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Kendrick Lamar is the king of hip hop: See our runners-up

Kendrick Lamar has been crowned Rapper of the Year by GQ magazine, celebrating the artist’s year of success and his last album. We’ve decided to contribute by also celebrating the best hip hop records of this year.

Kendrick Lamar

Finally he is receiving the praise he deserves! Kendrick Lamar has been named GQ‘s Rapper of the Year and is featured in the magazine’s 18th annual Men of the Year issue.

The title was bestowed largely due to the success of Lamar’s second studio album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, released last year. The record is a retelling and commentary of the rapper’s experience as a teenager growing up on the drug-fuelled, gang-ridden streets of Compton, California. It was considered the best hip hop album of 2012, and rightfully so.

While we think Lamar’s debut album, Section.80, deserves recognition too, good kid, m.A.A.d city definitely raised the bar for other rappers. The record is very fluid and subtle, while managing to conjure up vivid imagery and sentiment. We recommend giving it a listen!

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While on the topic of hip hop music, we figured we’d do some awarding ourselves and compiled some of the best hip hop albums of this year.

Kanye West — YeezusKanye West, Yeezus

First of all, the packaging of the album is brilliant in its minimalism. A clear case with just a snippet of red tape is all Kanye West needed to attract listeners to his highly anticipated Yeezus release. The album draws influence from trap, industrial and rock, with lyrics and vocals that border on dysfunctional to convey the meaning. Best tracks: “I Am a God,” “New Slaves” and “Blood on the Leaves.”

Danny Brown, OldDanny Brown — Old

Considering that his album XXX was a huge hit with fans and critics, the pressure was on for Danny Brown to come up with something equally great. He didn’t disappoint! Brown was praised for making an album wary of previous criticisms while being able to create music that is simultaneously innovative and mainstream. He is aging gracefully, and his music is changing without losing his personality. Best tracks: “Dip” and “25 Bucks.”

Ghostpoet — Some Say I So I Say LightGhostpoet, Some Say I So I Say Light

This is a completely different bird from the rest of the albums on the list. While it’s still filed under hip hop, we’d say Ghostpoet suits several genres. His Some Say I So Say Light is a musical masterpiece, with an equal contribution from instrumentals and vocals. The lyrics are almost veiled in Ghostpoet’s often-monotonous delivery and keep you edging closer in an attempt understand. It’s a great poetic and musically advanced record. Best tracks: “Meltdown,” “Plastic Bag Brain” and “12 Deaf.”

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Pusha T — My Name Is My NamePusha T, My Name Is My Name

This is an album of collaborations, as Pusha T decided to call up all his friends to put this bad boy together. But there is never a doubt that My Name Is My Name is a Pusha T record; the rapper has developed a method of lyrical delivery and is stubborn about it, and it’s still working for him. While this album is not as innovative as the others on the list, we feel it’s still a strong presence on the hip hop scene. His lyrics are fierce and, at times, frightening, without being completely inaccessible. Best tracks: “Nosetalgia,” “Pain” and “Sweet Serenade.”

What is your favourite hip hop album of 2013?

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Photos courtesy of Peter Kaminski / and

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