#6. Danny Brown, XXX
Label: Fool's Gold
Released: August 15
This veteran of Detroit's rap underground first caught our attention last year with his gritty, super-lyrical debut The Hybrid, but we had no idea how hard he would be coming this year. His Fool's Gold mixtape XXX is the best thing since actual pornography, bursting with raw, drug-fueled intensity and a fully-formed sense of self that can only come from a 30-year-old rapper who's found his voice after years of struggle.
For some reason DB has gotten more attention for his off-kilter fashion sense—skinny jeans and lopsided perm—than for his hardcore quotables. ("Still fucking with them freak hoes/Stank pussy smelling like Cooler Ranch Doritos.") But any '90s hip-hop fan who rocked with icons like Kool Keith or Son Doobie has to give it up to Danny for bringing their long-dormant style of perverted poetry to a new generation. At least he's not wearing an Elvis wig and a pink speedo.