After years of trying to keep the mixtape and free albums categories separate, KN finally caves in and combines them. The ambiguous nature of what defines a mixtape or album in today’s Hip Hop scene makes it a losing battle trying to classify these two in different ways. So this time around, all free releases are thrown together. That means narrowing these choices became harder, but I think it also means the quality of each pick is that much better.
This top 10 is heavily dominated by the south and the city of Chicago as Vince Staples is the only selection not from those areas. The number one spot was certainly a tough call with three very deserving contenders. Lil’ Boosie’s comeback endeavor Life After Deathrow easily could’ve been the top pick as it is some of the Baton Rouge native’s best work to date. Lil’ Herb emerged from the shadows of his cohort Lil’ Bibby to release Welcome To Fazoland and show the world he’s a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
And while those aforementioned projects were incredible, Mick Jenkins’ The Water[s] was a true gem of 2014. The Chicago emcee has released some quality projects in the past, yet The Water[s] is a clear breakthrough for him. Jenkins really finds his voice on this record via his poignant observations on the world around him along with some excellent beat selection. It appears that big things are on the horizon for Mick Jenkins, but fans can always look back to The Water[s] as the turning point for this gifted wordsmith.
- Mick Jenkins – The Water[s]
- Lil’ Boosie – Life After Deathrow
- Lil’ Herb – Welcome to Fazoland
- Sy Ari Da Kid – Ultrasound 2 (The Birth)
- Skipp Coon – Miles Garvey
- Archibald Slim – He’s Drunk
- Gangsta Boo & BeatKing – Underground Cassette Tape Music
- Vince Staples – Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2
- Don Trip – Randy Savage
- Lil’ Bibby – Free Crack 2
- Kevin Gates – By Any Means
- MaLLy – The Colors Of Black
- Curtis Williams – Danco James
- Luck-One – KOTNW II: Curse of the Pharaoh
- Lyrikill & KidFamous – EAT!
- Dude With No Name – Othe