I realized when looking over my list of the ten best albums of 2017 that they were all by male artists. I found that strange given how many amazing albums came out this past year by female artists. For fun, I expanded my list to twenty and, not surprisingly, eight of the next ten best albums were by female artists. What I like about the albums on that list is how much more diverse they are than my first ten, which is mostly hip hop.
I try to keep my finger on the pulse of hip hop’s beating heart. I keep an eye on the up and comers and an ear on the airwaves. But I have to admit that somehow, like many, I have managed to sleep on Cyhi The Prynce these past couple years.
Curtis Mayfield. Sam Cooke. Al Green. James Brown. And then there’s Leon Bridges, Benjamin Booker, JD McPherson, Jack White and The James Hunter Six. This is the lineage, past and present, to which Curtis Harding belongs. Funk, soul, classic R&B. The music pays tribute to hey-day Stax records, the swinging 60’s and the free love 70’s, in equal measure.
To clear up the confusion, I’ll start this review by saying that there are two distinct and separate Wu-Tang music brands. There are the albums that are canonical, that is, Wu-Tang Clan albums. And there are albums that are non-canonical. That is Wu-Tang albums. No Clan.
Joey Bada$$ is one of the most exciting hip hop artists of his generation. After dropping a string of strong mixtapes, including the classic throw back 1999, his debut album B4.DA.$$ was the perfect encapsulation of what he had been working towards.