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The 50 Best Albums of 2012 (So Far)

8. Joey Bada$$, 1999

LabelCinematic Music Group x Creative Control
Released: June 12th

It's a cliche to note that Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ is just 17 years old, but sometimes that's hard to ignore. How many rappers his age (or any age, for that matter) have this level of flow and lyrical mastery? In 1999, the '90s-influenced tracks feels like less of a homage and more like a product made in that era. The beats range from dusted boom-bap ("FromdaTomb") to anthemic ("Survival Tactics" f/ Capital STEEZ), and they all sound air-tight.

On top of that, you have Bada$$ spitting verses tirelessly with enough punchlines to keep you entertained ("Sparring with a knife in a missile fight"). In short, it's exactly what fans have been waiting for since the "Survival Tactics" video went viral a while back. It's hard to believe that 1999 is considered the end of real hip-hop by the heads with mixtapes like these coming out.

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