40 Best Rap Albums of 2016

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

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Vic Mensa, 'There's Alot Going On' EP
40
39/40

39. Vic Mensa, 'There's Alot Going On' EP

Since arriving alongside Chance the Rapper a few years back, Vic Mensa has never stuck with a single stylistic mode. He collaborated with EDM superstars Flume and Skrillex, toured with pop music's favorite bad boy Justin Bieber and, this year, he pivoted again with the near alt-rock radicalism of There's Alot Going On. Cribbing a title from Sly and the Family Stone, Mensa as protest performer is his most natural state: "Sixteen Shots," notably, addresses the heightened tensions of the black community and the police, and "Shades of Blue" recounts the persistent water issues that faced Flint, Michigan. Emotions run high in these seven songs, the title title track seeing Mensa turn inwards, flashing back to moments contemplating suicide and reexamining his early career success. D.T.

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