12. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata
It took a few years for the full-project to finally hit the world, but Freddie Gibbs & Madlib dropped their long-awaited collaborative project Pinata in 2014. Gibbs delivers unapologetic, schizophrenic bars over some funky, grimy beats provided by one of the best producers of all time. On ‘Real’, Gibbs shares some information about his beef with Jeezy & CTE, & turns the song into a hefty threat that has not and likely will not be responded to. While the album is weighed down by a few too many features, a feature from fellow 219 native Big Time Watts was much needed. If you ever wondered what Gary, Indiana sounded like, give this album a spin. I live 15 minutes from the now run-down city, and it feels the same exact way this sounds. It is hard to complain about the end product of this collaboration, to say the least.
11. Chris Brown – X
It was a long two years in-between albums for Chris Brown, but he came back with arguably his strongest album in his discography with X this year. The lengthy 22 song album at no point feels like you’re listening to any filler. Although a majority of the album was already released beforehand, the songs still feel fresh melted into the new tracks. Boosting already cemented hit records ‘Loyal’, ‘New Flame’, & ‘Love More’, the album has so much more hit-power that it is a shame not all the songs will get proper push. The Akon-assisted ‘Came To Do’ is one of the most slept on club-rattlers of 2014, and his collaborations with Trey Songz & R. Kelly are top-tier ram-jams. Potentially lost in the thickness of the album, the first bonus track ‘Lost In Ya Love’ is one of the best songs in Breezy’s discography, & that is one of the reasons why this album is so strong.