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Against The Monoculture: Counting Down The Best Hip Hop Of 2013
Gary Suarez , December 19th, 2013 03:25

Gary Suarez sums up his year in hip hop, and is joined by Neil Kulkarni and Kyle Ellison to compile a top 40 of albums and mixtapes

Let's get this out of the way right now: 2013 did not mark the return of lyricism. To suggest as much is a slap in the faces of dozens of adept young rappers - including Bishop Nehru, The Underachievers, Willie The Kid, and YC The Cynic - who didn't muster the abundance of e-ink spilled for Chance The Rapper. Nobody benefitted from this forced narrative quite like him, emerging from bubbling-under teen to the proverbial poster boy for the "movement" thanks to some confluence of factors real and artificial. So potent was the critical consensus around Acid Rap that people seemed perfectly content to overlook or otherwise excuse his tasteless "killin' in the hood like Trayvon [Martin]" line on 'Smoke Again' in a year where J. Cole, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross all took lumps for crossing imperceptible lines. (He's gotten comparatively more flack for collaborating with Justin Bieber on a new track.) Furthermore, Chance stole no small amount of Earl Sweatshirt's verbose thunder in the process, the traditional major label record release of Doris lacking the viral pizazz of a rogue online album drop.

Perhaps rap has simply gotten too frightening for some, leading them to seek out a more relatable Chi-town corrective to the drill scene's cold-blooded killer culture. Indeed, the lead-up to menace to society Chief Keef's late 2012 album entry Finally Rich had been perceived by some as a new low in hip hop, a further regrettable shift away from precious lyricism. 2013 proved altogether unkind for him, dogged by the legal system for the wanton criminality his critics fretted so much over. Keef didn't exactly help himself either by blowing off the video shoot for what could've been one of the year's biggest songs, 'Hate Bein' Sober'. Yet he still managed to drop a couple of mixtapes, the relative absence of former producer Young Chop undeniably felt.

Despite the incarcerations and tribulations of its most prominent public figure, drill blossomed. Keef's Glory Boyz Ent. crewmates Ballout, Capo, Gino Marley, Lil Reese, Fredo Santana, SD, and Tray Savage all released tapes of their own, presenting an almost singular (and often Auto-Tuned) vision of ill-gotten gains in America's murder capital. That productivity only represents a piece of the veritable glut coming from the scene, including Katie Got Bandz, King Louie, Lil Bibby, and Sasha Go Hard, among others. Two emcees whose work stood out, Lil Durk and Spenzo, took rather different paths, with the former's Signed To The Streets largely ensconced in the sonorous synth trills of BandKamp's Paris Beuller. Conversely, In Spenzo We Trust attempts a drill diaspora, outsourcing tracks to Atlanta beat makers like Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Metro Boomin, and Sonny Digital, in addition to locals like Nascent and the aforementioned Chop.

It's not hard to understand why Spenzo and others would look to The A for inspiration and direction. (Trinidad Jame$ did the reverse, snagging a few Chop beats for his 10pc. Mild.) Following years of continued potency and imperious relevance, the city scored some more serious wins in 2013. You'd have to have been living under a particularly cumbersome boulder to miss Rich Homie Quan's 'Some Type Of Way', a suave single that no doubt sent quite a few rappers to church to repent coveting thy neighbor's custom Breitling. Migos' 'Versace' achieved ubiquity beyond anyone's expectations when Drake snatched it up for himself. Producer Zaytoven had already made a name for himself as a go-to guy for Gucci Mane, Future, and others in their circles, but that surprise hit promises him the sort of prominence in 2014 that Chop had this year. Tumult in the 1017 Brick Squad family got entirely out of hand, with Gucci taking to Twitter with escalation against Waka Flocka Flame, repeatedly offering to sell his contract out from under him, and scores of perceived enemies, eventually ending up in rehab. While the sprawling imprint's future appears very much in jeopardy, none of the tabloid-level drama prevented the likes of PeeWee Longway, Young Scooter, and Young Thug from dropping some acclaimed hard-hitting tapes of their own.

Despite their many fine qualities, none of these Atlanta and Chicago spitters seemed all that concerned with lyricism, but it would be both classist and vulgar to suggest that lyrics didn't matter to them. The very definition ought to be discarded like the forgotten leftovers sitting in that ominous tupperware way in the back of your fridge. Who even qualifies anymore? Big Sean? Nick Minaj? Drake? No doubt J. Cole and Wale, both of whom released what they consider decidedly lyrical albums and singles this year, would love to know the answer. Building up new traditionalists like Kendrick Lamar at the expense of artists that take breaths between their thoughts represents a dying dichotomy that deserves a burial at sea. His exhaustively overpraised verse on Big Sean outtake 'Control' provided convenient straw man support for a nonsensical narrative, but after three decades of hip-hop, the genre's diversity and dominance have created a wide fanbase not easily defined by tastes in one artist or another. If anything, rap has gotten too big for its critics.

The dinosaurs haven't helped matters much either, dominating the conversation and steering it in a less than ideal direction. Eminem released a new record, as did Jay-Z. Both went platinum. So what else is new? Album sales are a diminishing indicator of a contemporary rap artist's success, and their royalties pale in comparison to the money made on either of their tours. Both Kid Cudi and Tyler The Creator respectively built and nurtured cult followings who rewarded them with strong first-week sales. But there aren't tangible lessons to be learned from them, and neither Indicud nor Wolf have achieved gold status. What's even more interesting than parsing the charts is seeing grizzled veterans like Prodigy and Pusha T put out some of the best work of their careers, for majors and indies alike.

Underground artists went mainstream on a dime, hardly surprising given how closely music business A&R types look at the metrics of YouTube videos and DatPiff downloads. A$AP Rocky begat A$AP Ferg, both of whom released albums that sound nothing like the rest of the radio, though they essentially left nobody on deck but indistinguishable A$AP weed carriers. Strangely, no one in Black Hippy was able to capitalize on Kendrick's breakout success with a crossover single of their own, name recognition notwithstanding. Following Earl and Tyler, the rest of Odd Future might find the walls closing in on them. Even Keef's GBE crew, despite their robust year of mixtapes, haven't been able to claw out from under him. The 1017 Brick Squad members have fared better, but it remains to be seen if Young Thug can turn his unique voice into one that more people want to hear. Clearly, we're long past the days when the small-time players in Wu-style dynasty could coast for years on the strength of superior crewmates.

Hip hop strives to be forward-facing, even when its visions of the future splinter into factions, some weirder and wilder than the rest. With Yeezus, Kanye West transported the genre into another space-time dimension altogether. Largely devoid of beats, the record is caustic, confrontational, perverse, and progressive, each track an amalgam of disparate producers' work piled, spliced and fused. The record's influence is already being felt in the work of Travi$ Scott, one of the lucky artists involved in its creation. Another sui generis album, Ka's The Night's Gambit operates on a different frequency than the rest of contemporary hip hop. Shadowy and subversively poetic, it soundtracks a side of city living both multifaceted and secretive. On a smaller scale, West Coast weirdo Antwon has found a potent formula of his own, tapping into frazzled sonics and Colecovision throwbacks to breathily bellow over like some otherworldly Biggie Smalls.

All three of these present tangible, visible beginnings for the next stages of a genre that has successfully delinked maturity from stagnation. No one of them is The Answer, but rather another possibility, another path for like-minded risk takers to follow. Predicting its future is futile and moronic because there's no one future. Hip hop is not a monoculture. Year-end listmaking, the ranking of albums and artists to achieve a slightly less subjective consensus, is egotism and a fool's errand. Sometimes, it's fun to be foolish. Sometimes, it's fun to pretend like we control any of it.

40 - Pusha T: Wrath Of Caine

"As indicated by its brazen title, the masterful Wrath Of Caine offers plentiful mountains of uncompromising coke rap, larger-than-life boasts peppering these self-described "drug dealer Picassos." Even savvy listeners might reasonably find themselves consulting Rap Genius as one would academic footnotes amid Pusha T's inside baseball contributions to the cocaine lexicon. (Fortunately for them, he's an active verified user on that buzzed-about and somewhat controversial database.) His forthright and unfiltered approach carries considerable weight as more and more contemporary rappers seem to be taking drugs rather than selling them." Gary Suarez

39 - Metabeats: Caviar Crackle

"Metabeats astonishing 'Metaphysical' album from 2011 was one of the great undersung meisterwerks of UK hip-hop production in the past decade – 'Caviar Crackle' increased the diversity but kept the steely grip on your attention with wayward wacked-out beats and rhymes from the top drawer." Neil Kulkarni

38 - Lil Wayne: I Am Not A Human Being II​​​​

"Somewhere along the line, Weezy fell out of favor with the critics, his salacious metaphors now considered passé or too offensive. For those who still have a sense of humor, this sensational sequel to 2010's sloppy IANAHB amounts to much more than a stopgap, wilding out for his fans and garnering two tremendously successful singles ('Love Me,' 'Rich As Fuck')." Gary Suarez

37 - Gucci Mane: Trap House 3​​

In a year that Gucci 'Guwop' Mane has released at least 13 records (we're starting to lose count), choosing favorites isn't easy. Trap House 3, though, is our pick of the bunch, featuring hardened trap bangers like 'Use Me' and 'Off the Leash' alongside the weary and remorseful 'Hell Yes'. Kyle Ellison

36 - Hus Kingpin: The Cognac Tape

"Reissue of a previously unlabelled mixtape featuring Roc Marciano and one of the finest releases from the ever-great Mello Music Group." Neil Kulkarni

35 - Big Baby Gandhi: Debut

"At last, the Greedhead affiliated emcee unveils his highly-anticipated full-length, intended to be his first, his last, his everything. An unpretentious addition to the Queensborough rap canon, the mostly self-produced album breezes by with thoughtful yet fun-lovin' verses and a down-to-earth flow altogether unconcerned about the latest fads and trends." Gary Suarez

34 - Billy Woods: Dour Candy

"Dour Candy is a record about being a rapper – only with none of the hedonism or glamour you might expect. Woods teams up with fellow underground veteran Blockhead for the album's duration, and these sobering songs of failed relationships and low-level drug habits are some of his most vivid and relatable to date." Kyle Ellison

33 - Ramson Badbonez: A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch

"Stunning rapper with stunning producers on one of the UK's most stunning new labels who also gave us Fliptrix's magnificent 'The Road to the Interdimensional Piff Highway' at the tail-end of 2012. Like that, this is a late-breaker but an unmissable doozie throughout." Neil Kulkarni

32 - Shy Glizzy: Law 2​​​​​​

"Following a string of great mixtapes in recent years, Shy Glizzy continues to fly the flag for DC on Law 2. While the core of the tape is dominated by straight-talking street rap, Glizzy's nasal delivery is what sets him apart – adding a menacing edge to the triumphant 'CFWM' and compassion to the stripper struggles he documents on standout 'Some Ones'." Kyle Ellison

31 - Fat Trel: SDMG​​​​​​​

"The already crowded Maybach Music signed just two new rappers to its roster this year, and the caliber of this Washington D.C. spitter's glistening tape made him a perfect choice for Rozay's roster. Beats by Lee Bannon, Cardo, and Young Chop, among others, highlight Trel's capacity for sticky hooks about all manner of hood hedonism." Gary Suarez

30 - Telemachus: In The Evening

"One of the most sublime instrumental hip-hop LP's ever made. Except it's not just instrumental. And it's not just hip-hop. And it seems less like an LP, more like a Launchpad into infinite space. If you haven't heard it, you've missed out on one of 2013's most startling and evocative journeys. Go get." Neil Kulkarni

29 - Dom Kennedy: Get Home Safely​​​​​

"Dom Kennedy quickly falls into a good groove and his nonchalant flow suits The Futuristiks' clouded atmospheres ('After School', 'Black Bentleys') and sleek neo-soul ('Erica Part 2', 'Tryna Find My Way'). Though '17' finds him loopy and reminiscent over Craig Mack and Jodeci, Kennedy is no precious okayplayer. Bassbin lowrider bangers like 'Dominic' and the paper chasing 'If It Don't Make Money' sound made for the whip. Get Home Safely excels by making it look easy even when he's undeniably, relentlessly putting in work." Gary Suarez

28 - Shadowrunners: Shadowrunners

"You'd be hard pressed to find my hardened outer-borough ass at some pantywaist comic book convention trading snot-nosed anime secrets with overgrown man-babies fixated on kayfabe. And yet, here I am about to praise an exceedingly deserving tape featuring an emcee that freely drops funnybook references and named an entire song after a goddamned Power Rangers equalizer ('Megazord'). Yet Andre Martel has the chops and the lyrical depth to turn an X-Men-nodding 'Sentinals' into a real-world call to arms against organised, institutional forms of oppression." Gary Suarez

27 - Lewis Parker: The Puzzle Pt. 2: The Glass Ceiling

"Don't eat it all at once but this 30-track magnificent octopus from veteran producer-god Parker is a feast for the ears and intellect." Neil Kulkarni

26 - Deniro Farrar: The Patriarch

"Deniro Farrar often sounds like he's carrying the weight of the world on his back, and The Patriarch is as much his cathartic release as it is an excellent mixtape. Much of the record concerns his brother Tune who awaits trial for murder, and his songs balance family and hood pressures over melancholy synths and rattling hi-hats." Kyle Ellison

25 - Tyler, The Creator: Wolf​​​​​​

"The intensity of the spotlight got the better of Tyler's awkwardly self-aware Goblin, but this year's Wolf finds the rapper getting his shit back together. Musically speaking it's a surprisingly focussed record, channelling the Neptunes' early 00s lounge-rap but slowing the tempo to a confident crawl. Ultimately, it's another flawed record for Tyler's collection, but his influence as a producer ripples through Kanye West's Yeezus and beyond." Kyle Ellison

24 - Greenhouse [Illogic & Blueprint]: Bend But Don't Break

"Ill and Blue will never top 2005's unheralded unbelievable album as Greenhouse Effect, 'Columbus Or Bust', but these two Ohio natives still have plenty to say and an ever-compelling way of saying." Neil Kulkarni

23 - YC The Cynic: GNK

"In all the chattering fuss over the New New York scene, it's somewhat curious that YC The Cynic has been largely left out of the conversation. (Perhaps he's too far uptown for Brooklyn bloggers to notice.) A rough diamond from a deft emcee, G.N.K. soars above middling mimics like Astro and Joey Bada$$ and represents Big Apple hip-hop with the realness. Lifted by Frank Drake's tender and unobtrusive production, the album embodies The Bronx rapper's lyrical maturity, something uncommon in these blustery days. Strong socio-political messages are delivered softly, in the form of understated soul ('Hvnly'), Compton-style G-Funk ('Murphy's Law'), and Havoc-level outer-borough depth ('Molotovs At Poseidon')." Gary Suarez

22 - Earl Sweatshirt: Doris​​​​​​

"The ultra-violence may be toned down, but he turns everyday teenage experiences – like driving around and taking drugs – into menacing night-time adventures for his imagination to run wild in. The murky basslines of 'Sasquatch' and 'Hive' make even the ordinary sound sinister, expertly demonstrating how a cycle to work can be twisted to sound vaguely threatening – "From a city that's recession-hit / with stress, n*\ggas could flex metal with, peddle to rake pennies in." At other times he's simply high on his own gobbledygook, like during 'Whoa' when he swallows a nickel of hash and then dashes to St Nicholas' pad to taste the reindeer." Kyle Ellison

21 - Reckonize: Dopamine

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"The better the bleaker, more neon-suffused it got – superb collection from Queens based producer Reckonize Real entirely lacking in conceptual & narrative flow and all the more jarringly stuffed with highlights because of it." Neil Kulkarni

20 - Starlito & Don Trip: Stepbrothers 2

"Stepbrothers 2 isn't as immediate as its predecessor, but get past its cold aesthetic and the rewards are rich. Starlito and Don Trip are two of the smartest rappers around – finding empathy for a school shooter on the Kevin Gates-featuring 'Leash on Life', and adapting Shakespeare for the modern tragedy 'Caesar and Brutus'." Kyle Ellison

19 - Kool & Kass: Peaceful Solutions​​​​​​

"With two tapes already under his belt in 2013, Victor 'Kool A.D.' Vasquez is downright hyperactive now that Das Racist is kaput. Tag-teaming with Greedhead familiar Kassa Overall, Peaceful Solutions consists of a playful, often sympathetically sloppy assortment. Consistency exists, to the extent that the participants seem perpetually and proudly disinterested, Kool's catatonically chill menthol monotone jibing fairly well with Kass' inoffensive indie flow." Gary Suarez

18 - Black Milk: No Poison No Paradise

"Better than 2010's superb 'Album Of The Year'. If you have a choice between buying this or giving Elzhi a few squid to kickstart his 2014 album give the money to Elzhi and find someone you can steal this off." Neil Kulkarni

17 - Rich Homie Quan: I Promise I Will Never Stop Going In

"Rich Homie Quan's 'Type of Way' might have been the song of the summer, but he saved his best body of work for December's I Promise I Will Never Stop Going In. Quan subverts pop structures with his combination of infectious melody and rugged street talk, joining a growing number of Atlanta sing-rappers who are penetrating the mainstream." Kyle Ellison

16 - Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels​

"A year on from Killer Mike's triumphant R.A.P. Music, El-P has jumped from behind the boards to form a duo. The resulting Run The Jewels is the most unashamedly fun record in either rapper's discography, as the pair find renewed enthusiasm for playground battle raps." Kyle Ellison

15 - A$AP Rocky: Long.Live.A$AP

"On the heady, hedonistic Long.Live.A$AP, Rocky appears so eager to distance himself from New York's rap conservatism that he doesn't even give his own mobsters - including the talented A$AP Ferg - a chance to shine outside of a deluxe edition bonus track. Instead, he recruits sparingly from the left coast, tapping Los Angelenos Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q of the Black Hippy collective, among others as disparate as hipster veteran Santigold and EDM whipping boy Skrillex." Gary Suarez

14 - Young Thug: 1017 Thug

"Lil Wayne laid the foundations and Future did the brickwork, but Young Thug is the rapper at the forefront of the genre's melodic experiments. This year's 1017 Thug manages to be one of the most radical but also hook-laden records of the year, as its vocal eccentricities merge beautifully with dizzily inventive Atlanta trap." Kyle Ellison

13 - Tree: Sunday School 2: When Church Lets Out

"Whether he's rapping or singing, Tree's voice is a thing of coarse, fucked-up beauty. The Chicago rapper picks out warm childhood narratives and loosely frames them within the violence that long plagued his neighbourhood. With the addition of rich yet inventive production, Sunday School 2 is an emotive journey through the stairwells and alleys of the Cabrini Green housing projects." Kyle Ellison

12 - Action Bronson & Party Supplies: Blue Chips 2

"Bronsolino & Supplies take their victory lap – been difficult to avoid AB this year but this sequel to last year's classic was less of a surprise but no less glorious. The soundtrack to summer." Neil Kulkarni

11 - Antwon: In Dark Denim

"Depending on who you ask, Queens, NY native Himanshu 'Heems' Suri's Greedhead imprint is either a prevailing force or a hipster dark horse in the increasingly diverse and fertile underground hip-hop scene. Either way, the former Das Racist emcee clearly picked another winner in Antwon (pictured, top), a San Jose rapper whose flow oddly recalls Biggie at his flirtiest and ODB at his most strikingly lucid." Gary Suarez

10 - Kevin Gates: The Luca Brasi Story

"Many versions of Kevin Gates appear on The Luca Brasi Story – from the goofy romantic on 'Arms of a Stranger' to the steely-eyed drug pusher on 'Narco Trafficante' – yet all of them are somehow convincing. This kind of variety is a difficult trick to pull off, but Gates is a modern and complex rap star with a quality of songwriting to match his range." Kyle Ellison

9 - Zebra Katz: Drklng

"Perhaps the only queer-hop you'll have heard in 2013 that brings to mind Throbbing Gristle and Prince and Arthur Russell. Alongside Le1f part of a bold new dawn for rap that's been too damn long coming." Neil Kulkarni

8 - The Underachievers: Indigoism

"For those who found Joey Bada$$ a little too retro (not this writer btw), The Underachievers proved there was something worth digging for in the much-vaunted Beast-Coast scene with this multi-faceted, thoughtful mix, the production from Dreamrite in particular tickling all kinds of pleasure-centres." Neil Kulkarni

7 - A$AP Ferg: Trap Lord

"Originally conceived as a mixtape, Trap Lord rightfully exists as a proper album, with thirteen tracks totalling fifty-one marvelous and misanthropic minutes. Judging by his verses, Ferg's a hedonist, a lunatic, a streetwise savant whose hip hop atavism rises above impersonation into something idiosyncratic and novel." Gary Suarez

6 - Trellion & Sniff: North Luna​​​

"Sick, slo-mo, deranged music and even more deranged rhymes from two of Sheffield's finest talents – the most seriously twisted genius racket the city has created since the heyday of CabVol. Don't let this slip between the cracks." Neil Kulkarni

5 - Lil Durk: Signed To The Streets

"This is the promise of drill leaping towards fulfillment, balanced between self-serious thug code and pop-adjacent musical levity, with production fitting his sonorously numbing flow like bespoke suiting. Chop's BandKamp cohort Paris Bueller - the most prevalent of Durk's chosen beatmakers here - bathes the tape in luminous menace ('Don't Understand Me,' 'Hittaz'), which won't surprise anyone familiar with 'Dis Ain't What You Want', that boldly blasé slam dunk of a single that has come the closest to Keef's monolithic 2012 hits. Durk works within the formula even as it attempts to stifle him, with 'Oh My God' and Chop's digi-boppin' 'One Night' all vying to follow the path to radio." Gary Suarez

4 - Pusha T: My Name Is My Name

"A long time in the coming, and preceded earlier in the year by the sterling Wrath Of Caine mixtape which augured well, Pusha T's solo debut takes the fearsome lyrical energy displayed there but maps it onto piledriver minimalism production work from his long-standing champion Kanye West. While the broad-ranging styles the album encompasses produce a few errant moments, any inconsistency is more than overpowered by tracks like 'Numbers On The Board' and 'Nosetalgia', with the latter, which drafts in Kendrick Lamar for a supremely fine guest spot, seeing Pusha's storytelling in his favoured lyrical one-two of drug-pushing and big-time boasting reach an apex over a boiled-down earworm of a beat, making for a record that deals in a stark, addictive brilliance." Laurie Tuffrey

3 - Kanye West: Yeezus

"Revolution requires a spark, and West has chosen to be that spark, albeit one that recalls a virgin-seeking suicide bomber more than a molotov cocktail or gunpowder plot. Not that we'd expect any less from him. Yeezus, then, marks a subversive table turn of the Mandingo mythology, the trembling blackness thrust into Hampton wives as a sort of coup d'etat against the ugly and persistent status quo of culture, status, and race, a problem well-summarized by Gil Scott-Heron on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's finale 'Who Will Survive In America'." Gary Suarez

2 - Chance The Rapper: Acid Rap

"One of the year's most surprising and addictive mixtapes from 20 year old Chi-town debutante Chance. Good collabos with Action Bronson & Nate Fox but it's the sheer nonchalance of this that seals it to your heart, a mix that sounds like it was made yesterday afternoon and slipped into your pocket by an anonymous deranged passerby. Real hip-hop fans will tell you this guy can't rap which should tell you how much you should be listening to him." Neil Kulkarni

1 - Ka: The Night's Gambit

"Suffering, anguish, pain, loathing – one of 2013's darkest yet most essential hip hop releases, at its best when the broken-ness and desolation of Ka's sentiments are matched by strange, scattered, barely-there music. A great follow up to last year's fantastic 'Grief Pedigree' from one of US rap's most isolated yet engrossing voices." Neil Kulkarni

  1. Ka – The Night's Gambit
  2. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
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  3. Kanye West – Yeezus
  4. Pusha T - My Name Is My Name
  5. Lil Durk - Signed To The Streets
  6. Trellion & Sniff – North Luna
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  7. A$AP Ferg - Trap Lord
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  8. The Underachievers – Indigoism
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  9. Zebra Katz – Drklng
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  10. Kevin Gates – The Luca Brasi Story
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  11. Antwon - In Dark Denim
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  12. Action Bronson & Party Supplies – Blue Chips 2
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  13. Tree – Sunday School 2: When Church Lets Out
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  14. Young Thug – 1017 Thug
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  15. A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP
  16. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels​
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  17. Rich Homie Quan - I Promise I Will Never Stop Going In
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  18. Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
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  19. Kool & Kass - Peaceful Solutions
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  20. Starlito & Don Trip – Stepbrothers 2
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  21. Reckonize – Dopamine
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  22. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
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  23. YC The Cynic – GNK
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  24. Greenhouse [Illogic & Blueprint] - Bend But Don't Break
  25. Tyler, The Creator – Wolf​​​​​​
  26. Deniro Farrar – The Patriarch
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  27. Lewis Parker – The Puzzle Pt. 2: The Glass Ceiling
  28. Shadowrunners – Shadowrunners
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  29. Dom Kennedy - Get Home Safely
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  30. Telemachus – In The Evening
  31. Fat Trel – SDMG
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  32. Shy Glizzy – Law 2​​​​​​
  33. Ramson Badbonez – A Year In The Life Of Oscar The Slouch
  34. Billy Woods – Dour Candy
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  35. Big Baby Gandhi – Debut
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  36. Hus Kingpin – The Cognac Tape
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  37. Gucci Mane – Trap House 3​​
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  38. Lil Wayne - I Am Not A Human Being II
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  39. Metabeats – Caviar Crackle
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  40. Pusha T - Wrath Of Caine

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