40 Best Rap Albums of 2016

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

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Open Mike Eagle + Paul White, 'Hella Personal Film Festival'

26. Open Mike Eagle + Paul White, 'Hella Personal Film Festival'

If a Wes Anderson movie could be transmuted into a rap album, it might sound something like this. Open Mike Eagle gives us small but odd details – "Woke up without a hangover/That burrito worked," he says offhandedly on "Dang Is Invincible." It all accumulates into neurotic numbers like "Smiling (Quirky Race Doc)," where he bemoans how crowds at his shows are afraid to talk to him ("'cause I'm a black man"), and self-explanatory songs like "Dive Bar Support Group" and "Insecurity." U.K. producer Paul White – who has had a breakout year, thanks to his work on Danny Brown's Atrocity Exhibition – counters the rapper's self-deprecatory vibe with sounds that range from the chirpy and whimsical ("I Went Outside Today") to mock-blues ("A Short About a Guy That Dies Every Night"). The result is both funny and heart-rending, as if Max Fischer of Rushmore had somehow grown into a successful L.A. indie rapper, podcaster and serio-comic personality. M.R.

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