40 Best Rap Albums of 2016
The year in rap featured gospel-tinged dispatches from Chicago, new melodies from the South, introspective gangsta music from the West and the return of two legends of New York’s Native Tongues posse. Here’s the best albums and mixtapes from a year where MCs shouted down the chaos or partied in spite of it.
40. Yo Gotti, ‘The Art of Hustle’
For 20 years, Yo Gotti has been a reliable presence in Southern hip-hop, using his story as a preteen slinging in crime-ridden North Memphis to claim the chitlin circuit as his. In a year of Instagram stories, however, came solid proof that the reigning King of Memphis contains multitudes. The Art of Hustle deftly balances sounds of the old and new American South – from earnest, down-home odes to Elvis Presley’s adoptive home (“My City” featuring K. Michelle), to stick-up anthems fit for strip-club speakers. Moreover, Yo Gotti charms with all the ways he lets his guard down, whether to the aunties who raised him or, as in surprise hit “Down in the DM,” reality star Angela Simmons. C.L.