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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Future, 'Honest'

5. Future, 'Honest'

One of the most vital music-makers of the moment returns with his unique ear for garbled pop hooks and infectious sing-rap. On his second proper album, Future's honesty isn't about getting the facts straight or grounding his music in life story told through rap autobiography. There's some of that, of course, but here the Atlanta artist's greatest accomplishment is how thoroughly he can embody each track, giving himself completely over to every beat, concept and syllable. Whether he's moving that dope over a Mike Will deep sea transmission, pledging his devotion through unhinged vocal melodies or undoing that promise in a song that repeats the question "How can I not?" 50-plus times, Future seems to be willing his work — and himself — into new territory. N.M.

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