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Kanye West 

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)

Kanye West has always been the David Bowie of mainstream hip-hop, constantly changing his sound and getting into trouble in the media for his controversial persona. But Taylor Swift interruption and public breakdown aside, West has produced a record to shut all the haters up with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Originally titled Good Ass Job, the not-so-modest Kanye ditches the introspection and synths of 808s & Heartbreak, opting instead to deliver hard beats that would impress rap fans and Animal Collective-loving hipsters alike. Including cameos by M.I.A, Nicki Minaj as well as beats by Madlib and Q-Tip, this is probably the best-sounding mainstream hip-hop album of the year.

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