The 25 Best Albums Of 2013

Kid Cudi, Indicud

Label: Wicked Awesome, GOOD, Republic

It’s still surprising to see Kid Cudi’s rise to fame. From being introduced to rap fans as Kanye’s hooksmith to growing into one of G.O.O.D. Music’s flagship artists, Cudder created a lane for his druggy and ambient music. After experimenting with rock in WZRD, the now independent artist treaded familiar territory with his latest album Indicud. Produced and written mostly by Cudi, the best moments come in his collaborations (Michael Bolton, Haim), as well as songs that show him in his zone (“Burn Baby Burn,” “Immortal”). While new fans might not fall in love with this, the lonely stoner wins over his dedicated fanbase through a wide range of songs that are pretty excellent.–ED

Freddie Gibbs, ESGN

Label: ESGN

Freddie Gibbs makes it very clear that he wants to separate himself from Jeezy and CTE. Calling ESGN “the definitive Freddie Gibbs album,” the 19-track project is authentic street raps that aren’t for the weak hearted. In typical fashion, Gibbs is technically at his best, weaving in everything from clever pop culture references to hard gangster narratives to displaying his impeccable cadence. Though the Gary, IN. native is aiming for crossover success, it doesn’t take away from ESGN’s obvious steps forward in that direction.–ED

Tech N9ne, Something Else

Label: Strange Music

Not a lot of rappers can achieve the milestone that Tech has done. On his 13th studio album, the self-described King Of Darkness delivers his best attempt for mainstream appeal in Something Else. There’s plenty for everyone here: dark emotional songs (“I’m Not A Saint,”) trap hyphy bangers (“Dwamn”) and radio-friendly cuts (“See Me”). Despite the fact that Tech is exploring heavy metal rock with his Therapy EP, you can always count on him for a solid hip-hop album.–ED

Kevin Gates, Stranger Than Fiction

Label: Bread Winners Association

Welcome to the big leagues, Kevin Gates, we hope you’re here to stay. With a series of lengthy and descriptive mixtapes under his belt, Gates’ Stranger Than Fiction was the best installment of cinematic rap that 2013 had to offer, with Gates hanging his storytelling cap on the same mantle as guys like Ghostface Killah and Nas. Gates doesn’t tell a story so much as he bleeds it, with cutting tales like “4:30 A.M.” and “Tiger” so emotionally raw that it can leave a listener stunned. And then there’s a track like “Thinking With My Dick,” which features Juicy J and makes you feel like the world isn’t all that bad. It’s just a little…strange at times.—DR

2 Chainz, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time

Label: Def Jam

B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time was the follow up to 2 Chainz’ 2012 Grammy-nominated LP, Based on a T.R.U. Story. The album peaked at the No. 3 spot on the Billboard 200 with features from Pharrell Williams, Fergie, Drake and Lil Wayne. Although 2 Chainz’ sophomore album earned the No. 21 spot, it did include noteworthy singles such as “Fork,” “Feds Watching” and “Used 2″ that had a video reuniting the Hot Boys.—MJ

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  • DubiousStatus

    Where the hell is BetterOffDead?! yeah technically you could say it’s a mixtape, but still one of the strongest releases this year

    • Eric Diep

      Stay tuned for our mixtapes tomorrow …

  • dmdmdmdmd

    Ace Hood- Trials and Tribulations is missing from this list

    • Trey Arline

      They, like the rest of the world, probably forgot it probably existed at all.

  • G

    c’mon XXL stop feeding into the bullshit

  • Trey Arline

    Recovery was widely praised? LOL. MMLP2 was good though, and so is Drake’s album.

    Yeezus takes my personal best album this year, regardless of genre. One of the most creative, wild, inventive, jarring, uncomfortable, uncompromising, courageous albums in YEARS. Love it or hate it, no one is doing what Kanye West is doing or even going to attempt to do. You don’t have to have lyrical miracle, try hard nonsense to make good music and he does just that. I know it’s probably not gonna be people’s first choice on this site, but it is what it is.

    • 2012Industry1

      I agree with you other than, yeah Recovery was widely praised when it came out, and it wasn’t a bad album, just commercial, which some Em fans despise! Yeezus is the best Rap Album this year though.

  • Mike Van Orden

    I don’t think I’ve seen a list that is half terrible and half right on the money like this. Somehow you redeem your asinine choices by getting the most important albums of the year up on here. But Big Sean, French, MCHG, and Indicud should not even be touching this stuff. Get outt here with that. Danny Brown was my album of the year. NWTS, MMLP2, Yeezus, Run the Jewels, all great as well.

    • Pretty Boy (Phd)

      indcud 10X better than nwts and its not even that great.

      • Mike Van Orden

        haha, cute..real cute

        • Christopher Scott Nesbitt

          Indicud was better than NWTS. I wouldn’t say 10x better, but to say that Indicud doesn’t deserve to be on the year end list is ridiculous.

          • Mike Van Orden

            thus why opinions about music are purely subjective. Critical consensus don’t back up what you’re saying one bit though. Indicud is not an album people will remember years from now. NWTS is, plain and simple.

          • Spitticus

            wait so how does what people remember make something good, people could never hear an album from an artist and that wouldn’t change that it could be one of the most amazing albums ever made. And yes, Indicud was a great musicial composition. NWTS was a CD full of songs for people to sing along with that they can easily relate to themselves because it’s about basic thinking and emotion.

    • icon kain

      That’s your opinion. And i have one too. Danny brown was lame as hell. and so was yeezus. MCHC and big Sean was that fire too.

  • brainiac

    Knock Madness. Better than half the albums on here

    • Trey Arline


    • Mike Van Orden

      you might actually be right but only because half the albums on here are terrible and it’s not hard to be better than a terrible album. Knock Madness was aight, repetitive horrorcore beats and Hopsin keeps takin’ shots at mainstream artists to get publicity and it seemed daring at first and now it’s clear it’s just a marketing ploy. You have to actually be better than the people you are dissing for the disses to not start ringing empty.

    • adam

      knock madness was prob the most hyped up disappointment this year

  • John Gary

    Where the hell is Acid Rap?

    • lui


  • 2012Industry1

    I just don’t think Pusha T album was THAT good though. I think in time people will have their HYPE subside and realize it’s not that good. I like most of your list though, which is more than I can say for most I’ve seen thus far. Cole should have been higher, and i’d replace Cudi with Black Milk.

  • adam

    what a fucking joke this is just a popularity contest i bet they didnt even listen to the albums, tyler the creater, 2 chains album of the year? come on

    • Infinite8

      2 chainz album! BOATS!!! IS STRAIGHT TRASH!!

  • Guesty Guest

    I lol’d when I saw Wale’s album. XXL just wants to avoid any death threats lmao.

    • DJ Blak Boy

      LMAO exactly!

  • Evan

    You Forgot Starlito & Don Trip’s Step Brothers Two…

    • Eric Diep

      Damn, yeah, that album was pretty great, but there were others just slightly in the running for this list

  • real talk

    I hate to say but, Yeezus probably will be considered album of the year. Simply, because of it’s mass appeal. I.E: several movies and products used Kanye’s beats in their backdrops during the year. I have several albums off this list. Some were good in that moment that they were released, and some had longevity. But to say Drake had the #! album of the year is…BULLSHIT. Dude can rap…sure, but this hip hop, and that’s the problem. He sings more than he raps! Ain’t that the same reason niggas turned on Ja Rule?

  • C G
  • Danny Ryan

    i think mmlp2 should have gotten one nothing was the same sucks

    • Eric Diep

      ‘Ye did just call Drizzy a rap god!

      • leto-el

        it doesn’t make him one though

  • godlike1

    7 albums on this list are good.. the rest are absolute trash only a wannabe would ever consider to purchase.. xxl sold out to the max rewarding trash if its a radio masterpiece aka sold out souless mainstream wannabe music

    • Eric Diep

      Which albums were the ones you liked?

  • DC95

    My Name is My Name – Album of the Year!

    • Infinite8

      Pusha T is straight killin with the lyrics on this My Name is My Name!!!

  • Tyrone

    Carrie Underwood is where its at niggas

  • Tyler Durden

    Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City is still better than all these albums… True Shit !!!

  • Aaron Minicudi

    HOF?? really? HAHAHAHAHHA

    • Infinite8

      I like Big Sean, but this Hall of Fame album was straight TRASH!! Control was the best song not on there!! just sad! I was rooting for Big Sean too. Oh well maybe next album!

  • Aaron Minicudi

    gambino really!? that literally JUST came out………

    • Eric Diep

      It delivered. We had a long debate about including that on our list.

    • Infinite8

      Childish Gambino album is pretty tight though. I was pleasantly surprised.

    • leto-el

      What’s your point exactly? Yes, it just came out. It doesn’t take away from the fact that it was one of the year’s best albums.

  • Ramon Rojo

    HOLD THE FUCK UP they gave Tyler a L but his album is one of the Top 25 of the year, 0 credibility

    • Eric Diep

      Other albums have Ls too. In the grand scheme of things, even those lower rated ones were more solid than the rest

      • T-Rock

        That doesn’t make any sense at all.. 3 months ago we said this album sucks and is pretty wack… but now at the end of the year it’s actually much better than the one we said was incredible 5 months ago…. This is more degrading to journalism than BuzzFeed

  • Dane


    also you putting The Gifted on here is just a cute way to pretend you’re better than complex

  • W.W
  • Jermaine

    I hope this is in no particular order

    • icon kain

      you need to read. they said that in the article



  •!/thedeusexmakina [J. B. cyruz]

    Okay so I checked out most albums on that list because I thought I’m an open-minded people. Most of that shit is terrible, I think. Strange, Eminem, and Kno/CunninLynguists have ruined average Hip-Hop for me. I can’t listen to 90% of that list. That simply isn’t good music to me. XXLame.

  • Can I Live?

    this seems less like the 25 best rap albums of the year and more like a list of 25 rap albums that just happened to come out this year, it makes no sense

  • ayy lmao

    You can tell they trolling with this list when you see French Montana, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Kevin Gates album on here.

    • icon kain

      Not Gates. He speak for the street. So if your not from there u wont undertstand his message or the motive behind the message for that matter

      • ayy lmao

        lol no.

  • TheZigZagMan

    I should of known better about how these lists are by now.

  • guest

    man my top 5 destroys all of these 5. welcome to forever- logic 4. knock madness- hopsin 3. trunk musik returns- yelawolf 2.MMLP2- eminem 1. because the internet- childish gambino

    • leto-el

      ALBUMS. Not mixtapes.

  • J_Sleazy

    XXL is kissing Drake and Kanye West’s assess so hard, they probably left hickeys on their assholess.

  • chiefgreen

    YEEZUS dope!! hate if you want its like sunlight to superman. only gives him more power! i think son of sam should have made it. its kind of like a tech n9ne album but krizz is WAAAAYYYYY smoother with his singing. doris i don’t think was that great. sounds just like he was free styling the whole time. if i can find it I’m gonna cop because the internet. Gambino is the shit!!! plus community is my show. jan 2 2014!!!

  • Coroner

    Fuck this list. “My Grandma’s Basement” and “Dirty Gold” is on my TOP 10!

  • Seweryn Kloska

    Where’s Hopsin’s “Knock Madness”?

  • Ben Carter

    wish they’d just post a freaking list so we didnt have to scroll through

  • Ben Carter

    hahahaha drake? LoLLLL. don’t kid me. and how does tyler and french get in there?

  • joe

    this list sucks so bad but it doesn’t surprise me… good shit puttin run the jewels on here though (that DID surprise me lol)

  • stumpish

    how the bloody hell did I get to the end of this list without seeing “Something Else” by Tech N9ne???

  • Barrack Odrama ImdatboyHussien

    nwts is one of those albums where you just let it play you dont have a favorite but every song has a meaning to you it was def #1 and mmlp was one of those damm this thing is nice while riding with ya boys and is def #2