40 Best Rap Albums of 2014

From Young Thugs to Old Droogs, Rich Gangs to broke MCs with expensive taste — the year's best in rhymes

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2 Chainz, 'Freebase' EP

32. 2 Chainz, 'Freebase' EP

With his first free mixtape release since 2011's breakthrough T.R.U. Realigion, the rapper born Taheed Epps sends his uniquely silly punchlines raining down from hip-hop's penthouse — but he isn't always satisfied with the view. "Crib in My Closet" celebrates the Dolce inside, but when Epps looks out he sees burdens, responsibilities and memories from a haunted past. "Freebase" explores the last of those as distorted voices swirl in the background, and on "Trap Back" he stays awake longing for the days when he lived at ground level, selling drugs rather than making music. Uneasy lies the neck that wears the chainz. N.M.

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