These Are The 12 Best Reviewed Hip Hop Albums Of 2014

With 2014 coming to an end, it seems like a fitting time to reflect back on the year’s Hip Hop releases that left an enduring mark on the musical landscape. While award show nominations like the Grammys tend to recognize the rap albums that were more mainstream accessible (see Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic), professional music critics usually have a more accurate finger on the pulse of various works’ artistic value.

With that in mind, AllHipHop.com made a list of the best reviewed Hip Hop albums based on scores from Metacritic.com. The website calculates a ratings percentage by giving weighted averages for reviews from top print and online publications. A review score between 61-80 is labeled as “generally favorable” and a review score of 81-100 is labeled as “universal acclaim.”

Not a single rap LP crossed the one million sales mark in ‘14, but according to the Metacritic Scores (MS), there were at least 12 Hip Hop albums released this year that were viewed as instant creative achievements by nationwide critics. Check out the top reviewed Hip Hop albums of 2014 below.

Run The Jewels 2 – Killer Mike & El-P

la-et-run-the-jewels

Metacritic Score: 90

What The Critics Said:

The sequel takes the simplistic thrills of the debut and expands the duo’s natural chemistry. With Killer Mike grounded at the album’s emotional core, El-P is free to indulge in his intrepid production tendencies. – The A.V. Club

Cadillactica – Big K.R.I.T.

Cadillactica

Metacritic Score: 88

What The Critics Said:

Many worry that the Cadillactica theme might go over the heads of some and alienate fans but rest assured, at the core of it all, there’s still the 808 bang, jazzy, soulful music and the same Big K.R.I.T. that so many have come to know, respect and love–on second thought, he’s better. – RapReviews

What Goes Around – Statik Selektah

statik-whatgoes

Metacritic Score: 84

What The Critic Said:

All told, the LP stands as a convincing counterargument against those who claim hip-hop’s ’90s golden era can’t come back again. – Boston Globe

There Is Only Now – Souls Of Mischief

SoulsOfMischief_Cover

Metacritic Score: 84

What The Critics Said:

Fresh, crisp drums, creamy keys, luxuriant strings and timely flute and horn flourishes, each held together by a series of mood-defining bass lines, work to soundtrack this production, an inspiring foil that the record’s MCs make certain not to waste on this grand testament to Souls’ skill and staying power. – Exclaim

PRhyme – Royce da 5’9″ & DJ Premier

Metacritic Score: 84

RoyceDJPremier

What The Critics Said:

PRhyme can be closed off to the Rap of today, but their rendition of the Rap of yesteryear will always have a place in any era. – HipHopDX

Dead – Young Fathers

young-fathers-dead-cover

Metacritic Score: 83

What The Critics Said:

Young Fathers have quietly constructed a strange and intoxicating musical universe that feels entirely their own, while no one else was paying attention. – The Guardian

Cilvia Demo – Isaiah Rashad

isaiah-rashad-cilvia-demo

Metacritic Score: 82

What The Critics Said:

No song strays too far from the narrative or the occupied soundspace, and with each passing breath, Isaiah Rashad becomes a viable threat to leave an indelible mark similar to the one’s left by the southern rap Gods he follows so devoutly. – XXL

Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

freddie-gibbs-madlib-pinata

Metacritic Score: 82

What The Critics Said:

Startling numbers like the block-rockin’ then dissolving “Real” crop up throughout the album and make this project even more than a sum of its parts, and with the track list flowing smoothly as attractive guests (Danny Brown, Raekwon, Scarface, Mac Miller, and the list goes diversely and gloriously on) come and go, Piñata winds up excellent overall. – All Music

Lese Majesty –  Shabazz Palaces

Lee Majesty-Shabazz Palaces

Metacritic Score: 81

What The Critics Said:

Like floating from level to placid level in Monument, listening to this record prompts your imagination and encourages discourse and reflection. Not the academic kind, but the kind of communal discovery people have been doing for ages. – Spin

Honest – Future

Honest - Future

Metacritic Score: 80

What The Critics Said:

Future’s lyrical sensitivity wouldn’t work without the album’s pitch-perfect production. The sonic palette on Honest leaves behind most of the synth-bathed extravagance of Pluto as Mike Will Made It, Metro Boomin, Nard & B and company push the boundaries of the trap template, from the sinister gurgle on “Move That Dope” to the acoustic guitar melody on “Special.” – FACT

My Krazy Life – YG

My Krazy Life - YG

Metacritic Score: 80

What The Critics Said:

YG has grown mightily as a rapper, and because DJ Mustard, who produced more than half of the album, has found a way to make his sketches theatrical without sacrificing their urgency. – The New York Times

Hell Can Wait [EP] – Vince Staples

vince-staples-hell-can-wait

Metacritic Score: 80

What The Critics Said:

Even a casual listener could hear the spark–Staples’ first fame came from getting the best of known mic terrorist Earl Sweatshirt–his production values have finally caught up enough to push him past the scrappy sidekick division into the big leagues. – Pitchfork

Other Top Reviewed Hip Hop Albums Of 2014:

Ohio – Stalley (MS: 79)

Lord Steppington – Step Brothers (MS: 79)

Oxymoron – Schoolboy Q (MS: 78)

So It Goes – RatKing (MS: 78)

P.T.S.D. – Pharoahe Monch (MS: 78)

Nobody’s Smiling – Common (MS: 78)

If There’s A Hell Below – Black Milk (MS: 77)

Broke With Expensive Taste – Azealia Banks (MS: 77)

Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium – The Underachievers (MS: 76)

Directors of Photography – Dilated People (MS: 75)

Free Base [EP] –  2 Chainz (MS: 75)

Perfect Hair – Busdriver (MS: 74)

10 Summers – DJ Mustard (MS: 74)

36 Seasons – Ghostface Killah (MS: 74)

Gravitas –  Talib Kweli (MS: 73)

Good To Be Home – Blu ( MS:73)

CLPPING – Clipping (MS: 73)

Under Pressure – Logic (MS: 72)

The Pinkprint – Nicki Minaj (MS: 72)

Southsiders – Atmosphere (MS: 70)

The Infamous Mobb Deep – Mobb Deep (MS: 70)

…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin – The Roots (MS: 70)

Nehruviandoom – Bishop Nehru & DOOM (MS: 70)

These Days… – Ab-Soul (MS: 70)

2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole (MS: 70)

*All Metacritic Scores (MS) listed are the official calculations as of press time. Scores are subject to change as more reviews are published for recent releases.

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