40 Best Rap Albums of 2016

Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Danny Brown and more in the year in rhymes

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Joey Purp, 'iiiDrops'

31. Joey Purp, 'iiiDrops'

"If you knew what I'd seen, you'd be traumatized," Chicago Chance-associate Joey Purp raps on "Morning Sex." The beat underneath him, however, communicates no fear: It's shiny and jubilant, built around a brassy sample from early Seventies soul group Phoenix Express. Purp relies on this strategy, juxtaposing gleaming horn loops with his harrowing tales of life in the Windy City. When there's no brass, he's in a different mood – take "Winners Circle," one of iiiDrops' most assertive moments. Here Purp plants his flag: "Take a little Biggie and a little Big L/Add an adolescent on the corner with packs to sell/You take a little Em and Andre 3k, and guess what you got/The 2016 2Pac." E.L.

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