Best Hip-Hop Album

We’ve been saying for years that Mike Floss is the future of hip-hop in Nashville — he just needed to drop an actual record. After two mixtapes, For the Rebels and For the Rebels 2, and a name change, the rapper formerly known as Openmic released a long-player that pays fealty to Music City rap royalty like Starlito while blazing his own trail through the local rap scene. Youth is a triumph, not just because it’s a lyrically complex banger with fearless production by frequent collaborator Ducko Mcfli, but also because it defies categorization. Floss isn’t a Midwestern backpacker, from the Atlanta trap school or from the mean streets of New York, but each of those influences acts as part of the connective tissue in a tremendous effort in self-possessed rap music. Don’t sleep on Mike Floss. LANCE CONZETT

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