And yes, we know Kanye released his collaboration with Paul McCartney on New Years' Eve, and yes, it's great, but on the off-chance you wanted to put something else new in rotation, these tracks are for you.
Open Mike Eagle - "Dark Comedy Late Show"
If you didn't hear Open Mike Eagle's Dark Comedy in 2014, you really messed up. An essential part of any Best of 2014 list, word-of-mouth about the record somewhat eclipsed the Exile-produced sequel to the title track. Eagle raps nonstop for over five minutes, touching down late night monologue style as only he can on everything that's been on his mind since Dark Comedy's release, including Ferguson, North Korea and still keeping his chainsaw-sharp wordplay with quotables like "I still check Yahoo because we both got attachment issues."
Migos - "Move"
One of the most controversial and polarizing rap groups in the game today, Migos hit fans with two energetic mixtapes in 2014. While much of their coverage has been devoted to their beefs and hyperbolic thinkpieces on their fanbase, what Migos' detractors often miss is how outright fun their music is. "Move" packs a gleefully absurd chorus as the centerpiece to the trademark Migos style of hyperkinetic infectious flows.
Rob Sonic - "Jesus Christ Supertramp"
A standout artist of the New York underground hip-hop scene for well over a decade, Rob Sonic's been most visible in recent years as one third of Hail Mary Mallon along with Aesop Rock and DJ Big Wiz. While the new Hail Mary Mallon record has been a hit with fans and critics alike, Sonic's long-awaited new solo album Alice in Thunderdome might be the finest work of his career. The opening track "Jesus Christ Supertramp" pairs his cryptic wordplay and snarling flow with a claustrophobic banger of a beat to be one of the year's finest moments.
DJ Quik featuring Tweed Cadillac and Suga Free - "Broken Down"
DJ Quik's new album The Midnight Life was released a midst an unexpected sudden rush of releases in the fourth quarter of 2014 and had the misfortune to touch down the week that Run the Jewels 2 was on everyone's lips. It's a shame as Quik's latest continues his string of confidently weird and wildly irresistible funk. "Broken Down" is one of the album's collaborations with cult favorite Suga Free, a wonderful high point on an album that further solidifies Quik as one of the rare artists like Scarface and E-40 who've somehow never fallen off.
Sage Francis - "ID Thieves"
Copper Gone, Sage Francis' first proper album in four years, proved he could still get busy on beats and possessed the same passion to absolutely snap on a topic. Francis is in a unique position in the rap world, being fiercely DIY before there were even people saying they were DIY before it was cool. For someone who has transparently shown how he's, and he once put it, "run a business on his own two legs," the recent rise of faux-independent artists whose homegrown aesthetic is purely media creation understandably got under Francis' skin enough to record "ID Thieves." A scathing dis aimed at those who "make a radio-friendly version" of what Francis does, it boast some of 2014's sharpest wordplay, wit and daggers.
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