Hip Hop, Year 2 A.J.

Various Artists, Run the Road (Vice): Last year, the Streets and Dizzee Rascal showed that British hip hop had not only come of age, but had, in some ways, surpassed its American ancestor. This collection of greatest grime hits from the U.K. is proof that there's plenty more where those two came from, if stateside listeners will ever be ready for grime's cockney slang, cell-phone electronica, and an enthusiasm all too rare on this side of the hip hop pond.

Muggs vs. GZA, Grandmasters (Angeles): Just because nearly every reviewer who liked this bicoastal collaboration called it "the best Wu-Tang album in years" doesn't mean that description isn't true. Muggs expertly adapts his blunted beats to the spooky Staten Island soundscapes favored by the GZA, a truly great MC who had been MIA for far too long.

why?, Elephant Eyelash (Anticon): This spot could have been filled by Edan's Beauty and the Beat, the Woodstock rock-rap fusion Common's Electric Circus should have been. So why give it to why?, now a full-fledged band with a harmony-filled album that has as much in common with Apples in Stereo as Aesop Rock? Because it's a great record that deserves to be on some best-of list this year -- why not this one?

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