It’s another day, but a brand new year and what better way to welcome the new year than to reflect on the last. Personal benchmarks achieved and new heights ventured, WDYFILWHH would firstly like to thank you all for your love and support. To celebrate the year that marked hip-hop’s 40th anniversary, we’ve each compiled a list of our top 14 hip hop releases from 2014..
Top 14: According to Aleyna Martinez
1. J Cole
Okay a lot of things happened this year in the realm of rap and hip hop music. America are facing race riots, in 2014, the entire world watched the white man take their culture back to the days of slavery and remind THE WHOLE WORLD their leash still has a tension on it. The way in which this album dropped, at the time that it did meant that it’ s simply number one on my list. Check out No Role Modelz and G.O.M.D.
2.Ludacris— Burning Bridges EP
Ludacris is on my list of top five rappers of all time (don’t ask me where, but he’s there). The appreciation is based on his dexterity alone. So yeah, he is older now, and I saw one internet troll comment ‘rich people problems’ underneath Burning Bridges on YouTube, but even so, Ludacris maintains the gift of eloquence in his verses.
3. SZA — Z
SZA is such a gentle, yet beautifully-bold first lady for Top Dawg Entertainment. Her music is honest, rare, spiritual. She’s a real lady that has managed to turn the bars she raps on into a canvas, when she records her music, her words become paint, and the palette is simply spectacular.
Top 14: According to Hariata Sanders
14: Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste
I’ll admit, I had been anticipating this album since the drop of track ‘212’ (over a year ago). I remember when I first heard it, my boyfriend at the time was showing me her video clip saying she reminded him of me. I was flattered but also confused as to what. Obviously we don’t share similar physical features, but following that track the attention that followed her deteriorated from her music to her “outspoken-ness”. Throwing shade left, right, front and centre via all media outlets, I realised the comparison. She’s a little abrupt, but in a funny way. And even though she’s been projected by the media as an aggressive young African American female (as to defer anyone taking her words seriously), others who identify with her, know better. This album has some fun party tracks (following in 212’s footsteps), my personal favourite being ‘Soda’. But the album also shows her obvious musical skill with tracks like Wallace where she overlays her own harmonic vocals. Her tight flow is highlighted in ‘Heavy Metal and Reflective’ and that is all I have to say about that.
13: Raekwon – We Wanna Thank You
This album was built up using classic samples that all the greats have used. Ranging from The Isley Brothers – ‘Footsteps in the dark’ (which is infamously recognised as the beat to Ice Cubes ‘Today was a Good Day’), to Teena Marie’s ‘Ooh La La La’ (Which the Fugee’s reworked). He commemorates the unity of r’n’b, soul and hip-hop in this album, and I appreciate him all over again for it.
12: Pharaohe Monch – PTSD
I spent my 22nd birthday at his show last year (2013) in Wellington. After the show he shared his favourite American candies (peanut butter m&m’s), and I shared my thoughts on hip hop in 2013. Ridiculous questions I asked throughout the night include (but are not limited to): his star sign, what his thoughts were on Kanye West, and could I one day be apart of illuminati. Alongside them i also asked how far away his next works were. Despite the amount of liquor in my system, I distinctly remember him saying that when it was ready, we would all know about it. 3 years following his last album ‘W.A.R’ the wait was over, and I was so pleasantly surprised. He continues the story he started, exposing more of the world through his eyes. A real hip-hop hero.