This super-sized roundup of rap albums kicks off with 50 Cent's big comeback, Animal Ambition. It's bound to be unfavorably compared to his classic Get Rich or Die Tryin' years from a commercial and a critical standpoint. But listeners will find that it's a decent record, if they can get their heads out of the past. Future has mostly drawn plaudits for Honest. The Roots have garnered a positive response for ... And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, but some have been unable to get past the album's downbeat tone. Iggy Azalea's The New Classic was bound to get bad reviews from rap heads, but that's okay, because it's intended for pop kids anyway. Iamsu and Sage the Gemini's official debuts have fallen victim to the usual complaint: Their major-label bows aren't as good as their mixtapes. Unfortunately, Mobb Deep undercut The Infamous Mobb Deep by promoting it as a 20th anniversary release, so people think it's a reissue of 1995's The Infamous. On the indie/backpacker tip, Serengeti's Sisyphus and Ratking certify their status as critic's darlings, and Atmosphere, Blu, Chuck Inglish and Pharoahe Monch add new chapters to their enviable catalogs. With 25 albums in all, there's much to enjoy here.
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