Label: Bread Winners' Association, Atlantic
Released: Jan. 29

Kevin Gates is by no means a new artist, but all the same Islah felt like an introduction to an entirely novel audience for the Louisiana rapper. With hits like "2 Phones," which hit the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and "Really Really," Gates found crossover appeal on a whole new level in 2016, as fans finally figured out he's more than just an insane interview. In addition to the hits on the project, Gates stayed close to his roots to satisfy day-one fans with the blend of street rap and catchy hooks that's made his career so durable. Gates released another project in May, but Islah will be remembered as a major turning point in his career. —Zach Frydenlund