The Top 2 Albums of June 2017

June 2017 has seen the release of albums from some of music’s biggest and newest names. Sultry sounds, decadent lyricism and mind-awakening messages are just some of the things that come to mind with albums released in the month of June. Even though loads of albums were released; I have managed to whittle it down to my favourite two. The following albums stood out for me for different reasons but have one main thing in common…ever since being downloaded I have listened to them every day.

  • 1)  4:44 x Jay Z

NOW THIS IS HOW YOU DO A COMEBACK ALBUM! Jay-Z hinted he would return to music in prior months, this was met with a mixed reaction on social media. Some believed that his glory days were over; some went as far as questioning what else the (age) rapper could possibly rap about. Well to those I cast shame but also thanks because I believe this motivated Jay-Z to perfect the brilliant masterpiece that is 4:44. In a few sentences the album is about Jay-Z’s recent struggles with himself, his marriage with Beyoncé and how he views the world today. The album is very reflective, when listening to it the messages he puts across and emotions he exposes reminds me of the Jay-Z I fell in love with at such a young age. Jay-Z’s lyricism has always been way above the standard but this album showed me a different side to Hov’s lyrics. Now of course it wouldn’t be a true Jigga album if he didn’t send a few messages to other artists; notice how I didn’t say shots… there’s a reason for that. The most obvious example is the song Kill Jay-Z where he directs a few messages at his ex-friend Kanye West, I don’t think Jigga says this in a hostile tone but rather in more regretful and sadden tone. Also in the album Jay-Z admits to have cheated on Beyoncé which confirmed her accusations in the album Lemonade. I know this is one of the main messages people took away from the album but I implore you to have another listen and look for the deeper messages delivered by one of greatest rappers in history. Overall, I believe this 10-tracked masterpiece should go down in history as one of Jay-Z’s best albums. It’s so good that I can forgive the fact it was a tidal exclusive (it is now available on Apple Music).

Favourite Track: Smile ft. Gloria Carter

  • 2) CTRL x SZA

First things first it is pronounced Sizz-Ah not S-Z-A.  Now that’s cleared up, I like to give all the praise possible to TDE’s only female artist for creating one of the best albums to ever come out of the TDE collective. SZA has stayed under the radar for quite some time even though her talent has been prevalent for a long time, as someone who has been listening to SZA ever since she released Teen Spirit on SoundCloud; it has been wonderful to see the progression in her artistry and the refining of her sound. This album has been long awaited, in fact it was released three years after her first EP Z which also received very positive reviews. The album is about SZA’s experiences with love and how she felt during them. For me personally, I feel some of the messages in Ctrl are about taking the reins on your relationships, understanding that you are the only person who should dictate how love impacts you and self-empowerment. The album address various types of relationships for example, in the song The Weekend it is very evident that SZA is involved with a man who has not one but two other females he is dating. Now some may think this song just glorifies cheating and ‘side chicks’, but I think that SZA is trying to point out how they are all sharing one man, how unhealthy it is to do so and that it is more of the man’s fault as he understands the vulnerable place SZA is in. From SZA’s sultry voice over R&B beats and even those influenced by pop; to the features from some of raps biggest stars (Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott), this album has it all. This album is more than deserving of a few awards if there was one slight improvement I could make it would be to extend the length of the track Wavy (Interlude) ft. James Fauntleroy.

Favourite Track: Wavy (Interlude) ft. James Fauntleroy