Rapzilla.com tallied the votes for Christian hip-hop’s Best of 2017 Awards, and the results were full of surprises.
Our staff nominated artists in nine categories — Best Artist, Best Album, Best Free Album, Best EP, Best Single, Best Group, Best New Artist, Best Producer, Best Music Video, and Best Album Artwork Design — and over the past few days, fans voted for who/what they believed to be the best of the bunch.
Rapzilla.com has no Electoral College. These are the winners of the popular vote.
Best Artist of 2017: NF
NF follows up his 2016 win in the same category and has really proved that not only does he have the strongest fanbase in Christian rap, but one of the most dedicated in all of Christian music.
2017 saw NF possibly become the top Christian rapper in the world. NF’s streams and music video views were in the hundreds of millions. His album Perception debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. NF became a touring beast in 2017, headlining his own tours and selling out countless concerts. Tours for 2018 are lined up for the U.S. and Europe. NF is absolutely on top of his game right now, and it’s exciting to see where he’ll go in 2018.
Runner Up: KB
STAFF PICK: NF
Best Album of 2017: NF – Perception
What else can be said about NF? Naturally, the biggest artist would put out the most popular album of the year. As previously stated, Perception debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 1 and grabbed the attention of the hip-hop world as they were clamoring to figure out who he was.
NF also won this category in 2016 with Therapy Session.
Runner Up: KB – Today We Rebel
STAFF PICK: KB – Today We Rebel
Best New Artist of 2017: Zauntee
Zauntee is one of the newer artists on this list. His 2017 left a major impact with his smash single, “God Taught Me,” which quickly became one of the most watched videos of all-time on the Rapzilla YouTube. His fans, known as the “Zealot Gang,” are as hardcore a fanbase as any out there. He released his All.things mixtape and was just named a Rapzilla Freshmen for 2018.
The young artist has done tracks with 5ive, Surf Gvng, Datin, and Steven Malcolm, and we guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot more of him this year.
Runner Up: Aha Gazelle
STAFF PICK: Ty Brasel
Best Free Project of 2017: Angie Rose – Sipp’n Coffee in the Bakery
Angie Rose had a fantastic 2017. The former Rapzilla Freshman made appearances on nobigdyl.’s acclaimed Canopy album, and tracks with R-Swift, and Illuminate. She recently dropped a track with Ty Brasel and has been serving up hot cups of coffee all year with her free EP Sipp’n Coffee in The Bakery. Download it for free HERE.
Angie is becoming a force to be reckoned with, and this Latina from the Bronx hasn’t forgotten her roots either, as she headed to Puerto Rico to lend a hand and minister to those who needed it in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Last year’s Best New Artist was Aaron Cole.
Runner Up: Jered Sanders – VerseAtility
STAFF PICK: Phil J. – Foreigner
Best EP of 2017: Derek Minor – Your Soul Must Fly
You’d be hard-pressed to find another artist besides maybe NF who had as good as a year than Derek Minor. Minor had an amazing 2016 and followed that up with an equally impressive 2017.
In addition to making plenty of moves with his label RMG, Minor also announced the release of the “Up and Away” series of four EPs which were originally slated to come out one after another. Instead he dropped the first two, Your Soul Must Fly and High Above. Both featured stellar production and awesome features. He dropped a bunch of music videos for these tracks too with the promise that the subsequent two EP’s would be ever better than the first two.
Buy Your Soul Must Fly.
Last year, Minor’s 1014 EP took the crown.
Runner Up: Derek Minor – High Above
STAFF PICK: Derek Minor – Your Soul Must Fly
Best Single of 2017: Zauntee – God Taught Me
We already spoke about Zauntee, but the impact of this song was wide. It was his first track released and it absolutely dominated the votes with a good 500 point lead between this and the second place song.
Buy God Taught Me.
Last year’s Single of the Year was KB’s “Tempo.”
Runner Up: NF – Let You Down
STAFF PICK: NF – Let You Down
Best Music Video of 2017: Zauntee – God Taught Me
You guessed it, Zauntee took this one too. Naturally, if it was the biggest single and it had a music video, it’s also the biggest there. Here’s a crazy fact, the “God Taught Me” music video has well over 1,000,000 views since being uploaded to Rapzilla’s YouTube roughly six months ago. The song was a viral hit for 2017.
Last year the winner of this category was nobigdyl.’s “Purple Dinosaur.”
Runner Up: NF – Let You Down
STAFF PICK: Uzuhan – UZUHAN
Best Producer of 2017: OnBeat Music
This was quite literally a beat battle as the results were the closest all along the board. However, one took the edge was OnBeat Music, or as you might know him by his trademark yell, “O-BBBBBBB.”
OB has become quite the prolific producer in Christian hip-hop and cemented himself as one of the GOAT’s this year. As the in-house producer for RMG, OB has branched out to work with an array of artists. Some tracks he produced this year were nobigdyl.’s “Shakira” featuring Marty of Social Club Misfits, Illijam’s “Summer Vibin,” and a lot of Angie Rose’s music in addition to releasing his own tracks like “Day 1’s” with Dillon Chase and “Mistletoe” with Eric Heron and Blanca.
Last year GAWVI won this category.
Runner Up: Kevmo
STAFF PICK: OnBeat Music
Best Album Artwork of 2017: KB
KB dropped a pretty awe-inspiring album cover. He unveiled it in parts on Instagram and it certainly had everyone talking and trying to decipher what it all meant. Despite still competition, KB pulled this one out, making him the only Reach Records artist to win an award this year.
KB dropped his album Today We Rebel which many viewed as album of the year. The artwork design, marketing rollout, and growth we hear in KB musically have really impressed. KB headlined his Tempo Tour with Social Club Misfits and Swoope in early 2017, went on to do Winter Jam dates, and then closed the year strong by headlining his 20 city Hometeam Tour with Trip Lee, Joseph Solomon, and Ty Brasel. In addition, he created his Native Supply and Native North brands. Native Supply is a design, printing, and fulfillment company for merch, while Native North is a full-service creative agency providing creative direction, songwriting and production.
Buy Today We Rebel.
Last year Trip Lee’s The Waiting Room won this category.
Runner Up: Beautiful Eulogy – Worthy
STAFF PICK: Beleaf – In Fatherhood
What do you think of the results? Who shocked you the most, who do you think deserved more votes?