best of 2014

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Prince There is No Competition!


Prince is in his own category. He doesn’t get compared to anyone. We were graced with 2 albums this year from the man, myth, and chameleon on Warner Bros no less. I preferred Art Official Age over Electrum Plectrum. I prefer my Prince unadulterated by others unless it is Lisa, Wendy, Sheila, Jill, or Susannah.

Prince – Art Official Age [Warner Bros]
Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL – Plectrumelectrum [Warner Bros]

The top 10 albums of 2014

01 You're Dead!Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! [Warp Records]

The #1 album of the year was a no brainer for me. I didn’t think that FlyLo could ever top Cosmogramma, but he did! You’re Dead! is an exquisite meeting of free jazz and hip-hop, and it is an album. There is not one song that doesn’t belong on it, a must listen as one complete whole. It’s about the ENTIRE experience, not the individual songs.

02 Black Messiah D’Angelo & The Vanguard – Black Messiah [Warner Bros]

I didn’t believe D’Angelo would NEVER, EVER, Ever, Eva release another album. There is a God! I hope he doesn’t wait another 14 years. Hearing real music with actual instruments, vocal harmonies, and textures and layers galore, oh my! was heavenly. Obviously, The Charade is a Prince song through and through. He has studied very well during his absence (with Jesse Johnson no less).

03 Cilvia Demo Cilvia Demo – Isaiah Rashad [Top Dawg Entertainment]

Cilvia Demo is an immediate hip-hop classic for me. I know it is quite the bold statement. Who else would make a song about Brad Jordan AND give props to Juvenile and others from NOLA? Even though he is supposedly at the bottom of Top Dawg’s roster, he is #1 for me over Kendrick (yes), over Schoolboy Q (yes). Why? The lyrics and the production together create some very memorable and palpable songs. I remember hearing Erykah Badu say on a Music Snobs episode that when she first saw Trinidad James’ video for All Gold that she believed him. I didn’t quite understand what she meant until I heard this album. I believe Isaiah Rashad, but more than that I feel his songs. This is SO rare now days in any music. And to top it off, he is also a fellow southerner, hailing from Chattanooga, Tennessee. The south rules;)

04 BASSJAZZ VOLUME ONE B.P.D.R – BassJazz Volume 1 [Cyanide Recordings]

Jay “Bulletproof” and Chris “DuttyRank” both from New Zealand know how to collaborate: Swindle, Silkie, and Quest. Their collaborators are THE best and the ENTIRE album illustrates why the masters would want to collaborate with the duo. I’m ready for BassJazz Volume 2! Bring it on;)

05 Reality Testing Lone – Reality Testing [R&S Records]

I ♥ Lone’s keyboard patches! Seriously! Thank God for R&S Records. Keep releasing Lone. We do appreciate it.

06 Faces Mac Miller – Faces [Rostrum]

I adore this hip-hop record. The production is on point. Mac has a way with words and his flow is also on point. Solid release. I believe him too!

07 In the Wild Falty DL – In The Wild [Ninja Tune]

Falty DL never disappoints, and he has now become my personal hero by releasing Luke Vibert on his label, [Blueberry Records]. DÃ¥nger is a monster!

08 Ghettoville Actress – Ghettoville [Werkdiscs]

Hypnotic! Mesmerizing! Addictive! How did he (un)craft this sound? It sounds authentically and dirtily analog. Actress is definitely listening to another drummer. So rare nowadays.

09 Future History Nu:Tone – Future History [Hospital Records]
Hospital Records used to be one of my favorite record labels. I relied on them like air, and then eventually their sound evolved and I stopped listening. However, Nu:Tone has revived my love of Hospital. Drum and Bass is STILL one of my favorite genres, and Nu:Tone is one of THE best. However, with this release, he shows everyone how it WAS done and CAN be done. This release really, really put a smile on my face.

10 Broke With Expensive Taste Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste [Prospect Park]
I have mixed feelings about this release. On the one hand, Azealia is extremely talented (her voice whether singing or rapping is extraordinary), but more importantly she knows how to choose producers. The producers she chose for this album would be my personal dream team. These are the producers I worship, particularly Machinedrum and Lone. However, I wish she would have truly collaborated with them. It would be amazing to hear what they would come up with. She does wonders with their existing material, but it would be even more amazing if she collaborated on new material with them specifically for this album.

Best Song of 2014 – Flava D & Royal-T – On My Mind (Version Three) [Butterz]
On My Mind

It was either String Steppa or this, both by Flava D! Her music was on fire last year. Crossing my fingers that this year is no different. Butterz, please release Home (Moony Remix One). This remix is MASSIVE, and deserves a proper release.

Best EP of 2014 – Swindle – Walter’s Call [Brownswood Recordings]
Walters Call

I didn’t have to think about this at all. It was crystal clear. Swindle is absolutely ALWAYS stunning, but he truly outdid his own self with this release. Oh man, the horn! Swindle is one bad mother (shut your mouth)! And thank you (SO very much) Mr. Gilles Peterson for releasing this brilliance! No one has ever heard the likes of this.

Best Label of 2014 [Blueberry Records]
Instant Vibe EPNews of the World EP

Blueberry Records for releasing all things Luke Vibert… Luke Warm, Amen Andrews… I’m happy to see that Falty DL is giving Luke the respect and the releases he deserves. When I first heard the Luke Warm EP, it didn’t take me long to figure out that I was listening to my beloved Luke Vibert. Oh what a treat to discover a new Vibert alias!

Best Remix of 2014 – Dip (Preditah Remix) by Danny Brown [Fool’s Gold Records]
PREDITAH! Man, he transformed this song into something super special. Simplicity can sometimes be so sweet!
25 Bucks EP

Best Artist of 2014 – Flava D
Hands down! There is no competition. From her solo work, collaborations, and remixes, I listened to her songs over and over and over and over more than any other artist this year and these songs still haven’t gotten old for me. All I have to say is girl power, and I can’t wait to hear what she will produce next.

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