With Six Months Down, Here Are Hip Hop's Winners In 2014 (So Far)

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So it’s June, the halfway mark of the year, and we’ve seen our fair share of action in hip hop and like anything there were your winners (and losers) who have made statements to remember until year’s end.

Newcomers have made names for themselves and given us reasons to expect great things in the future. Our favorite stars reemerged while others have continued their hot streaks. Some of the people on this list didn’t even need to make any music. With six months down and another six to go, let’s take a look at the big winners in hip hop in 2014 so far. – Majid Tejan-Jalloh | @jidsays  

YG

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After dropping “Toot It and Boot It” and fading into obscurity, a lot of people thought it was over for the Compton MC. Then YG made his way back into the spotlight and dropped My Krazy Life, featuring the chart topper “My Nigga,” which silenced many of his doubters and came up in a lot of Album of the Year discussions. With him being one of rap’s hottest new MC’s and his allegiance to the hottest producer smoking right now in DJ Mustard, 2014 is shaping up to be a stellar year for Bompton’s finest.

Schoolboy Q

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If anyone questioned the strength of the TDE umbrella, Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron answered all of them. Quincy turned out to be a front runner for “Man of the Year” after his well received album opened at number one on the Billboard charts. Then he went on his wildly successful Oxymoron tour to top things off. And another one for Top Dawg Entertainment.

Iggy Azalea

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We all saw that body and fell in lust, but we weren’t sure if our ears would get the same feeling. To the surprise of many, Iggy blew expectations away when The New Classic debuted in the top 5 on the Billboard 200 and she became the first artist since The Beatles to have their first charting singles at number 1 and 2 singles on the Hot 100 at the same time.

Vince Staples

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The young buck out of Long Beach has made a name for himself with bone chilling guest verses on some of the best projects in recent time (Earl Sweatshirt’s “Hive”). Earlier this year he dropped his latest project, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, and showed us that he could shine all alone with a charismatic, gritty perspective on modern life as a young kid growing up in urban America.

Drake

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While he hasn’t put out a full project this year, Drizzy has been keeping his name in everybody’s conversations. His late night releases become anthems of the moment and he has been the most consistent artist for the past five years now. He’s showing no signs of letting up and has us all tuned in for his next move, even though he’s stated he’s not going to be releasing a new project until Spring of 2015.

Nicki Minaj

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Once upon a time there was a fly chick from the Bronx who had dudes listening to her as much as they would look at her. For a minute she disappeared into a foray of pop radio, but you got to do what you got to do. Nicki Minaj is back and I for one think she’s stronger than ever. If “Lookin’ Ass Niggas” and “Chi-Raq” are signs of what’s about to go down she’s going to be a threat for whatever title when The Pink Print makes it’s mark.

Young Thug

Rapper Young Thug, seen in Atlanta, Georgia December 2013.

Everytime I fuck I think I need me ‘least like two bitches. Thugga Thugga’s grind is paying off. After playing the background on several Gucci Mane mixtapes Young Thug has become a legitimate star off of the strength of his hit records “Stoner” and “Danny Glover.” Now he’s running around with the Cash Money and hanging with his idol Lil’ Wayne. In prime position to be the next young voice to pop out of Atlanta, it’ll be interesting to see where Young Thug goes from here.

Troy Ave

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Troy Ave reminds of that kid who would never quiet down and was always popping shit at school. When he first popped up I thought he would be a here today and gone tomorrow kind of guy, but here he is – getting consistent radio play, hitting big stages, and keeping his name buzzing, albeit moreso for controversy than the music. Be honest, you didn’t think we’d still be talking about him by now. That’s a win in my book.

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell has been on fire lately. After killing 2013 from behind the boards, 2014 watched him step into the solo spotlight. His hit single “Happy” became a international anthem and made way for GIRL, his second LP where the world got a full serving of what made Pharrell one of the greats and gave new life to the career of the man who doesn’t age.

DJ Mustard

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It seems like hip hop always has it’s “producer of the moment.” The guy who produces the sound that becomes the go-to trend for a year or two. If anyone has that right, it’s DJ Mustard. “Mustard on the beat” is the new “YEEEAAAHHH!” (Lil’ Jon). He is killing it right now no matter how you slice it. The difference here is that Mustard is looking to stay at the top longer than any of his predecessors, 10 Summers to be exact. Well with a deal with Roc Nation and a stranglehold on the club scene right now, his destiny is in his hands.

Dr. Dre

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There’s strong doubt that we’ll ever get Detox after the living legend inked a $3 billion deal between Apple and his Beats By Dre brand, but we can’t blame him. If any of us signed a check that instantly put hundreds of millions in our bank accounts we’d be blowing money on mansions too.

There you have it. We’ve got another six months to go so we can definitely expect things to change with some surprises here and there. Lil Wayne’s Carter V Season is upon us, Kanye is coming, Kendrick is slated for his sophmore project, Wiz Khalifa, T.I., Lupe, Wu-Tang, G-Unit, Big Krit, Joey Bada$$…let’s just see how it all ends up come December.