Who Had The Best Rap Album Of 2017 (Battle 10): Rapsody vs. Oddisee

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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 after 16 albums faced off against one another, bracket-style. 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 defeated Sean Price’s Imperius Rex. Now, Rapsody’s Laila’s Wisdom faces off against Oddisee’s The Iceberg.

Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom

As the adage goes, you are the company you keep. Aligning yourself with the proper team is vital, and a mutual vision of greatness between teammates is an indestructible power. Rapsody is a modern day musical model of fusing indisputable skill with an optimal circle of collaborators, and Laila’s Wisdom is the magnificent product of every moving part along the way. Make no mistake though, Rapsody’s intellect and lyrical dexterity are the captains of this ascending spaceship. The North Carolina MC covers subjects ranging from the confidence in her own abilities (“Power”), to the importance of men facing their emotions (“Chrome (Like Ooh)”), digesting her family’s pain and being a hopeful example for them (“Ridin”), her self-image (“Black & Ugly”), and the key to unlocking her love (“Knock On My Door”). She showcases a powerful voice laced with awareness and compassion, gracefully leaving it up to the listener to digest the wisdom presented. While Rapsody humbly tends to credit others with the knowledge gained, if the following lyric from “Nobody” can be an example, it would benefit us all to embrace what Marlanna Evans is saying: “Nobody knows if tomorrow is promised, live like it’s your last.” – Michael Blair

Released: September 22, 2017
Label: Jamla Records/Roc Nation
Guests: Kendrick Lamar, Lance Skiiiwalker, Anderson .Paak, Black Thought, Moonchild, BJ the Chicago Kid, Busta Rhymes, Musiq Soulchild, Gwen Bunn, Terrace Martin, Amber Navran
Producers: 9th Wonder, Nottz, Khrysis, Ka$h Don’t Make Beats, Eric G.

Oddisee – The Iceberg

Oddisee follows up benchmark LP The Good Fight with another album smack dab in the American zeitgeist. The Iceberg finds MC/producer/musician Amir Mohamed el Khalifa looking within and outwardly for inspiration. The artist of Sudanese-Muslim descent provides moving accounts of the xenophobia and racism he felt long before Trump was elected (“NNGE”) and the pressures of measuring up to immigrant parents’ expectations while in a non-traditional career (“Rain Dance”). The listener gets to know Oddisee at a “Digging Deep” level, without the artist always focusing just on himself. He uses stories, both true and illustrative to enhance his seamless narrative. This album’s introspective themes balance with rich instrumentation and lush arrangements. The mind of the Diamond District co-founder is complex and so is his sound. Oddisee never stops rapping but created an album that somehow transcends genre. The Iceberg is a Hip-Hop mass that melts away to reveal rich layers of of Jazz, Soul, and splashes of House. From one of the genre’s most self-contained and low-key artists this body of work is tenacious, widely accessible, and ageless. This beautiful listen is by one, for all. – Jake Paine

Released: February 24, 2017
Label: Mellow Music Group
Producer: (self)
Guests: Toine, Olivier St. Louis

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