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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Vince Staples, 'Hell Can Wait' EP
40
33/40

33. Vince Staples, 'Hell Can Wait' EP

The North Side of Long Beach as described by Vince Staples, a fatalist by 14, scarred by witnessing brutal police, rival gang sets, constant funeral services and his father selling methadone and heroin through the screen door. Hell Can Wait details the broiling summer between his freshman and sophomore years of high school. The beats thump with punishing low-end, ratcheting the tension in Staples' tales of shootouts similar to the Wild West — or at least the ones immortalized by Snoop and Tha Dogg Pound. But don't mistake this for West Coast gangsta rap revival. The 21-year old assassin interpolates everything from Goodie Mob to Mary J. Blige, and shouts out Black Panthers and the obscure corpses slain by cops that never incited a movement. For the final nail, Staples raps with the cockiness and surgical details of a young Pusha T. J.W.

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