40 Best Rap Albums of 2017

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

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Run the Jewels, 'Run the Jewels 3'
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22. Run the Jewels, 'Run the Jewels 3'22/40

22. Run the Jewels, 'Run the Jewels 3'

The shocking ascent of Donald Trump gave Run the Jewels 3 more resonance than the duo's more generalized anger at electoral corruption across the political spectrum. And as a result, they dropped the album on December 24th, 2016, weeks earlier than its January 2017 retail date – and before Trump's inauguration provoked days of protest across the country. It kicks off with "Down," with Killer Mike and El-P trying to assuage their despairing audience: "I know a few people prayed for my demise, y'all/But like cream, I had to rise, I had to rise y'all," Mike sings alongside Atlanta neo-soul pioneer Joi. The track sets a reflective tone that doesn't lift, even as the twosome continues to run raps over throttling Blade Runner beats, trade verses with Danny Brown and Trina, and generally talk shit with a sharp insurrectionist bent. The final cut is appropriately titled, "A Report to the Shareholders/Kill Your Masters," on which Mike snarls defiantly, "You take the devil for God, look how he doing you/I'm Jack Johnson, I'll beat a slave catcher snaggle-toothed." M.R.

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