Matt’s Best of 2014: Hip-Hop

Who rapped it best in 2014

I’m way too much of a nerd about music to do one comprehensive list of my favourite albums of 2014, so I’m breaking it down by genre. The idea of picking one album as the best of the year makes me anxious, and the decision is taken with all of the careful thought of naming your first-born child. This week is all about my 3 favourite hip-hop records of 2014. NSFW.

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Pinata

Gary Indiana is not generally known as a massive hot spot for hip-hop, but Freddie Gibbs will surely change that. His blunted-out flow and gangsta bravado ride perfectly over Madlib’s semi lo-fi, occasionally backpacker-y production. I really hope we get another full length from these two in 2015.

Run the Jewels – RTJ2

El-P has been one of my favourite producers since Company Flow released Funcrusher Plus back in 1997. I’m so pumped to see him getting some recognition with his RTJ project with Atlanta’s Killer Mike. The apocalyptic, bass-heavy beats paired with Mike’s booming AK47 flow are so well-suited to each other that I’m surprised they didn’t link up earlier. The first record was hype too.

Retch – Polo Sporting Goods

I’m cheating here a little because this is a mixtape and it technically came out in 2013, but it was after my list was posted so it counts, OK? The line between album and mixtape has never been blurrier and this project confirms that. This is a full-length album in my books and it comes from one of the most promising MCs in NY right now. Before you say “but _______ was better!” give this record a listen and tell me Retchy P isn’t fire. You can’t do it, his hooks are raw and his flow is hungry. Dope shit.

Honourable Mentions: Step Brothers – Lord Steppington, Barrel Brothers – Skyzoo and Torae