Label: ASAP Worldwide, Polo Grounds, RCA

When A$AP Ferg's "Work" slowly morphed into a hit, it seemed like a fluke. A$AP Rocky was hot which meant the A$AP brand was peaking and people were looking into the crew, fishing for another star. But this year, when "Shabba" followed in suit, becoming an even bigger hit—a summer anthem, of sorts—you couldn't deny it: Ferg was succeeding on his own. Even then, haters weren't convinced.

But now, with Trap Lord. Ferg has established himself. Line-for-line, bar-for-bar, he isn't the best rapper in the world, but he understands his appeal and plays to the strengths of his sing-song flow. Sometimes he's surprisingly insightful, offering lines like, "I feel the pain for my bro cause his dad died/My daddy gone too my nigga, that's life," on "Fergivicious."

But for the most part, reading a line like, "Body full of bullets when he found him on the road/Lay a fucker down, spray it at him then reload," does little to explain his talent. It's not the lyrics that make Ferg worth listening to. It's his delivery that keeps you enthralled. That and his beats. A dark morass of sticky, nasty smoke-out funk. That's the good stuff. —Insanul Ahmed