40 Best Rap Albums of 2016

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

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Various Artists, 'This Is a Challenge'
40
38/40

38. Various Artists, 'This Is a Challenge'

We call them "viral crazes," but these gloriously stark funk bites are just the new "Land of a Thousand Dances." We call them "memes," but it's just American folk tradition blasted through the ADD velocity of cyberspace, all playing like modern reboots of the Isley Brothers' 1962 "Nobody But Me": Nobody can do the dab like I do, nobody can do the stanky leg like I do. This streaming-only collection gathers the soundtrack to the last few years of viral Vine and YouTubes, literally beginning with the sound of confused old people (see the intro to of Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall's year-dominating "Juju on That Beat"). Songs like Silentó's, "Watch Me," M-City J.R.'s "Addicted to my Ex" and iLoveMemphis' "Lean and Dab" capture the minimalism of mid-Aughties crunk, snap and ringtone rap – often biting it wholesale. Little more than beats that sound good through cell phone speakers (D-Jay the Dance King's "Aspect Sploosh" already sounds like it's playing through some) these raps, chants and dance cues gather the magic of pop without the tyranny of "verse chorus verse." Import it into your own playlist and add Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles." C.W.

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