Best Hip Hop Album (Unsigned/Independent) of 2013

Reader's Pick

¡MAYDAY! - Believers Artwork

¡MAYDAY! - Believers

A lot of people might not be able to find the "¡" button on their computer, but that hasn't stopped ¡MAYDAY! from building an intensely loyal and devoted fan base; who wouldn't be devoted to a group that produces music as consistently incredible as the tracks we found on their Believers album? While mainstream hip-hop became further entrenched in luxury rap, Believers is an album truly for the people, and it doesn't hurt that the men making that music are musicians in the truest sense of the word. Between Tech N9ne's output and the men of ¡MAYDAY! continuing to make music on the level of Believers, expect 2014 to be an even bigger year for Strange Music.

Staff Pick

Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike) - Run The Jewels Artwork

Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike) - Run The Jewels

If you're a fan of raw, uncompromising, fearless, aggressive and intelligent hip-hop, then Killer Mike and El-P's Run the Jewels album was a gift from the hip-hop gods. And if you're not a fan of that kind of hip-hop, we bet you're too scared to tell that to Mike and El. From the punch-you-in-the-face impact of Banana Clipper to the more complex Sea Legs, Run the Jewels is everything we could have possible wanted from an album. Or as the men themselves put it, "Killer Mike and El-P f**k boys know the combination ain't healthy." Exactly, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

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