28. Koran Streets, 'You.Know.I.Got.It (The Album)'
Even among hip-hop heads, Oakland's Koran Streets remains obscure. His hometown knows him as an actor, having appeared in the small, critically respected cult films Licks and Kicks. From his modest metrics, he hasn't connected with much of an online audience either. Yet You.Know.I.Got.It (The Album) – his debut after a string of similarly named mixtapes – is one of 2016's most consistent, affecting releases, an argument for vibrant hip-hop at the commercial and critical margins. The source of the album's power is Koran Streets' disarmingly direct style, one with no wasted motion. He's seldom one for wordplay or showy poetic devices; the most memorable image on the album comes from guest rapper K.I. ("Countin' money, 40 on me while I'm on the shitter"). Yet there's a sincere desperation throughout that gives it both a human spark and a targeted, specific realism. D.D.