AOTY 2017
Pitchfork's 20 Rap Albums of 2016

Pitchfork's 20 Rap Albums of 2016

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21 Savage - Savage Mode

21 Savage - Savage Mode
July 14, 2016
Critic Score
71
4 reviews

On Savage Mode, the dry-voiced and deadpan trap rapper 21 Savage recounts a life that has known nothing but violence. It's his strongest release, thanks to sleek production by Metro Boomin. 

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
November 11, 2016
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
It can’t be said enough how simply good this record sounds and feels. Everyone here shows themselves to be a better rapper than they have ever been before, but that still doesn't capture the ease and exuberance of it all.

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
May 13, 2016
Critic Score
85
22 reviews

Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book is one of the strongest rap albums released this year, an uplifting mix of spiritual and grounded that even an atheist can catch the Spirit to.

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
September 27, 2016
Critic Score
83
29 reviews

No matter what's going on with the music, Brown’s acute emotional writing is once again on full display. Where XXX seemed to promise a way out, Old reflected (and sometimes reveled in) the lifestyle afforded him through his breakout success. This record, as dark, dingy, and uncomfortable as it is, continues to suggest something deeper is haunting Brown.

Isaiah Rashad - The Sun's Tirade

Isaiah Rashad - The Sun's Tirade
September 2, 2016
Critic Score
75
12 reviews
The Tennessee rapper and TDE associate really finds his voice on his second album, one filled with the tensions caused by a cycle of self-loathing and self-discovery.

Joey Purp - iiiDrops

Joey Purp - iiiDrops
May 27, 2016
Critic Score
78
4 reviews

Boastful and thoughtful, socially aware and defiantly filthy, longing for the music industry's spoils while simultaneously disregarding them—his various sides come together on iiiDrops, which is more well-rounded and definitive than his woozy The Purple Tape.

KA - Honor Killed the Samurai

KA - Honor Killed the Samurai
August 13, 2016
Critic Score
81
4 reviews

With his latest, the Brownsville rapper cements himself as a preeminent stylist, his voice hushed but vicious, his production a grim rabbit hole of found sounds, minor keys, and few drums.

Kamaiyah - A Good Night in the Ghetto

Kamaiyah - A Good Night in the Ghetto
March 14, 2016
Critic Score
85
3 reviews

Kamaiyah stands out from her peers ... with her appealingly natural presence. Her voice sounds as unaffected and assured singing as it does rapping, and she writes big hooks.

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016
Critic Score
79
32 reviews

A madcap sense of humor animates all his best work, and The Life of Pablo has a freewheeling energy that is infectious and unique to his discography. Somehow, it comes off as both his most labored-over and unfinished album, full of asterisks and corrections and footnotes.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
26 reviews

Its author tempts deeper reading, but his choices and the lack of entry points—no directional song titles, no grand proclamations, no promotion—leaving nothing to deal with but the music.

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Kevin Gates - Islah

Kevin Gates - Islah
January 29, 2016
Critic Score
79
7 reviews

It's by far the best single release of his career: It's more melodic and more focused; fiercer and more playful; funnier and sadder.  It's also probably the best pure rap release of the first quarter, and the best-case scenario for how a locally famous rapper can make a great album for a wider audience without getting lost in a corporate ledger.

Noname - Telefone

Noname - Telefone
July 31, 2016
Critic Score
81
8 reviews

On Telefone, she pours all the joy and devastation we glimpsed in her various guest spots with artists like Chance, Mick Jenkins, and Saba into a rich, somber, and incredibly intimate album.

Pusha T - King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude

Pusha T - King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude
December 18, 2015
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

The beats sound like money, and the raps are whip smart and cleanly tailored.

Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 2

Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 2
August 12, 2016
Critic Score
72
13 reviews

The album is stranger, artsier, and flat-out ballsier than its predecessor, especially considering the stakes.

Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP

Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP
July 8, 2016
Critic Score
77
18 reviews

Blank Face turns away from the ambitious fusion of To Pimp a Butterfly, instead doubling down on a smoked-out atmosphere that points the listener’s focus toward rapping. That puts the onus on Q to hold attention for the duration of the record’s hour-plus running time, and he does so with a wide array of tricks.

Skepta - Konnichiwa

Skepta - Konnichiwa
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
80
16 reviews

Konnichiwa is as nakedly vulnerable Skepta has ever been, and it represents a tantalizingly wide-open door for grime.

Vince Staples - Prima Donna

Vince Staples - Prima Donna
August 25, 2016
Critic Score
81
13 reviews

Pushing his versatility, ear for production, and lyricism in new directions, Vince Staples' hot streak continues.

YG - Still Brazy

YG - Still Brazy
June 17, 2016
Critic Score
81
12 reviews

Still Brazy solidifies YG as a torch-bearer for west coast gangster rap.

Young Thug - Jeffery

Young Thug - Jeffery
August 26, 2016
Critic Score
78
11 reviews

The rap iconoclast returns with his best album since Barter 6, daring and chameleonic, filled with hooks about identity, love, and that undefinable future swag.

Original Source: http://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/9987-the-top-20-rap-albums-of-2016/
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