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



4. Azealia Banks
Broke With Expensive Taste
(Independent)

Who'd have thought, after numerous online spats and countless delays, that Azealia Banks' debut, Broke With Expensive Taste, would finally be released in 2014, not to mention that it would end up on this year's best list? And yet, here we are.

Behind Banks' self-damning verbal tirades, she has always been adept at stringing together her silver-tongued verses over a blend of genres. From the deceptively upbeat house sounds on "Soda," which documents her bouts of depression — "Night time, is mine to lie eyes awide and I/ I'm tired of trying, trying not to cry" — to the random Ariel Pink-assisted beach anthem "Nude Beach A Go-Go" to the UK dubstep-sampling "Desperado," sonically the album is all over the place, but still feels cohesive.

Ultimately that's why Broke With Expensive Taste stands out: Each of the musical threads sewn throughout the album are charmingly unpredictable and uncompromising in their execution, much like Banks herself, which makes for a fantastic listen and one of 2014's best releases. (Jabbari Weekes)