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Sounds of Summer: 12 R&B and Hip-Hop Albums That Will Define Summer 2017

(By: Natelegé Whaley for, Source: Ullstein Bild / Getty)

Summer is here! Get ready for the beach, barbecues, good times in the sun with friends and, of course, music. This year, the sound of summer 2017 will be shaped by a number of albums. R&B songstress SZA and hip-hop’s biggest curator, DJ Khaled, have already stirred some of the biggest buzz. Veteran artists, like Jay-Z, are making a  grand return. Young but established acts, like Vince Staples, will continue to build a distinct catalogue. Long, hot sunny days are ahead, and many albums will be your soundtrack.

Here are the sounds likely to take over your eardrums in summer 2017.



TLC has been on a 15-year-long hiatus since their last record 3D and the death of their beloved Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in 2012. The ladies will return with their self-titled album on June 30.

2. Jay-Z, 4:44

Jay-Z began teasing his latest album in early June with mysterious ads and a video starring Mahershala Ali, Danny Glover and Lupita Nyong’o. Four years after Magna Carta: Holy Grail, Jigga will be back to school the game with 4:44 on June 30.


3. Wizkid, Sounds From the Other Side

Nigerian super-star Wizkid is bringing his fusions of afro-beat, reggae, and hip-hop to the world after signing with RCA and Sony International in March. His first album on the imprint, Sounds From the Other Side, arrives July 14.

4. Aminé, Good for You

Rapper Aminé, who recently appeared on XXL’s Freshmen 10 cover, is dropping his debut LP Good for You on July 28. In the meantime, check out the newcomer’s 2015 EP Calling Brio.


5. Nas, Untitled

Nas is reportedly wrapping up his follow-up to 2012’s Life Is Good. The Queens legend emcee, who has been sharing photos from the studio on Instagram, told the New York Times in early June, “We coming this summer, baby.” So I guess we should prepare.

What’s Out Now


The first lady of Top Dawg Entertainment, released her highly-anticipated debut album CTRL on June 9. The singer revealed the skeletons in her closet and was honest as ever on the latest project, which chronicles her 20-something ups and downs.

7. DJ Khaled, Grateful

Producer DJ Khaled dropped off several made-for-summer vibes ahead of Grateful, including Rihanna and Bryson Tiller’s “Wild Things.” The compilation is out now.

8. 2 Chainz, Pretty Girls Love Trap Music

Trap anthems abound on 2 Chainz’s latest effort, which features Nicki Minaj, Drake, Gucci Mane, and Swae Lee. Some stand out tracks include “4 AM,” featuring Travis Scott; and “It’s a Vibe” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz and Jhene Aiko.

9. Young Thug, Beautiful Thugger Girls

After making his claim to fame with consistent mixtapes and notable singles like 2014’s “Lifestyle,” Atlanta’s own Young Thug, finally delivered his debut Beautiful Thugger Girls on June 16.

10. Big Boi, Boomiverse

Big Boi released Boomiverse — five years after dropping his solo opus Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. The rapper told Billboard in May, the existentially-themed album is “a play off of the Big Bang Theory, where everything starts.”

11. H.E.R., Vol 2.

The singer known as H.E.R. has maintained her mystery in her album art, but her voice is gaining more ears with the release of her second self-titled project Vol. 2.

Music has been the only thing I've wanted to do all my life. It's a release of Love, Truth, Pain, Happiness, Triumph and Reflection. I am beyond grateful that you guys are by my side on this journey to help us create something that's truly special together. That being said, I have to admit that I am definitely a bit of a perfectionist and I want to continue to put out the best bodies of work I can, so I decided to switch some songs on the #HERvol2 EP and had to move the date to June 16th as a result. Trust me, it will be worth the wait and I know you'll love the music. Unfortunately, to the many who have pre-ordered for June 2nd and had your order cancelled, you will have to pre-order again now. Love you! ?✨ June 16th!

A post shared by H.E.R. (@hermusicofficial) on

12. Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory

Long Beach, California-native Vince Staples promised to “serve the bass” on his sophomore effort Big Fish Theory. The album certainly delivers.

5.19.17 12AM

A post shared by @vincestaples on


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