The Key's Year-End Mania: Dotun Akintoye's 50 best songs of 2014
Young Thug appears five times in various forms on Dotun’s list | photo via

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Dotun Akintoye shares his 50 best songs of 2014.

There was more pleasurable music than any sane person could consume this year, so when something caught my attention, I made a little note. I’ve narrowed those notes down to these 50 tracks. Some unwittingly fulfill my post hoc arbitrary categories; sharpest top 40 hit (“Girls Chase Boys”) street/cyberspace surprise of the year (“Hot N*gga”), some I regard as the standouts from much heralded albums (“Huey Newton,” “Suffering”), some are standouts from neglected albums (“The Brink,” “Anthem”), others are relatively obscure one-offs (“Timbuktu”), all are songs I thought or argued about, tried to foist on others with varying levels of success, danced to or sang/rapped with, and played repeatedly in a year when that meant missing the latest jam du jour.

I tried as much as possible to limit each artist to one song, which meant parting with songs by Wussy, SZA, Cayetana, and FKA Twigs among others. This was particularly agonizing in the case of Wussy, and ultimately impossible in the case of Young Thug (who appears 5 times on the list, although only once as a song’s solo performer). This is partly because he is an excellent collaborator – saving TI’s “About the Money” from banality with the sung hook of the year, elevating Dej Loaf’s “Blood” by going up paths of melody and flow hitherto unexplored on Lambo’s gorgeous beat – and because he had no equal as a rapper, vocal stylist, hook maker, and songwriting collagist in 2014. At his best, Thug’s music is an image of freedom and wholeness: His mind is unfettered, his lips loose, he luxuriates in splendor and squalor, and he’s so funny all I can do is shake my head and say, “shame on me for laughing, shame on you if you can’t.”

Below, the list:

1. Young Thug – The Blanguage
2. Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, & Birdman – See You
3. Wussy-Halloween
4. Kevin Gates- Movie
5. Warpaint – Intro/Keep it Healthy
6. SZA- Green Mile
7. Thom Yorke- Nose Grows Some
8. EMA-Smoulder
9. Sylvan Esso- Wolf
10. Tune Yards- Real Thing
11. Future – I Be U
12. Kendrick Lamar (with Thundercat, Bilal, Anna Wise, and Terrace Martin) –Untitled
13. St Vincent- Huey Newton
14. Run The Jewels ft Gangsta Boo- Love Again (Akinyele Back)
15. Cities Aviv- URL IRL
16. FKA Twigs – Two Weeks
17. The Roots ft Dice Raw & Greg Porn – The Dark Trinity
18. Drake –Trophies
19. The War on Drugs – Suffering
20. Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, & Birdman – Flava
21. Bobby Shmurda – Hot N*gga
22. Restorations-All My Home
23. Sharon Van Etten – Every Time The Sun Comes Up
24. Ikey- Timbuktu
25. Cayetana- Scot Get the Van, I’m Moving
26. Ratking-Canal
27. Lydia Loveless – To Love Somebody
28. Dej Loaf ft Young Thug & Birdman – Blood
29. Rick Ross ft Kanye West & Big Sean – Sanctified
30. TI ft Young Thug – About The Money
31. Ingrid Michaelson –Girls Chase Boys
32. Courtney Barnett-Anonymous Club
33. Jeezy ft Kendrick Lamar – Holy Ghost (Remix)
34. J. Cole – G. O. M. D
35. Jhene Aiko – Spotless Mind
36. Tunde Olaniran- The Highway
37. Azealia Banks- Wallace
38. Perfect Pussy- Interference Fits
39. Nicki Minaj ft Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown – Only
40. Against Me! – Two Coffins
41. Zuse- Anthem
42. The Jezabels- The Brink
43. Banks- Change
44. Lana del Rey – West Coast
45. Jay Z and Jay Electronica – We Made It (Remix)
46. Brian Eno and Karl Hyde – DBF
47. Shabazz Palaces – They Come In Gold
48. Sia- Chandelier
49. Tokyo Police Club – Argentina Parts I, II, III
50. Sydney Wayser –Belfast Child (Cover)

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