malbin’s Top 30 Albums & Mixtapes of 2014

2. Future – Honest

honest deluxe

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Future made the boldest statement of his career with the release of his sophomore studio album Honest. Stepping away from his street roots slightly, Future spews over the most flawless production his vocals have braced in his career while proving that his album cuts are just as deadly has his radio singles. The album’s opener ‘Look Ahead’ samples Amadou & Mariam’s ‘Dougou Badia’, a track you’d never associate with the Atlanta rapper before this album. Flushing through features from Wiz Khalifa, Drake, Kanye West, Pusha T, & Pharrell, the album never loses its identity, helping make Honest as strong as it is. Future was in love with Ciara during the recording of this album, and you can hear his compassion on softer cuts ‘I Won’ & ‘I Be U’.

The standout cuts from the album is the album’s outro, ‘Blood Sweat & Tears’ and his back and forth song with Andre 3000, ‘Benz Friendz’. On ‘Benz Friendz’, him & 3 Stacks go back and forth on a fun, energetic track of two Atlanta artists that go way back, while ‘Blood Sweat & Tears’ features a triumphant vibe that makes you feel like you have conquered the world and proved every single person that doubted you wrong. Alternatively, you could just listen to the chaotic deluxe track ‘Sh!t’, which is likely to make you completely lose your mind one way or another. On Honest, Future was able to stay as true to his sound as possible while trying to cross-over, & the final product showed that Future has the potential to reach multiple audiences while sounding distinct at the same time.

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partynextdoor 2

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For the second year in a row, PARTYNEXTDOOR claims a #1 project on one of my end of the year list. His sophomore release felt more like a constructed album, rather than the mixtapey feel his debut self-titled project had. Fixating through his own production, PND dug deeper into his melodic, OVO enchanted sound while also bringing fans back to R&B’s early roots. Samples of Missy Elliot on ‘Thirsty’, Disclosure on ‘Sex On The Beach’, Dru Hill on ‘SLS’, & Ginuwine on ‘Muse’ give the album an awesome throwback yet futuristic feeling.

While PARTYNEXTDOOR 2 sounded like an album, it was really just a retail mixtape that he recorded in his bedroom. With his debut album slated to drop late in 2015, Jahron is on pace to become one of the finest artists in the game. While the comparisons to The Weeknd aren’t fair musically, it is safe to say that PND will one day become a bigger star than the former OVO affiliated singer.