Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 The Albums: League of Their Own

This award started long before the site was even a thought, in one publication or radio show or another, since 2000 I have handed out the "League of Their Own" Award to an album that is made by an artist who is the most forward thinking, open minded, revolutionary musician out there today. Their accomplishments in the past 12 months have either resurrected a sound, broke down walls and created new frontiers or have totally reinvented a genre all together. In the past winners have included: 

2000- Radiohead - Kid A 
2001- The Strokes - Is This It? 
2002- NERD - In Search of... 
2003- The White Stripes - Elephant 
2004- The Killers - Hot Fuss 
2005- The Mars Volta - Francis the Mute 
2006- TV On The Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain 
2007- Kanye West Graduation 
2008- Santogold 
2009 - Mastodon - Crack the Skye 
2010 - Gorillaz - Plastic Beach 
2011 - Bjork - Biophilia 

2012 - Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes 
2013-  Arcade Fire - Reflektor

...and now to add to this list of modern musical revolutionaries are a duo that have not only released the hip-hop album of the year but have proved to be the genre's best dynamic duo since OutKast. The music of this year's winners speaks for our times and given the events of the last few weeks, they have made headlines not just for their work but also for their activism. This is a group that do more than make music, they make statements.  Ladies and gentlemen, the recipient of the 2014 League of Their Own Award are...

Run The Jewels - Run the Jewels 2 

Since 2012, independent New York producer and rapper  extraordinaire El-P linked with Georgia emcee Killer Mike, these two have been making beautiful music together collaborating on their own albums and then coming together as Run The Jewels last year. Their debut was a great way to declare who they were and what they planned on doing, but it is the follow-up record that is their impact statement, their call to arms, their way of letting the world know they are not going anywhere. As Killer Mike proclaims on "Blockbuster Night Pt.1," "Last album voodoo, proved that we was fucking brutal," yet, is is the second album that takes that verbal and beat brutality to a whole other level. The only thing more aggressive than El-P’s beats is the sound of a black metal bands roaring guitars and that is not even touching on Killer Mike’s lyrical flow and words. What Killer Mike does on RTJ2 is become a hip-hop news commentator to tell us what it is like outside of our mindless lives and that we need to wake up, no wonder Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine jumped on to work with these two to craft this dynamic, diverse, and brilliant record.