40 Best Rap Albums of 2016

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

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Swet Shop Boys, 'Cashmere'
40
24/40

24. Swet Shop Boys, 'Cashmere'

Swet Shop Boys are two South Asian rappers dealing with Islamophobia in a Western world, despite their global profiles. Himanshu Suri (Das Racist) and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) combat casual and not-so-casual racism in a few ways: Via producer Redinho, they reclaim the Bollywood samples that hip-hop has used in the past for flavor, as if to re-imagine if "Big Pimpin'" featured an Indian-American and a British-Pakistani instead. But they also demonstrate how the genre has lent a voice to the underserved globally. Swet Shop Boys commiserate in having few role models who actually looked like them (Tupac, Andre 3000 and Marcus Garvey get name-checked), though with the wry humor that comes with lived experience. "I'm so fly, bitch," Heems repeats, "but I'm on the no-fly list." C.L.

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