The 40 Best Rap Albums Of 2013

Last year, there was one album — Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City — that united virtually the entire rap-listening public in adoration. This year, no such luck. Many heard my #1 pick of the year (and you can probably already guess what it is) as the work of a sonic visionary, and plenty more heard it as a screechy, indulgent, redundant feat of image-manipulation and halfassed rapping. Further down the list, other albums were nearly as divisive. This was a weird year for rap: Big-name veterans either experimenting or boldly halfassing it, nearly as many great R&B mixtapes as great rap mixtapes, only a few real breakout stars. But there was still plenty of great music to be heard, and you can find some of it in every one of the albums below.

The top eight albums on this list are the rap albums that appeared on Stereogum’s 50 Best Albums Of 2013 countdown. Everything after this is my pick and my pick only. That means my proclivities are on bold display, and there’s plenty of stuff that I missed, or that I just straight-up didn’t like. And for the purposes of this exercise, we’re not considering Death Grips to be rap anymore, because come on. Hopefully, though, you’ll find something below that’s new to you, something that you’re glad you found.

Oddisee - The Beauty In All40 OddiseeThe Beauty In All (Mello Music Group)

[Listen here.]
 
 

Vic Mensa - Innanetape39 Vic MensaInnanetape (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Project Pat - Cheez N Dope 238 Project PatCheez N Dope 2 (Project Records/Hypnotize Minds)

[Download here.]
 
 

Future - F.B.G.: The Movie37 FutureF.B.G.: The Movie (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Roc Marciano - The Pimpire Strikes Back36 Roc MarcianoThe Pimpire Strikes Back (Man Bites Dog Records)

[Download here.]
 
 

Le1f - Tree House35 Le1fTree House (Camp & Street/Greedhead Music)

[Download here.]
 
 

Gucci Mane - Trap House III34 Gucci ManeTrap House III (1017 Brick Squad Records)

[Listen here.]
 
 

Big K.R.I.T. - King Remembered In Time33 Big K.R.I.T.King Remembered In Time (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Rich Kidz - A Westside Story32 Rich KidzA Westside Story (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Starlito & Don Trip - Step Brothers 231 Starlito & Don TripStep Brothers 2 (Self-released)

[Listen here.]
 
 

Ty Dolla $ign - Beach House 230 Ty Dolla $ignBeach House 2 (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Young Thug - 1017 Thug29 Young Thug1017 Thug (1017 Brick Squad)

[Download here.]
 
 

Juicy J - Stay Trippy28 Juicy JStay Trippy (Columbia Records)

[Listen here.]
 
 

Joe Moses - From Nothing To Something 227 Joe MosesFrom Nothing To Something 2 (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Problem & Iamsu! - Million Dollar Afro26 Problem & Iamsu!Million Dollar Afro (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

Tree - Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out25 TreeSunday School II: When Church Lets Out (Creative Control)

[Download here.]
 
 

Gucci Mane - Trap God 224 Gucci ManeTrap God 2 (1017 Brick Squad)

[Download here.]
 
 

Lil Durk - Signed 2 The Streets23 Lil DurkSigned 2 The Streets (Self-released)

[Download here.]
 
 

The Underachievers - Indigoism22 The UnderachieversIndigoism (Brainfeeder)

[Download here.]
 
 

Kevin Gates - Stranger Than Fiction21 Kevin GatesStranger Than Fiction (Atlantic)

[Listen here.]
 
 

Travi$ Scott - Owl Pharaoh20 Travi$ ScottOwl Pharaoh (Grand Hustle/Epic)

The youngest of the sonic architects behind Yeezus shows exactly where Kanye got that apocayptic-reggae sound from. The young Texan isn’t a particularly compelling rapper yet, but his sound, with its synthetic demon-wails and its ghostly choirs and its bountiful Auto-Tune, is a thing to behold. “Upper Echelon” pulls off the neat trick of making 2 Chainz sound like Godzilla. [Download here.]

Le1f - Fly Zone19 Le1fFly Zone (Camp & Street/Greedhead Music)

Le1f is such an arresting presence — four-four braid-extentions flying, sneer conquering half his face, madly voguing through some unforgettable music videos — that it’s easy to overlook how great of a straight-up rapper he is. Of his three solo mixtapes, this one, all thunderous claps and foghorns of bass, makes that case the most forcefully. [Download here.]

DJ Mustard - Ketchup18 DJ MustardKetchup (Self-released)

Mustard doesn’t rap, but his spacey, tingling, delicately assembled robo-funk (termed “ratchet music” by whoever names these things) has, over the past two years, become the de facto sound of California rap. And for his mixtape compilation, Mustard stays almost entirely within his own area code, giving us an album’s worth of slinky, infectious would-be hits from guys like Ty$ and YG — artists who should do everything in their power to attach themselves to Mustard forever. [Download here.]

Da Mafia 6ix - 6ix Commandments17 Da Mafia 6ix6ix Commandments (Scale-A-Ton)

DJ Paul, one of the co-founders of Three 6 Mafia, reassembles almost all the original members of his old Memphis horror-crunk collective and returns them to the dark, chaotic, physical crush-your-skull style of their collective past. The complaints that it’s not the same without Juicy J become moot when Juicy actually shows up and when the rest of the tape maintains a momentum that Juicy couldn’t conjure on his own very good major-label solo album Stay Trippy. [Download here.]

Master P - Al Capone16 Master PAl Capone (No Limit)

In certain geographical quadrants, Master P has been a rap punchline for nearly two decades; I’ve seen a club full of Roots fans boo the mere mention of his name. And he’s spent years in the pop-culture wilderness, his greatest contribution being to his son’s Nickelodeon sitcom. And yet here he comes again, recruiting two of the country’s finest street-rappers (DC’s Fat Trel and Atlanta’s Alley Boy) to help him assemble and hour’s worth of bulldozing goon anthems. Comebacks never come when you expect them. [Download here.]

2 Chainz - B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time15 2 ChainzB.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (Def Jam)

He bought a new crib just to fuck you in. Atlanta’s reigning middle-aged master of dad-joke ribaldry dials into what everyone liked about him in the first place, mostly staying away from his feelings so he can smack you with amazingly terrible puns and swollen, world-consuming beats. And when he does get thoughtful, it’s not for long; he is, after all, the man who rhymed “rest in peace to all the soldiers who died in the service” with “I died in her cervix.” [Listen here.]

Meek Mill - Dreamchasers 314 Meek MillDreamchasers 3 (Dream Chasers)

Meek Mill can rap, and on the third installment of his unflagging great Dreamchasers series, he veers from moody-superstar money-talk to gut-blasted despair to virtuosic classic-rap appropriation to desperate childhood-memory reverie without ever compromising his blistering urgency. [Download here.]

Kevin Gates - The Luca Brasi Story13 Kevin GatesThe Luca Brasi Story (Atlantic)

This Louisiana cult-hero bruiser makes his entrance onto the national stage through rain-slick synth-smears and exposed-nerve throat croaks, finding that post-Future sweet spot where wounded emotive koans become sticky hooks. And closing track “IHOP (True Story)” is the purest display of rap-narrative skill you’ll hear all year. [Download here.]

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris12 Earl SweatshirtDoris (Columbia)

Odd Future’s prodigal little brother transcends the ADD noise surrounding his crew and the PR gamesmanship of his return from reform school by folding deep inward, muttering dazzling writerly knots over subtle tick-tocks and sinister bass-rolls.. By all accounts, Earl is most comfortable when he’s inside his own head. Turns out he raps better from there, too. [Listen here.]

Pusha T - My Name Is My Name11 Pusha TMy Name Is My Name (Def Jam)

He’s long been a dependable guest-verse scene-stealer, but on his own solo mixtapes, Push Ton Key has lately felt like he was filling space before the guests showed up. On his proper solo debut, though, he brings that old steely-eyed fire, that Clipse-era hauteur, while Kanye’s stable of beatmakers treat his backing music like it’s graphic design. And on the low, “Nosetalgia” boasts the single best Kendrick Lamar guest-verse of the year, “Control” included. [Listen here.]

Ka - The Night's Gambit10 KaThe Night’s Gambit (Iron Works)

Dense, craggy word-drunk verses muttered over dark, minimal, flickering sample-scapes — the classic mid-’90s New York sound turned inward and contemplative, into meditation music. The guy who made this is a middle-aged firefighter who rapped, recorded, produced, and released this himself, then directed all the absorbing black-and-white videos, thus creating a better argument for the DIY ethic than anyone in indie rock managed this year. [Listen here.]

Action Bronson & Party Supplies - Blue Chips 209 Action Bronson & Party SuppliesBlue Chips 2 (Atlantic/Vice)

The one guy in rap who gets better when he’s not trying hard, when he just doesn’t give half a fuck, makes his most gloriously halfassed full-length since the first Blue Chips, rapping over Phil Collins and Tracey Chapman and “Tequila,” eloquently describing the taste and texture of every opulent meal he ate whatever week he made this. [Download here.]

A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP08 A$AP RockyLong. Live. A$AP (A$AP Worldwide/Polo Grounds/RCA)

This guy built his name on creeped-out fashion-goon mood-rap. Then he made a debut album with big-budget set-pieces and abrupt mood-shifts and a goddam Skrillex track, and he still didn’t lose the mood he’d created. He had a first single where Drake and Kendrick Lamar both furiously outrapped him, and it worked as a starmaking moment anyway, simply because the song was so good. All the songs were so good. [Listen here.]

 A$AP Ferg - Trap Lord07 A$AP FergTrap Lord (Polo Ground/RCA)

One of rap’s great feel-good stories of 2013: A born second-banana type just manages to upstage the star of his crew through weirdness and vigor and apocalyptic beat-selection and expertly selected early-’90s imagery and one absolutely jawdropping Bone Thugs track. We got two cool popes this year. [Listen here.]

Drake - Nothing Was The Same06 DrakeNothing Was The Same (Cash Money Records/Universal Republic)

This wasn’t the reflective sea change that Take Care was, but it was still rap’s reigning miseribalist going tough and soft at the same damn time, finding a buttery chiffon new-wave variant we haven’t heard from him on “Hold On, We’re Going Home” a few tracks after he cooked up an unlikely hard-as-fuck underdog anthem with “Started From The Bottom.” And if his whole feelings-rap style turned noxious and dick-centric sometimes, then at least we knew it was real. [Listen here.]

Migos - YRN05 MigosYRN (Self-released)

The beats, from Zaytoven and his disciples, bounce around in your skull like ping-pong balls while three young Atlanta stutterers describe drug-dealing past lives like they’re little kids telling the story of a particularly sugar-addled trip to Chuck E. Cheese. The subject matter can be bleak, but nobody in rap had more fun rapping than these guys. When you are powerless to stop yelling a popular fashion brand’s name, even though you’ve never owned a stitch of that brand’s clothing in your life, the song that did that to you is something special. [Download here.]

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap04 Chance The RapperAcid Rap (Self-released)

Chance shouted out Chief Keef on Acid Rap’s very first single, so we know he doesn’t consider himself to be an antidote to his Chicago hometown’s teenage rap nihilism. But on his second mixtape, Chance works in the opposite direction from his peers’ cold, dead, expressionless delivery and martial beats. He goes emotionally open-hearted, rapping with artful emotional intelligence in a spiraling-out-of-control adolescent-motormouth yammer and selecting an album’s worth of beautiful Sunday-afternoon gospel-soul tracks. He’s from the same neighborhoods, but he doesn’t think the same. [Download here.]

Killer Mike & El-P - Run The Jewels03 Run The JewelsRun The Jewels (Fool’s Gold)

Forgive me for a tangent into wrestling-dorkdom, but the best thing in the WWE right now is the three-man bad-guy team the Shield. They don’t project much in the way of image (beyond “paramilitary face-stompers,” anyway), but when they wrestle, they annihilate. And they annihilate with pinpoint precision: Pulling off complicated teamwork moves, covering for each other’s mistakes, setting bigger stars up for harder falls, and fucking knocking people out of their boots when necessary. They are great friends who will wreck you. All of which is to say that Killer Mike and El-P are the Shield of rap. [Download here.]

Danny Brown - Old02 Danny BrownOld (Fool’s Gold)

Party anthems about feeling numb and overcome, direct boom-bap about the horrors that haunt you, Purity Ring transformed into future-rap superstar producers. Brown has always been an acquired taste, but when you acclimate your ears to his livewire yammer, he is a punchline animal. Here, though, he turns that sensibility inward and comes up with the year’s most powerful and uncomfortable rap writing, then recruits a cast of visionary underground producers to push that voice in as many directions as they can imagine. [Listen here.]

Kanye West - Yeezus01 Kanye WestYeezus (Def Jam)

The clanking, spitting, seething, fulminating, hyperventilating, anxiety-wrecked black hole at the center of our year. You could argue, justifiably, that this has no place topping a rap list, since the rapping is maybe the fifth-most interesting thing going on most of the time. You could even argue that it’s not even a rap album. And yet the 808s-blazing aesthetic here is like minimal mid-’80s drum-machine thud, in all its majestic sparseness, fed through goth-industrial-reggae-house filters and blown out to blockbuster scope. [Listen here.]

Check out Stereogum’s Best Albums Of 2013 here and Best Metal Albums Of 2013 here.

Comments (82)
  1. Number one is such a surprise, I’m flabergasted.
    (I can’t think of a better word, oh sweet Yeezus)

    In other news : the Eminem fans should arrive in five hours or so, depending on the traffic.

  2. What I’m finding to be very interesting in the rap / hip-hop realm of year-end lists is that Drake, for all of the head-bashing attention given to to him think pieces and memes and all-around discussion, Nothing Was the Same hasn’t amounted to it being deemed one of the year’s top 3 rap albums — and this goes universally. And that’s actually great, because I’m not finding myself revisiting the album all that much like I did Take Care or Thank Me Later. It’s actually lacking in engagement compared to everything else rap put out, although “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is his pop career highlight.

    • “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was pitchfork’s song of year. Not that they matter…

      • They got “Fuckin’ Problems” on there. I was relieved to see it wasn’t forgotten.

        • I was hoping we’d have this discussion since we talked about this inclusion recently. It makes me feel better about it on my list. Pitchfork actually put three songs from 2012 on their list (‘Fuckin’ Problems,” CHVRCHES’ “The Mother We Share” and Parquet Courts’ “Stoned and Sober.”) So I guess nobody should feel guilty about Burial and Bey next year as ’14 candidates.

          • *Parquet Courts “Stoned and Starving,” not “Stoned and Sober.” Just a friendly correction. And I agree by the way. I’m sure Bey will be on 2014 lists.

    • Yup, all of it.

      • I was happy to see worst behavioUr so high – that song has no right to be so good. GOD DAMN.

        • Yeezus will most definitely be P4k’s AOTY but if there’s going to be an upset I’m guessing it might be Nothing Was the Same given how high they had some of the singles. Worst Behavior continues to be so sick.

  3. I’ve been enjoying Acid Rap and Run the Jewels quite a bit more than Yeezus.

    • Upvoted because you’re going to need it.

    • Also upvoted. Add Danny Brown to those two and you have my top 3 hip-hop albums of the year.

    • Acid Rap was the best “fairly-serious” rap album, Run The Jewels was by far the most fun rap album, and Yeezus was, well Yeezus. It will hold a special place in Kanye’s canon, and in the canon of “Rap” music in general. But it’s just not the album that was most enjoyable or meaningful this year.

  4. I’d maybe switch Migos with Pusha T, but I can’t say the top 10 look all too surprising.

  5. FLYZONE YES!

  6. Also A$AP Ferg above A$AP Rocky? A$AP Mob drama!

  7. I may not be a rap genius, but Prodigy & Alchemist album was pretty sick.

  8. I found the second half of Danny Brown’s Old really difficult to get through. I’d also rank Doris a lot higher, even WITH the Vince Staples verses.

    • I also found the first half way more pleasing to the ear. But, depending where you are and what you’re doing, I think the second half can be incredible too. That’s when the kush coma starts kicking in.

    • Wait are you saying Vince Staples verses were weak? Are you and I hearing the same verse on Hive?

      • Yeah that’s the verse in particular I’m talking about. I just don’t really like it is all, the flow comes across pretty awkward at times.

    • WHAAAAAT! Vince Staples has some great verses on Doris. Even made me a bit of a fan (His twitter is also the best thing ever)

  9. Jonwayne Rap Album One should be on here…

  10. Big ups for sliding Oddisee in there. Anyone heard Own Appeal? Such a good track.

  11. I’ve come to the conclusion that Macklemore is the Rap game Michael BublĂ©.

  12. Flatbush Zombies are being slept on something fierce. Better Off Dead was such a refreshing surprise. Acid Rap is far and away my #1 though.

  13. I think I would have slipped Denzel Curry’s Nostalgic 64 in there. Otherwise – I can’t really think of much to complain about – so a damn good list.

  14. I think you’re totally out-thinking yourself if Yeezus isn’t your album of the year. It’s like picking The King’s Speech over The Social Network, cos it’s more serious, and doesn’t have the lyrical equivalent of Brenda Song in it. Which film is everyone gonna revisit in ten years?

    • That’s a weird comparison to make because, if anything, I’d accuse Yeezus of being TOO serious. I liked plenty of hip-hop more than Yeezus this year because I found Yeezus to be suffocatingly self-serious and exhausting, whereas records like Acid Rap, Run the Jewels, and Flatbush Zombies were fun and ebullient.

      • Ok, then. That seems like a perfectly legitimate reason to choose Acid Rap over Yeezus. I just don’t agree with the idea that an Album of the Year can’t be flawed. I’m ok with my Album of the Year overstepping with that “Strange Fruit” sample or including stupid “all I need is sweet and sour sauce” type lines. In fact maybe those shitty lyrics helped me take it less seriously, and just enjoy the sound.

        I get the feeling from many people that Album of the Year is some serious award, that it needs to go to something with pretty photography, a stunning performance by the lead actor, and a whole bunch of gravitas. For me, Yeezus is all grainy. It’s noisy and certainly flawed, but it’s also brief and addictive. I listened to the whole album countless times, and all those weird transitions, gaps, screams and anxiety just make those heaven-opening moments like the prog rock sample at the end of New Slaves that much sweeter. Acid Rap is more fun, but as 40 minute of sound, Yeezus is just fucking brilliant. It’s got impact.

        • I agree that an album can be great AND flawed (The Replacements’ Let It Be is probably my favorite album of the 80s), but I for the life of me cannot ingratiate myself to the kind of flawed moments Kanye creates. Whether on Yeezus or Fantasy, the glaringly bad moments are like a dare for me to stop listening and since I see no tremendous benefit to making extra time to re-contextualize those flaws so as to become strengths (like nearly every critic has), I simply comply and stop listening. Kanye’s not such a gifted rapper (he is not a gifted rapper, period) that I can simply say “It’s not what he’s saying, it’s HOW he’s saying it” like many have with the new Eminem. Instead these flaws just sit there and get moldier and moldier until they kind of ruin the entire experience for me. I think Yeezus is an interesting album in a “this is some really challenging, inspired production for such a commercial release,” but it’s not so comparatively interesting to me that I can just cruise by the elements of the album that are so obviously under-developed.
          I also know there’s a part of me that pushes against the cult of personality that exists with Kanye and that’s probably on me. Critics desperately want a tent-pole mainstream artist to centre the general musical discussion and Kanye seems to fit the bill now that Jay-Z has entered mental retirement, but while he’s an interesting figure that makes interesting music, I don’t think he’s quite fascinating enough for me to jump in with the critical tongue bath.

          What do I know? My favorite Kanye album is 808s (the hip-hop Pinkerton?) and I still think that latest Ghostface album was great.

          • It’s interesting you bring up flaws in both MBDTF and Yeezus. Both records are flawed, but on repeated listen the flaws begin to change, and both records did so differently. Now, on MBDTF, the initial flaws grew to be just some lesser pieces to an incredible brilliant-with-more-listens whole (I’m namely thinking about the Chris Rock bit). Things that I didn’t initially love about that album grew into things that I loved about that album, and now MBDTF is one of my favorite records ever (regardless of genre).

            Yeezus on the other hand, while I love it, had flaws that I don’t think it was quite able to transcend. The dumb lyrics (Which do transcend a bit, but not nearly as much as on MBDTF), the lesser songs on the album (Namely “I’m In It” and “Send It Up”) didn’t improve with repeated listens, they just kind of stayed the same. Now, I still like Yeezus a lot, but I’d say what personally makes it weaker than some of the other records on this list is that it had flaws that just couldn’t transcend.

          • Yeah the MBDTF transcends its flaws in pretty simple ways. The Chris Rock bit is PAINFUL, but its tacked onto the end of a pretty good song and can simply be mitigated with the skip button. “Monster” is a pretty lousy track that contains a showstopping verse from Minaj. I can sit through the dregs to get to that verse because that verse is good enough. On Yeezus, the flaws are kind of scattered throughout, little land mines scattered through nearly every song that can sour the whole thing if you’re not careful. You can’t really skip them so much as overlook them. A lot of the pro-Yeezus writing I’ve read seems to be made up of people who willfully overlook those moments. They acknowledge them on one hand, but deny their existence on the other. It’s the inverse of the critical reception of the Dismemberment Plan record where critics picked apart every questionable, dubious lyric. It speaks to the critical cache Kanye enjoys that critics can kind of pretend a dud line like “swaghiili” doesn’t exist or that Kanye’s flow is so rocky whereas a guy like Travis Morrison gets nailed to the cross for his kind of jokey lyrics.

          • I am definitely biased to a fault. I will fully admit that I am much more willing to forgive our lord Yeezus for shitty lyrics. If Big Sean dropped that swaghili line, I would have thrown my laptop in the trash after it came out of my speakers. On the other hand, I think if you break down most lyrics, I think they’re pretty damn stupid. It’s like plausibility/continuity errors in film or television; if the rest of the the show is interesting enough, it’s easier to overlook mistakes. If there’s nothing to distract me from the lyrical fuck-ups, it’s all I can think about. What is happening – I keep talking about films and stuff.

            I think it speaks to MBDTF’s quality that there’s only a couple glaring errors to fix. I’d totally scrap the Minaj-horrible-fake-British-accent intro and the Chris Rock skit, and maybe some other fat-trimming too.

          • Wow. I said “I think” way too many times there. I think I’m coming across as a fucking idiot.

    • I don’t care which album I’m coming back to more in 10 years, I enjoy Acid Rap much more than I enjoy Yeezus.

      • Its sort of Ironic considering how Acid Rap was essentially built as a College Dropout Ripoff.

        It all comes full circle….

      • That’s because in 10 years Kanye will have topped Yeezus whereas Acid Rap will still be Chance’s crowning achievement.

        • I strongly believe the best of Chance is yet to come and anybody rational would agree he is a superior rapper, but I think its super ironic that so many indie-purists bow down to Acid Rap and act indifferent to Yeezus when A.Rap is essentially an homage album to 2004 Kanye.

          More importantly it highlights how far Kanye has come in 10 years and is exactly why Yeezus is so interesting.

          In all honesty I find the fitting of Yeezus into a Rap category rather awkward. I think it should just be considered alternative pop.

          • You’re totally right. Yeezus actually feels more at home atop my “Albums of the Year list” rather than my “Rap Albums of the Year list.” I don’t even really want to compare Yeezus and Acid Rap. Yeezus feels like it’s obviously the most impactful album of the year to me. Acid Rap, on the other hand, is the most fun.

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  16. Run the Jewels ftw

  17. Leaving Wolf off this list is criminal IMO. Seriously one of the most underrated albums of the year, maybe because so much great stuff came out after it.

    The lack of No Poison No Paradise is disappointing as well. Feel the same about Watching Movies With the Sound Off and BetterOffDEAD.

    Pretty solid list all around though.

    • Even though Wolf is severely flawed (almost to a fault), it is a bit odd that it’s nowhere to be found here. There’s some amazing stuff on that record (Answer, Awkward) and some weird stuff that I like quite a bit (The trilogy track with Bimmer, Treehome95).

  18. Nice to see Ka get some recognition at #10–one of the more nakedly honest (from the production to the lyrics to the way it was distributed) albums on the list.

    But no White Mandingos? Everything off of “The Ghetto’s Tryna Kill Me” is way more challenging than Kanye’s Sociology 101 non-sequiturs on “Yeezus.”

    • Can you explain what’s so great about that Ka record? I’m not condescendingly insulting you, I’m actually quite curious. I’ve been trying so hard to crack it open but I just cannot get into it at all.

      • I gravitate toward emcees who are good street reporters. I understand Ka’s style isn’t for everyone–it’s borderline spoken word, I didn’t think it was that great on first listen–but there’s something about the imagery he conjures on each song that seeps into your brain and sticks there–the city is dark, isolating, and not glamorous.

        “I’m a cold winter morning, y’all Summer’s Eve”

  19. Totally agree with the high ranking of Chance, Run The Jewels and Drake. I do think that Deniro Farrar’s two mixtapes should get more (any) love on these year-end lists though.

  20. I would just like to say that I feel A$AP Ferg has been grossly underrated this year and that its unfair to rank Y.R.N. so high.

    Y.R.N. is packed with too many redundant filler songs, not to mention the sequel getting pumped out so quickly just underscores how slapped together these mixtapes are. Don’t get me wrong, I love Migos, I think they’ll become more relevant than people think, but putting that mixtape as #5 is just stupid compared to many more ambitious albums ranked below it.

    Trap Lord has been an album I’ve frequently revisited and I learned to appreciate it more on further listens. Although it’s not very long at 10 tracks and some of them are clunkers, his personality really shines through on the feature-less songs and I think had the album been released as a mixtape (as it originally was intended) it would have received more praise. I would be willing to make the argument that A$AP Ferg is the most vibrantly fun solo-act rap performance since 2002 Eminem. Not to mention his affinity for singing rivals Drake’s, however his approach is very much different and refreshing.

    Even compared to Danny Brown’s Old, I believe Trap Lord’s cohesive direction and Ferg’s phono-aesthetic gift take his album to a higher level. I think ex-gummer Corban wrote P4k’s review, but regardless of who wrote it I think they firmly got it wrong. They dismissed many of his best songs on the ground that his delivery was too erratic, but I think that’s the very thing that makes Ferg excellent. Anyone who hasn’t listened to Trap Lord or dismissed it at first, I couldn’t recommend a 2013 rap album more (and there were A LOT of good ones this year) than Trap Lord.

    Although Shabba remix wasn’t on Trap Lord, the Ferg verse on that song really solidified him as the best (and most creative) new rapper for 2013.

  21. Why is Juicy J’s album named Stay Strippy? Also it should be in the top 5!

  22. i haven’t heard Roc Marci’s NEW new one yet, was it not that hot after all (hard to believe) or just came out too late to be considered?

  23. Wow, you have really weird taste. Project Pat?TWO Gucci Mane tapes? Not hating on Gucci, Trap God 2 deserves to be on this list, but putting two Gucci tapes over other albums and tapes that would personally be on my list, like WOLF, Government Plates, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, MMLP2, and BetterOffDEAD

  24. I think that Big K.R.I.T. mixtape has been one of the most severely underrated projects this year. I mean, sure, it’s not too much different from his past stuff, but he’s pretty consistent in releasing solid and stellar Hip-Hop. Plus there’s a lot more ballsiness(?) in the production that made it stand out from the rest.

    • As someone who absfuckingolutely loves Wuz Here and Return of 4eva, King Remembered was a welcome return to form, but not something special. I actively disliked Live From the Underground and 4eva and a Day.

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  26. while you guys argue everything else, kevin gates had two on the list…just saying.

  27. Ghostface > Kanye

    I dig 2, 3, & 4, though. I’d have Run the Jewels at a dominant #1. This did remind me of a few I’m still overdue to check, though.

  28. No love for J Cole?

  29. Yeezus Was a Mortal Man

  30. The best part of the Jay Z album was the guests (Beyonce, Frank Ocean).. still probably deserved to be maybe 40 something in this list

  31. white people and their weird taste in rap….

  32. Dedication 5 was better than about 37 or 38 or these albums

  33. 10.INNANETAPE
    9.MMLP2
    8.Long.Live.A$AP
    7.BetterOffDEAD
    6.Indigoism
    5.Born Sinner
    4.Because the Internet
    3.Summer Knights
    2.Old
    1.Doris

  34. I forgot the best one which was Acid Rap

  35. only 3 albums worth getting from that list oddissse, roc marciano and vic mensa

  36. no black milk, cold soul forces,jon connor?

  37. I have a couple of problems with this list, where the hell is Logic – Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever? I do agree with Run The Jewels being so high though, because that is just awesome – as you’d expect!

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