Hit the homey @JRBang up to have a quick hip-hop conversation and it dawned on me…Nobody truly ran away with hip-hop in 2014. Usually there is always that 1 artist that goes on the feature run, that has the hit singles but also has the hit collabs and has the best verses on remixes. There’s a lot of candidates for this title but right now, it seems like quite a few people had their month or quarter and that was it. Let’s run the list of the 10 most talked about people in hip-hop for 2014.
1. Iggy Azalea – I know, I know, you hate her and the altered Social Media posts of her dropping the N-Word didn’t help either. All that said, you can’t deny that she “Nellyed” hip-hop this year, just without the Nelly Numbers. I think it’s pretty safe to say she had the most number 1 rap singles and was the breakout star. It’s also safe to say that hip-hop as a whole would be highly upset if she was given the 2014 crown ALTHOUGH IT REALLY WOULDN’T BE WRONG. So let’s just move on.
2.Y.G – Y.G I feel has the best rap album of 2014 and in some respects that’s enough for me. He’s also closing the year with an Indie Film based off the music on the album. He doesn’t do much press but, what do you expect from a guy that tells you “And I hate doing interviews….Cause real Gangsta’s don’t like talking”
3. Drake – I stand by Drake being the leader of the New School for this reason. Drake is one of two people I’m putting on this list, that had possibly the biggest rap records of the year, yet had no project out. He has 0 to 100/The Catch Up, How Bout Now and he was on Wayne’s Believe Me. No mixtape, album or EP yet he still made himself a topic of discussion MUSICALLY. The Drake vs Wayne Tour was also a huge success!
4. Big Sean – Big Sean is the 2nd person of this year to do what Drake did. As a person who turned the corner on Big Sean, I will tell you again….He is firmly the 1A of this new generation of rappers under 30. Big Sean puts out 4 songs in 1 day and 1 of the songs ends up becoming arguably the number 1 song of 2014 with IDFWU. Never gave us a release date for anything. Never gave us a title for anything. Made himself a topic of discussion MUSICALLY throughout the second half of the year with 1 song.
5. Wiz Khalifa – Wiz had a smash with “We Dem Boyz”, had an Big Tour and he had the Number 1 album in the country this year. The only bad news he got was his wife Amber Rose wanting a Divorce. You could say 2014 was Wiz year quietly but, I can also see why you would put the other 4 mentioned above him. Wiz is an artist that is so self contained, nothing around his movement affects his movement. That’s not a bad problem to have.
6. Schoolboy Q – Q dropped a really dope album and Studio with B.J The Chicago Kid probably strengthened his female fanbase for life! Q carried the T.D.E Torch into 2014 and did a pretty great job. Although he was shot at, that news pales in comparison to the amount of videos, features and remixes he did. You could say the only reason why it’s not widely recognized as Q’s year is because of his “mainstream marketability” but, we all know he has a turnt white audience that LOVES his music.
7. Run The Jewels – Killer Mike and EL P dropped another gem called RTJ2 out of nowhere and once again, the crowd goes wild! There are no singles, no promotion, they just Beyonce us to rave reviews. I’ll be honest, although I like the project, I’m not calling it rap album of the year. It just doesn’t move me like it. It’s dope, I like that the sound is a shock to the system but, best album of 2014???? Nah. Pitchfork already gave them the nod but this is one of those albums where people are going to love and support it for every reason that is not status quo when we pick the number one artist of the year.
8. Childish Gambino – Bino’s album dropped December of 2013 but played over into the year because of 3005. I’m actually surprised Oakland with Lloyd didn’t get more burn. Bino managed to stay extremely relevant in a mainstream sense by doing practically nothing mainstream. Also, his PM Dawn cover of “I’d Die Without You” was HARD AS HAIL! If you heard the Camp Album, 3005 is not a shocking feat to you cause Top 40 picked up on Fireflies quick! Bino might be bar for bar the best rapper out. You could say he ran 2014 and run the list of what he did this year [STN MTN] and you wouldn’t hear too much feedback.
9. J. Cole – Cole’s world appears to be the 4th quarter. He’s seemingly getting more press with the tweet of his album coming than he did pushing singles for his last two albums. J. Cole became a stronger household name performing a song on Letterman that’s not on his album. J. Cole might finally be coming into the artist everyone expects him to be and some would say he runs 2014 because he’s the main topic of conversation [Outside of Kendrick Lamar] for the final month of the year.
10. Battle Rappers – There was a time when you knew 1 battle league and MAYBE 5 battle rappers. It’s a new day in 2014 though. Battle Rap is everywhere! Smack, URL, Fresh Coast, King of The Dot, it’s always something going down and battle rappers are making real names for themselves. Some of the biggest stories in hip-hop this year were.
Daylyt and his antics
Joe Budden vs Hollow Da Don
Murda Mook vs Loaded Lux 2014
Dizaster vs Cassidy
Keith Murray vs Fredro Starr [Didn’t Happen]
Battle rap is becoming a solid and thriving business. Although, I personally don’t think its a hip-hop element built for venues, stages and “big events”, I’d be foolish not to recognize the effect it’s had on a unknowing mainstream audience this year. Snoop has a league, Busta and Fab are die hard fans and with Cassidy’s big win, I expect more mainstream guys to accept the challenge of getting in the ring or attempting to invest in it.
So that’s my Top 10 candidates of 2014. Who are you giving the 2014 crown to? Let me know your thoughts.