20. Childish Gambino – “Candler Road”
Mixtape: STN MTN/Kauai
“Candler Road”, released in promotion of Childish Gambino’s new project STN MTN / Kauai is a perfect example of the sound that Donald Glover was going for the mixtape/EP. A two-part project, STN MTN is similar to his mixtape Royalty with tougher raps and harder instrumentals, while Kauai is similar to Gambino’s Because The Internet tracks (which features a large amount of singing). “Candler Road”, begins like Royalty but ends like Because The Internet, making a complete 180 from rap to R&B. While this style may sound odd, Gambino makes it work, throughout the track and throughout the project.
19. BANKS – “Brain”
BANKS released “Brain” early this year, in anticipation of her debut album Goddess. Produced by electronic artist Shlohmo, Brain is short (but to the point) in its lyrics, as BANKS warning men who dare play mind games with her. The California singer-songwriter could have have choose a better first track to promote her debut and set the album’s dark R&B mood.
18. Big Sean ft. E-40 – “I Don’t F*ck With You”
Album: I Don’t F*ck With You (Single)
No matter who you are, where you are, married or single, straight or gay, the truth is, there is someone you don’t fuck with. Big Sean decided to team up with DJ Dahi, DJ Mustard and Kanye West to release to single largest ex-lover smash, “IDFWU”, obviously about his public relationship with “crazy bitch” Naya Rivera. It is one of the ballsiest, meanest, funniest songs to come out after a celebrity has exited a very public relationship, and Sean smashes it. E-40 makes a pretty awesome cameo, but not before Sean gets to say outrageous shit like “Ain’t nothin’ but trill in me, aw man, silly me/I just bought a crib, three stories, that bitch a trilogy!” Never not funny.
17. Schoolboy Q ft. BJ The Chicago Kid – “Studio”
The most gangsta, smooth player’s anthem we’ve heard in a long time. To those who have ever wondered what would happen if a Hoover Crip made a love song, it’s this. BJ the Chicago Kid weaves a hook that is a love story that could only exist in 2014, one that describes a rapper wanting to be with someone he loves, but he can’t because he’s in the studio crafting a dope song. Schoolboy Q then throws on some of the smoothest, raunchiest, rhymes bouncing on the trap-snares and buzzing R&B synths, saying the most romantic shit of 2014, like “Put my tongue in different places, play a game of Operation/Na-na-na, la-la, la-la, you get what I’m saying.”
16. Raury – “God’s Whisper”
Album: Indigo Child
This was the big internet smash that started to roll the ball for Raury, and boasts a big, choir like background refrain over interesting and empowering lyrics about following your calling, among other things. This youth-empowerment anthem was vast and arena-like in sound, and had the ability to linger in one’s head for longer than expected. It’s this quality in a lot of the songs off Indigo Child that makes it so interesting—the fact that Raury can make simple, straightforward messages but give them weight and life by the passion behind his vocals.