5. iiiDrops by Joey Purp (Mixtape-Hip hop)

4. Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown (Album-hip hop)

I didn’t expect to like this album. I didn’t want to like it. Danny Brown hit big in 2011 with an incredible debut, XXX, but since then he hasn’t lived up to the promise. Until now. This album covers everything from his deeply personal battle with depression to life on the streets to basic sex rhymes. And it’s relentlessly heavy. A truly extraordinary album, filling the void in a year when Kendrick Lamar didn’t try to follow up his transcendent 2015 album Pimp a Butterfly.

3. Between the Moon and the Midwest by Austin Lucas (Album-Country)

“William” is the best song about sleeping with someone else’s wife that I’ve ever heard.

2.  We Got It From Here: Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest (Album-Hip hop)

I remember half a decade ago when the documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest” came out, showing disharmony between ATCQ members Phife and Q-Tip that rivaled that of Lennon and McCartney. And yet, they seemed to have found common ground in a common enemy: Donald Trump. The new album, issued just a few months after diabetes took Phife Dog’s life, includes all four of the original members (Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad), and it does for rock rap what the group’s 1990s albums did for jazz rap. Why do I say that? Because while there are still jazz influences here, the hooks and framing beats feel much more like 1970s rock and roll. Jack White’s on a few of the tracks, and another builds its entire structure around an extended Elton John sample.

And it’s not just brilliant musically. There’s a whole song about Trump. “Steve Biko (Stir It Up)” is a memoriam for one of South Africa’s most important freedom fighters, and a tribute the late Bob Marley, whose music has inspired social change movements for decades. “The Space Program” gets into budgetary issues-there’s “no space program for black people.” “We the People” borrows phrases from America’s Constitution.

And, of course, there are guest stars. Kendrick. Andre 3000 (on a remarkable juvenile sex track-probably the weakest song on the album). Kanye. Old friend to the native tongue movement Busta Rhymes.

This could have been a mess, but instead it’s one of the best rap albums of the past 25 years.

1. A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings by Beach Slang (Album-Punk)

The Replacements are alive and well in the spirit of these motherfucking awesome rockers. Why is this album #1 when Bruno Mars dropped a straight masterpiece? Because it’s awesome, it’s DIY, and it’s every reason I blog and more.

And just because it’s awesome and I missed it last year, I’m also posting their mixtape.

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