This is why they do it, ladies and gentlemen. Every bar spit, every song released, every album dropped by a rapper in 2014 has led up to a single burning question: who will be crowned The DJBooth's Best Emcee of 2014? OK, so that may be just a little bit over-dramatic, but can you blame us for being excited? Considering this is a hip-hop site, Best Emcee might just be the most important award of the year. Albums and singles aside, this award honors the artist who put in the most impressive work over the course of the year. Sure, sales and popularity are important, but there's so much more to being a great emcee, as each of the nominees below demonstrates in his or her own way. But who is the best of the best? That's for you to decide.
For a full breakdown of the 2014 Best of the Booth Awards, including nominees in every category, click here.
Best Emcee of 2014
Time and time again, Big K.R.I.T demonstrates why he is one of the most respected emcees in the game. This year he blessed us with a major album in Cadillactica—highlighted by arguably the best song of the year in "Mt. Olympus"—along with a mixtape and a whole week of singles. He just might be the new king of the South.
After dropping Because the Internet at the bottom of 2013, Donald Glover showed no signs of slowing down, appearing as a guest on multiple songs and releasing a mixtape-EP hybrid in STN MTN / Kauai. He's one of the most creative, unique emcees in the game, and he's finally beginning to get his due.
Though he didn't release a major project, Drake killed with loosies and guest spots. He put P. Reign, Makonnen and more on the map while still showing love for chart-toppers like YG, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. He even had a few memorable songs of his own; "0 to 100," anyone?
After being relatively quiet for most of 2014, Cole stole the show with Forest Hills Drive. The album isn't even a week old, and already it's turned the emcee's low-key year into an incredible one. To make such a big impact in such a short time speaks volumes.
The only independent emcee up for nomination, Rapsody has been going head to head against (and teaming up with) some of the biggest, major label-backed emcees, winning, and doing it all the right way. With 9th Wonder and the Jamla crew backing her up, Rapsody can't be stopped.