Everybody knows I have some strange tastes. This list encompasses that with the hopes that you find something new to enjoy if you haven’t already indulged. I can’t say the rest of the MOGULS will agree but hey….I don’t really care.
Without further ado, here are my top hip hop picks from last year.
Jank’s Top Ten Hip Hop Albums Of 2014
10. Stalley – Ohio
This is straight up Chevy-riding music. I kind of wish this came out in the summer just so I could ride along the lakefront and bump it very, very loud. Though he’s on Maybach Music Groups label, he sets himself apart from the likes of Rick Ross and Wale by not being Rick Ross or Wale.
9. Iman Omari – ESC V.II
Iman Omari is known primarily for his laid back soul/neo-soul but he also drops instrumental/remix albums occasionally. ESC V.II is among his best. An insane Quelle Chris remix and a J Dilla tribute put this on top for me this year. The covers pretty cool too.
8. Black Milk Glitches in the Break
While most would put If There’s A Hell Below on the top 10 lists, I found that Glitches… knocked much harder. It was far less mellow and the drums; oh the drums. Both albums are great beat-wise and lyrically but Glitches In The Break was a dope one-off. I can’t say it’s the best cover in the world though. Not that I should judge anything based on cover art.
7. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Pinata
Yet another one of my favorite producers goes out of his element to work with Freddie Gibbs. The soulful samples backed by Freddie’s gangster lyrics is a combination I didn’t think would work but man…it does. This album is extremely thug for all the right reasons. That last sentence made no sense.
6. Skyzoo and Torae – Barrel Brothers
These guys never do anything wrong lyrically and I wished they’d work together more often. They are one of the best duo’s when it comes to gritty NY rhymes and choosing the appropriate beats.
5. Willie The Kid & Bronze Nazareth – The Living Daylights
Both hailing from Michigan, Willie the Kid and Wu Tang affiliate; Bronze Nazareth, dropped one of the most slept on albums of the year. Bronze hit us with some of his smoothest beats while Willie finessed them with his more-than-impressive flow.
4. Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
I sometimes wonder what goes on in FlyLo’s head to come up with some of the music he releases. This album fuses electronic, hip hop and jazz into a mind melting experience. “Never Catch Me” is my personal favorite featuring Kendrick Lamar which should also get an award for video of the year.
3. Your Old Droog – Your Old Droog
If you look passed the whole Nas thing, Droog put out an exceptional album. Though he is young, Droog has all the elements of a raw-Brooklyn (Coney Island) emcee. For lovers of ‘Golden Era’ hip hop Droog gave us everything; the slang, the hard beats and the flow (even if it sounded just like Nas).
2. D’Angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah.
Yes, I know, this isn’t a hip hop album but everything hip hop gets it’s roots from soul. That’s my justification; take it or leave it. After a 14 year lull D’Angelo came back with a vengeance dropping alluring melodies that can only be compared to Prince in his prime. It isn’t just soul though. D’Angelo and The Vanguard created something that fuses soul, hip hop, rock and even some world music.
1. PRhyme – PRhyme
All I’ve wanted to hear, for many moons, was Royce da 5′ 9″ over some dope beats. The Slaughterhouse joints were a bit too competitive sounding and the beats just weren’t there for someone so prolific. Premier’s infamous beats and cuts were exactly what Royce needed to reestablish himself one of the best emcees of our time. The combination of the two is an album that I listen to front to back regularly (right now actually).
Dilated Peoples – Directors of Photography
J-Live – Around The Sun
Diamond D – Diam Piece
Did I miss something? If so, feel free to write in and let me know. I’ll holla.