11. Vince Staples, 'Big Fish Theory'
North Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, one of hip-hop's most talented bards, delivers rhymes over sonic backdrops that resemble Burial's alien soundtracks more than trap or boom-bap. Overseen by Yale undergrad Zack Sekoff, who cut his teeth in Los Angeles' Low End Theory scene, Big Fish Theory was influenced by Detroit techno and U.K. garage; guest producers include the likes of Sophie, Flume and Motor City expat Jimmy Edgar. Staples sounds as haunted as ever, but on songs like "Crabs in a Bucket" and "BagBak" his words echo out from between skittish beats and skeletal synths, less club bangers than Blade Runner noodle-bar clangers. A radical leap forward, Big Fish Theory is an American hip-hop record like no other, with one foot in Ramona Park and the other squarely in the future. M.R.