As we noted in our list of the 25 Best Albums of 2017, this year was an embarrassment of musical riches. So much so that it was a task of Herculean proportions whittling the year’s releases down to a concise list of the very best.
With that in mind, we decided it was only right that we give some love to a few of our favorite records of the year that didn’t quite make the cut, in addition to a few full-lengths that have been criminally overlooked in the music blogosphere at large.
From Four Tet’s warmest dance record yet to 2 Chainz’ trap-musings to Kelly Lee Owens’ astonishing blend of dream-pop and techno, these are our picks for the most underrated albums of 2017.
2 Chainz – ‘Pretty Girls Like Trap Music’
2 Chainz has long belonged to the group of rappers known for delivering iconic, fiery hot verses as guests on other artists’ tracks, but rarely have the wherewithal to support their own projects. But with Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, he has proven himself capable of holding his own, commanding your attention across an hour’s worth of polished trap and his trademark offbeat bars.
A$AP Twelvyy – ’12’
Spearheaded by the lush, Phantogram-sampling lead single “Diamonds,” A$AP Twelvyy’s long-awaited debut album was possibly the strongest showing from a member of his eponymous Mob this year. It was one of the high-points of the collective’s AWGEST takeover, and served as a much-needed showcase for Twelvyy’s understated flow.
Four Tet – ‘New Energy’
New Energy is the culmination of the past three years of Four Tet’s work; slowly incorporating rich, classical Indian instrumentation into his cerebral club tracks. After tinkering on 2015’s Morning / Evening, this blend is now seamless, and it is among the warmest dance records of the year.
Kelly Lee Owens – ‘Kelly Lee Owens’
On her self-titled debut, Kelly Lee Owens creates a signature blend of weightless dream-pop and ultra-heavy techno, a combination that proves surprisingly stellar. Tracks like “Evolution” and “CBM” are equally-fitting for headphones in your bedroom or shaking your ass to the ground in the club. Her recently-released bonus single – a cover of an Aaliyah classic – is essential listening.
L-Vis 1990 – ’12 Thousand Nights’
Few records managed to be as continually surprising as L-Vis 1990’s 12 Thousand Nights. The producer extraordinaire hops from sunny dancehall pop to booty jams to nightmarish electronic with unbelievable speed, roping in a huge corral of guest stars like GAIKA, Jimmy Edgar and Mista Silva along the way.
Laurel Halo – ‘Dust’
Nothing feels certain on Laurel Halo’s Dust, an electro-pop record that seems to be constantly shifting beneath your feet. That of course is a large part of its appeal. “Jelly” has been our go-to flail-around-the-room-and-get-funky track ever since it first dropped.
MIKE – ‘May God Bless Your Hustle’
With the sheer number of breakout rap stars this year, it’s impossible to to name anyone as the breakout rap star of the year, but MIKE comes awfully close. The teenage (!!) MC burst out of no where with this fantastic LP, one entirely bolstered by his hypnotic flow.
Wiki – ‘No Mountains in Manhattan’
The breakout star from Ratking proves that he can not only hold his own on an LP, but that he may in fact excel without his bandmates. Wiki’s debut solo album is a densely-woven love letter to the city that raised him, boasting incredibly-detailed bars that are as touching as they are evocative.
See our picks for the 25 Best Albums of 2017 right here.