The 10 Best New York City Rap Albums of 2013
The mainstream end of New York City's 2013 rap output might have seen uptown upstarts A$AP Rocky and French Montana putting numbers on the board, but the city's most fertile and invigorating offerings came from less glitzy-reaching enclaves. Consider this round-up a salute to the rap albums that best defined New York this year.
(Obligatory honorable mentions disclaimer: Steel Tipped Dove's double volume smorgasbord of emcees ...And A Whole Bunch Of Motherfuckers Parts 1 & 2, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire's canny Kismet, World's Fair raucous Bastards Of The Party, and EL-P and Killer Mike's magnificent Run The Jewels jaunt which missed out on inclusion by virtue of the ATLien's hefty contribution.)
10. Armand Hammer
The Armand Hammer duo of Billy Woods and Elucid are a gift from the underground. Race Music, which was preceded by the freebie mixtape Half Measures, wins with its full-on dirt appeal; imagine the heavy mental thoughts and space-thud production of EL-P's "Nightwork" tryst with the lesser-spotted Sir Menelik and you're in the subterranean ballpark. For greasy kicks, lead single "Shark Fin Soup" also shouts out Mott Street food spots.
9. A$AP Ferg
Couldn't get beyond the department store muzak moment of "Fashion Killa" on A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP? Try the long-playing debut from the Mob's second-in-line instead, which casts Ferg as the continuation of New York's mid-'90s street-centric swagger. With the "Work" remix the Fergster also crafted a 2013 anthem--although hometown hounds might want to try and replace the now unwelcome Trinidad James's guest spot with some vocals from Zhiggie.
8. Jean Grae
A novel in the form of a trilogy of EPs? Or just more advanced-level, back catalogue-referential rap hi-jinks from Jean Grae that will all be fathomed out in years to come? Start forming your own take on the Gotham Down experience by delving into the gifted-child rap acrobatics of "Kill Screen (Steve Wiebe)."