Music Highlights of 2014

Music Highlights of 2014

This is just a year’s roundup, noting some of my highlights, and not everything. Do not expect a detailed description of every month, I’ve skipped the rants, the Drake drama, the Young Money fued, the Kim & Kanye because I dislike them, Dominic Celaire, Chris Brown & Karate Chop’s more off then on relationship, the ending of 106 & Park, twitter beefs… You get the picture though, but what I would like to say is remember all the lives lost whether it be black or white, famous or not. Moving on swiftly because I really don’t want to depress myself, lets dig in to some of my favourite moments.

French Montana remixed Krept & Konan’s ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ for his ‘Coke Boys 4’ mixtape showing that they are a fprce notto be reckoned with.

Indie Rock Band ‘Imagine Dragons’ performed with Grammy nominee Kendrick Lamar for a mash-up of their single ‘Radioactive’ and Kendrick’s ‘m.A.A.d. city’, a standout performance for me.

Ben Haggerty, I mean Macklemore; took home a Grammy for ‘Best Rap Album’, which without doubt was owed to Kendrick.

Schoolboy Q dropped his third studio album, ‘Oxymoron’. Yes I said third, however it was his first under a major label and his given him much recognition.

Singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger released his compilation album ‘Rebirth’, which is like two albums in one, and a great listen – when you have time.

March 2
Rick Ross drop his sixth studio album ‘Mastermind’. Debuting at number one, I had this on rotation, songs like ‘War Ready’, ‘Devil Is A Lie’, ‘In Vein’ and ‘Sanctified’ became compulsory during workouts.

Ashanti finally released her fifth album ‘Braveheart’, not that anyone was still waiting for it. Scheduled for release in early 2012, I have nothing more to say.

YG debuted his first album, ‘My Krazy Life’. Landing number 2 on Billboard, provided me with some turn-up tunes like ‘Who Do You Love’.

Drake’s ‘Would You Like A Tour?’ came to London and of course I was in attendance. It was just phenomenal. It was a club atmosphere and his features, singles and album since ‘Take Care’, made this show 10x better. Not to mention The Weeknd was supporting and Jhene Aiko was a guest performer.

Jazmine Sullivan returned to the stage after a two-year hiatus. Bringing a one off performance to London, I would not have missed this for anything, Performing songs from her first two albums.

There were a few good notable debuts, ‘Z’ by SZA, and ‘Testimony’ by new R&B sensation August Alsina. Truth be told, I still haven’t listened to the whole album, but it does sound okay.

Hip-Hop duo Big Boi & Andre 3000, formerly known as OutKast, finally reunited at Coachella and toured the world.

Kyle Lettman formerly one third of the UK boyband Fun*dmental 03, dropped his ‘Access’ EP, a solid fifteen track effort.

TMZ were quick to leak the elevator footage of Solange throwing kicks like Chun-Li in Jay-Z’s neck. Almost a week after the power couple announced their ‘On the Run Tour’, the media went into overdrive about the fight, and elevators were now considered dangerous. I should behave incase The Beygency come for me!

Dr Dre signed a deal of his life with Apple making him the richest man in Hip-Hop to date. Apple making a bid for Beats by Dre worth an estimated 3 billion had everyone talking.

Mariah Carey released her fourteenth studio album, which is her lowest selling album ever, although die hard fans would swear it’s the best thing since her 1995 album ‘Daydream’’, I ask why so deluded? I knew Nick Cannon was no good for her, and yeah I’m holding him responsible. I’m expecting album fifteen to be full of heartbreaky goodness.

Five months on, UK rap duo Krept & Konan took away Best International Act: UK at the 2014 BET Awards. Confirming their importance and position in the scene, this was a good look.

It was like an early noughties flashback when G-Unit reunited at Summer Jam, something we assumed Olivia had been waiting for since the taping of Love and Hip Hop Season 3 Reunion, but I’ll leave it there as she didn’t even get a bring in.

Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, and Tyga took the stage to perform ‘Loyal’ for the first time despite all the singles sucess, this was the first performance ever, and as per it was nothing short of epic choreography.

Ab-Soul released his third studio album ‘These Days…” and converted me into a fan. Who said Rap is dead, it is just hard to hear with all the bullshit nowadays. (see: Bobby Schmurda)

This month started with Wireless Festival for me, and about sixteen friends drunk as ever. This was definitely a highlight; despite Kanye’s thirty-minute rant, I’ve just about managed to forgive him for not hearing ‘Gold Digger’.

August 2
The Internet shutdown when Beyonce dropped the Flawless*** remix feat. Nicki Minaj, which has been considered as one of the best remixes this year thus far. Quite a collaboration it has been anticipated for quite some time. They are definitely a powerful duo in music. I wouldn’t go as far to say best remix, however it is decent.

UK singer FKA Twigs released her first album, ‘LP1’. The creepy, haunting sounds make this album worth listening too.

Nicki Minaj broke the Internet with the video for her leading single ‘Anaconda’, raking up a whopping 19.6million views within the first 24 hours. The song remains annoyingly catchy however the video makes it so much better.

The MTV VMA’s aired and there wasn’t much to discuss, except the GIF’s pulled from the Usher & Nicki Minaj performance where he was head-butting her ass. Of course Beyonce’s performance was on everybody’s lips, dare I say, even mine. Her 16-minute audio-visual album medley was almost greatness, and then shortly after she was presented with the Video Vanguard Award by husband Jay-Z and Blue Ivy.

I waited about two years for the debut album from Jhene Aiko, and if I’m honest I was slightly underwhelmed. While it remains a good first, ‘Souled Out’ just didn’t hit me like I wanted. Previous efforts like the ‘Sailing Out’ EP did me more favours.

Chris Brown released ‘X’, not that I care for his albums. Luke James debuted his self-titled first album, and SBTRKT’s second studio album ‘Wonder Where We Land’ was released.

After much anticipation Kendrick ‘Legend’ Lamar finally gave us a new single which is assumed to be his lead single ‘i’ from his upcoming album yet to be announced.

The Knowles-Carter clan closed their ‘On the Run Tour’ in Paris with over 80,000 fans in attendance, I was distraught that they didn’t bring this to the UK.

Ms Lauryn Hill sold out the 02, and I was there. Not sure of what to expect I was just happy to see her live, a fan from my early years until now it was a must.

Tinashe released her album ‘Aquarius’, which is apparently good. But I’m not sure as to why I can’t bring myself to listen to it in full, but from what I’ve heard makes it a notable release.

The MOBO awards took place in the SSE Arena in London and what a shit of a show it was. From wardrobe to lighting I don’t care what you say, it was full of nothing good.

Closing off October was the Redbull Culture Clash. If you wasn’t there then I feel sorry for you and me both. Still a sore subject for me considering my friend told me about the event in August, and bought his ticket without my knowledge, I STILL use it against him. I did watch online which was decent, witnessing Rebel Sound reign supreme.

November 2
Two highly anticipated releases came. Potty mouth Azealia Banks released her long, very long, awaited album ‘Broke with Expensive Taste’. On the otherhand Teyana Taylor released her album ‘VII’ debuting at number one her first album is a worth an attentive listen.

Not much interest in Trey Songz but his Interactive video for his single ‘Touchin’ Lovin’’ did get my attention. One of a few of it’s kind the interactive video for me was amazing, I could see it being adopted by many for this type of artist-fan interaction.

Wretch32 released another single titled ‘6 Words’ from his upcoming album. Giving him yet another top ten single under his belt this song remains a clear favourite of mine.

After signing to Maybach Music Group in 2012, Omarion’s fourth studio album was released. ‘Sex Playlist’ isn’t too bad, a bit short but it sounds like an okay R&B album. It’s only been a few weeks so allow me.

J. Cole dropped his fourth album’ 2014 Forest Hills Drive’ weeks after announcing its release date. Debuting at number one, I’m not even surprised, he’s done it yet again. The humbleness that he seems to represent is always reflected in his music, and the album is very much an insight to his early years.

Hot head K. Michelle released her second album, and finally has me interested unlike the first attempt.

Nicki Minaj released her third album ‘The Pinkprint’. While she refuses to let the colour go, claims that the album was inspired by Jay-Z’s ‘Blueprint’, is nothing but fallacy. The two represent nothing similar other than a body of work put together by an artist. Decent but not great, I find that Nicki still hasn’t managed to find the same equation she used in creating her first album.

D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’ seems to be everything and then some. Yet to listen to it I hope to be back and give you the verdict.

-Stephen Paul


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