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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Migos, 'Rich Nigga Timeline'
40
7/40

7. Migos, 'Rich Nigga Timeline'

In terms of unique lyrical tics — stoner drones, pulse-pounding flow and cadence shifts, dislocating WTF bleats, agitated interwoven glossolalia — these Atlanta artful dodgers are virtuosos. And Rich Nigga Timeline is the crew's most virtuosically fascinating mixtape/album yet. Okay, Quavo, Takeoff and Offset's subject matter is mostly confined to sex, crime and turning up, but if that bugs you, see American pop culture. While a dozen pair of hands contribute to these 19 relentlessly lively tracks, the keyboard frippery of Gucci Mane go-to man Zaytoven (producer behind 2013 Migos hit "Versace") best fits the trio's rococo absurdity (yes, they "mooo" like a cow when advising style-biters "you better mooove"). Faux-churchy closer "Struggle" gets far more reflective than expected. And this year's absurd meme "Migos > the Beatles" is just another example of how these mischievous MCs are maddeningly stirring the pot. C.A.

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