Album Reviews

The Ratings Game Presents: The Best of The Best, and Worst of The Worst (2017)

It’s the end of 2017, which means we get to hand out our awards for the ‘best of the best’ and the ‘worst of the worst’ in music! I don’t want to say these awards are more important than the Grammy’s, but I wore a suit when I wrote this s–t! Anyway, starting December 6th, I will be giving out one award a day to a special/not so special someone that dropped something in 2017. By December 28th, not only will I be drunk, but I will also conclude the list with ‘Album of The Year’! So come join me friends as we ring in the new year by celebrating the old! 


TOP SONG I UNDERRATED

SZA – THE WEEKEND

 

I f–k with SZA hard, especially after she released one of the best albums this year in ‘Ctrl’! In my review for that album, I paid homage to introspective tracks like ‘Broken Clocks’ and ‘Drew Barrymore’, but failed to acknowledge one of the most vulnerable ones in ‘The Weekend’. How can I be so stupid? This track embodies a good chunk of what SZA’s musical persona is all about, and that is her being that other girl that the studs of the world treat like blue cheese on a chicken wings plate. Overall, I think this song is so important for what this Grammy nominated album wanted to accomplish, and I dropped the ball by giving it a measly 4.1 rating on my review. Sorry Ms. Zig Zag Allah!


TOP SONG I OVERRATED

FUTURE – POPPIN’ TAGS

 

You know what song I rated better then both ‘Draco’ and the smash hit ‘Mask Off’ from Future’s self titled album from earlier this year? ‘Poppin’ Tags!’ If you read my review for that song, I pretty much claimed that it was the best thing since sliced bread, but in actuality, it was nothing more than an off brand soggy ass hot dog bun you can find at Giant. This right here was a major fail by me. Someone slap the hell out of me, pronto!


TOP ALBUM I UNDERRATED

GUCCI MANE – MR. DAVIS

 

If you were a hip hop fan this year, you suffered from the same hangover I did: Too many damn shots of Gucci Mane! Gucci Mane released like seven projects this year, and when he wasn’t releasing projects, he featured on every artist you can imagine’s album. So with ‘Mr. Davis’ being his last major project of 2017, I was simply tired of the n—-a, so maybe that played a part into why I gave one of his better projects a low rating of 7.6. Looking back at it, I think there is way too many bangers on this album for it to receive such a low rating, but I just needed a break from hearing his music to understand that.


TOP ALBUM I OVERRATED

XXXTENTACION – 17

 

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy this album for what it is, but to give it a 9.5/10 is a bit of a stretch. One of the things that sucks about rating albums early is that they can grow on you, but in this case, I sorta grew out of this album. Yes the rapper shows lots of talent on it, but when it’s all said and done, there isn’t enough amazing tracks for it to get the high rating I gave it. If I had a mulligan, I would probably rate it somewhere between 7.9-8.4.


WORST SONG I RATED

PLAYBOI CARTI – WE SO PROUD OF HIM

 

Playboi Carti had a big year in 2017, but one of his major misses this year was ‘We So Proud of Him’.

Where do I start? Is it the fact that he’s interrupting himself over and over again on the song? Or is it the fact that he’s speaking in third person throughout? Or is it the shameful fact that the title contains bad grammar? Whatever the case may be, I was pretty disappointed in the Magnolia maker for creating this.


WORST ALBUM I RATED

LIL PUMP – LIL PUMP

 

I can already here the scoundrels now: “But he made one of the hottest songs of the year in ‘Gucci Gang!'”… Yes he did, but for majority of this album he made ‘Roc-a-wear gang’ caliber music. I get it, I’m an old man now and this might be the new wave of music for the youth, but I refuse to accept the fact that this dude can literally blurt out a bunch of s–t on songs and call it music! Lil Pump, get off my lawn!


TOP SLEPT ON ALBUM I HEARD

RICK ROSS – RATHER YOU THAN ME

 

This is such a tough category for me, mainly because I feel like 80% of albums these days are underrated/slept on. But if I were to pick only one, it would have to be ‘Rather You Than Me’.

Not only did the boss deliver when it came to the bangers  on this album, but he was also able to attack controversy on it too. Aside from that, ‘Rather You Than Me’ felt like a blast to the past for Ross, as he was able to effectively incorporate those same mafioso inspired instrumentals from his prior albums into this one. Something just clicked with him on this album, and it made for some really good music.

So am I saying ‘Rather You Than Me’ is the best of the year? No, but I do think it should be in a lot more conversations for album of the year then it is now.


WORST VERSE I HEARD

LIL YACHTY – BRING IT BACK

 

Yachty has the ability to put up some fire verses when he wants to, but on ‘Bring It Back’, he put up a verse that was beyond putrid! Sounding like a n—a that sung through a cooling fan, Yachty sings when no one asked him to, and lays down two verses that literally sound like he made it while in the concussion protocol. Yachty, you are facing a three game suspension in 2018 for these horrible verses.


BEST VERSE I HEARD

I’ve heard thousands of good verses this year, but none quite like Kendrick’s on ‘The Heart 4’. So here’s the backstory: rumors swirled throughout the last couple of weeks of a Kendrick come back album, but for the most part, those rumors weren’t coming from him. Well he decided to confirm that the rumors of his come back was indeed true by releasing this scathing/relentless track that took aim at his foes, the critics, and of course Donald Trump. F–k an ad, this was all we needed to get amped for ‘Damn’!


BEST ADLIB

SKRT SKRT

 

Is ‘Skrt Skrt’ how you spell it? Well if you say it out loud, you would know exactly what I’m talking about! Like I said on the ‘Ill Advised Wise Guys’ podcast earlier this year, Migos made sounding like a car that needs a tire rotation hot as hell! But it’s not only Migos that uses it — practially EVERYONE uses it now! F–k bitcoin, lets put our stock into AAMCO!


BEST CHORUS I HEARD

KENDRICK LAMAR –  HUMBLE

 

Kendrick Lamar accomplished so much with this chorus, didn’t he? It put all the peers that thought they can test him in their place, while at the same time gets the club scene rowdy. If that still doesn’t convince you this is a hot ass chorus, think about this: Do you know anyone that didn’t like this hook?


BEST FEATURE I HEARD

SWAE LEE – UNFORGETTABLE

 

There was a lot of good features this year (especially if you consider all the compilation albums that had various artists on them as features), but was there any that completely transformed a song like Swae Lee did on ‘Unforgettable?’ I ain’t tryna sound like no groupie or anything, but that dudes voice sounds heaven sent on that track! (ANNNNNNNDDDDD THERE GOES MY STREET AUDIENCE) Shout out Swae Lee for his angelic feature! (ANDDDDDD THERE GOES MY STREET CRED CARD ALSO…..I just got that muthasucka, too!)


BEST BEAT I HEARD

FUTURE – MASK OFF

 

This is a no brainer to me. Produced by Metro Boomin’, this flute heavy beat catered to both sides of our brains: One side loved the trillness of it, while the other loved the debonairness of it. When you combine both elements with Future’s reckless words, you get this big ass party full of thugs, drug abusers, and Lipton tea sippers!


 CHEESIEST SONG I HEARD

JASON DERULO – SWALLA

 

This song wasn’t horrible to listen to, but from the ‘shimmy shimmy yay’s ‘to the tired ass Lebron lines from Nicki, it was hella lame content-wise. Like forreal though, who do you know talks like this? Better yet, when’s the last time you heard any dude in the club talk like how Jason DeRulo was talking on this song? Swa la la low? C’mon bro! Even the way they spelled swallow was annoying.

BEST INTERNATIONAL SONG I HEARD

MR. EAZI – LEG OVER

 

A lot of people may not know this, but The Ratings Game is actually based in the US 🤯; with that being said, artists like WizKid, Davido, and Kelly Rowland would be considered international acts! (Does that logic make sense?) With that being said, my number one INTERNATIONAL song this year would be ‘Leg Over’ by Mr. EAZI. Something about the song embodies that next wave of West African music to me, as Mr. EAZI was able to blend in elements of both Naija styled music and Ghanaian styled music perfectly. Overall, I love his style, and look forward to what he’s got coming out in 2018!


BEST SONG SUBMISSION I RECEIVED

LOGAN – DRIFTING APART

 

Let me start off by saying I am extremely thankful for all the submissions I receive from artists across the world! For everyone I hear, the more and more I’m convinced that music is in a great place. With that being said, my favorite submission this year was Logan’s ‘Drifting Apart’. On this track, Logan and Londyen Skye go back and forth about the trouble in their relationship through this beautiful duet. I love the energy of the record, and the singing/lyrics on this track is so spot on! This is a must listen.


BEST ALBUM SUBMISSION I RECEIVED 

 

 

Throughout 2017, Imani Wj Wright dropped some of the most soulful/passionate music I’ve heard to date. On ‘Envious Affection’, the Baltimore native was finally able to create a full body of work focused on those two elements, and it was absolutely enjoyable to listen to! Not only does Imani give us several great songs centered around the trials and tribulations that come with loving someone, but he also shows lots of versatility on his records too, discussing topics such as black beauty and approaching a woman the right way. When it’s all said and done, the project is one that is a major stepping stone for what i think will be a long career.


BEST SONG I’M AFRAID TO ADMIT I LIKE

DEJ LOAF – NO FEAR

 

Remember the girl that dropped one of the toughest records of 2015 in ‘Try Me’? Well in 2017, the Detroit spitter did a complete 360 by releasing the bubble gum, ‘No Fear’. On this track, Dej gets all in her feelings, as she talks about the wonderful feelings that her lover gives her on a daily basis. While most dudes like myself would cringe at the mushiness that this song displays, I actually think this track has some really good writing and makes you feel all good inside! Yes I heard it being played at Victoria Secret the other day, but f it, I like it!


MY PERSONAL FAVORITE ALBUM THIS YEAR

JOEY BADASSS – AMERIKKKAN BADASSS

 

This was an easy pick for me. In ‘Amerikkkan Badasss’, I felt like Joey put together an album that reminded me of those vintage hip hop albums that embodied everything about their city: You had a lot of uplifting, you had a few bangers, and most importantly, some pretty tough bars from the Brooklyn spitter. If you like ‘Illmatic’ or ‘Reasonable Doubt’, then you would definitely like this album as much as I did.


MY PERSONAL FAVORITE SONG THIS YEAR

GOLDLINK – CREW

 

There’s several reasons to why this was my favorite song of 2017: First and foremost, I think the track has this phenomenal mixture of smooth R&B and hardcore rap to it. It’s a vintage sound that not only gave me flashbacks to music from back in the day, but it also has this playa-like feel to it that translates really well in the clubs. When you add the underdog story of Goldlink to the fact that they are DC up and comers, you get a track that is very dear to my heart.


 TOP MIXTAPE I RATED THIS YEAR

WIZ KHALIFA – LAUGH NOW CRY LATER

 

In 2017, it’s been really hard to decipher between an album, mixtape, and an EP. Only a few Mixtapes I rated felt like actual Mixtapes, a feeling that has been diminishing the last couple of years. With that being said, Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’ Mixtape actual felt like a Mixtape, and it channeled that vintage Wiz Khalifa that we’ve all come to love. While I love the raps that Wiz drops on this Mixtape, it’s the combination of Wiz’s contributions and his old buddy Sledgren’s beat making that makes this project truly special.


 TOP SONG I RATED THIS YEAR

CALVIN HARRIS – SLIDE

 

Calvin Harris might be the biggest genius of 2017 for getting Frank Ocean and Migos to make a song together.

From the moment I pressed play on this song I thought it was an absolute hit! It has a feel good vibe to it, some very smooth vocals by Frank, and a couple of radio friendly verses from Offset and Quavo.  When you mix all those elements together, you get this unorthodox tune that embodies the versatility that was 2017.


TOP ALBUM I RATED THIS YEAR

KENDRICK LAMAR – DAMN

 

I feel like I do not have to go into detail onto why I think this album is the best of the year, but I’ll do it because I may forget why in 2020.

With Kendrick doing lots of storytelling in his first two albums, I feel like this album in particular had him focusing on dropping nothing but hits for 14 tracks. In addition to that, you got to hear Kendrick experiment with a few different sounds on this album too: You heard Kendrick get competitive (DNA, Humble), you heard him get radio friendly (Love, Loyalty) and you even heard him crossover a bit (XXX). It was like listening to a greatest hit album by one of the hottest rappers out today, and I was all the way here for it.


THANK YOU

 

I know this is not a category, but I feel it is imperative that I make it one!

I want to thank everyone that reads this site! even if’s it’s to pick at it, laugh it, or even boil yourself up because of a poorly picked top 5 that I had. You guys push me to keep living my dreams, and make me want to be better at this craft literally everyday. I am truly thankful, and wish I can tell you guys individually how much you mean to me! It was a big 2017, one that I am extremely proud of, and hope for an even bigger 2018 (assuming Kim Jong Un doesn’t attack me). I wake up every morning excited because of you guys, and will continue that for this next year. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!


 

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