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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IamSu!, 'Sincerely Yours'

26. IamSu!, 'Sincerely Yours'

Richmond, California's IamSu! built his rep on addictively louche hits like "100 Grand" and E-40's "Function." On Sincerely Yours, the rapper and his HBK Gang reveal broader ambitions, from sampling Jazzanova's nu-jazz gem "No Use" for "Ascension" to culling from the Jones Girls' "Nights over Egypt" for "Martina." He alternates between rhyming melodically on "I Love My Squad" and, in the case of the synthesized funk of "Girl," adopting his sweetest Drake pose. And yes, he doesn't forget the ratchet cuts either. For all the viral buzz of earlier projects like Million Dollar Afro, this is IamSu!'s chance to prove that he's not just an underground rap star, but an artist with emotional range that uses "the music as my therapist." M.R.


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