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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The Roots, '…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin'
40
29/40

29. The Roots, '…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin'

TV's smartest and most eclectic hip-hop crew got dark and real on their second conceptual album in a row, a bleak 33-minute threnody of self-professed satire that won't leave you laughing. Nina Simone, musique concrète, wanton atonality and jazzy spirituals provide interstitial inspiration throughout this concrete-jungle collage of hustlers, strivers and creeps. Piano, strings and spacious beats sculpt the contours of nihilistic notions like Black Thought's "No idea how much time's left, fuck tryin' to cherish it." R.G.

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