Ten Best Albums of 2014 by Jeff Simpson

By Jeff Simpson

J.K. The Reaper – My World Is Silent + Almost Angelic

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J.K. The Reaper – My World Is Silent

The twenty-one year old artist released two mixtapes this year with another project scheduled to be released this month. Appearing on the final leg of the Bow Down Tour amongst Deniro Farrar and Denzel Curry, J.K.’s lyrics bring you privy to his afflictions and addictions. An intense knowledge of self and the environment he lives in, the Greensboro emcee is creating a wave outside of his home state Tracks: “Fountain of Youth,” “Exodia,” “Chloe Sevigny,” “Underseas”

Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso

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Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso

The electronic duo based out of Durham, NC consists of members Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn. Releasing their self-titled, debut studio album in May, the duo earned a guest spot on Jimmy Fallon performing their single “Coffee” featuring minimalist visuals, A-1 production and gorgeous vocals. Tracks: “Hey Mami”, “Coffee,” “Dreamy Bruises”

Deniro Farrar – Rebirth EP

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Deniro Farrar – Rebirth EP

The Charlotte native released Rebirth in May, spawning a nationwide tour from a track he released at SXSW. Rebirth followed up a busy 2013 for Farrar filled with mixtape and music video releases. Building upon his Cult Rap movement, the rubble-throated rapper speaks on the road less traveled with the perspective of a man who once followed the crowd. Tracks: “Notice,” “Bow Down, “Tired”

Flatbush ZOMBiES x The Underachievers – Clockwork Indigo

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Flatbush ZOMBiES x The Underachievers – Clockwork Indigo

The Flatbush hip-hop group and longtime friends collaborated to form Clockwork Indigo. Most of the production on the five-track sampling is stripped down featuring some spacy loops and gritty lyricism. Tracks: “Butterfly Effect,” “XYNO,” “System”

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

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Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

The Canadian born singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist released his second album on April 1, 2014, a fitting release date for his self-described “jizz jazz” style of music. Somber, funky, and philosophical, Salad Days presents the youthful musings of DeMarco’s heyday in bluesy tones and a leathery voice. Tracks: “Salad Days,” “Blue Boy,” “Passing Out Pieces”

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

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J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive

The Fayetteville, NC native released his third studio album with no feature artists. Set to the background of his hometown, Cole is the lone storyteller. Up to this point, Cole’s story has been of his experiences and growth in college, as a man and a signed artist. This is a look at the boy, the beginning chapters in his Dreamville narrative.
Tracks: “’03 Adolescence,” “Fire Squad,” “St. Tropez”

Stranger Day – Graves

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Stranger Day – Gravies

Charlotte native Shane Coble released his latest project as a collaboration with local Charlotte artists and producer Joel Khouri. Whether bending or blending genres, Coble’s project displays versatility and originality all the way down to the product packaging. Hosting a monthly Squirt party and inviting regional friends/artists to perform and record with Coble, he and frequent collaborator Elevator Jay have more in store for 2015. Tracks: “Razor Blades,” “Death Is A Killer,” “Hi Fives For Lo Lives”

Well$ – MTYSD:The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher

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Well$ – MTYSD:The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher

The Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher The 19-year-old Charlotte native had a big year transitioning from the studio to the stage. Performing at several showcases and as an opener for Deniro Farrar, Well$ caught the ears of NPR at his Hopscotch Music Festival performance in Raleigh. Possessing wisdom beyond his years and a beat selection atypical of his genre, Well$ constructs a rap dialogue to a foreign soundtrack. “Savoir Faire,” “Cercle Vicieux,” “Stella ’95”

Kari Faux- Laugh Now, Die Later

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Kari Faux- Laugh Now, Die Later

The 22-year-old Little Rock, Arkansas rapper/producer made big strides in her music career this year, releasing two mixtapes and leaving the Ozarks for Los Angeles. Her single “No Small Talk” went viral and was subject of a remix by Childish Gambino. Her voice is mellow but her flow has a Southern drawl and gusto that pairs perfectly with the bass heavy production.
Tracks: “Gahdamn,” “Stainless Ken Griffey”

Weirdo – Eh… *Shrugs Shoulders*

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Weirdo – Eh… *Shrugs Shoulders*

The collective hailing from Fayetteville, NC are an interesting case with a live performance to back their cause. Comprised of members Ka5h Katchem, Wasif Allah, Davey Jones and DJ Sober, they do it for the love. Sporting a “punk-trap” sound, their EP title is stage directions while visual red herrings string together throughout their self-directed music videos. The trio stand apart from the crowd with scream vocals, macabre lyrics and machinations. Click here for the interview Tracks: “.MPEG,” “Uninvited,” “body rights”

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