My musical taste has been all over the place this year, but here's a handful of songs and videos from the first half of 2014 that you might enjoy as much as I do.
Allan Kingdom - "Evergreens" Allan is going to be huge. The 20-year-old Minnesota native quietly dropped one of the best debut projects of last year in Talk To Strangers, and he kicked things into high gear early this year with "Evergreens," the first single off his forthcoming project. Long story short: he's quirky and contemplative, he's been working with Plain Pat since he was 17 (Pat co-produced "Evergreens"), and he's as talented a producer as he is an emcee—if not more. His Future Memoirs EP drops June 30; don't sleep.
PARTYNEXTDOOR - "West District" & "Her Way" PARTYNEXTDOOR doesn't miss.
Joey Purp - "Irie Trill Vibes" This track hasn't been talked about nearly as much as it should have been by now. Joey Purp and Kami de Chukwu released their Porno Music Volume II EP (as Leather Corduroys) out of the blue one night in early April. They had fellow Savemoney representer Chance The Rapper release the link through his Reddit account, and the project quickly spread from there. The whole five-track collection is one of my favorites of the year, but "Irie Trill Vibes" (Joey's solo cut) is intimidatingly hard.
iLoveMakonnen - Drink More Water 4 Atlanta hip-hop has garnered a ton of attention lately, and the latest talented oddity to arise out of the city is iLoveMakonnen. He's been dropping music on Soundcloud sporadically with seemingly little to no strategy, but it's starting to appear as if that's exactly what the strategy is. Working with heavyweight ATL producers Metro Boomin, DJ Spinz, Sonny Digital, and Dun Deal, Makonnen has been releasing nothing but jams and isn't showing any signs of letting up. His seven-track Drink More Water 4 project—specifically "Sex, Love, Ecstasy"—is what made me a fan for good, but if this is you're first time hearing of him, feel free to start with his breakout single "I Don't Sell Molly No More" or the brand new I Love Makonnen EP as well.
Travi$ Scott ft. Big Sean & The 1975 - "Don't Play" Volume controls never let me play this song as loud as I want to. Very much looking forward to the rest of Travi$ Scott's 2014.
Jay Electronica ft. LaTonya Givens - "Better In Tune With The Infinite" "The universe is listening, be careful what you say in it" is the most important line in hip-hop this year.