DAR Hip Hop: 6 Important Albums Released In 2014

By @TrueGodImmortal

Next year will be an interesting year in terms of music and entertainment. We have no idea what to fully expect, but perhaps a new Kanye album is finally on the way, a new Drake record, and perhaps some legends find their path again. Whatever the case, 2019 is sure to be an interesting year. Looking back 5 years ago, hip hop was in an increasingly odd position. The mainstream wasn't giving the artists who deserved it the most attention and there were moments where it seemed as if the genre was doomed again. Today, I wanted to go back nearly 5 years and take a look at 6 albums that are about to turn 5 and why they were important to the genre.

*J. Cole- 2014 Forest Hills Drive

-So, this is the most important album of the year by far for hip hop. Released at the very end of 2014, this album just recently turned 4, so it'll be pretty much another year before it turns 5 officially, but regardless, it was still a rather interesting album and possibly the best Cole album overall. While I wasn't as big of a fan of the album as some, you could hear a more clear and concise vibe from Cole on this album compared to his two previous official releases. This is where the whole Cole went platinum with no features nonsense started, but the album doesn't disappoint with tracks like "January 28th", "Fire Squad", "No Role Modelz", and "Apparently". This album is a highlight on the year and Cole's career.

*Isaiah Rashad- Cilvia Demo

-So, Isaiah is one of those artists that I wasn't sold on initially because I wasn't and still am not as TDE crazy as some fans. I was skeptical due to never hearing much, but decided to give his debut project a listen. This is an album disguised as an extended play, much like Section.80 was considered a mixtape to most people even though it was an album. Isaiah isn't the greatest lyricist, but he is a solid wordsmith that fits perfectly over some really quality production throughout the album. His focus seems in tact here and despite his style still being a little rough around the edges, he shines on tracks like "Heavenly Father", "R.I.P. Kevin Miller", "Tranquility", "Menthol", and "Brad Jordan". Overall, this is a top release on the year.

*Freddie Gibbs and Madlib- Pinata

-So, Gibbs has never been one of my favorite rappers, but as time passes by, he is slowing becoming one of my choices amongst the best today. His recent work has been very solid but nothing truly compares to what I feel is his magnum opus from several different perspectives. Gibbs has the best possible producer on this project and Madlib does not disappoint, tailor making these beats for Gibbs, his voice, and his sound. The result is an album that could be considered a classic by some, with highlights such as "Shame", "Deeper", "Scarface", "Bomb", "Thuggin", and more. Pinata is a big moment for the genre during 2014 and is one of the best releases from the year.

*Run The Jewels- Run The Jewels 2

-So, let me just say it: I have never been a big fan of Killer Mike like that, not even during his days running with Outkast. He was always talented, but I just wasn't interested in his music like that. However, the initial Run The Jewels project with El-P was solid and I decided to listen to the second one and was pleasantly surprised. While I don't hold it as the best album of the year like several outlets have, I do think it is a big highlight and a top 3-5 project of 2014. Both Killer Mike and El-P seemed locked in and focused and it results in quality music being made at high levels. The standout tracks here are "All My Life", "Early", "Lie, Cheat, Steal", "All Due Respect", and "Love Again (Akinyele Back)". Overall, RTJ2 is a superb listen.

*Royce Da 5'9 and DJ Premier- PRhyme

-So, Royce Da 5'9 and DJ Premier decided to team up as 2014 was ending and create a project together. I was slightly skeptical personally because I'm not the biggest fan of Royce (there is a theme with all of the albums I selected except one), but I had a feeling his work alongside someone like Premier would be top tier and much more focused. I was correct. Alongside features from Killer Mike, Jay Electronica, Common, Ab-Soul, Mac Miller, Dwele, and more, Royce delivers a solid project with highlights such as "Dat Sound Good", "You Should Know", "Wishin", "Courtesy", "To Me, To You", and more. PRhyme is a duo that could help solidify Royce and his legacy even more so.

*Big K.R.I.T.- Cadillactica

-I still believe this album is truly underrated. I feel after the debut album from K.R.I.T. that took some rightful criticism, he bounced back with a near classic on his sophomore release, making some of the best music of his career. The production ranges from the booming hip hop sound to the track rattling southern sound to even some rock influenced production and K.R.I.T. is always able to take care of things lyrically. On this album, he employs an interesting supporting cast with features from Lupe Fiasco, Devin The Dude, Bun B, E-40, Raphael Saadiq, and more. This results in a number of great tracks, from "Kreation" to "Soul Food" to "Life" to "Mind Control" to "Angels" and so much more. This is my favorite hip hop album from 2014 by far.



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