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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Boosie Bad Azz, 'Life After Deathrow'
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27/40

27. Boosie Bad Azz, 'Life After Deathrow'

For a while it seemed like we'd never hear new music from Lil Boosie (now Boosie Bad Azz), the celebrated Louisiana rapper who went to prison in 2008 and was indicted on murder charges in 2010. After a protracted legal battle, Boosie was released this past March, and the day before Halloween he dropped Life After Deathrow, a mixtape whose mere existence is a minor miracle. His first full-length of new material in four years was released into a changed hip-hop landscape, but Boosie sounds like no one other than himself, delivering origin stories and tales from the streets in a direct, conversational flow. On opener "I'm Coming Home" he writes about his time in prison and then gloats about his freedom, which makes "Life That I Dreamed Of" — in which Boosie contrasts his wealth with so many of his friends who could only dream as far as Biloxi, Mississippi — one of the most victorious rap songs of 2014. J.S.

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