18. A$AP Rocky, Live.Love.A$AP (2011)
We remember it so clearly: The first time we heard A$AP Rocky's "Purple Swag" and later "Pe$o," we knew he had something going for him. Many rappers search for years trying to find their voice and their sound, but what those songs suggested was that the Harlem rookie already had a fully defined aesthetic that was undeniably trill. When his mixtape finally dropped, our greatest hopes came true.
Rocky draws inspiration from Houston and borrow flows from Bone Thugs and UGK, but that doesn't make him any less of his own artist. Despite his laid-back persona, he came off as electric and precise on the microphone. The beats on the mixtape, mostly courtesy of Clams Casino and A$AP Ty Beats, bang so hard they bring Houston to Harlem. As Rocky says on "Purple Swag," "I'm Texas trill, Texas trill, but in NY we spit it slow." â€” Insanul Ahmed