Throughout 2014 we heard that it was a down year for hip-hop albums, but that was only true if you were only listening to the mainstream. An almost mind-blowing amount of great indie hip-hop albums came out last year, which made the Best of the Booth award for Best Indie Hip-Hop Album particularly difficult and contested. In the end, though, there were only two real choices: ¡MursDay! and Run the Jewels.
Reader's Pick: ¡Mayday! x Murs Mursday
Hip-hop is full of collaborations, groups, and duos, taking various talent and forging something unforgettable. Last year we added another group into the growing catalog, ¡MURSDAY!. When it was announced that underground favorite Murs would be signing to Tech N9ne’s Strange Music imprint many speculated about how the two mighty forces would co-exist. No one expected Murs to link with hip-hop group ¡Mayday! but the results of their kinship has left us and many fans pleased. There’s a synergy that allowed ¡MURSDAY! to blend the best of both worlds, without featuring Jay Z or R. Kelly. This is the second BOTBA that ¡MURSDAY! has received this year, snagging best indie hip-hop record, for the incredible “Here.” The fans have spoken, hopefully a sequel is being plotted for the near future.
Staff Pick: Run the Jewels RTJ2
Killer Mike’s enthusiasm at the very beginning of "Jeopardy" is how we wish to start every day. Full of explosive energy, the kind of overflowing passion that makes King Kong look like a stuffed animal in comparison. That’s the best way to describe Mike Bigga and El-P’s collaborative effort, Run The Jewels 2, a project that was overloaded with passion pumping epicness into ears. Production is pulsing and destructive, there isn’t a song that doesn’t put you in the belly of hell during spring break. The lyricism is like getting in a bar fight while being plummeted with knuckle sandwiches. These two jumped in the booth leaving all fucks at home, and it’s the most radical rap album we heard all year.
Congrats to ¡MURSDAY! and Run the Jewels. If you're looking for artists that are making the music they want to with zero fucks given, those are the two. And for the complete list of award winners, hit that link below: