Best Album: JPEGMAFIA,“Black Ben Carson”

JPEGMAFIA’s 2015 albums exploded like hand grenades in the ears of listeners. Here was a producer and MC whose beats matched his lyrics’ political agitation and unfettered intelligence. But neither of those albums prepared us for “Black Ben Carson,” a staggering marriage of fearless social commentary and merciless introspection. Musically, “Black Ben Carson” splits the difference between Einstürzende Neubauten’s sound of civilization’s end and Antipop Consortium’s Afrofuturistic clicks and cuts. Lyrically, the album is like a first encounter with Frantz Fanon: ‘I Just Killed a Cop and Now I’m Horny’ moves from a deadly police encounter to prayer-like meditation, and includes the heart-stabbing line, “My momma told me I’d be in dead when I’m 25/ Joke’s on you, bitch, I’m still alive.” All feeling, no healing.

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