We’ve had plenty of great songs and albums released already this year. Here’s 9 of my favorites, leave a comment with yours below.
9. Pharrell – Hunter
After dominating a lot of last year’s air play with ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Get Lucky’, Pharrell released his much anticipated follow up to 2006’s In My Mind, G I R L. ‘Hunter’ is as funky as we’ve heard Pharrell in a while.
8. Sage Francis – Dead Man’s Float
Enigmatic, independent artist Sage Francis released his self-analyzing album Copper Gone in June on Strange Famous Records. This song perfectly encapsulates the tone of the album with its dreary bass line, haunting chorus and excellently crafted verses.
7. Isaiah Rashad – Shot You Down
Shot You Down is song that would give you the impression that Isaiah Rashad has been rapping for years, but it is actually from his debut mixtape, Clivia Demo. His flow needed no time to mature and his delivery has the passion and energy that rap music has been missing for years.
6. Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
This title track from his new album is just yet another example of the genius of Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). The high pitched looped violin is a beautiful addition to his insightful lyrics about the modern world.
5. Ghostface Killah & BADBADNOTGOOD – 6 Degrees featuring Danny Brown
This unlikely collaboration for Lex Records came out of nowhere at the end of May. Both Ghostface Killah and Danny Brown sound as venomous as ever over the jazz trio’s Wu Tang-esque production.
4. Schoolboy Q – Gangsta
Beginning with Schoolboy Q’s daughter proclaiming “fuck rap, my daddy a gangsta”, this track is, in my opinion, the hardest song released this year. The production is just as menacing as the lyrics which give a vivid impression of gang life in Los Angeles.
3. Wu Tang Clan – Keep Watch
The first single from their soon to be released, A Better Tomorrow, at first raised some issues with feuding member Raekwon. He believed that the production was mediocre and that it isn’t “part of our plan”. However, even he couldn’t deny the raw lyricism of the song. The production, handled by Mathematics, is a perfect example of how I think Wu Tang will sound in 2014.
2. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper
From Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s collaborative album, Piñata, Deeper is a great example of a rapper and producer both at the top of their game. It was hard to choose just one song from the album, but this one also comes with a cinematic music video that is a must see.
1. The Roots – When the People Cheer
Black Thought and Modesty Lycan’s tales of debauchery in the verses gives an excellent impression of the characters on The Roots’ concept album …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. The production by the group is of it’s usual incredibly high quality and is one of those songs that truly has the ability to make you “float like a cloud that you blow in the air”. Take a look a the stop motion lyric video.