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The 2014 Intermission: 100 Songs We’ve Enjoyed So Far

By 07.14.14
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Intermission Lead 2014

Being July, we'll go ahead and say it: this year in music's been underwhelming.

Before setting the comments section aflame, consider that so far in 2014 many of the large, much-hyped projects have underachieved. And there have only been a handful of independent releases that have really embedded themselves into our eardrums.

But 2014 has been great for music if you base it strictly off individual tracks and artists heretofore we'd never heard--or weren't well acquainted with. Think about it: YG, Isaiah Rashad, Lil Herb. All of these guys made their marks, not to mention phenomenal full projects. But then there are the lifers, the artists whom constantly kick audio-dope on an annual basis: Drake, Kendrick, Future, and Justin Bieber--yes, Justin Bieber.

We've enjoyed plenty of music this year so far, even if we're solely speaking about individual tracks. However, isn't that what really counts about music in the end?

Here are 100 of our favorite first-half cuts.

Update: Our loyal NZ homie NINA did everyone a favor by putting all of the available tracks on one Spotify playlist. Click here to listen.

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1. Isaiah Rashad - “Heavenly Father” -- Isaiah Rashad’s TDE debut, Cilvia Demo, dropped quietly and seemed completely harmless--a solid introductory EP. And then several, revelatory spins later, ameliorated by the steel drum-aided “Heavenly Father,” it might have snuck itself into the “project of the year” conversation. Because while titles like “Heavenly Father” might seem innocuous, they aren’t. They point out, Hey, this kid’s onto something. (Listen)

2. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - “Shame” -- This song technically came out in 2012, but f*ck it. It helped close out this year’s standout Piñata, and songs about booty calls and kicking ladies out the door the next morning never sounded so godd*mn beautiful. Shouts out to Madlib for flipping The Manhattans’ “Wish That You Were Mine” so well to provide the proper juxtaposition. (Listen)

3. Jack White - “Lazaretto” -- Never forget, especially after hearing this hell-raising funk cut screamed from the rock ‘n’ roll pulpit, that Jack White is so Detroit he makes it rise from the ashes. That’s G. (Listen)

4. ScHoolboy Q Ft. Jay Rock - “Los Awesome” -- Okay, this track off Q's Oxymoron wasn’t that bad. The schizo and synthy production from Pharrell calms with repeated listens, but that wouldn’t mean sh*t without Q’s rapping with what sounds like a sneer on his face. It’s a grower, especially for those times where you just don’t give a f*ck. (Listen)

5. Cloud Nothings - “I’m Not Part of Me” -- “I’m Not Part of Me” is the Cloud Nothings song archetype: fast and poppy punk rock with an emphasis on the nearly indecipherable chorus. It’s the best kind of audio dope. (Listen)

6. 100s Feat. Cherub - "Different Type Of Love" -- This floor-scorcher from the Bay Area anti-simp’s amazing IVRY project makes us want to break a b*tch after every play. (Listen)

7. Chromeo - “Hard To Say No” -- For their fourth album White Women, Dave-1 and P-Thugg put together the most cohesive and radio ready album of their decade long career. Yet, despite having four stellar singles and plenty of extravagant concept cuts, this toe-tapping theme for suckers is one we can’t help but repeat most. Call us foolish, just don’t question our taste. (Listen)

8. Mapei Ft. Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment - "Don't Wait (Remix)” -- Combine Chance’s grown-up raps with Mapei’s beautiful juxtaposition of high end twang and booming low-end production and the result is this endearing hand-holder. (Listen)

9. Tree - "Probably Nu It" -- Anyone unfamiliar with Tree and the Chicago MC-producer’s #SoulTrap movement will be hooked immediately, after hearing this 808-heavy singalong from his @MCTREEG EP. (Listen)

10. Raz Simone - "Still Mobbin'" -- Anyone who went from nothing to something and continues to fight past demons will appreciate this eerily aggressive stand-out from the Seattle emcee’s Cognitive Dissonance project. (Listen)

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11. YG - "Bicken Back Bein Bool" -- Although YG 400’s My Krazy Life debut featured nothing but heaters, there aren’t many who will argue this gang-related heat rock was the most addictive track on the project. ‘It’s that motherf*cking gangst sh*t, aggin!” (Listen)

12. King Louie & Katie Got Bandz – “IDK” (Freestyle) -- I think most kids from Chicago grew up influenced in some way by Twista and Crucial Conflict. For that reason, they all learn double-time and other variations of fast flows as a form of dialect. I love the way Katie hits with short, sharp and hard jabs on her lines. (Listen)

13. Starlito - "Mark Us Smart" -- The very topical track proved timely in the wake of the Marcus Smart incident. Also proved how extremely intelligent Lito can be whenever he pleases. (Listen)

14. Kiesza - “Hideaway” -- Despite living in damn near the only country where her house-pop jam didn’t chart, we couldn’t help but break our necks to this cute Calgary singer’s flaming hot single, upon each impeccable bass drop. (Listen)

15. IamSu! - "Stop Signs" -- Suzy’s official retail debut only sold 5,800 copies in its first week and that’s a shame because there are plenty of gems on Sincerely Yours, but none stand out like the melodic “Stop Signs.” Aided with a touch of auto tune and a rapid drum pattern and harmonious strings provided by Tha Bizness, “Stop Signs” is by itself deserving of a few more sales for the Berkley, California, rapper/producer. (Listen)

16. Future Feat. Andre 3000 - “Benz Friends” -- For as lavish a lifestyle as Future tends to AutoTune about, “Benz Friendz” was a refreshing break from rap’s traditional take on money, cars, women, and all that jazz. Oh, and Andre 3000 is on here? The duo will make you think about trading in your whip for a long time. (Listen)

17. Lil Wayne Feat. Drake - "Believe Me" -- It’s arguable where the Lil Wayne resurrection began, some say Chris Brown’s “Loyal”, others say “Moment” from Young Money’s Rise Of An Empire. What isn’t debatable is where it was solidified. Weezy going bar for bar with his protege turned peer over ominous Boi-1da & Vinylz production officially elevated Carter V to one of the most anticipated albums of the year. (Listen)

18. Nicki Minaj Feat. Lil Herb - “Chiraq” -- This is what everyone’s wanted since Nicki came on the scene, isn’t it? “Why can’t she just stick to rapping,” we asked. Well, in the middle of her 2014 rap blitz came “Chiraq,” an appropriately snarling duet with Chicago drill staple Lil Herb. Are you not entertained? (Listen)

19. 50 Cent Feat. Schoolboy Q - “Flip On You” -- Slated for Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron but eventually scrapped, this banger finds new life on 50’s latest & it’s everything we imagined it could be. The sample based production allows space for both MC’s to fire off threats of violence along with a healthy dose of shit talk & the way the two bounce off each other on the hook is effortless. Melodic & menacing, the 2nd collaboration between Curtis & Quincy is the one clear highlight of Animal Ambition. (Listen)

20. Young Thug - “The Blanguage” -- Loosely inspired by the Drake track it cribs its name from, Metro Boomin crafts a hypnotically subtle backdrop to feature Young Thug’s hyperactive antics and nonsensical adlibs. Not quite sure what he’s saying for the most part but Thugga Thugga delivers his “lyrics” with such charisma & confidence, it’s undeniably infectious. A true example of style over substance, this track is a prime example of why so many industry big wigs are trying to get in on the Young Thug gravy train. (Listen)

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21. Vic Mensa - “Down On My Luck” -- Vic Mensa has touched more genres in more ways than any artist his age in the country at this point. The fresh 21-year-old began his career as a rapper before Kids These Days where he did rock, R&B and blues. “Down On My Luck” finds Vic at a nice departure from his Innanetape hastiness while playing on distinct house vibes. Easily one of his catchiest tracks to date. (Listen)

22. PeeWee Longway Feat. A$AP Rocky - “Servin’ Lean (Remix)” -- PeeWee Longway has been overshadowed by the shine his homie Young Thug has been getting on the Internets, but quiet as kept, he’s the real deal. Pretty Flacko comes through with his trademark Dirty South-meets-Harlem World bounce, but it’s a marvel to hear PeeWee switching speeds mid-verse, ratcheting up the ratchetness along with the tempo and intensity. Yeah, it’s just trap rap, but there’s an eloquent ignorance in the way PeeWee puts it all together. (Listen)

23. Slaughterhouse - “Offshore” -- Off of the extremely underrated House Rules mixtape, this soulful offering finds the Shady 2.0 quartet reflecting on life, the industry, expectations & perseverance. The first two Slaughterhouse LP’s were a mishmash of concepts, lyricism & misguided attempts at radio play but if songs like “Offshore” are any indication, Royce, Crooked, Joell & Joey have finally figured out how to blend it all together. The third time could indeed be the charm. (Listen)

24. Petty - “Hustlers” -- Over some hard hitting production from The Stuyvesants, Nashville’s Petty delivers his mission statement in one take--and buddy's got bars. If you’ve been sleeping, now’s the perfect opportunity to wake up. (Listen)

25. Money Makin Nique Feat. Marian Mereba & India Shawn -- "Rent Money" The pieces are what make up the whole for Nique’s “Rent Money.” MMN’s deep voice and sharp wit, Slade Da Monsta’s small symphony on the production tip and harmonizing by Marian and India all come together to send this one to the top. Entered my playlist and I haven’t taken it off. (Listen)

26. Reem Feat. Lil Herb, King Louie & Spenzo – “Chicago Conscious (Remix)” -- No weak links in this chain of Chicago emcees. Every last one of them brings the pain with Reem leading the pack. (Listen)

27. Snoop Dogg - "Cadillacs" -- When Uncle Snoopy teamed with Madlib to bring some old-school lowrider funk back to the west coast for his That's My Work Vol. 3 mixtape, all we could do was bounce. (Listen)

28. Vince Staples - “Trunk Rattle” -- California’s vacant eyed child rebel soldier doesn’t blink or hesitate. Vince Staples’ tales from the hood aren’t the cartoonish myths where everyone’s a kingpin that murders without retribution and returns home safely to everyone’s bitches (especially yours) and rests his head on fluffy pillows of cocaine. It’s a cold, solitary, dangerous life where everybody loses. (Listen)

29. Troy Ave - “Me & You” -- The buzzing Brooklynite uses Sunny Dukes’ woozy production as a soapbox to get plenty off of his chest on this BSB Vol. 4 standout. He hasn’t forgotten those who overlooked him or left their New York roots behind to chase radio, and he wants them to know it. (Listen)

30. Pharrell Williams - “Gush” -- The Kidz Bop crew can’t want to get into the studio to cover that other song, but this one is for the grown folks. (Listen)

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31. The Black Keys - “Turn Blue” -- The Black Eyes and disappointing music have as much in common as FOX News and credible news stories. “Turn Blue” is perfect zone out music. Spark one, pour a glass and forget about the stresses of the day. (Listen)

32. Big Hit - “Gz Don’t Cry” -- The word relevant is wielded like a blunt instrument in what passes for discourse in the hip-hop world. Once you’re a certain age, or spend enough years out of the public eye, then suddenly nothing you have to say matters. Father of Grammy-winning producer Hit-Boy, Big Hit, spits directly in the face of that line of thinking with heartfelt and nimble lyrics on his sorrow filled love letter to the streets. Young riders, beware of the karma. (Listen)

33. Skyzoo & Torae - “The Hand Off” -- Sky and Tor’s two man relay race runs laps around potential opponents and leaves skid marks on Khrysis and Cyrus the Great’s percussive, piano-laden, production. (Listen)

34. Step Brothers (Alchemist And Evidence) Ft. Action Bronson – “Mums In The Garage” -- More aggressive wordplay from the mind of Bronsonalino. (Listen)

35. Justin Bieber Feat. Migos - “Looking For You” -- Justin Bieber and Migos. Of course this was bound to happen, with the Biebs moving to Atlanta. The bigger surprise here? No one would’ve guessed that Migos would sound so comfortable over a pop song. (Listen)

36. Low Pros Feat. Young Thug & PeeWee Longway - “Jack Tripper” -- A-Trak and Lex Luger, known together as Low Pros, combine for some certifiable bangers with some of the hottest rappers. “Jack Tripper” is as good as it gets, with an insane, uptempo instrumental that allows Young Thug and PeeWee Longway, who always brings his A-game but nonetheless tends to be overshadowed by Thugger’s distinct voice, to sound like they’re enjoying rapping as much as we’re enjoying hearing them rap. (Listen)

37. Dun Deal Feat. Rome Fortune & Young Thug - “Smokin Aladdin” -- Rome Fortune and Young Thug come together with Dun Deal, who crafts the sleeping banger off Rome’s Drive, Thighs, and Lies EP. Thugger steals the show in this ode to smoking, putting his own spin to R. Kelly’s classic “I Believe I Can Fly” while invoking the Disney cartoon. (Listen | Buy)

38. Kevin Gates - “Don’t Know” -- Kevin Gates surrounds himself with winners, and it shows. “Don’t Know” might have had a slightly lukewarm reception at first, but it wasn’t until By Any Means dropped that we were able to understand the sheer monstrosity of the song. (Listen | Buy)

39. ZMoney Feat. Danny Brown - “Jug & Finesse” -- ZMoney and Danny Brown are a couple of the more eccentric rappers out there. They unite their respective cities of Chicago and Detroit, bringing out the best in each other while balancing each other out, thus making “Jug & Finesse” so easy on the ears that you won’t mind leaving it on repeat. (Listen | Buy)

40. Tink Feat. Jeremih - “Don’t Tell Nobody” -- Infidelity isn’t cool, but sometimes the music describing it is. While Chicago’s Hip-Hop scene remains the city’s most newsworthy focus - both positive and negative - overlooking Windy’s new-age, more melodic side is a foolish mistake. Tink’s only going to get bigger from here, evidenced by Timbaland’s major co-sign. (Listen)

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41. Drake - “0 To 100” -- Drizzy probably has an album in the works, or will shortly. In the mean time? Doesn’t hurt to let everybody know exactly what the math is. If Drake’s not currently the best in the game, he’s always in the conversation. (Listen)

42. YG Feat. Kendrick Lamar - “Really Be (Smokin’ N’ Drinkin’)” -- Two of the West’s youngest and most recognizable names make paranoia sound like pure bliss. (Listen)

43. Future Feat. Pharrell & Pusha T - “Move That Dope” -- Front if you must, but when this comes on? Shit gets real. (Listen)

44. Brown - “The Dollar Menu Ballad” -- From one of the most underrated projects of the year stems one of its most underrated songs. Reality rap at its most relatable. (Listen)

45. Money Makin' Nique - "Jill Scott Tits" -- I haven’t figured out if Nique’s thick vocals benefits more from Ducko McFli’s beat or vice-versa. But what I can tell you for certain is this byproduct of ATL has the skills to pay the bills. (Listen)

46. 100s - “Ten Freaky Hoes” -- If all is right with the world, IVRY will go down as one of the best projects of 2014. It’s outro is a big part of that equation. Equal parts catchy, funky and hilarious (as the title suggests, its an ode to some of the women that have come and gone through our hero’s life. Real women, not models), and with a hook that is as sing song-y as it gets, you won’t find many songs as fun as "Ten Freaky Hoes." (Listen)

47. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - “Real” -- One of many highlights from Piñata has Baby Face calling out former CTE boss Jeezy for a laundry list of issues. His meticulous deconstruction of Snowman probably won’t stop you from going back to Thug Motivation 101 for nostalgia’s sake, but it’s still a major knock on his credibility. (Listen)

48. Cam’ron & A-Track Feat. Juelz Santana - “Dipshits” -- Cam’ron dropping chest-thumping nonsense bars? Just Blaze lacing a knocking beat? Juelz on the hook? In 2014? Don’t ask questions, friend. Just enjoy the resurgence. (Listen)

49. Lupe Fiasco Feat. Ab-Soul - “Thorns & Horns” -- Hard to say which emcee spits a more potent flavor of venom on this one. Whenever a song can inspire that kind of debate, it’s a good thing. (Listen)

50. Big K.R.I.T.- “Mount Olympus” -- This is K.R.I.T.’s version of “Ether” and “Takeover." But instead of aiming his lyrical cannons at a supposed nemesis, Krizzle sets his sight on the perpetrators, swag-jackers, and general naysayers. And he does so in a fashion befitting a potential king of Hip-Hop. (Listen)

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51. Lana del Rey- “Ultraviolence” -- At this point you’re either a fan of the melancholy croons of the modern-day incarnation of Nancy Sinatra or you aren’t. This song won’t convert anyone, but it is one hell of a song for her fans. (Listen)

52. SZA Feat. Chance the Rapper - “Childs Play” -- Chance has the potential to be the next big thing to come out of the Windy City and he can do so without encouraging any more needless violence. Pair him with my current favorite TDE songstress and you have one song that will stay on repeat through all of 2014. (Listen)

53. Jay Z & Jay Electronica - “We Made It (Remix)” -- Sometimes you get MGHC from Jay and then sometimes you get a track like this. Mired with 5%er lingo, witty words, and the classic Jay Z charisma, this is the type of remix I can always respect from Hov. Oh, and let me not forget that he included the most mysterious man in Hip-Hop, who will also please the track's listeners. (Listen)

54. Sam Smith - “Stay with Me” -- A standout track from another standout British singer, “Stay with Me” is everything right with British pop/RnB. It’s a relatively short song, but it packs enough punch to go toe to toe with any other track on pop and urban radio. (Listen)

55. Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment - “I Am Very, Very Lonely” -- An off-beat, harmonic take even for Chance, he steps out on this track with his full band, The Social Experiment. Having professed in the past to wanting to be an artist beyond just hip-hop the 21-year-old artist goes beyond his usual singing while making clever yet mundane observations of a lazy night alone. (Listen)

56. Dizzy Wright, Bishop Nehru & Add-2 - “Wreckin’ Crew” -- The anticipation for Nehru’s confirmed project with MF Doom, Nehruvia may be hitting drastic levels, but he offered up fans this track as part of the LRG-backed Brilliant Youth EP with Dizzy Wright. “Wreckin Crew” combines some distinctly JAMLA sounds with 9th Wonder handling production and Add-2 spitting an inspired verse, all within the confines of the legendary producer’s theory of the ‘20 Year Loop’. (Listen)

57. YG - "BPT" -- My Krazy Life is probably the best rap album of the year so far and the album’s opener is a chief reason why it is held so highly. Opening his tale of Compton street life with getting jumped into his set was the perfect introduction to the flawless first third of the album. (Listen)

58. The Orwells - “Who Needs You” -- Most probably first heard this song while watching The Orwells’ frontman Mario Cuomo writhing on the floor of David Letterman’s ‘Tonight Show’. Who knew that the track would provide them national attention. A bit gimmicky and commercialized for the boys from Elmhurst, but it's damn catchy. (Listen)

59. Netherfriends - “Uptown Boys” -- The perpetually traveling producer creates ethereal, in-your-face compositions like this. “Uptown Boys” off his recent P3ace project is a mix of new-age digital production and classic melodies. Listen to it once and it’ll be on your mind all day. (Listen)

60. Tef Poe Feat. Rockwell Knuckles - "Hog In the Lane" -- The David Ruffin Theory collaborators got together a couple more times on Tef's Cheer for the Villain (produced entirely by DJ Burn One) but this grain-gripping anthem is the one to check for. (Listen)

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61. Migos - "Fight Night" -- This one's got that bounce to it. If "Fight Night" isn't played at your cookout, day party or any sort of gathering with loads of people, liquor and loud music, a mistake was made. (Listen)

62. BADBADNOTGOOD - "Can't Leave the Night" -- BBNG's newest release, III, is a brilliant mixture of jazz fusion, hip hop aesthetic and electronic influences. It's hard to pick a standout on an album that is as cohesive as this, but the second track may be the strongest (doesn't it usually seem like that's the case?). (Listen)

63. JK The Reaper - "Kill the Snakes" -- This cloudy North Carolina jam has been in rotation for a minute, the hypnotic beat and flow making it an easy listen but with plenty of depth once the lyrics are absorbed. (Listen)

64. Locksmith - "Hardest Song Ever" -- It's easy to misconstrue the word 'hardest' in this contest, for street, and thug but really, it's literally the most difficult song to make for Locksmith, as he opens up about sexual abuse he suffered as a child. (Listen)

65. Tech N9ne Feat. Big Scoob, Jay Rock, & Kutt Calhoun - "Red Rags" -- There's a blood party in KC, and Tech invited his brethren to join in the festivities. Don't forget your red Chucks. (Listen )

66. Dee-1 - "Jason Geter" -- Never before has an artist been so candid about his struggles within the music industry, and never before have I wanted an artist to succeed as much as Dee-1. (Listen)

67. Atmosphere - "Camera Thief" -- The Minneapolis duo cooked up a phenomenal intro to their criminally slept on album, Southsiders. (Listen )

68. PartyNextDoor - "West District" -- While Drake’s take on the beat PND co-produced with 40 may be more popular, it was only when PND took his own trip through another region of Toronto that track became a fixture in my daily commute. There is just something about the hook and proclamation that “Ain’t shit pretty but my bitch and my momma/anyone can get the drama” that has me coming back to PND’s ode to the westside of Toronto rather than Drizzy’s to eastside. You can’t lose with either version, but this time the OVO boss loses to one of his employees. (Listen)

69. Alchemist - "Lord Pity Us All" -- Short but sweet, this track personifies Al's collaborative release with Budgie, The Good Book by combining an impeccably looped and arranged gospel sample full of soul with a recording of a hilarious AM radio preacher with a dirty mouth. (Listen)

70. Ca$h Out - "She Twerkin'" -- Under no circumstances whatsoever should this be judged off computer speakers alone. Don't cheat yourself. (Listen)

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71. ScHoolboy Q Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid - "Studio" -- Mood music, for real. (Listen)

72. Young Thug, A$AP Ferg & Freddie Gibbs - “Old English” -- One of the year’s most unexpected team-ups is also one of the year’s best songs. Featuring enough rapidfire wordplay to appease the purists in the crowd but with a readymade club beat, it’s hard to imagine ‘English...’ falling on deaf ears within any corner of the genre. (Listen)

73. Memoir - “Love&War” -- Until I’m blue in the face, I’ll sit here and beg that you listen to Memoir’s Fire In Me in its entirety. But if you’re short on time and looking for a snippet of what the LA group is bringing to the table, look no further. Cinematic, soulful vocals and raw, unabashed emotion make ‘Love&War’ a winning pick. (Listen)

74. Que Feat. Juicy J - "Clip So Long" -- It was murder that newcomer Que and old dog Juicy J wrote for this banger produced by Sonny Digital. (Listen)

75. litkaby. - “Teatime At The Apollo” -- The Nashville-based duo have been cooking up some of rap’s freshest sounds for a minute now. The intro to Japanese Import offers everything needed to turn non-believers in the opposite direction, thanks be to tasty bars and a righteous hook flip. (Listen)

76. Drake - "Draft Day" -- To be just another one-off from Drizzy, he still murks it as if his title was on the line. The production by Ducko McFli and SykSense sizzles too with that Lauryn sample floating in and out for the duration. (Listen)

76. Kevin Gates - "Movie" -- This concept shows so many of Gates strengths -- singing and rapping, storytelling and unabashed honesty - as he details the birth of two of his children. (Listen)

78. Skizzy Mars - "All Say" -- Skizzy is one to watch in NYC. He has a fanbase that transcends many culture and color lines but his music is still very accessible to the most hardcore Hip-Hop head. "All Say" is a clear example of how he can transform a catchy beat into a wistful but resolute anthem with ease while still delivering bars a Kanye fan would enjoy. (Listen)

79. Junglepussy Feat. Hotel Mel - "Want Some Mo'" -- New York Fem-cee "JP" seductively entices male listeners on this aggressive and raunchy cut with the help or producer Shy Guy and Hotel Mel. If Remy Ma and Crime Mob were somehow fused into some sort of organism, the outcome would sound similar to JP's debut album Satisfaction Guaranteed, which is receiving rave reviews. (Listen)

80. SZA Feat. Kendrick Lamar - "Babylon" -- This is by far one of the most hypnotizing creations to come out of the TDE camp. SZA provides a vast bridge between Hip-Hop fans and the alternative community who also enjoy the collective's work. "Babylon" is a clear example of how rap and R&B music can be fused and evolved for Coachella attendees' ears. (Listen)

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81. Lil Wayne - “D’usse” -- When Wayne said “Hov, fuck witcha boy” in the intro to “D’usse,” we knew things were different. Maybe he traded in his Bugatti for a time machine. On the Lee Majors produced track, Wayne sounds like he returned to the era when he and Jay were on good terms and he was rapping better than everybody on Earth. Welcome back. (Listen)

82. Vince Staples - “Humble” -- Staples’ deadpan delivery gets the proper boost from the beat and makes his arrogant talk go down smoothly. (Listen)

83. Ab-Soul Feat. Audra The Rapper & Joey Badass - "Tree Of Life" -- Ab-Soul is no stranger to collaboration as his album ...These Days is full of features comparable to a DJ Khaled project. "Tree of Life" stands out because the recruiting of Audra and Joey proved strategic and he outcome was fresh.(Listen)

84. DJ Mustard Feat. YG, Young Jeezy & Que - “Vato” -- Even though this lead single from Mustard’s upcoming 10 Summers album is essentially “My Aggin” for LA’s other top demographic, this Cali-centric single from today’s most in-demand producer was hard to pass up. (Listeny)

85. Common Feat. Vince Staples - “Kingdom” -- While Common speaks for the forgotten young men living their own versions of Lord Of The Flies in ignored, impoverished, neighborhoods throughout the country, Vince Staples embodies them. This is Common’s grittiest single since 2005’s “The Corner.” (Listen)

86. T-Pain Feat. B.O.B. - “Up Down” -- Say what you want about Tallahassee Pain, but the man knows how to craft a catchy single. The autotune pioneer made his ways back onto the charts with this B.O.B.-assisted banger. (Listen)

87. Ty Dolla $ign Feat. Wiz Khalifa, The Weeknd & DJ Mustard - “Or Nah (Remix)” -- Whether it was the noirish keyboards, the suggestive bed creaks, or just the humorously obnoxious catchphrase at the heart of its chorus, chances are you recognized Ty Dolla $ign’s “Or Nah” when you heard it. Then The Weeknd upped the creepy quotient on the remix and made it extra-uncomfortable to listen to the song in public. (Listen)

88. Mila J - “Smoke, Drink, Break-Up” -- Jhene Aiko might be the one with the major buzz, but big sis Mila J’s reintroductory single is worthy of equal envy. It’s equal parts style and swagger, channeling 90s-era-Timbaland to replay-worthy effect. (Listen)

89. Tinashe Feat. ScHoolboy Q - “2 On” -- Having made a name for herself on the backs of a couple ambient-leaning, project-oriented mixtapes, Tinashe let her hair down a bit on “2 On.” Splitting the difference between her subtly evocative style and DJ Mustard’s ratchet music, Tinashe showed she can have fun without losing her cool. (Listen)

90. Blu - "The Return" -- The dusty, booming second track off Blu's Good To Be Home album let's listeners know that the Los Angeles emcee isn't f*cking around in 2014. (Listen)

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91. Lupe Fiasco - "Mission" -- Young Lupe partners with Stand Up To Cancer to deliver this resounding anthem to survivors, and those currently struggling with the affliction. It's a great piece of art that brings a real life problem to the forefront of the genre. (Listen )

92. FKA twigs - “Two Weeks” -- The UK continues to breed R&B/electro/pop/soul hybrids like they’re going out of style, and FKA twigs has to be one of the most promising products of the recent boom. Her ear-and-eye-catching single “Two Weeks” is a sex-dripping epic, with an accompanying video the likes of which took Kanye five albums worth of material to build up to. (Listen)

93. Isaiah Rashad - "Modest" -- When Cilvia Demo dropped in January I listened to it a few times and ultimately wrote it off as a harmlessly mediocre debut from a rapper with one hell of a co-sign. Eventually, in April, Rashad would come to town with Schoolboy Q on the Oxymoron tour and change all of that. The energy Isaiah put into his live show, especially the rendition of “Modest” quickly changed my whole perception of the song, album and artist. Eventually, I left in the middle of Q’s lackluster set, and added Cilvia Demo back on my phone when I got home. (Listen)

94. ScHoolboy Q - "Prescription/Oxymoron" -- "I just stopped selling crack today!" is all I have to say here. (Listen)

95. Mayo Feat. Sydney Jay - "Memories" -- Chicago MC Mayo teams with SoundCloud MVP Mr. Carmack and soulful singer Sydney jay to create a smooth retrospective Hip-Hop gem. (Listen)

96. A$AP Mob - "Hella Hoes" -- The young Harlemites know what it takes when it comes to making music meant for inciting riots. (Listen)

97. Gee Watts Feat. Purpose - “Hide & Seek” -- A triumphant album’s triumphant outro. Wraps up Gee’s second voyage perfectly. (Listen)

98. Teyana Taylor Ft. Pusha T, Yo Gotti - “Maybe” -- The only lady on G.O.O.D. shows she can hang with the boys with this one. Pair a sultry number like this with the hotness that is her Instagram pics and it leaves one wondering why Kanye hasn't started pushing her harder. (Listen)

99. Jay Electronica - “Better In Tune With The Infinite” -- “Staring out the window is for love songs and houseflies.” Better known for dense lyricism filled with multiple layers of meaning, “Better In Tune With The Infinite” strips away the metaphors and esoteric references and leaves the listener with pure, raw, emotion. (Listen)

100. August Alsina Feat. Pusha T - “FML” -- Newcomer and gangsta diva August Alsina gets intensely dark on his debut album Testimony. “FML” is about as emotionally low as he falls, but he somehow uses it to his advantage, as it's one of the more memorable songs of the year as he sings through his struggles. (Listen)

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TAGS2014 In ReviewLISTSMUSICSMOKE BREAKThe IntermissionThe Intermission 2014
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