The 10 Best New York City Rap Albums of 2013

Categories: Best of NYC

A$AP Ferg
The mainstream end of New York City's 2013 rap output might have seen uptown upstarts A$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.)

See also: The Ten Best New York City Rap Albums of 2012

10. Armand Hammer
Race Music
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$AP Ferg
Trap Lord
Couldn't get beyond the department store muzak moment of "Fashion Killa" on A$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
Gotham Down
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)."

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