The Best Albums Of 2014 (So Far)


Time keeps passing us by. It feels like yesterday when we were arguing about orderings, placements and picks for our “Best Albums of 2013” list last December, and now 2014 is more than half-over. As a given year transpires, some trends arise on the fly while others only become evident in retrospect. The single most important trend of 2014 thus far is somewhere in the middle: it has not been a good year for hip-hop.

With that said, a handful of diamonds in the rough prevented compiling this list from being too tough. Many young talents are rising together, a new New School of rap-oriented acts destined for big things in the coming years. Quite a few are dropping their most anticipated projects to date in the coming weeks; if they live up to their potential, you can expect to see some unfamiliar faces in our year-end list.

With hip-hop in a genre-spanning slump, many artists whom we love from other genres are scattered throughout our rankings. Simply put, we have been generally blessed with a lot of great music when you let the categorical boundaries fall and take remarkable records for what they are. Whether filled with promise, defined by laudable experimentation or overflowing with dope songs that knock, a host of varying albums make up our favorite 30 projects released since the first day of January.

Click below to check out the best albums of 2014.

32 thoughts on “The Best Albums Of 2014 (So Far)

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  1. Andrew_Martin520|

    I agree re: Lone.

  2. Andrew_Martin520|


  3. Andrew_Martin520|

    BBNG was solid but not great and LD is yawncity <3

  4. Intelligent Sound|

    man this list is really spot on……. however i feel that lones new album deserves a little more love …… but i can agree more with you about ratking taylor mcferrin and kidkanevil

  5. fishfish|

    I thought this was the worst list I’ve read from potholes.

  6. Roots album was wack as hell.

  7. Dope! How about BBNG, Little Dragon?

  8. I slept on that Takuya Kuroda album. That’s Jose James trumpet player. Gotta get on that, thanks.

  9. Thanks man.

  10. Definitely a long comment lol, but thank you for adding to the discussion with fully formed, respectfully said opinions. We give a damn, for sure 🙂

  11. Antoine Smith|

    I had actually read that review. I don’t wholly disagree with all that was said, but in the end I found it to be a good album that implemented some unique stylistic elements which resonated with me (particularly the infused raw classical and jazz composition, as well as the over arching haunting vibe of the album and old blues aspects). Its main weakness was simply being too short. Ultimately, I’d probably have it in the 20s some where on a top 30 list like this.

    When I see albums like Kidkanevil’s on here, that high up, I kind of scratch my head. It’s a solid album no doubt, but one of the best of ’14? The sounds on it were harvested from music Telefon Tel Aviv did over a decade ago. And as a musician, I understand that it is completely normal and acceptable to borrow from others, but it’s also necessary to establish your own identity and sound and when I here your music and I first think of Telefon Tel Aviv, Daisuke Tanabe, or Rainstick Orchestra instead of the actual artist, I don’t think that individuality has been attained and certainly not a top five level of prestige.

    Anywho, that was really wordy and y’all probably don’t give a damn. I’ll leave on the positive note that I appreciate the list not only because of the time that went into it because it had some albums I overlooked. =)

  12. Coffee Anon|

    By the year’s end I’m expecting the top 5 to be injected with Run the Jewels, Flylo, D’angelo (we can only dream).

  13. I wouldn’t say Monch’s album is better than YG;s because their different albums but both are solid.

  14. It was inconsistent, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  15. This is the one album I’m regretting we didn’t get to review. Solid album.

  16. The Roots album was a poor mans version of Undun and it sucked, check our review for the details.

  17. Andrew_Martin520|

    I’ll ad a few of those to my “to listen” playlist. Thanks man.

    Also, big fan of that Lone release, just barely missed the cut here.

  18. Antoine Smith|

    Well while you’re taking recommendations might I also add the 2014 releases from Quantic, Lone, Lenzman, Illum Sphere, Tycho, Sharon Jones, Thievery Corporation, Takuya Kuroda, and Matthew Halsall to the mix. 😛

  19. It really wasn’t. If Blue chopped the project in half, you might have a case here.

  20. Andrew_Martin520|

    Or we just have different taste. Thanks for the comment though, been meaning to listen to that PUTS.

  21. Antoine Smith|

    No CL, No People Under The Stairs, No Blu, No Roots, No J-Live, No Curren$y (Drive In Theater was crushin it, don’t care if it’s a mixtape), No Marcus D or Bop Alloy… Y’all are fallin apart over here… At least Piñata’s high on the list.

  22. crenshaw07|

    Tune Yards – nikki nack should be in there.

  23. Nabuma Rubberband?

  24. JayBout2|

    Pell’s Floating While Dreaming album is sure to make it to the year end list as well. Pell has a unique sound that sets him apart from the masses.

  25. no BadBadNotGod III?


  27. Glad to see Cocaine Piñata on here. Definitely at the top, but Aesop Rock’s “The Blob” should be on here. His throwaways are better than a lot of people’s best shite…

  28. nice list, but where is KATE TEMPEST???

  29. also blu’s album was better than a lot of these.

  30. open mike should be # 1. just being honest.

  31. Đ℞ΞV/|

    I am very surprised that you put Pharoahe Monch so high… really? it is not better than YG’s album.

    Also I did not see How To Dress Well or The War On Drugs.

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