Before I begin, I have to first acknowledge two 2013 albums that, had I known about them at the time, clearly would have earned the top two spots in last year’s rankings. And likewise, if they’d been released in 2014, they’d be the top two this year.
2. Oddisee - Tangible Dream
An incredible followup to his 2012 not-just-producer-anymore debut, which I tabbed as my favorite of that year. You have to appreciate his fearless honest jab at the Kanye & Jay-Z ego-fest in Yeezus Was a Mortal Man (Chorus follows: “Hove ain’t Jehovah, just a normal man.”); he pulls it off while maintaining an air of humility himself. Own Appeal nicely blends a jazzy lo-fi guitar progression that folds in alternating old-school “here we go” and “come on” samples; it begins by rocking you to sleep but as soon as that beat drops, it just rocks you.