It's no secret that the folks up at VIBE are big fans of Jay-Z and Kanye West's epic collabo album, Watch The Throne. Just check our current Year-End issue, which features a comprehensive breakdown of the LP, and "Album of the Year" distinction on the cover. While compiling this list, we even considered listing "Niggas in Paris" 66 times, in obnoxious Ye-Z fashion (Joking. Kind of). Throne aside, the year was packed with dope, genre-pushing rap records from proven kings like Lil Wayne, Drake and Rick Ross, and relative newbies like Big Sean, J. Cole and Tyler, the Creator. But which records defined the year or furthered the culture? We backtracked to Jan. 1 and onward to pool the year's most relevant, inescapable or just plain great hip-hop records of the year, in alphabetical order. It's a provocative playlist, to say the least. —John Kennedy
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