1. J Cole – “2014 Forest Hills Drive” – Cole done fucked around and slipped in at the last month of the year and dropped the coveted ‘ALBUM OF THE YEAR.’ This introspective project is more relevant; bubbling with frustration, adolescence and unfettered honesty. A shining light in a year full of dim hip hop. Easily J. Cole’s best album so far, and it didn’t include not one story of getting dissed by Jay – Z (*Praise Hand Emoji)
2. Run The Jewels – “Run The Jewels 2” – Hip hop duo Killer Mike and El-P are like the wonder twins. El-P makes the beats, then he and Killer Mike take it to the booth to slay it rapping lyrics filled with injustices and social commentary. This was definitely a breakout year for Killer Mike as he was able to step into the spotlight bringing a voice to the voiceless in the media high profile cases speaking for the little man on the Mike Brown and Eric Gardner cases. The beats and rhymes that happen when El- P and Killer Mike create on the track is something truly special. It’s something that people doubted when a sequel was first announced; in the movie sequel world – this album was more “The Godfather” than “The Hangover.”
3. Jeezy – “Seen It All” – Jeezy’s long statement on the streets; the drug game, highs & lows, not going back and success in general. From my standpoint it played like a long stand up special, with it one cohesive thought coming to the forefront at once. I loved the brutal honesty with each track building up to a larger than life opus stating yeah ‘though I’ve seen it all. There’s still more to get.’
4. BIG K.R.I.T. – “Cadillactica” – K.R.I.T. finally came to the realization that rap critics will never agree on anything. We can’t even make a decisive decision on who’s the G.O.A.T. “Biggie or Tupac.” So to try to appease today’s divided hip hop fans with lyricism, you will only come up fruitless. For every Immortal Technique fan there’s 6 Migo’s fans, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Your taste in music is yours. K.R.I.T. realized that and put his head down, worked diligently and came up with Cadillatica,as you sonically listen to the music Krizzle crafted it lulls you in his U.G.K./Outkast influenced world.
5. PARTYNEXTDOOR – “PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO”- I’m not going to lie, when I first heard this I HATED THE PROJECT. That’s because I didn’t think anything on Earth could be better than PARTYNEXTDOOR’ self titled first project. I took a step back and accepted that, PND1 was its own entity and PND2 (He really needs to start naming these things.) was its own entity, as well. The growth is exponential on the project props are proudly due for the Sauga’ City kid. This bouncy project has beats that Party’s voice flows over so effortlessly over, weaving in and out of tales of late nights, and bad decisions making the worst life decisions but best material.
6. Boosie Bad Azz- “Life After Death Row” – You can feel the praise, love and weight lifted off of Boozie’s shoulders on his album “Life After Death Row.” Pastor Boozie lets you feel it as he goes in on songs that personally made me tear up because they spoke to me on a deep level. If you don’t fuck with the Boozie fade, honestly I can’t fuck with you…YEAH IT’S THAT SERIOUS.
7. Azealia Banks – “Broke With Expensive Taste” – Miss Azealia is crazy as shit, (in a good way) but the girl can make some seriously dope genre-melding music. She dabbles in a bit of every genre reggae, rap, pop, and she fits in making the heavy duties of a femcee look like a walk in the park.
8. Mick Jenkins – “The Water[s]” – From the jump, musically Mick owns the ominous world and talks to you with the perspective of a God-Fearing man who’s bringing WATER aka knowledge to the youth. And the world appreciates this, since no one else has taken on the responsibility. Mick Jenkins is like a lyrical brick, you have to dissect each nugget, one.listen.at.a.time. FYI, “The Waters” DEMANDS MULTIPLE LISTENS TO FULLY UNDERSTAND IT.