It is finally time! The Official 5th Element "End of 2017" Lists. With only a couple of days until Christmas Day, I wanted to provide a list all about recognition.
Well... Every list is about recognising certain projects, artists & songs. But this one is particularly special in my opinion. I feel that Extended Play projects are underrated. They never get the recognition they deserve.
Obviously they're not albums but they're always a great way to showcase somebody's ability. Whether you're trying to get your career off the ground or you're already established and feel like giving the people a little something. Or maybe it's to keep sharp in between albums. Whatever the reason is, it is always appreciated. Sometimes EP's can be better than albums! You never know.
This list are my 10 favourite EP's of 2017. Now, full disclosure. Two are technically Mixtapes, not EP's. But I won't tell if you won't. And unlike the other lists I'm doing for this series of lists, this one will not be ranked.
All good? Great! So, without further delay. We begin with an EP that caused a bit of controversy.
Snoop Dogg - Make America Crip Again
The legend that is Snoop Dogg has made clear several times that he is not a fan of the current US President. You may remember that music video Snoop dropped where he had a guy looking like a clown version of Trump. You also may remember the original cover for this particular EP was a remake of Ice Cube's "Death Certificate", with Trump as the tagged body.
But after the title track of this EP, which is a tune, the EP is pretty much just classic Snoop. I am convinced when people say that Snoop is washed, they just saw that he changed his name a couple of times and assumed he was clinging onto his status. Listen to this EP and tell me he's washed. This. Is. Fire. It's full West Coast beats and the lyrics are clean from start to finish.
Snoop Dogg is not washed. I repeat. NOT washed.
Dave - Game Over
From a legend in the game, to someone who's just getting warmed up.
I was not mentally prepared for this EP. When I first listened to this, I was listening while getting something to eat. THIS IS NOT a casual listen. Especially the song "How I Met My Ex".
Man, this song got me sitting down with my head in my hand, contemplating life. It's one of the deepest songs you've ever heard. The storytelling is so vivid you can picture it in your head.
The rest of the EP is not as deep but the quality is high from start to finish. His letter to the Prime Minister is amazing, and of course "No Words" is a great song to vibe to. Man, this guy caught me off guard. This is a warning to all that have slept on Dave so far. Stop sleeping.
H.E.R. - H.E.R Vol.2
Speaking of Ex's & relationships in general. Gabi Wilson, more famously known as "H.E.R" (Having Everything Revealed) has already established H.E.Rself (I couldn't help it) as one of the songwriters of the future. She is only 20 years old and her two EP's Vol. 1 & 2 have become the soundtrack to many young women's lives. There's a song for every kind of relationship scenario. For example, my favourite of Vol.2, "Changes", is all about the girl wanting a guy but hesitates because of bad experiences in the past.
And even though her lyrics are stars of the show, the beats and her voice go down so smoothly. This EP is amazing and she's an amazing storyteller. Expect more of H.E.R.
Emeli Sande - Kingdom Coming
As a fan of Queen Emeli, when I got word that she was dropping an EP, just weeks after seeing her live. I couldn't be happier.
This EP did not disappoint. With great features from Giggs and Dave East, Sande provides a little peak into how much of an influence her parents were in her life. I mean, what did you expect when the cover is a Throwback photo of her and her father? Along with the title track and the beautiful acoustic version of her single "Starlight", she also promotes her aura of positivity. It's an EP that is truly food for the soul.
Dave James - Where The Sidewalk Ends
Speaking of food for the soul. You know I had to shout out friend of 5E, Dave James and his first solo project "Where The Sidewalk Ends".
You can tell that he was a producer first because the instrumental that accompanies him throughout this project create the optimal vibe. Some songs like "Almost There", "California" & "Be Good" are slow & airy. Like taking a bike ride through the forest or leaning your head out of the car as the sunset warms your face. But he also comes through with some beats. "Familiar Life" & WTSE" coming in with some thick bass lines but with his vocals staying consistent throughout the EP, it weaves it all together.
It's a very clean project and I'm proud to have caught this man as he starts his path as a solo artist.
Kamasi Washington - Harmony Of Difference
For those that were like me, feeling daunted by the run time of Kamasi Washington's album "The Epic". Feeling as if they wouldn't be respecting the musical mastery because nobody can fully focus on something for nearly three hours.
Never fear! Washington has given us an EP with a respectable run time of 31 Minutes. "Harmony of Difference" is "The Epic" Lite. All the amazing jazz in a quarter of the time. Every song bleeds into each other seamlessly. It's one of those projects that you should really immerse yourself in. Even though it's only half an hour, it goes by so quickly. I wanted to listen to it twice just because and you get something different every time. It's simply beautiful.
Joel Culpepper - Tortoise
You know this was going to be on the list! Another friend of 5E, Joel Culpepper started off 2017 correct with this EP "Tortoise". If you want to know more about the name, read the interview.
Tortoise is a all out showcase of his vocal skills. The instrumentals of every song are distinctive but Culpepper manages to write perfectly to capture the vibe and the vocals... I can't stress enough how boss this man's vocals are.
From the James Bond-esque "Far From Your Average", to the simplistic "Woman", this EP has something for everyone.
Denzel Curry - 13
This guy... Has such raw energy. If you remember the bottle flipping craze and the song that was its soundtrack. It was Denzel Curry's "Ultimate".
If you didn't listen to his album "Imperial" because you weren't sure about spending time on it, listen to this EP and then you'll definitely want to listen to the album. I repeat, this man has such raw energy when on the mic. Like Meek Mill but the shouting isn't as "in your face". And the bars are spat as if he's freestyling it all. The beats are deep and bass-filled. It's dark, it's grungy. It's a mean EP.
Royce Da 5'9 - The Bar Exam 4
This is one of the Mixtapes I mentioned before we began. Royce is one of the most underrated rappers ever. He never fails to own a track. He goes for the jugular every time he's on wax, and his 4th installment of "The Bar Exam" doesn't disappoint.
Hosted by DJ Green Lantern, Royce doesn't worry about the beats, because he knows he'll blow up on any flow. It's as if he went to Lantern "Gimme everything you can throw at me" His confidence oozes all over, he's calculated and doesn't mince words. Look for no better example than "Still Waiting" featuring Elzhi & Nick Grant. Saying he might as well retire because nobody is impressing him right now. I freaking love that song, I love this Mixtape.
Stefflon Don - Real Ting Mixtape
My last EP to shout out is the hottest female in the UK right now and it's no contest. Since Stefflon Don dropped "Real Ting", I knew that she was the realness. She can rap, she can sing. The vibes go from dancehall to what I call "Freestyle beats". She's a unique voice and she looks the part as well. A boss, all day, everyday.
On top of this fire Mixtape, she's charting with ease and the plaudits are coming thick & fast. Hop on this wave before it takes off.
So that's my EP list! If you listen to any of these for the first time, let me know what you think of it! These are all great artists and I can't praise these individual projects enough. Don't starve yourself of greatness.
ALBUM LIST NEXT. Stay tuned...