Label: Tan Cressida/Columbia Records
Released: November 30

Earl Sweatshirt’s Some Rap Songs might be the most contentious album on this whole list. In the days following the record’s release, as the songs got aired out loudly in the Complex office, consensus quickly formed—it was a miss. But then something started shifting. For some of us, tracks that seemed strange when aired back-to-back with the latest from the Quality Control assembly line, opened themselves to reveal profound challenges and joys within the context of the album as a whole. Earl is dealing with topics like his own mental health and his father’s January 2018 death, and the sound of the record reflects that. It’s lo-fi, with static and seemingly random vocal samples around every corner. But Earl treats the lo-fi nature of the process in the same way that Guided by Voices did in their heyday—the noise and difficulty becomes the mood, and adds depth to the record’s themes. While Earl Sweatshirt’s latest opus might not have won over the whole office (yet), these are Some Rap Songs that, love them or hate them, you won’t be able to get out of your mind. —Shawn Setaro