Some fantastic albums made up last year’s list, with the top spot going to Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus‘ [an absolute game-changer in our opinion. Now that 2014 is drawing to a close, it’s time for us to get our list on all over again in the arbitrary necessity that is the end-of-year album list. Check out the list below, and hit us up in the comments section and let us know if you agree.
This collaborative album from Freddie Gibbs & Madlib is an old school, West Coast-tinged “gangster Blaxploitation film on wax”, and was a real stand-out as soon as it dropped back in March. Not only does ‘Pinata‘ unite two of Hip Hop’s all-time greats, it also showcases a fantastic selection of features, such as Scarface, Raekwon, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, Danny Brown and Mac Miller. Check it out here.
El-P & Killer Mike made the number eight spot in last year’s list with the original ‘Run The Jewels‘, and their follow-up was equally brilliant. The duo have such a knack for making hard-hitting Rap that is just instantly gratifying, and ‘Run The Jewels 2‘ is absolutely no exception.
Like many DOOM projects, this collaboration with up-and-comer Bishop Nehru was long overdue. ‘NehruvianDOOM‘ was forged organically; with the veteran and the newcomer being mutual fans before deciding to team up. While Nehru certainly still has a little way to go before really coming into his own, this was definitely worth the wait.
SBTRKT’s ‘Wonder Where We Land‘ is a 21-track journey through a variety of genres, all linked by their elegant production style. Contributions to the album also came from Ezra Koenig [on ‘New Dorp, New York’, one of our tracks of the year], Sampha, Raury, Jessie Ware, A$AP Ferg and more.
The UK’s Dels absolutely bowled us over with his second studio album, ‘Petals Have Fallen‘. Released on Big Dada [who have been stellar all year, and released Wiley’s ‘Snakes & Ladders‘ the very same day. The album is intensely personal and poetic but also funny, scuzzy, raw and sonically adventurous – definitely one to watch.
5. PRHYME – PRHYME
Slaughterhouse MC Royce Da 5’9″ and legendary producer DJ Premier released their collaborative debut only a few weeks ago, but it’s already a firm favourite. On ‘PRhyme‘, the two demonstrate a real chemistry in what feels like a real celebration of the genre, and verses from Mac Miller, Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Common, Dwele, Jay Electronica, Killer Mike and the rest of Slaughterhouse don’t hurt either.
4. GHOSTFACE KILLAH – 36 SEASONS
Wu-Tang Clan’s comeback album ‘A Better Tomorrow‘ was a bitter disappointment, but thankfully Ghostface Killah was on hand to deliver the superb ‘36 Seasons‘. Taking his cues from the comic book genre, the album tells the story of GFK’s Tony Starks as he returns home from prison. With production from The Revelations, this was always going to be on point.
We’ve had BadBadNotGood’s ‘III‘ on repeat ever since it dropped back in May. Their brooding, Trap-influenced Jazz did things to us that we didn’t even know were possible, making ‘III’ our number three – check that out.
Ratking [aka Sporting Life, Hak and Wiki from Harlem] just miss out on the number one spot with ‘So It Goes‘. Released on XL Recordings, Hak and Wiki convey everyday life in their city with in an almost ‘Illmatic’ fashion. Producer Sporting Life’s beats incorporate car horns, train noises and police vocal samples to make ‘So It Goes‘ truly representative of where it came from.
They may have won the Mercury Prize for ‘DEAD‘, but at last Young Fathers now have the recognition they deserve, landing our number one spot. The Edinburgh trio really have excelled themselves with the forward-thinking, box-dodging ‘DEAD’, which is their third studio album, after ‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two‘. They’re currently in Germany recording their next album, so chances are you’ll be seeing them on next year’s list as well!
So there it is; ten fantastic albums all well worthy of a listen if you haven’t had them all on repeat already. Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and tell us if we missed out your favourite. Here’s hoping next year brings us similarly great albums in 2015.
Honourable mention also goes to ‘You’re Dead – Flying Lotus‘, ‘Directors of Photography’ – Dilated Peoples, ‘These Days’ by Ab-Soul, ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’ – J. Cole, ‘L_ST’ by Black El, ‘Perfect Hair’ by Busdriver, ‘Oxymoron’ – ScHoolboy Q, ‘Cilvia Demo’ – Isaiah Rashad, and to all those who made some superb mixtapes this year.