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

1. Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels 2
(Mass Appeal)

If someone made a better rap album than Run the Jewels 2 this year, I don't want to hear it. My mere mortal mind couldn't possibly handle anything better than the lyrical mixture of vehement rage and deep introspection, delivered with top-of-the-class lyrical dexterity, that El-P and Killer Mike handed out on this album. Nor, for that matter, could I handle listening to a pair of MCs who trade verses more skilfully and flawlessly than that dynamic duo.

I certainly couldn't handle a record with denser, darker, more manic industrial-influenced production than the beats served up by El-P on RTJ2; it would be too heavy. I might collapse under the sheer weight of its chest-rattling, brain-twitching power. So yeah, there may well have been a better rap record released this year, but I don't want to hear it, 'cause it could only be some CIA-weaponization-of-rap scheme meant to incapacitate us all.

Still, between their political smarts and sharp-tongued delivery, El-P and Killer Mike would probably welcome the challenge. (Chris Dart)