40 Best Rap Albums of 2017

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

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Trippie Redd, 'A Love Letter to You'
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20. Trippie Redd, 'A Love Letter to You'20/40

20. Trippie Redd, 'A Love Letter to You'

Though he's a SoundCloud rapper full of childlike flamboyance and ephemeral wordless intonations, 18-year-old Trippie Redd is no simple caricature of Lil Uzi Vert. His debut full-length, A Love Letter to You, comes at you from all angles with raw vulnerability. And in capturing, with compelling immediacy, the diaristic sentimentality, unhinged desire and self-absorbed pain of a young adult male, it stands with some of the best emo albums of the 1990s and 2000s. For instance, "Deeply Scarred," featuring Atlanta's UnoTheActivist, is a tortured ballad about overcoming bitter heartbreak; yet it's also full of life and surprising compassion ("You been scarred too deep, I can tell") even as it indulges petulant outbursts ("I ain't worried about you, bitch, no!"). Trippie is so vibrantly self-assured that Love Letter feels like he's just randomly dropping his deepest thoughts into somebody else's well-produced project. He may never equal this thrilling shot in the dark, but the fact that he doesn't seem to care is why this record is possible in the first place. I.D.

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