Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2017 (Battle 11): Kendrick Lamar vs. Logic

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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.

In the Sweet 16 round, 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 defeated Sean Price’s Imperius Rex. In yesterday’s battle (December 27), Rapsody’s Laila’s Wisdom is leading against Oddisee’s The Iceberg. Now, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. takes on Logic’s Everybody.

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

To this point, Kendrick Lamar’s career has been a prototype for realizing one’s own magnitude and handling it with the utmost care. K-Dot knows he’s the certified Top Dawg in Rap, is fully cognizant of the weight of his words, and doesn’t take his reach lightly. He can single-handedly sway culture, and his mighty composure, paired with the self-applied pressure to manufacture a certain altitude of music that aligns with his vision of progress, is unparalleled. That’s what makes him King Kendrick. He sits alone on the throne, and DAMN. is our gratifying introduction to a disrobed and accessible royal. While DAMN. is brimming with spiritual layers, conflict, and imperfection, the social commentary is a bit mitigated in comparison to good kid, m.A.A.d city, and especially To Pimp A Butterfly, instead emphasizing a more sonically mellisonant experience. While boundaries are non-existent within Kendrick’s conceptions, and in this instance as an album that has relevance played both forwards and in reverse, DAMN. is his most classicist approach to Rap music. Authenticity is the foundation upon which DAMN. was built. Whether he’s elaborating on his insecurities (“PRIDE”), his heritage (“DNA”), feeling isolated (“FEEL”), the juxtaposition of libido and affection on adjacent tracks (“LUST” & “LOVE”), political and religious climates (“XXX”), or his his own accomplishments (“HUMBLE” & “GOD”), it’s his humanity that stays rooted throughout. DAMN. reveals Kendrick’s grand ambition in seeking out the parallels and contradictions of emotion and sorting through the sense of it all, a perpetual exploration that we all undergo. The album allures, evokes feeling, and reminds us that it’s not just Kendrick Lamar’s story, it’s all of ours. — Michael Blair

Released: April 14, 2017
Label: Top Dawg/Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records
Guests: Rihanna, Zacari, U2
Producers: Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, 9th Wonder, Alchemist, Tae Beast, Terrace Martin, Bekon, BadBadNotGood, Cardo, DJ Dahi, Mike Will Made It, Sounwave, Greg Kurstin, James Blake, Ricci Riera, Kuk Harrell, Steve Lacy, Pluss, Teddy Walton, Yung Exclusive

Logic – Everybody

Logic has already proved himself as an elite MC lyricist with his album-making. Third LP Everybody shows Bobby’s staying power near—if not at—the top. His songwriting themes include God, suicide, prejudice, self-worth, and so much more. On his first #1 album, Logic raps from his specific growing-up experience as a biracial, lower-class, and Rap-obsessed Gaithersburg, Maryland teen. He experienced racism at home, later faced it in the world, and felt it in his career. While he’s at his most personal, Logic somehow finds ways to relate to all people. The LP pushes a line of love, spiritual harmony, and social connectivity, without holding back indictments against the government (“America”), screen addiction (“Killing Spree”), or a spectrum of prejudice (“Everybody”). Logic and 6ix steer the album’s production like ocean-liner captains—hauling both trendy Bounce and purist samples. The lofty concept of the all-encompassing “Atom” meeting with God is upheld throughout, bound by songs that have proven to soar as standalone singles. From Juicy J to Black Thought to Killer Mike, Logic directs guests to play defined roles, not just stamp features in his passport. With this album, the MC stresses values that are not always found in #1 albums: humility wins out over ego, purpose eclipses pomp, and intelligence bests swagger. Everybody stands tall as this diligent Visionary puts his magnum opus on the canvas. – Jake Paine

Released: May 5, 2017
Label: Visionary Music Group/Def Jam Records
Guests: Black Thought, Killer Mike, Chuck D, J. Cole, Juicy J, Big Lenbo, Khalid, Alessia Cara, Ansel Elgort, Damian Lemar Hudson, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Producers: (self), 6ix, No I.D., DJ Khalil, PSTMN, Vontae Thomas, C-Sick, Wallis Lane

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