Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Votes are In:: Top 5 Albums of 2014

The annual tradition continues.  With the submissions I received this time around, I think it's safe to say.. I should definitely change the header for the 2015 year to Top Projects.  Many submitted more than five for their list, which is alright with me.  I love the responses.  I probably look forward to this post more than any other.  Check out the responses from folk for the Top Albums of 2014 after the jump! 


In no particular order...
 And then you shoot your cousin - The Roots

Cadillactica - Big K.R.I.T

  • Black Messiah - D'Angelo
  • 2014 Forest Hill Drive - J. Cole
  • O.H.I.O - Stalley
Honorable Mention - Pryhme - Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier
Oxymoron - Schoolboy Q



Top (albums and mixtapes included.  No particular order) of 2014

Sir Michael Rocks- Banco

Iman Omari- Samadhi
  • Logic- Under Pressure
  • Kid Cudi- Sattelite Flight
  • Schoolboy Q- Oxymoron
  • Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
  • OG Maco’s EP (that whole mixtape goess under the influence lol)
  • And (last but not least) Soulections Soundcloud in its entirety. __________________________________________________________________


Top 5 Albums

1. 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole 
 J. Cole gave me the best Christmas gift ever. His album was full of confessionals that I'd pay good money to listen to if he hit up my booth in Church. "No Role Modelz" sums up the state of our culture quite perfectly. Thanks Cole. I'm glad you had something to say on this album. 
2. Piñata by Freddie Gibbs & Madlib 
 Gangsta Gibbs! This duo needs to stick together for a couple extra joints. It was refreshing to hear Gibbs ditch the trap beats for a second and hop on a few soulful samples. Scary ass Freddie + excellent Madlib production = your rapper's favorite rap album. 

3. Under Pressure by Logic 
 Or better known as "The Logic Project That Finally Converted Me Into A Logic Fan." This dude poured his heart out over some incredible beats. The dope wordplay here is easy to catch and quotable for days. Logic shocked the hell outta me with this ill debut. You sure know how to pick 'em, No I.D. 

4. Oxymoron by Schoolboy Q 
An early gift for rap heads such as myself for 2014. There's just far too many dope songs to appreciate on this TDE masterpiece - "Gangsta," "Collard Greens," "Studio," "Break the Bank" etc. A focused project from a focused MC. TDE STAY WINNIN, BRUH! 

5. Ohio by Stalley 
I'm a huge fan of MMG's "weirdo" MC's, such as Wale. The other one (Stalley) dropped an amazing piece of work that was full of slept-on joints. "Always Into Something" should be way bigger than it is now. Major kudos goes to this album for the De La Soul feature. 

Top 5 Mixtapes

1. Black Hystori Project by CyHi The Prince 
 CyHi! Hands down, the best concept mixtape I heard all year. Who knew this joint would be as incredible as it turned out to be? Not a damn soul! With all the social madness centered around my race at the moment, this album did a good job of reminding me how great we all are. 

2. STN MTN/Kauai Mixtape by Childish Gambino 
Gambino channeled ATL and transported me into his dream world of running the rap game. When Gambino hops over such classic dirty south beats, it sounds as if he should have rapped over the beat in the 1st place. Pure genius, this mixtape. 

3. Ferg Forever by A$AP Ferg
 Yeah so...I kinda prefer Ferg over Rocky at this point. This mixtape is part of the reason why. Ferg's strange cadence, out-there bars and trippy vocals sound good over everything. I did my rich wrist dance, bobbed my head repeatedly and laughed hard as hell during several points of this tape. Ferg done did it again! 

4. Festivus by Wale & A-Trak 
 I'll never understand the Wale hate. When he creates excellent pieces such as this one, I find it hard to not like the man. A-Trak's aid helped Wale expose his lyrical dexterity over a multitude of other producer's finest work. "Chess" is just...whoa. So good...

5. Days Before Rodeo by Travi$ Scott 
The production on this joint right here sent me to a whole 'nother universe. I rocked with this mixtape sober and high off my mind. Verdict: It's enjoyable during any mood. Scott may not have bars for days, but he makes up for it with mind-bending concepts and trippy songs on projects like this one. 

Top 5 Songs

1. Studio by Schoolboy Q & BJ the Chicago Kid 
This takes the honor of being one of the few radio singles I could stomach this year. That silky smooth beat, BJ's super catchy chorus and that one woman moaning in the background made this a hit I never grew tired of. 

2. i by Kendrick Lamar 
K. Dot can do no wrong. This positive, uplifting banger is proof of that fact. My day instantly improved after hearing this one come across my shuffled playthrough. That Isley Brothers sample and sped up percussion mixed quite well with Kendrick's thought provoking lyrics. 

3. Never Catch Me by Flying Lotus & Kendrick Lamar 
"YO WHY YOU ON KENDRICK'S NUTS SO MUCH?" I'm a K. Dot nuthugger? So be it! Me and Peter Rosenberg have something in common. Flying Lotus provided the perfect backdrop for Kendrick's poetics about life and death. Do yourself a favor and watch the video. It magnifies the experience by a million and one. 

4. I Don't Fuck With You by Big Sean & E-40 
 "YA LIL' STUPID ASS BITCH, I AIN'T FUCKIN' WIT YOUUUUUUUU!" Such a simple concept - hop on a super catchy DJ Mustard beat and proceed to dog your ex-lover. I can't help but turn up every time this song drops. Sure, the video is as dumb as rocks. The song, though? Incredibly hard to ignore. 

5. Cadillactica by Big K.R.I.T. 
This one right here, son? It transported me to the plane of pimpin' and hustlin'. K.R.I.T. album titled single ranks as the best song on that project, in my opinion. Once the chorus breakdown hits, I feel like I'm drifting away to nirvana. And remember - I FUCKED YO BITCH, NIGGA!  ________________________________________________________________


1. J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hill Drive
2. YG - My Krazy Life

3. Schoolboy Q - Oxymoron 
4. Young Jeezy - Seen it All
5. Big K.R.I.T. - Cadillac tics

Honorable Mentions 
  • Fabolous -Young OG 
  • Stalley - Ohio 

Top Songs
1. Big Sean - IDFWU

2. Rae Sremmurd - No Type
3. Bobby Shmurda - Hot Boy
4. DeJ Loaf - Try Me
5. Migos - Handsome & Wealthy

Honorable mentions
  • Ilovemakeonnen - Tuesday
  • OT Genasis - CoCo


in no particular order... 
J Cole.
 2014 Forest Hills Drive
 What CAN'T be said about Jermaine's no single anticipation? You got an artist who's never been one for the industry BS, especially with his first and second album and dropped his third, which sounded more himself, as his early mixtapes did. Tale of 2 Citiez? Love Yourz? No Role Models? Honesty. Reminds me a lot of The Warm Up. 

"Last night, we pulled up on a nigga at the light like (UGH) nice watch; RUN IT"

 Autobiography: Seen It All
True Hollywood Story: Jeezy was at my job earlier this year and I was SO hyped that I'd get to meet him, but it wasn't in the universe's plan, as I only saw him leaving. BRUH. I told Ace and I was CRUSHED. That first single with Jay? The rest of the album? I just wanted to say "I thug cried to Autobiography and Recession". But the way things work, I figure in another time and place I'll get to tell him. On the album, it seemed...mature. Not how I mentioned Cole's was just "eff the bs; here's my album" -- Jeezy had a successful single, and follow ups with haunting horns and synths and even greater punchlines. Put on for the city, Jeezy.

"...threw it on the table, said 'fuck that shit, young nigga get paid".

Run The Jewels
 Run The Jewels 2

Now, we all know how I feel about Killer Mike and how the first album changed my life. Ronald Reagan anyone? This follow up was EVERYTHING and more. Same aggression, nothing to back down from which made it unique in my opinion. Damn, how can you do better than the first? By BEING the best. Not a lot of features, a lot of in house producing and dope lyricism that's great, no matter who's listening gets this in the top 5 of 2014. Well, one of them. Well done El-P and Killa Kill. 

"We killin 'em for freedom cause they tortured us for boredom" 

Big K.R.I.T.

Bring that ass here, Justin Scott. How do you make a DOPE ass album to ride to through the streets of LA and make me feel like I'm back at home in the South, feeling all this shit like I never left? Cadillactica. No secret -- I'm country in my daily but I'm usually at work but as soon as I hit that time card, KRIT bangin out my trunk like I'm back in the Cascade parking lot. You got Soul Food, Mind Control, King of The South, etc and no matter where I am, it makes me feel like I'm just a few minutes from home. Long anticipated, he DELIVERT. 

"Grew up on the country side of town, now I'm ballin under city lights"

TIE (1)
ScHoolboy Q

I think it's because I'm west coast affiliated now, and I'm on Fig and sometimes cross Hoover a lot that I *feel* it. Grammy nominated, Oxy disappointed some but I think Q got the hand of it; 'Studio', 'Gangsta', 'Fuck LA' -- I think Q took everything from before the first album and after and delivered his style to a bigger audience. Gon' head, Q - he got radio play from early winter to late winter. Good luck on that nod, though. Gangsta Rap lives. 

"I’m a drug dealing nigga, cause them grades aint get me paid"

TIE (2)
Nobody's Smiling
Common's Def Jam debut is...GOOD WITH ME. Common is a consistent artist and gives you the real, which is how he lasts. This is a work on art, gents and gals. EVERYTHING. Blak Majik is a favorite with Jhene Aiko, as well as the title track with Nobody's Smiling. 

"Makin' something outta nothin, blak majik"

King avriel - thesis.
BRAH. 180, Judgement Day, Follow Me - everything on here. A leftcoast songbird with a STRONG concept album and awesome music. 

Jay Rock - Parental Advisory & Pay for It.

Kendrick Lamar - i.
I can tell you where I was when I heard this and who tagged me in it and how it's still A TOP SONG EVER. Nominated for a Grammy without the mention of a album. Only Dot.

Jazmine Sullivan - Forever Doesn't Last.

YASSSSS. Just...speak to my problems, ma'am. AND SANG.

Stalley - Ohio.
FINALLY the lone MMG spitter drops a project and it's sad he's still slept on as he is. Stalley got bars, no dis. Good beats and lyrics make for a great debut. 

Que - Can You Dig It??
Que straight dope to me. IDC IDC IDC. Rich Nigga Problems, All Y'all, The Youth, Don't Watch That. Close enough to Migos, but not THAT close. Just where I need it.


My Top 5 Albums of 2014 are....

1. Descendent - Road to Greatness Journey of a Lost Soul. 
To me that album is very well rounded, there is a song for everybody who loves the Hip Hop culture. From story telling, revolutionary, inspirational, and hardcore it had it all. I love this album!

2. Freddie Gibbs - Piñata. 
The different sounds of Madlib with Freddie Gibbs gritty stories, flow, and honesty makes one hell of an album! From start to finish I love every track!!!! I think this album showed Gibbs range and growth not only as a emcee but an artist. 

3. School Boy Q - Oxymoron
 This man delivered a different outlook on gangbangin and just west coast music period! It was not your typical west coast album. He had boom bap,  trap (as the music industry likes to call it), motivational, the story about him dealing with drugs and his daughter was very deep, and even strip club joint. This album took me on a ride.

4. Rapsody - Beauty and The Beast
 Mmmmmaannnnnnn listen! All I gotta say is BARZ!!!! I actually got to meet her and pick her brain a little bit about this album and she poured her soul on every song! This pushes me as a artist as well...she talked about struggles she went through in this industry, flow, delivery, diversity, and she did all this with class. She is one of the illest emcees in the game.

5. Common - Nobody's Smiling
 I think common delivered another great album especially working with his original producer No I.D. I like how he went back to his Chicago roots and collab with new artist from his home town. Rewind That, Kingdom, The Neighborhood, and Young Hearts Run Free are very powerful songs. Of course the flow and lyrics are dope from common and the featured artist...Vince Staples and Lil Herb went off on this album! Much respect to Common!

Those are my top 5 albums for 2014!! Peace...signing out Descendent! 

Rap / Hip-Hop
1. J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hill Drive

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

3. Statik Selektah - What Goes Around
4. Ab-Soul - These Days...
5. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
6. Freddie Gibbs - Pinata
7. Rick Ross - Mastermind & Hood Billionaire
8. Sir Michael Rocks - Banco
9. T.I. - Paperwork
10. Young Jeezy - Seen It All [The Autobiography]

1. Mali Music - Mali Is...

2. Trey Songz - Trigga

3. Ty Dolla $ign - Beach House
4. Prince - Plectrumelectrum & Art Official Age
5. Sam Smith - In That Lonely Hour
7. Jhené Aiko - Souled Out
8. Jagged Edge - J.E. Heartbreak II
9. Boyz II Men - Collide
10. The-Dream - Royalty [The Prequel]

1. Curren$y - The Drive In Theater, Saturday Night Car Tunes, More Saturday Night Car Tunes
2. Lil Boosie - Life After Deathrow

3. Raekwon - We Wanna Thank You

4. Slaughterhouse - House Rules
5. Mac Miller - Faces
6. B.o.B. - No Genre 2
7. Ty Dolla $ign - $ign Language
8. Scotty ATL - Spaghetti Junction
9. Future - Monster
10. Migos - No Label 2

1. Logic - Under Pressure

2. Boaz - Intuition

3. Stalley - Ohio
4. iLoveMakonnen - iLoveMakonnen
5. Bas - Last Winter
6. Euroz - Memories of The Future
7. King Mez - Long Live The King
8. Cozz - Cozz & Effect
9. Tinashe - Aquarius
10. Sebastian Mikael - Speechless

1. YG - My Crazy Life
Easily a West Coast classic. I was totally shocked by the album. I was expecting to hear an album full of nothing but repetitive DJ Mustard beats, but he took it back to the Pac, Easy E, etc classic type West Coast production. Along with bringing back the interludes on his album that alot of people got rid of. YG may not be a lyricist but he kept it real & deep with his story telling throughout the album. 

2. J Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive
 I'm sure this is gonna be a lot of peoples #1 on their list but this album was definitely not what I expected. 1st listen to the album & immediately wanna toss it in the trash. Have to go back to listen to the album 2-3 times to actually get into the album & appreciate it. A lot of folks saying it's Cole's best album but I definitely beg to differ. I due like & highly respect how he dropped the album with no singles, no promo & still went Gold. 

3. ScHoolboy Q - Oxymoron
 This was actually my album of the year til YG dropped. Q did exactly the same as YG & took it back with that West Coast Classic feel. From the beginning of the album with the Gangsta Intro til the end, Q just floats over every track. 

4. Nicki Minaj - The Prinkprint
 I have to say this was the most surprising album that dropped this year. Nicki dropped the gimmicks & just went straight hip hop on this album showing people that she could actually spit. Have to say this is easily her best album. 

5. T.I. - Paperwork & Jeezy - Seen It All:
 These 2 albums are a tie. They were both dope albums but also disappointing. With all the hype surrounding the albums you would think they were gonna be classics, but they turned out to be mediocre (No pun intended) & due to the shitty year of music they make the list. Jeezy jumpoff single "Me Ok" took it back to that TM 101 Jeezy that everybody missed which made me to think the album would be a classic, but once it dropped it was tons of filler tracks. With TIP dropping "About The Money" with Young Thug sound as if he took it back to his "King" album days. He kept up with his movie theme for this album has he did with his last, just didn't live up to the hype. Although his album is slightly better than Jeezy's. 


1. Mac Miller - Faces
2. Migos - No Label 2
3. Travis Scott - Days Before Rodeo
4. Migos - Rich Nigga Timeline
5. Rich Gang - The Tour Pt.1
Honorable Mentions

  • Rick Ross- Mastermind
  • August Alsina- Testimony
  • 50 Cent- Animal Ambition
  • Jhenè Aiko- Souled Out
 1. YG- My Krazy Life
2. Migos- No Label 2
3. Big K.R.I.T- Week of KRIT
4. ScHoolboy Q- Oxymoron
5. Mac Miller- Faces
6. Big K.R.I.T- Cadillactica
7. Stalley- Ohio
8. J. Cole- Forest Hill Dr.- (Although it dropped right before the year is about to end, the album is so AWESOME *Does subtle Nae Nae to "I'm so Awesome"* it had to make the cut)

For this year, mine is a compiled list of albums and mixtapes in one.  A 'project' list if you will (as i mentioned earlier).  I will attest to all of the tapes I have listed below obtain album  quality.  No assigned order for the number 1 slot as the order changes depending on what mood I'm in ;-).  However, these three solidly hold the rotation for the top spot. It would be unfair for me to try and sort which is better than which.  They all are Great.  Each project I can play from start to finish like it's nothing.  

 “Can I show you this world baby?...  Ain’t no rules to this life darling…”
Oxymoron is the perfect riding music.  Not only was the production selection & order on point, Q didn’t drop any mediocrity in his lyrics to accompany it, but rather left an upgrade to his distinct sound.  On a ‘trip’ on a sunny day.  If you get what I mean...
Oxymoron Favorites : Gangsta, His/Her Fiend , Break the Bank 

"How can you rap about it on a song, but get 25 years for wrappin bout it on the phone??" .  This joint right here.. Oh my gawd.   Leaves me stuck every time I listen.  Here's a copy and paste of my initial review of Black Hystori Project.  
 Adjectives like 'dope'.. 'nice' etc. does this project no justice. I'm in AWE. The entirety of it all: The consistent fire lyrics.. the creativity and infusion of the theme through the tracklisting.. and let's not start on the production oh my gawd. (the originals AND the sample flipped tracks). Easily deemed a Classic.

Black Hystori Project favorites: Mandela, 3:16, Is it Me?

1. Faces
“How’s it feel to hang around a muthafxcka like me?’ 
Faces puts me in a particular atmosphere/mood.  The same atmosphere/mood I’m in when I’m at a music festival (i.e. Governor’s Ball, Made in America, etc.).  An atmosphere of all my favorite things – a beautiful sky, carnival games, live music, great weather, cup filled.  Amazing. You can imagine how GREAT I felt when I saw him perform my favorites at The Odd Future Carnival this year.  First class flight to Euphoria the moment I press play.  Start to Finish.
Faces favorites : Therapy / Happy Birthday/ Insomniak 

(No particular order...)

‘I don’t want nobody but you… kissing on my tattoos’. 
 Usually when a new artist releases a mixtape that does exceptionally well (buzz and success wise), their debut album kinda falls short.  However, this is NOT the case for Mr. Alsina.  Aside from my personal thoughts on him ;-), he delivers a Testimony literally on this album.  Relatable in countless ways, Alsina expressed the sentiments in smooth but G way that only he knows how to do.  
“Even when I’m up, I’m feeling down…” 
Testimony favorites : FML / Kissin on my Tattoos/ No Love  

Days Before Rodeo: Travis Scott
“I can't go a day without finessing" .  
Dropped at the perfect time.  Heat. Turnt.  I saw Travis perform this (at a music festival of course) containing all the elements (except the carnival games) of my perfect atmosphere and it amped the entire tape more for me.  His different realm reflects throughout; trill shit received.   "..might fxck 'round lose my mind..." 
Days Before Rodeo favorites: Mamacita/ Grey/ The Prayer

Black Messiah:  D'Angelo & The Vanguard
‘"When I want you to stay…".  D’Angelo loves me for making this album (lol).  Intense vibes of love and empowerment.   Well worth the wait.  Speak on brotha...
  “But you gotta pray.. all the way…” 
Black Messiah favorites :  Aint That Easy/ Prayer/ Another Life 

Honorable Mentions:  


“Crucify me…” The beautiful SZA dropped a beautiful album.  The lyrics are written in ways that only one can understand if they FEEL it and have been there before.  Many sentiments that I don’t express out loud were expressed through this album.  Sole reason it didn’t make the top "4" is… if I’m in a awesome mood… it’ll go right back to a place I don’t want it to when this plays lol.  I’ll keep it reserved for my chill days.  "Doubting's only made your vision blurry... you're better off just looking in the mirror...." 
Z favorites : Warm Winds / Babylon/ Childs Play 

Samadhi - Iman Omari

‘Something about you baby, I can't tell...’  Samadhi.  JUNE.  The beginning of summer.  Good weather.. good music.  This was my mind escape to a serene paradise while living in the real world.  Every single track. The elements.  LOVE.  If ever there is a day in my future that I fall in love… it will most certainly feel like this.  "Let it go" alone effortlessly rotated 100+ times on my end.
    “No complexities... when you're next to me…”

Organized Crime- Jet Life
"...Lil nxgga I bossed up... so you better watch what you sizzay..."
The tracks selected.  LIVE.  Multi-Purpose tunes.  
 "..I always spoke my mind, I ain't ever wore no muzzle..."  

Banco- Sir Michael Rocks
"I'm hella picky with the bitches that I like to select..."
I debated back and forth if I would put Banco on the list.  I realized that it would be wrong for me not to put this on here with how much love certain songs consistently received on my pod. Def had some crankers.  'Stare at my reflection in the tire iron’

Let's see what the music gawds bring us in 2015.  Until next year... it's a movie get ya goobers nxgga...


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