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The Year In Hip Hop: 2014



Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-In hip hop, there are years that seem better in reflection, and years that seem much worse in reflection. Though only 2 years removed from 2014, enough time has passed to discuss the albums and mixtapes from the year and what released. The biggest news of the year for me personally were the Outkast and G-Unit reunions, as that feeling of epic nostalgia was necessary. While a large amount of the albums released that year fell below standards, there's a couple of great albums that go slept on. I'll let the team discuss whether they enjoyed the year or not, and I guarantee you'll hear two different perspectives. I'll save my comments and opinion for the end of this article in my usual outro. Let's get into it, shall we?





@SpeedOnTheBeat
2014 was an interesting year. On the personal side, it was one for the ages. I got to work on my last album from the Songs For... trilogy, Death of the King. If you want to hear me talk about mental illness candidly, I'll shameless plug the hell out of it. It's a dope album which features True God and Dugee F. Buller and features me on some ish most people have never heard me on.

Speaking of True, we got Pursuing Happiness out of the DAR leader. The album is heavy. You wanna know how heavy? Well, "Rejuvenated" broke my computer screen from its bass. No BS. I was working on the levels for the track and the bass ruptured through my headphones, through my sound system, and broke my screen. At least that's the story I'm sticking to.

But, shameless plugging aside, 2014 had some bomb ass projects. From K.R.I.T's Cadillactica, a country fried classic to Run the Jewels 2, 2014 had something for literally everyone. You got conscious rap with self-deprecation in 2014 FHD. You got 50 mounting a comeback with the slightly off, but still solid Animal Ambition. If you needed some TDE to tide you over mentally, Ab-Soul, my Stevens-Johnson Syndrome brother from another, dropped These Days..., which was pretty underrated. You wanted stoner rap of sorts, Wiz dropped one of his best projects in Blacc Hollywood. Mind you, this is not even counting mixtapes.

It was one of the best years, release-wise, in a minute to me.




@DFkinLopes_
2014 is really not that exciting of a year. You had a few decent drops, but nothing fantastic. Eminem dropped an anniversary album with a bunch of features on there. That was a decent album, but nothing special. I was pretty disappointed as an Eminem fan. Overrated ass J. Cole dropped an average album that got a lot of attention, but was nothing special. Ab-Soul dropped a mediocre album that everyone was disappointed about. I was expecting so much more. I can't really say much about this year, as nothing really excited me and they were all average albums. Awful year.



@n8te
I enjoyed 2014. There was a lot of promise to the year and I believe the artists did well. ScHoolboy Q’s “Oxymoron” was a dope project and it strayed away from the mainstream vibe with haunting background production at times. Idiosyncratic is my way of describing this project, and Q does a great job lyrically delivering in this track. Collard Greens featuring Kendrick Lamar was a great song, Fuck LA is my personal favorite, and the general consensus could agree that Studio was a solid single. YG’s “My Krazy Life” has to be mentioned as well. It’s primarily known for the singles, but listening to the singles on their own versus how it blends with the album is different. This album is full of grit and ambition from the Compton rapper. This is a great album that benefited him both commercially and critically and it’s great to see someone else represent Compton other than Kendrick.

I can’t forget about sleepers like Future’s “Honest”(underrated project) and Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo” project. K.R.I.T will forever have my respect with his project “Cadillactica”. I still play this project two years later because initially, I was mixed on the album. After many listens, I’m like “wow, this is a really good project”. Soulful production and his thoughtful flow is a dangerous combination.Soul Food was a great track, Cadillactica is still a very infectious replay value esque song. Life is a personal favorite to me. I absolutely love hearing the southern style of music in this joint.

My personal favorite album of the year is Run The Jewels 2. This joint slaps so hard and I never get tired of these tracks. From start to finish, the album leaves you with high energy, aggressive production, and razor-sharp lyricism from Killer Mike and EL-P. The production is so layered with thumping bass and so many other instruments or effects, it stuns you. What makes it better is that in this album, the beat will always leave you nodding in approval and there’s no way you can play this album softly. Once you play it, you’ll turn it all the way up and break the stock speakers in your car. The chemistry that these two have hasn’t been heard in a long time. Songs like “Oh My Darling, Don’t Cry”, “All Due Respect”, and “Angel Duster” are my favorite tracks on here. Well done Killer Mike and EL-P, y’all took 2014 by the throat.




@IUseCondoms
2014 is by far the worst year to ever exist for hip hop to me and probably the worst year to exist period. Trash trash trash everywhere. From Blacc Hollywood to Cadillactica to The Pinkprint to The New Classic to Mastermind to Hood Billionaire to 2014 Forest Hills Drive to Beach House to literally everything was horrible. HORRIBLE year. Absolutely a disgraceful year to hip hop and whoever likes any music from this year is a fucking disgrace. Seriously. Take care of your ears, value them, and stop treating them with trash. Otherwise you hate yourself and hip hop.

My Krazy Life, Oxymoron, and Piñata are the only tolerable albums of this year. That's it. Maybe a couple mixtapes too. It's still by far the most horrific, horrendous and disgraceful year of hip hop EVER. A$AP Yams (RIP) said it himself. All artists should be ashamed of themselves for letting it happen. Nah. The FANS should be ashamed for letting all that trash blow up that year.




Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-While Melvin is his usually "I hate everything" self and a bit overzealous in his opinion, I'll just say that he's partially right. You can love music from this year and not be a disgrace, especially if you actually listened to the music and not just skimmed through it. While he's correct about Mastermind, The Pinkprint, Iggy dropping a trash album, and a ton of other mainstream releases, that's the big key. Mainstream. Fuck the mainstream. I wasn't sold on Piñata like everyone else as I am not a big fan of Gibbs, but I respect the production from Madlib. I thought ScHoolboy dropped a dope album with Oxymoron, and though I enjoyed a single or two from YG's album, the fact that people have called it an album of the year candidate is BEYOND ME. The album was cool in spurts, but it has always befuddled me how people categorize it as great. Decent listen, but extremely overrated. Regardless, not every project in 2014 was bad, and while some folks really enjoyed Run The Jewels 2, I wasn't totally sold on the album myself, though it was a good listen. I'd put it on the top 5 of the releases from 2014, as I revisited it and it is enjoyable, but I've never been a huge Killer Mike fan. J. Cole was definitely a factor with his album, and while I think it was good, I don't think it was the classic that all his fans made it out to be. Solid listen, but nothing special.

As for DAR in 2014, yours truly put that work in. Three7One in April, Eyes On the Ring Vol. 1 in July, and Pursuing Happiness in November, along with the DAR mixtape Genesis. Who could forgot Shokus Apollo and his Apollovelli album, the aforementioned Speed album Death of the King, and the debut mixtape from Black Ax, Chronicles of A 410 Savage. 2014 was the beginning of the DAR dynasty that's finally hitting its prime and that's certainly noteworthy. Don't sleep.

So what were my favorite projects of 2014, if not any of those mentioned (besides DAR music)? Well, first I'll have to mention the G-Unit reunion EP The Beauty of Independence, which was fire and has a top 5 G-Unit song, "Changes" on it. I was also a fan of Jeezy's album Seen It All, and I thought it was a slight improvement over TM 103. Black Milk released If There's A Hell Below, which was truly dope. While I hated the Wu-Tang album A Better Tomorrow, I thought Ghostface dropped a scorcher with 36 Seasons. I've also never been a big Royce Da 5'9 fan either, but I liked his collab project with Premier, PRhyme. Solid effort there. Pharaohe Monch released the dope PTSD, Common dropped the Grammy nominated Nobody's Smiling (should have won) and of course I loved the KRIT album Cadillactica. I think it's a near classic. Great project and my 2nd favorite album of the year. What's my no. 1?

Blu and his classic album Good To Be Home. Hands down, the best album of the year. If you're not familiar, please check it out ASAP. Blu is one of my favorite MCs period and this album showcases why. Flawless production, flawless lyricism, guest appearances and all around great music. It's on par with his Below The Heavens project with Exile, possibly better. Blu remains one of the best MCs and in 2014, much like 2007 when he debuted, he took the year quality wise with his release. 2014 isn't perfect at all, and it's not horrible completely, but the mainstream artists let the fans down. That seems to be the norm honestly these days with the music business and the mainstream, but the underground never disappoints. 2014, a truly interesting year in hip hop that lacked REALLY big releases, but still had some shining moments.

-DAR 

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