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The 50 Best Albums of 2012

32. Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music

Label: Williams Street, Grand Hustle, Adult Swim
Released: May 15

Killer Mike has made a career out of rapping with pugnacious acridity. Political pitbull rap. On his sixth solo project, R.A.P. Music, the 37-year-old ATLien jumps in the DeLorean with Brooklyn producer El-P for a twelve-track, high speed chase back to 1988.

R.A.P. Music is a militant throwback record teeming with new school bounce, Straight Outta Compton meets Live From The Underground. The sheer lyrical ferocity, bureaucratic bars, and infectious energy that have defined Mike's career are all ever-present throughout the project, except this time it's a lot more fun.

From his pointed diatribe on the American presidency ("Reagan") to his candid ode to his family on "Willie Burke Sherwood," Mike's growth and versatility as an MC truly shines through.

El-P provides Mike with a vast array of instrumentals, each powerful enough to stand-out without smothering Mike's lyrical abilities. The unlikely pair appear to be a match made in hip-hop heaven, pushing each other's abilities to the sonic limit, with the end product being a delicate balance of social consciousness and fervent Southern soul. -Daniel Troisi

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