J. Cole's new album might be all the rage now, but don't forget there were nine other major-label albums this year that stole our hearts. Maybe you dug YG getting back to his West Coast roots? Maybe ScHoolboy Q made you quit your job and start pushing weight? Or maybe, after two years of waiting, Cadillactica completed your life? No matter your own personal story and connection, there was plenty to enjoy from mainstream hip-hop this year. But which project was the best?
For a full breakdown of the 2014 Best of the Booth Awards, including nominees in every category, click here.
Best Hip-Hop Album and/or Project (Mainstream)
Big K.R.I.T. - Cadillactica
When fans have been anticipating an album for over two years, expectations may get a little lofty, yet K.R.I.T. doesn't disappoint on his second studio album, proving why those who really know hip-hop think he's one of the best in the game.
Common - Nobody's Smiling
Common has been rocking the mic since before some of you were born, and even after all this time, he still manages to create new, exciting music while staying true to his (deep) hip-hop roots.
Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo
TDE is a household name thanks to guys like ScHoolboy and Kendrick, but it's the youngest TDE emcee, Isaiah Rashad, who stole the show in 2014 with his Cilvia Demo LP.
Jeezy - Seen It All: The Autobiography
He may be nearing 40, but Jeezy showed no signs of slowing down in 2014, cooking up yet another album full of trap bangers.
Logic -Under Pressure
Though it certainly doesn't sound like his first album, Logic's Under Pressure was one of the most anticipated debut albums in recent memory, and it lived up to the hype.
Mac Miller -Faces
Mac Miller's Faces may not be as popular as some other potential choices, but every award show needs a dark horse nominee. Though it didn't dominate the headlines, it deserves praise for being one of the most interesting, unique projects of the year.
PRhyme (DJ Premier & Royce Da 5'9) - PRhyme
DJ Premier + Royce Da 5'9 = pure, unbridled hip-hop. Seriously, this album is the stuff rap nerds' dreams are made of.
ScHoolboy Q - Oxymoron
Though it was one of the first projects of the year, Oxymoron remained in rotation even after all of the other nominees dropped. Considering the amount of great music that's come out this year, that's sayin something.
YG - My Krazy Life
YG is singlehandedly spurring a West Coast renaissance thanks to a style that sounds straight out of '92. Kudos to DJ Mustard on the heavy assist.