Following on from 2013, which (for my ears) was a great year for music, 2014 had a lot of early potential with releases from some of my favourite alt rap veterans such as Atmosphere, Sole, Sage Francis and The Roots. As the year progressed I found myself listening to a lot of older music, in particular old psych rock and 90′s gangsta rap, this was an unexpected but enjoyable distraction from 2014 hip hop.
Music is obviously subjective, as such let’s not call this a best of 2014, this is my most enjoyed albums of 2014. I am sure there are some albums that I am yet to hear and possibly some that I am forgetting.
Souls of Mischief & Adrian Younge- There is Only Now
From my first listen and review of There Is Only Now, I considered it to be one of the best albums of the year. As the year progressed I found myself often going back to this album and enjoying it every time.
The Grouch & Eligh – The Tortoise & The Crow
A late addition to this list, this was released in February did not find it’s ways to my ears until December. I actually found out about it because of their pay what you want The WinterFire EP they released with Cunninglynguists. This is the first ever three disc hip hop release I have heard of. It consists of an album as The Grouch and Eligh as well as solo albums from each. Despite being three discs it’s a consistent throughout and a solid release. There is plenty of musical variety particularly on their album together.
BADBADNOTGOOD – III
I had to include something that’s not hip hop and what better than a jazz band that gained attention doing covers of hip hop. This is BBNG’s third release but the first of their own original compositions. It was a very successful year for the Toronto trio and I expect that to be a continuing trend in 2015. You might need to pay to hear this album but you can stream BBNG2 from bandcamp.
Lil Spook – Black Silk
At first this album came across as a joke but I found myself listening to it more than I could have imagined. It also introduced me to few other young artists from the Minnesota area. It’s certainly a weird choice for this list and it’s not the best album in a technical sense but it’s a great example of different things happening in 2014. If you’re not familiar check the video for Without You
Young Planet – New Fast Automatic
This is a free album that was released at the beginning of the year. Young Planet is New York hip hop duo Cidida and Eibol. Cidida drops raps on this album that are well thought out and while at times his lyrics may come across a little preachy it’s good to hear someone who actually has something to say. You can listen to the album in full on Soundcloud
El P & Killer Mike – Run The Jewels 2
Tokimonsta – Desiderium
Milo – A Toothpaste Suburb
Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark — Full album
Sole – Death Drive