Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 25 Beats Of 2014

This year has seen its fair share of inventive beats, unique soundscapes, and straight up bangers. From the most obscure underground beatsmith, to the mainstays in Hip-Hop production, everyone is accounted for here. In 2014 we witnessed beats made out of alarm clocks and 90's-inspired nostalgic pieces from the strangest source, there's sure to be a beat or two, or 25, that you'll enjoy here. Check out the list below, along with links to every song by clicking the accompanying image.

25. J.Cole
'Note To Self'

2014 Forest Hills Drive

It may be a 14-minute credit-roller, but 'Note To Self' features a simple, soul-filled piano melody that conjoins Randy Newman's intoxicating joy with choir's that bless Cole's heart with an ear-to-ear smile that transcends to listeners. 

24. Kid Cudi
'In My Dreams 2015'

Satellite Flight

Cudi's latest may have been a let down, but from a psychedelic mind-warping perspective, '2015' was a darling. Condensed with sporadic space-age sounds coexisting with longing, BoC-esque drones, Cudi's interlude was a magnetic force. 

23. Mac DeMarco
'Jonny's Odyssey'

Salad Days

Not your typical beat per-say, but Mac's brilliant sendoff to Salad Days was a wistful, care-free instrumental piece sporting the best of what the Indie fool has to offer. Sometimes simplicity transcends emotions with a smile. 

22. Kno
'Urutora Kaiju'

Strange Journey Vol.3

A rapidly concise closer to Strange Journey's galactic adventure. Kno's producer credit here attempts to keep up with Tondeff, and accomplishes that with aggressive guitar riffs, thunderous echoes and pounding drum hits. 

21. Eric Arc Elliott

Clockwork Indigo EP

Elliott's improvements behind the boards are largely what has kept the Flatbush Zombies relevant. 'System' is just one example off the Clockwork Indigo EP, a smooth, lush sound that's accompanied by abrasively hollow drums. 

20. Big Jerm


It may be inspired by Drake's 'Worst Behavior' but 'Insomniak' has a sick, twisted mind of its own. The brooding bass speaks for itself, daringly enormous. The random D'Angelo sample mid-way through is a great addition. 

19. Madlib


I may have been underwhelmed by Pinata, but the one aspect that held up was Madlib's trademarked beats. In this instance, a floaty melody carries throughout as a lost sample from the 70's carries the 'get high' message. 

18. Lil' Internet
'Heavy Metal & Reflective'

Broke With Expensive Taste

Banks' dominating flows work best on open beats, leaving space for her to thrive. 'Heavy Metal' conquers that theory, incorporating various instrumentations for certain occasions, as an industrial drum loop carries the track. 

17. El-P
'Blockbuster Night Pt.1'

Run The Jewels 2

Inferior to its predecessor in terms of explosiveness, 'Blockbuster' comes with its own punch. El-P's gravitation towards bass rattles and rigid drum lines has helped him form his own line of bangers that are insistently likable.

16. Sounwave

These Days...

The deeply emotional cutting ties track is further moving due to the beat, minimal and direct. Subtle, sultry hymns echo along the walls as a colossal bass looms in the distance, with silence and simple hi-hats filling the void. 

15. Son Lux
'Flying Ace'


Serengeti's dream of his troubling relationship issues requires an equally combustible beat. The foundation is all but one, constantly in flux as spacey tenders compete with synthetic orchestrations tracing a chaotic mind. 

14. Flying Lotus
'Coronus, The Terminator'

You're Dead!

The soft whistles, serenading the death of FlyLo, explodes in the most glorious and defiant way possible. An overwhelming bass storms the track, with the hollow hi-hats, longing strings and simple shakes following right behind. 

13. Big K.R.I.T
'My Sub Pt.3'


Big K.R.I.T's a man in his own lane, there's currently no one producing quite like him, replicating the classic southern style. No song off Cadillactica does that better than 'My Sub, Pt.3' which emphasizes 808's and hi-hats. 

12. TJ Osinulu
'Who Else'

The Water[s]

'Who Else' is hollow in certain verses, littered in others, amounting to greatness in all the right ways. The female sample adds a haunting, luminous atmosphere to the track. The barrage of instrumentation adds to his warped state. 

11. Caribou

Our Love

Dance music often times provides some of the best beats, and Caribou did just that with his production-lover's masterpiece. A soaked 80's synth record, complete with a celebratory finish, is nothing short of spectacular. 

10. Thundercat
'Inside Outside'


Miller's ode to his mother couldn't have started with a more sentimental beat. The looping, mournful trumpets wailing in the back bring forth the basics of the track, as hi-hats carry the forefront. Subtle, but complementing chants, hymns, and haunts masquerade the beat with depth and fortitude. 

9. Riff Raff
'Introducing The Icon'

Neon Icon

Somehow, someway, Riff Raff, for his perplexing nature on conquering the 'joke-rap' subgenre threw a curveball no one was expecting as the intro. An 80's-soaked, hip-to-the-max production graced with sputtering vocal layers and a jumpy sing-a-long beat measures plays to his strengths. 

8. Kenny Segal
'Go Hard'

Perfect Hair

Typically bonus tracks don't amount to much, but Busdriver proved that wrong with his banger featuring P.O.S.. The oft-kilter beat transfers, with a mixture of synthetic bleeps and bloops, mold themselves to bow before one of the best bass' of the year that heightens the inherent weirdness of this banger. 

7. Son Lux


Son Lux's soul-crushing, rampant, militaristic ode to alcoholic parents is as infatuating and grandiose as they come.. Serengeti's re-telling of his childhood through a revelation of negativity compliments itself to the brutal, never-ending, repetitious drums that composes 'Alcohol.'  

6. Nez & Rio
'Man Of The Year'


Nez & Rio's banger of the year for Q did things by the books, to perfection. 'MOTY' used Chromatics' 'Cherry' to carry its foundation, creating a haunting vibe. The levels of bass, to coincide with Q's adlibs, provide a layer of depth typically unheard in Mainstream party anthems

5. Death Grips
'Up My Sleeves'

The Powers That B

Death Grips was an enigmatic being. That much is obvious to anyone. But nothing the band has ever put out sounded as revolting as the first minute of 'Sleeves.' The paranoia, erupting into the ear churning, claustrophobic screams made 'Sleeves'' production one of the most enthralling of the year. 

4. Eagle Eyed Tiger
'Over // Lover // Love Her // Okay'

Free Agency

An unknown gem discovered on Reddit. No track off Free Agency was more flooring than 'Over.' The track, using chopped and screwed effects of a female voice, cascades through four segments, representing the titles. The pacing and progression is unlike anything this year, each movement more memorable than the last. 

3. clipping


My track of the year wouldn't be complete without the supremely inventive beat that carries it through its duration. As the title helps tie in, the production constantly restarts itself, falls, then repeats. Sounds from all walks of life snap into focus as Industrial Hip-Hop takes form. 

2. Shabazz Palaces
'They Come In Gold'

Lese Majesty

The first minute of 'Gold' sees Ishmael Butler oozing confidence like never before. This is due to the lofty beat that drives him. Hi-hats, bass thumps, and vocal samples play on off measures, all culminating on each of Butler's bars, making 'Gold' one of the most organically-beautiful beats of the year. 

1. El-P
'Oh My Darling Don't Cry'

Run The Jewels 2

Second straight year El-P takes the cake for banger of the year. Coming from a underground leader, it's quite shocking. Sporadic vocal effects and wobbly synth measures as enough on their own, but pale in comparison to the monstrous bass lingering. And that's all before the beat switch. 

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