7. Killa Kyleon, Welcome To The Fish Fry Somehow, Killa Kyleon teamed with Danger Mouse for a mixtape and the Internet did not roll up into itself from amazingness. From the opening "I Got The Power, which trades in early-2000's YMCMB flair, to the closing tink-tink-tink of the hyperaggressive "Holla At Ya Boy," Kyleon is as superheroically cool as he has ever been.
6. Show, Game of Thrones Game of Thrones is a gorgeously dark, imposing, unblinking album. Its most inherently exciting moments come when he shares space with Rob Gullatte, an equally moving force, but its most crucial moments come when Show peels the flesh from his own bones as he bares his existential hurt.
Show is an undeniable talent, a gifted orator who combines an overwhelming intimidation factor with just enough likability. Houston has developed its next class of street rappers (Rob Gullatte, Killa Cal-Wayne, KAB, etc); Show might be the best among them.
5. Le$, The Struggle Continues Le$ owns a townhouse in these Best of the Year lists; he's just TOO good. He seems to know exactly what he wants to with/on every single song, floating around in a special brand of cosmic rap that magnifies his strengths while nearly erasing his weaknesses entirely. Clap for him.
4. The Outfit, TX, Starships & Rockets: Cooly Fooly Space Age Funk Here's what this album is: A brave, ambitious modernization of early era S.U.C. rap tinged with high-fives and hat-tips to some of Southern rap's greatest acts. There are bits of the Mafia in there, chunks of Outkast, pieces of UGK, quarters of 8 Ball and MJG and even a few pinches of the MOB. Still, somehow, through some form of voodoo, the eventuality is an effort that manages to be completely original.
3. Delo, Hood Politics Vol. 3 Another year, another volume of Hood Politics, another reminder that Delo is among the very best rappers in the city. There are really no two ways about it. Give him all of your money.
2. Dustin-Prestige, Plaid Plaid was a masterclass in genre amalgamation. On it, Prestige was wholly confident and entirely capable.
Rap that was more than. Prestige: John Everything. Haven't? Download now.
1. The Niceguys, James Kelley Touches wings with the angels, rubs elbows with the demons.
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There are no regional qualifiers necessary: James Kelley is one of the best rap albums of the year. The rapping is better than the production is better than the rapping is better than the production is better than the rapping X1000. If you wanted to describe it as perfect, I don't imagine you'd be too far away from right.