38. Open Mike Eagle, 'Dark Comedy'
Open Mike Eagle is a smart-alecky associate of the indie label/crew Hellfyre Club, and an inheritor of a West Coast tradition for jabberwocky-styled experimental rap. On his fourth album, he refines his talent for witty punch lines into satire and existential crisis. "I'm bad at sarcasm, so I work at absurdity," he admits over the mopey indie-pop of "Dark Comedy Morning Show." Puncturing and massaging his ego over glitches from vets like Jeremiah Jae, Kenny Segal and Dibia$e, Mike models himself as an outsider too smart and conflicted for rap and its tradition of clichés — which is probably why he's been running in alternative comedy circles and getting Hannibal Buress to spit on his record. M.R.