2014: A Lyrical Wrap Up
We count down some of the hardest bars of the past twelve months….
2014 was an epic year for urban music, with rappers from both sides of the Atlantic taking to the mic and spitting premium fire. Jaykae, Stormzy and Wiley all held it down for the UK, spearheading the Grime 2.0 renaissance; while US newcomer Logic joined Hip-Hop heavyweights Drake and Kanye West in the lyrical stakes across the pond. Join us as we wrap up the hardest couplets(?) of 2014…
Drake - “0 to 100 / The Catch Up”
“I’m just here for the bucks and the billies, n***a. Don’t make me kill one of the GOATS for it. I mean, you already wrote for us. Damn, n***a, what’s one more quote for us?”
Following the release of his third LP in 2013, Drizzy kept his name on everyone’s lips by dropping a slew of web singles throughout 2014, the biggest of which being club anthem “0 to 100”. Throughout the track, the Toronto native dropped uber tight flows and in the process gave fans a bunch of quotes to see them through 2014.
J. Cole - “’03 Adolescence”
“I felt ashamed to have ever complained. About my lack of gear and thought about how far we done came. From trailer park to a front yard, with trees in the sky. Thank you Mama, dry your eyes, there ain’t no reason to cry.”
Following a notable absence, J. Cole stormed into the charts in the latter part of the year with his third studio album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. On this track, he detailed one of the most important conversations of his life - gratefully thanking his mother for staying by his side.
Jaykae – featured on Skepta’s “That’s Not Me (Remix)”
“Nah nah nah nah, that’s not me. ‘Cos I’m putting my city on the map properly. Can’t rap properly. Talk about a clash, but they’re not coming out like Black Ops 3 (That’s a myth). Just accept you want none of it, f**k it, spin your whole crew for the fun of it.”
Skepta’s ‘That’s Not Me’ was instrumental in the revival of Grime in 2014, and for the all-star remix, the BBK wordsmith enlisted the help of Birmingham MC Jaykae, who definitely came through and put his hometown on the map.
Kanye West – featured on Rick Ross’ “Sanctified”
“N***as be lovin' the old Ye, they sayin’ the new Ye, that n***a be spazzin’. But when Ali turn up and be Ali, you can’t ever change that n***a back to Cassius.”
Following the release of the controversial Yeezus LP, there was speculation that Kanye had fallen off. Was this true? Hell no! Ye’s verse on Ross’ Sanctified proved that although he's been nicknamed 'Kanye Kardashian' his marriage to reality starlet Kim Kardashian had no impact on his lyrical ability.
YG - “BPT”
“I was in the County with lions. Most of these rappers be lyin’. ‘Cos when I see them, they be quiet, the definition of silence. That’s the principle of proof, the definition of logic.”
California native YG triumphed for the West Coast in 2014, with the Compton rapper showing his true colours and taking many hip-hop listeners by surprise due to his storytelling prowess.
Nicki Minaj - “Lookin’ Ass”
“Look at y’all sharin’ one bottle in the club. One bottle full of bub’ ass n***as. Look at y’all not havin’ game ass n***as.Y’all n***as share a chain ass n***as, same cup in the hand ass n***as.”
Hip-Hop’s reigning queen flipped the script and took to the wax to call out all of all of the ‘Lookin’ Ass’ guys who wouldn’t be getting any of her time.
Wiley - “On A Level”
“Steam whistle, Take it off your head like a big Scud missile. My style’s after Izzle, my donny got caught on the road with twenty jizzle. Ain’t heard a word from him, he gone mizzle. Can’t be a bear if you don’t really wanna grizzle.”
Following a few years of label drama, The Godfather of Grime came through and defended his title with the release of his new LP ‘Snakes & Ladders’. Kick-starting the Grime renaissance, much to the delight of Grime-heads across the world.
Logic - “Gang Related”
“Sellin’ crack to my own pop. Pushin’ this weight on my own block, if I sell a brick, I can buy a house. If they find the key, they might lock me up. But I take the chance ‘cos I need that s**t and don’t give a f**k.”
On his 2014 album, Maryland rapper Logic gave fans an insight into his early life, via a gripping narrative. On ‘Gang Related’ he rapped from the perspective of his older brother, detailing a time when members of his family were both using and selling drugs.
Stormzy - “Not That Deep”
“Still got bare grown men all scared of the kid. Can’t lie, it’s been a good year for the kid. Your postcode don’t make you a gangster, you’re not bad, your area is.”
Plain and simple, don’t act up – Stormzy had a bumper 2014, following the life changing decision to quit his day job to pursue a career in music. Although he has accrued fans in unlikely places – Jools Holland anyone? – Big Mike shows he can still keep it gritty when need be.
So that’s it for 2014, let us know who we need to keep an eye on in 2015!
Words: Oscar Berkhout (@ItsOscarB)