502017: 15-11

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.

15. “Helpless” Gucci Mane

Glo-up of the Year, possibly the decade, goes to Radric Davis who has been the pinnacle of rehabilitation after his extensive imprisonment. Now married with children, he has a whole outlook on life. But that doesn’t stop him from making the Grade-A trap music. This gets the bronze award for hook of the year.

14. “Family Feud” Jay-Z ft. Beyoncé

I could have had more songs from Jay’s Grammy-nominated memoir, but I had to limit it to two. This one soaring over the heavenly tongues of The Clark Sisters is as triumphant in sound as it is in message. Shouts to No. I.D.

13. “Midnight” Jessie Ware

I asked for two artist to return this year. One of them was Ms. Ware. She didn’t miss a step, sounding better than ever with a seemingly visual to match.

12. “Shinning” DJ Khaled ft. Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Following the success of last year’s album, Kahled’s Grateful attempted to keep his wave adrift. While everyone may be seasick by now, the first single with the Carters was a win – even if Beyoncé left this year’s Grammy for AOTY in Adele’s hands. Still winning doe.

11. “LOYALTY.” Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna

Kung Fu Kenny is granted this slot for his deadly sins duet with the queen of hits. Jacking Bruno’s “24K Magic,” Kendrick questions the trust he places in others, and himself, in this thing called fame.



Rewind: DAMN.

In 2006 hip-hop experienced an identity crisis of sorts. One of its most prolific stars declared the musical genre dead. Nas’ Hip-Hop is Dead was rap purists’ declaration that lyrical superiority and artistic expression were being squandered for success by any means. Being a newly self-proclaimed hip-hop head my freshman year at IU, I wholeheartedly agreed. Blogging by day and student-ing when I got the chance, I consumed every morsel of music and media. With my 13″ Dell laptop and textbooks in a Jansport backpack, I was a prescribed member to the music’s “Blog Years.”

This timeline saw anyone with WiFi access become an artist, fan or critic, at the speed of light overnight. In its infancy – pure brilliance – which beget classic moments.  From Kanye’s “G.O.O.D. Friday’s” to The Weeknd’s House of Ballons, this shift of power somewhat eliminated the gatekeepers between artist and fan, allowing the undiscovered and unheard a way to reach the masses without a key to the industry. It was also the period Soulja Boy and The Pack rose to infamy, birthing copycats and replicas of what some viewed as sub-par.

In retrospect, hip-hop was not dead. It was very much alive. The once viewed fad was establishing its staying power and future growth. Nas’ sentiment, in many ways, acted as an accelerant, igniting fresh new voices to continue the tradition of storytelling through prose. The fire grew so large it lit a young match from Compton, California, a region that had not wielded it’s hip-hop MjÖlnir since Tupac’s passing. This young padawan of the force was none other than Kendrick Lamar. Continue reading Rewind: DAMN.