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The 25 Best Albums Of 2013

Yo Gotti, I Am

Label: Epic Records

Though Jeezy was MIA during 2013, music still had the blessing of a trap-to-rap MC with Yo Gotti’s I Am. While hits like “Act Right” and “Respect That You Earn” were similar to that of the ATL MC, Gotti’s formula worked as I Am debut at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B and Hip-Hop album chart. Guess putting pride to the side helped for the Tennessee native.—AA

Ghostface Killah, Twelve Reasons To Die

Label: Soul Temple

Tapping into Tony Starks, Ghostface Killah maintains vivid storytelling translated from comic-book form in Twelve Reasons to Die. With the help from producer/composer Adrian Younge, Ghostface’s use of heavy-sampling and a signature delivery with tracks like “Ememies All Around Me” and “An Unexpected Call” created a gritty and gripping concept album.—AA

Tyler, The Creator, Wolf

Label: Odd Future Records

Tyler the Creator is a provocateur, but for good reason—it’s helped him become better. The leader of the Odd Future crew’s second album Wolf displayed radical maturity—both musically and lyrically; partnering with fellow Odd Future members Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt, alongside Pharrell Williams and even Erykah Badu on songs involving gripping narratives of personal frustrations and heartbreak. Coupled with vivid lyrics and stark synth production, Tyler’s fascinatingly still weird but insightful and musically pleasing.—AA

French Montana, Excuse My French

Label: Coke Boys, Bad Boy Records, Maybach Music Group, Interscope

French Montana’s debut album shines with its wealth of singles and high energy. It conveys French’s knack for selecting beats and song making ability. What it lacks in lyrical dexterity, it makes up for with surefire turn-up anthems like “Ain’t Worried About Nothin’,” “Freaks” and “Pop That.” French’s Bad Boy debut is filled with big beats and bigger boasts.–ECM

Big Sean, Hall Of Fame

Label: GOOD Music, Def Jam

Big Sean’s second studio album helmed an abundance of positive reviews over the course of the year, selling over 100,000 copies. The chart topping LP, which features appearances from Nicki Minaj, Miguel, Lil Wayne, Nas, and others, provide plenty of radio-friendly cuts. Here’s hoping we see a lot more of Sean in 2014. —MJ

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