Called It! — New Music for 2017
[Editor’s Note: This was originally published in The Lexington Line’s Spring/Summer 2017 print edition.]
2016 might not have been lit life-wise for some, but music-wise, it was one hell of a year. We got Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Solange’s A Seat At the Table, Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, and many more stunning albums. Prior to the year coming to an end, I had a great feeling about to what was to come in 2017. With only a dent in the new year, it seems I couldn’t have been more accurate.
The man who never takes breaks is back with his new project, More Life, which is set to drop early this year. In late January, Drake appeared on Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari’s Cal Cast podcast to reveal more on the project. More Life, he said, will be a playlist collaboration with Apple Music made primarily to keep his fans entertained until he releases his next album. The playlist will more than likely include hits like “Fake Love” and “Sneakin’.” Drake has yet to release a specific date, stating it will be here “very soon,” and at the moment he is focused on his Boys Meets World Tour, which started on January 28th. Although it may be a disappointment to some fans that he didn’t make the 2016 deadline, hasn’t Drake done enough in the last year or so?
After SZA released “2 A.M.,” covered PartyNextDoor’s “Come and See Me,” and did her biggest feature on Rihanna’s “Consideration” this past summer, the hype behind her was in full force. The thought of a debut album close behind wasn’t a crazy one. Not long ago, though, SZA tweeted “I actually quit” due to frustration with her record label, Top Dawg Entertainment, delaying the release of her album. It felt as if we had to prepare for the possibility of her departure from the music world. Thankfully, this tweet has since been deleted, and her new single, “Drew Barrymore,” was released on January 13, 2017, essentially hinting that the beef with her label has been dealt with and an album is indeed on its way.
Syd, a rising member of The Internet and former member of Odd Future, made her solo debut with the album Fin in early February. Some wonder if this is foreshadowing a possible breakup between her and her fellow bandmates. But according to Syd, her solo move is “an in-between thing,” and we shouldn’t dwell on it. The single “All About Me” is a statement about loyalty and keeping her circle tight. Her single “Body” is so sexy, sensual and full of emotion that it makes me weak in the knees. Both are instant bangers that set the tone for what to expect, and her Aaliyah style mixed with modern day futuristic beats make her an addictive listen. This is the ultimate “Netflix and chill” album.
Jamie Hewlett, the co-creator and graphic designer of the cartoon band, has confirmed that the Gorillaz are indeed back. This will be their first proper album since 2011’s The Fall. Alongside Hewlett, Damon Albarn is the mastermind behind the group, and after his 2014 solo album, Everyday Robots, it’s good to know these two are back in the studio making magic. Make sure to hop on their social media platforms, where they have been curating a story behind their absence from music. This is gonna be huge.
Big Sean took to social media to announce the title of his upcoming album, I Decided, which was released in early February. Last year, Sean did a collaboration album with his girlfriend, Jhene Aiko, titled Twenty88. According to the tweet Sean posted on November 21, 2016, it will have a sequel: “The next @twenty88 is coming next year. We gon get our solos off too though!” Following 2015’s Dark Sky Paradise, this new album’s leading hits “Bounce Back,” “Moves,” and “Halfway Off the Balcony” are dominating the charts. Sean Don is back baby!
Hailing from South London, Sampha Sisay is very talented, yet very underrated, very unappreciated. He plays keyboards, and he’s a songwriter, singer, and producer, so let me know what this guy can’t do. His sound is a mixture between R&B and electronic, so it’s hard to squeeze him into one specific genre. He is well-known for his collaborations with Jessie Ware, Drake, Solange, and even Kanye. In 2010, he released the EP Sundanza, and in 2013, he released his second EP, Dual. In late 2016, he announced his debut album Process would be out February 3, 2017 and would feature hit singles “Blood on Me” and “Timmy’s Prayer.” He is currently on tour and hit New York on February 9 at Terminal 5 before leaving the country to continue. If you happened to miss him, there will be another chance, because this is definitely just the beginning for Sampha.