K.R.I.T. ft. Lloyd

A double album from Mississippi’s own was slated with remarkable track after another. Somewhere between “Confetti” and “Aux Cord” laid this ode to booty bouncing in the cut. With Lloyd on the hook, K.R.I.T. presents his thesis on the art of a woman’s body, continuing a tradition from the ’99 and 2000.

17. “Ink Blot” Logic ft. Juicy J

I really tried to get into Logic. He’s talented. Likable. You know he’s biracial, right? Yeah everything should align. But like Rachel Dolezal, close but no cigar. However, I did enjoy the dexterity shown on this short offering from his album. He and J trading bars at lightning speeds is fun as hell. More of this Logic, please.

16. “Magnolia” Playboi Carti

The hottest dance got an official theme song. Playboi Carti may be completely unidentifiable in a room full of niggas with flats, but as soon as I hear Jamie Foxx ask for Pierre, I become a Mighty Morphin Milly Rocker.

30for30 – Day Seven & Eight

Ugly Betty | This hysterical American take on a Spanish telenovela packed as much heart as it did laughs. America Ferrera delivered as the spunky and determined Betty, who battled posh naysayers at Meade Publications. Before the devil wore Prada, she probably worked for Vanessa Williams’ Wilhemina Slater, the icy nemesis at Mode Magazine. Ugly Betty was a bright light of fun, inclusion and drama that lit my college years.

 

Heroes | Another gem during my college tenure. NBC’s venture into superheroes without the capes and spandex was an ambitious leap for network TV. And the first season was absolutely perfect. Enough mystery and grit with each character. And then there was the penultimate season finale, which paved the way for the rest of the series. Midway through season two, it lost its footing and struggled for three more seasons. Even its’ reboot a year or so ago was abysmal. But we’ll always have that extraordinary first season: save the cheerleader. save the world. 

 

Collateral | It’s rare I enjoy an action film that doesn’t involve comic characters, but this film peaked my interest. The same year Jamie Foxx dazzled the Academy with Ray, he and Tom Cruise irked out a gritty tale of true heroism. Cruise’s take as a cold-blooded hitman who enters Foxx’s cab during an evening of work is a sleek examination of human behavior. Pure good versus evil, and how the two are never that far apart.

 

Get Out | Yes, this movie just dropped this year. Yes, it may have had flaws. It wasn’t even an actual horror film, in the traditional sense. But Jordan Peele’s social examination of America’s living nightmare stuck a chord with everyone. Not only is it the highest-grossing film from a black director with an original screenplay, it has been an accelerant for the discussion of race in America.

 

Broke With Expensive Taste | How does one explain a problem like Azealia Banks. The NYC native is an insanely talented lyricist, singer and potentially actress. She’s bold artistically and has hits that stick like grits. But that boldness erodes any chance she ascends as hip-hop royalty. Instead her mouth is known more for feuding with the public than it is for spitting rhymes. Despite this her debut album is one of the best rap albums of the decade. Hands down.

 

B’Day | I was a casual fan of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter in 2006. I enjoyed “Crazy in Love” and mimicked the routine in “Baby Boy.” But I didn’t understand the direction of her sophomore LP. Not on first listen. Everything felt forced. It was loud and overbearing. Plus her eccentric performance of “Deja Vu” at the BET Awards that year had me Ray Charles to this era – until she dropped those videos. And one by one my defenses fell. I succumbed to the honey in her hive, hypnotized by “Upgrade U,” “Freakum Dress” and “Green Light.” While I still dodge “Irreplaceable” I no longer deny the moment Beyoncé leveled up before our eyes. Nothing was ever the same.