40 Best Rap Albums of 2017

Migos, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and more of the year in rhymes

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Mozzy, '1 Up Top Ahk'
31. Mozzy, '1 Up Top Ahk'31/40

31. Mozzy, '1 Up Top Ahk'

On Mozzy's second album of 2017, the self-proclaimed Sacramento gangsta rapper reflects, in compelling detail and with palpable intensity, on the trials he's endured to get here. The residue of loss is splattered all across 1 Up Top Ahk, as he grieves loved ones, menaces those who still pose a threat and flaunts the fearlessness with which he moves through the world. While today's most visible underground rappers generally employ trap production for crossover-friendly familiarity, Mozzy spits his picaresque stories – full of brutal truths and traumas suffered – within the deep spaciousness of classic West Coast production. He commands the platform with an easy authority. His gruff, insistent voice heightens the lyrics' gravity, pulling you into the narrative as he shines a light on societal blindspots and tells the stories of those who can't speak for themselves. As a result, Mozzy makes 1 Up Top Ahk feel urgently necessary. B.Y.

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