Julia LeConte’s top 10 albums: Beats, rhymes and hype

The best rap and hip hop records of 2014


1. Run The Jewels

RTJ2

Only thing competing with Killer Mike and El-P’s totally versatile, one-up-style rapping is El-P’s unrelenting onslaught of multi-layered, dynamic beats.

Future

2. Future

Honest

A couple of legit bangers shake up this simultaneously sweet and stupid, sincere and insecure heart-tugger from our favourite hardest sing-rapper. Croak on, Romeo. 

Freddie Gibbs

3. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

Piñata

Well, shit. Sheeeit. Sit down, baby rappers. Street rap aficionado Gibbs and vinyl-digging producer Madlib combine on an instant, real-talkin’, 70s-loving classic. 

Azealia Banks

4. Azealia Banks

Broke With Expensive Taste

As much a dance record as a rap one, Banks’s delightful debut borrows from 90s dance, merengue and jazz. Worth the three-year wait.

Travis Scott

5. Travi$ Scott

Days Before Rodeo

Cinematic trap-hop. Southern electro-rap. Fearlessly outside the box. The soundtrack to our would-be night lives.

YG

6. YG

My Krazy Life

Narratives that earned YG comparisons to fellow Comptonite Kendrick, unsingable party bangers and collabs with DJ Mustard and Drake. Turn. Up.

Shabazz Palaces

7. Shabazz Palaces

Lese Majesty

What we’ve come to expect from the alt-hip-hop duo: heavy topics (anti-establishment), heavy production (woozy synths, otherworldly washes of sound). A breath of weirdo fresh air.

Theophilus London

8. Theophilus London

Vibes! 

A disco-dappled, funk-fuelled, electro-pop-loving hip-hop/R&B fusion record. Just try to put a genre tag on it. 

Schoolboy Q

9. Schoolboy Q

Oxymoron

Hard gangster meets party-ready rapper. Q goes in in his caustic yap, while superstar producers make the 17 tracks ultra-slick. 

Tre Mission

10. Tre Mission

Stigmata

A self-produced debut blending grime with a distinctly 416 sound and a touch of southern hip-hop. Fresh features abound.

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