40 Best Rap Albums of 2016

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

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Noname, 'Telefone'

10. Noname, 'Telefone'

With the quiet yet assured Telefone, Noname created a safe haven of a debut. She invites in everyone: a crush, people reeling by all the deaths of black children and teenagers, women who choose to have an abortion without judgment. Like pal Chance the Rapper, she offers affirmations by way of Kanye West, who is still a beacon of hope in her native Chicago. But with her sun-dappled, neo-soul memories of bumping B2K in the backseat, Noname also seems worlds away from the rock star lifestyle 'Ye now espouses. Her past as a poet is easily detectable, though she lays down her intricate, kindhearted verses so gently that, more than anything, Telefone sounds like Noname confiding in us. We should be so lucky. C.L.

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