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By 2013, the new generation of rappers were well on their way to dominating the rap game. It was the year Kendrick, Drake and J. Cole really cemented their standing as critically and commercially successful artists.

Drake would drop Nothing Was the Same, arguably his best album to date (although you would make a strong argument for Take Care), Cole would show massive improvement with his sophomore album Born Sinner, and while Kendrick didn’t drop an album, he was on his victory lap following the release of good kid, m.A.A.d city. This victory lap included going on a legendary features run, getting his idol Jay-Z on the remix for “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” scoring pop hits with Miguel and Robin Thicke, and of course, shaking up the rap game with his “Control” verse.

While the new generation were establishing their control (pun intended) of hip hop, we also had veteran rappers like Jay-Z, Kanye and Eminem determined to stick around.

2013 was also a great year for underground and independent artists, with great releases from Blu, Danny Brown, Run the Jewels, Czarface, Chance the Rapper, Mac Miller, Ka, Roc Marciano, Black Milk, and Freddie Gibbs, all proving that they could get it done with major label help.

From Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris to Pusha T’s My Name Is My Name and Danny Brown’s Old, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 2013.  

25. Gucci Mane – Trap House III

Released: May 21, 2013

Label: 1017 Brick Squad, 101 Distribution

Singles: N/A

Features: Rick Ross, Rich Homie Quan, Wiz Khalifa, Shawty Lo, Young Scooter, Young Thug and Chief Keef

24. Freddie Gibbs – ESGN

Released: June 19, 2013

Label: ESGN, Empire Distribution

Singles: “One Eighty Seven”

Features: Daz Dillinger, Spice 1, Jay Rock, G-Wiz, Hit “Skrewface”, Big Kill, Lil Sodi, Problem, Y.B., D-Edge, G.I. Fleezy and BJ the Chicago Kid

23. Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail

Released: July 4, 2013

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Roc Nation, UMD, The Island Def Jam Music Group

Singles: “Holy Grail”, “Tom Ford”, “Part II (On the Run)”

Features: Justin Timberlake, Nas, Rick Ross, Frank Ocean and Beyoncé

22. Juicy J – Stay Trippy

Released: August 23, 2013

Label: Kemosabe, Columbia, Taylor Gang

Singles: “Bandz a Make Her Dance”, “Show Out”, “Bounce It”, “Talkin’ Bout”

Features: Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, The Weeknd, ASAP Rocky, Wale, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, Big Sean, Pimp C, Trina, Yelawolf and Project Pat

21. A$AP Ferg – Trap Lord

Released: August 20, 2013

Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

Singles: “Work REMIX”, “Shabba”, “Hood Pope”

Features: ASAP Rocky, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, French Montana, Trinidad James, Schoolboy Q, Waka Flocka Flame, Aston Matthews, B-Real and Onyx

20. Blu – York

Released: March 26, 2013

Label: Sire, Warner Bros.

Singles: N/A

Features: Definite, Donel Smokes, Dubble Oh, U-God, Jack Davey, Sa-Ra, Exile, Chop, Brooker T, Jimetta Rose, Nia Andrews

19. Wale – The Gifted

Released: June 25, 2013

Label: Maybach Music, Allido, Atlantic

Singles: “Bad”, “LoveHate Thing”, “Bad (Remix)”, “Clappers”

Features: Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz

18. J. Cole – Born Sinner

Released: June 18, 2013

Label: ByStorm, Columbi,a Dreamville, Roc Nation

Singles: “Power Trip”, “Crooked Smile”, “Forbidden Fruit”, “She Knows”

Features: Miguel, Amber Coffman, Jhené Aiko, James Fauntleroy, Bas, TLC, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent

17. Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons to Die

Released: April 16, 2013

Label: Soul Temple, RED Distribution

Singles: “Murder Spree”

Features: Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and Cappadonna along with William Hart and Killa Sin

16. Tyler, the Creator – Wolf

Released: April 2, 2013

Label: Odd Future

Singles: “Domo23”

Features: Mike G, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, Erykah Badu and Pharrell

15. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Released: November 5, 2013

Label: Aftermath, Shady, Interscope, Web

Singles: “Berzerk”, “Survival”, “Rap God”, “The Monster”, “Headlights”

Features: Skylar Grey, Rihanna, Nate Ruess, and rapper Kendrick Lamar

14. Prodigy & The Alchemist – Albert Einstein

Released: June 11, 2013

Label: Infamous Records

Singles: “Give ‘Em Hell”, “Dough Pildin'”, “Y.N.T.”, “IMDKV”

Features: Roc Marciano, Domo Genesis, The Alchemist, Havoc, Raekwon and Action Bronson

13. Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise

Released: October 15, 2013

Label: Computer Ugly, Fat Beats

Singles: “Sunday’s Best / Monday’s Worst”

Features: Mel, Ab, Dwele, Black Thought, Quelle Chris, Tone Trezure and Robert Glasper

12. Roc Marciano – Marci Beaucoup

Released: December 10, 2013

Label: Man Bites Dog Records

Singles: N/A

Features: Evidence, Guilty Simpson, Action Bronson, Freeway, Gangrene, Blu, Cormega, Ka and Knowledge the Pirate

11. Ka – The Night’s Gambit

Released: July 13, 2013

Label: Iron Works

Singles: N/A

Features: Roc Marciano

10. A$AP Rocky – LONG.LIVE.A$AP

Released: January 15, 2013

Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

Singles: “Goldie”, “Fuckin’ Problems”, “Wild for the Night”, “Fashion Killa”

Features: Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Drake, Big K.R.I.T., Santigold, Overdoz, Yelawolf, Florence Welch, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Joey Badass, Gunplay, and ASAP Ferg

9. Mac Miller – Watching Movies with the Sound Off

Released: June 18, 2013

Label: Rostrum

Singles: “S.D.S.”, “Watching Movies”, “Goosebumpz”

Features: Earl Sweatshirt, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson, Schoolboy Q, and Tyler, the Creator

8. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap

Released: April 30, 2013

Label: N/A

Singles: “Juice”, “Acid Rain”

Features: Saba, BJ the Chicago Kid, Childish Gambino, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Lili K., Nosaj Thing, Vic Mensa, Twista, Noname, Nate Fox

7. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

Released: August 20, 2013

Label: Odd Future, Tan Cressida, Columbia

Singles: “Chum”, “Whoa”, “Hive”

Features: Vince Staples, Tyler, the Creator, Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, SK La’ Flare, Casey Veggies, Mac Miller, and RZA

6. Czarface – Czarface

Released: February 19, 2013

Label: Brick Records

Singles: N/A

Features: Roc Marciano, Oh No, Ghostface Killah, Action Bronson, Cappadonna and Vinnie Paz

5. Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

Released: October 7, 2013

Label: GOOD, Def Jam

Singles: “Pain”, “Numbers on the Boards”, “Sweet Serenade”, “Let Me Love You”, “Nosetalgia”

Features: Rick Ross, Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Future, Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown and Kendrick Lamar

4. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels

Released: June 26, 2013

Label: Fool’s Gold, Big Dada

Singles: “36” Chain”

Features: Until the Ribbon Breaks, Big Boi, Prince Paul

3. Drake – Nothing Was the Same

Released: September 24, 2013

Label: OVO Sound, Young Money, Cash Money, Republic

Singles: “Started from the Bottom”, “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, “All Me”, “Pound Cake”, “The Language”, “Too Much”, “Worst Behavior”

Features: 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Majid Jordan, Jay-Z, Jhené Aiko and Sampha

2. Danny Brown – Old 

Released: October 8, 2013

Label: Fool’s Gold, Goliath

Singles: “Dip”, “25 Bucks”, “Smokin & Drinkin”

Features: Freddie Gibbs, ASAP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Scrufizzer, Charli XCX and Purity Ring

1. Kanye West – Yeezus

Released: June 18, 2013

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Singles: “Black Skinhead”, “Bound 2”

Features: Justin Vernon, Chief Keef, Kid Cudi, Assassin, King L, Charlie Wilson, and Frank Ocean

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