Here are ten of the most underrated lyrical albums from one of the most stellar years in music.
2017 has been one of the most prolific years of rap music in recent times. Everyone and their mom dropped a collab album (often times executive produced by Metro Boomin), the genre surpassed rock in popularity and you can find your favourite rap stars on Katy Perry, Calvin Harris and Liam Payne albums. Even the recent Grammy nominations couldn't help but recognize the culture's significance.
With an all-time high notoriety, however, comes an equal amount of critique and misrepresentation. When Post Malone said rap wasn't producing "thought-provoking" music nowadays and pivoted to a slew of other genres when asked what music he listens to when he's "looking for lyrics," he inadvertently shed a light on how poorly a majority of society still views rap. It's been an uphill battle from the start, from the likes of N.W.A. to Kendrick Lamar now, and the fight for respect central to the art.
On that note, we feel that it's important to share the spotlight as much as possible. While it's great to see the Young Thugs of the world push the genre into unknown territory, the core of rap has always been its message. When someone calls a rapper "lyrical," they are imposing on them a handful of very specific attributes: storytelling, vocab, creativity, message, etc. While many of these cherished traits may fall in and out of fashion (with the current wave of popular rap music straying as far from being traditionally "lyrical" as humanly possible), it's important to note the dozens upon dozens of MCs still keeping the spirit of lyrical rap alive and well.
Each album presented on this list proudly wears its lyrical-prowess on its sleeve. Each artist here wholeheartedly represents the lifeblood of hip-hop. These are the rapper's rappers; these are the storytellers, punchline kings and enlightened thinkers that often get shunned from the mainstream. So, without further ado, here are our Top 10 Underrated Lyrical Albums of 2017.