Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2017 (Battle 9): Big K.R.I.T. vs. Sean Price

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Hi. We recently created AFH TV, Ambrosia For Heads’ streaming video service, because we believe real Hip-Hop deserves its own dedicated TV home. But, there are doubters, so, we need your help. If you have enjoyed anything on AFH over the last 7 years, we are asking you to subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and already features some amazing content, but the best is yet to come. Thank you for all of your support.

We have our opinions on the best albums of 2017, but rather than simply list them, we thought it would be more interesting to hear what you, the readers, believe is the Best Rap Album of 2017. With that in mind, we decided to make our Best Rap Albums Of 2017 list a living breathing conversation, that would ultimately lead to you, the readers, choosing which album is the best of the year. Over the course of the next several days, we will pit albums against one another, battle style, and the winners will be determined by your votes.

Round 1 has closed and after 16 albums faced off against one another, bracket-style, only 8 remain. In the Sweet 16, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.,  JAY-Z’s 4:44Oddisee’s The IcebergBig K.R.I.T.’s 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time, Sean Price’s Imperius RexRapsody’s Laila’s WisdomJoey Bada$$’ All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ and Logic’s Everybody emerged victorious. In the first battle of the Elite Eight, Big K.R.I.T.’s 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time, which defeated J.I.D.’s The Never Story, faces Sean Price’s Imperius Rex, which took out Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues.

Big K.R.I.T. – 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time

Two of 2017’s more memorable Rap narratives urge listeners to trust the process and invest in themselves. Big K.R.I.T. transitioned from a major label rapper with back-to-back Top 5 album appearances to a creative who admittedly emptied his savings to make 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time. Now, more than any point in his career, the music is all his—and he’s generous about giving it out. Krizzle’s first album in three years acts as a double serving of more soul food. A conceptual visionary since his breakthrough mixtapes, this 2LP carefully separates the custom cars, table dances, and nights out from the reflective, exposed, and sometimes tortured soul across its two discs. The Big K.R.I.T. side of the double album is a celebration. He’s throwing “Confetti,” toasting and boasting, all while honoring Juvenile, UGK, Dungeon Family, and Bone Thugs. The heavier half of the 22 songs come on side 2. On the Justin Scott disc “Keep The devil Off” is a fervid charge against negativity, told with Southern Gothic imagery at an intersection of Rap, Gospel, and Funk. “The Price Of Fame” unpacks the disillusion the MC/producer has felt, and the toll a public career has taken on his joy. This gets followed by another lucid soliloquy in “Drinking Sessions.” K.R.I.T.’s Multi Alumni movement makes sense for an artist who spits as well as he makes beats. This double album is multi-faceted too in its refined ability to make a section for those nights out, and provide another for those examinations within. – Jake Paine

Sean Price – Imperius Rex

Imperius Rex is everything Heads already loved about Sean Price, and then some. Featuring vocals from those closest to the late MC, the album has as much heart as it does hard bars. Sean’s daughter opens the LP, which also includes rhymes from wife Bernadette. Heltah Skeltah partner Rock and much of the Boot Camp Clik represent lovely for the family affair, as well. The album stands in line with the rest of his catalog, characterized by aggressive raps with cutting humor. As always, Big Ruck bashes the soft Rap ethos with witty punchlines, unorthodox rhyme patterns, and his effortless flow (“Rap Professor”). These qualities are pronounced over cohesive beats from a cast of producers, and an impressive list of guests pay tribute to their fallen peer, too. “Clans & Cliks” fuses Wu-Tang Clan with Boot Camp, while super-villain DOOM and Sean offer their best collabo in “Negus.” Imperius Rex stands as both a touching farewell to one of Rap’s ultimate comeback players, and as a testament to P’s consistency. Sounding as if entirely recorded before his passing, the level of effort and care put into it are apparent, as is an element of crew love for a true original. – Elvin Sabla

Released: August 8, 2017
Label: Ruck Down Records/Duck Down Music
Guests: DOOM, Prodigy, Method Man, Raekwon, Buckshot, Smif-n-Wessun, Inspectah Deck, Rock, Styles P, Freeway, Bernadette Price, Shaun Price, Ruste Juxx, Rim P, Junior Reid, Ike Eyez, Vic Spencer, Foul Monday
Producers: Crummiebeats, Alchemist, Nottz, Harry Fraud, Stu Bangas, Marco Polo, DJ Skizz, 4th Disciple, Dan The Man, Marlon Colimon