Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums



6. YG
My Krazy Life
(CTE/Def Jam)

In 2014, YG's debut album, My Krazy Life, did two things: 1) it brought DJ Mustard's signature handclaps and rigid synths to the forefront of this year's sonic landscape, and 2) it brought back gangsta rap in a storytelling form that has been nearly non-existent for the past decade. While YG may not be the most lyrically endowed MC, the Def Jam signee's album aligns the most important elements of a great rap album: witty bars, a well-curated track list, a creative artist-producer relationship and, of course, catchy hooks.

Earning comparisons to Dr. Dre's 1992 album The Chronic, YG revives the art of hood storytelling, carefully crafting it to be as crass as possible while remaining celebratory thanks to DJ Mustard's L.A. G-funk and Bay Area sonic coding. Smash hits such as "My N****" and "Who Do You Love?" offer relentless feel-good vibes, while "Bicken Back Being Bool" and "BPT" tell tales of a gritty gang lifestyle. In addition to YG's undisturbed lyrical deliveries, the moral narrative he puts forth throughout the album (i.e. "Sorry Momma") ties together a sense of humanity and rawness. Ultimately, he succeeds in creating a cohesive body of work that paints a picture of how "krazy" YG's life truly is. (Erin Lowers)