1. Nicki Minaj
The number one most interesting person in Hip-Hop 2014 is the queen of rap herself, Nicki Minaj. It’s been an absolutely crazy year for Young Money’s first lady and it looks like she’s only just starting to spread those pink wings of hers. Nicki has always been a great source for entertainment and headlines, yet this year she truly had a strangle hold on not just the female, but also the male side of Hip-Hop. Its been another successful year in the studio for Nicki coming off an impressive string of singles this year alone, then backing them up with her latest album, The Pink Print, which dropped December 15th. Her hit single off the album, “Anaconda” which was released in August, broke VEVO’s record for the most views in 24 hours, clocking in somewhere just north of 19.5 million. The video currently has over 342 million views on YouTube, not to mention all the hype and controversy the cover art for this song received before the video was even released. At this point her heavenly butt is probably more famous than her music. She also saw a lot of reaction from fans over the lyrics in her recently released single “One”, plus the use of Nazi-esque imagery in the video. Nicki’s love life also found itself in the spotlight a few times as things seem to be far from over between Nicki and ten-year-boyfriend Safaree Samuals, although its been rumoured Meek Mill has been the shoulder she’s been crying on lately. Regardless, Nicki Minaj is taking over Hip-Hop one track at a time, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
2. Young Thug
At number two and without a doubt the most interesting man in Hip-Hop this year, is Young Thug. Where to even begin… For the last 12 months, the debate of what label Young thug is actually signed too couldn’t be anymore confusing. He also isn’t helping the situation as he rarely addresses the topic and when he does, it usually just makes things more confusing. He’s apparently still signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 Brick Squad Records, along with Kevin Liles and Lyor Cohen’s 300 Entertainment. At the moment he’s heavily affiliated with Young Money and is rumored to have recently signed a management deal with Young Money CEO Birdman, who (pardon the pun) has taken him under his wing this year to say the least. With some of the strongest support in the industry, Young Thug’s extravagant fashion sense, peculiar vocabulary and one of a kind personality now has the ability and a platform to grow from. His debut album is still mysterious yet highly anticipated for 2015, along with a number of rumored joint EP’s and an alleged “one million” songs already recorded with childhood inspiration and fellow rapper, Lil’ Wayne. Although that’s really exciting news, it’s probably closer to a few mixtapes and Thugga just needs help with math. Even though he’s best known for his original sound, one of the most interesting aspects of Young Thug is the mysterious nature of his sexuality. Thanks to his unusual and somewhat peculiar vocabulary when referring to his friends and features, Young Thug may end up becoming the first openly gay star of trap music, although it’s probably just a clever marketing ploy and he just likes calling his friends “baby”. Say what you will, but at the end of the day, Young Thug is about as interesting as they come, and he’s just so damn catchy.
It just seems now a days Hip-Hop feels slightly empty without Drake, so there’s no surprise the Toronto native holds down number three on our list of Hip-Hops most interesting people of 2014. Drake’s no stranger to dropping hit after hit, so pair that with another successful OVO Fest and Capcom sponsored tour with Lil’ Wayne, it makes sense Drake passed The Beatles this year for most Top 100 Singles. Outside the studio however, Drake’s just as much of a beast when it comes to making headlines. His infamous air-ball practicing with Kentucky’s college basketball team showed us he actually hasn’t been Steph Curry with the shot and if you’re an NBA fan your probably familiar with his lint roller incident. Embarrassing? Apparently not as Drizzy sold the original roller for over 50k on eBay, then supplied Raptors fans with 1,200 of their own Raptors x OVO lint rollers. Well played. On the other hand, Drake got his fair serving of beef this year when he and fellow label mate Tyga, threw shots at each other about a month ago and just recently when Diddy went 0-100 real quick and slapped Drake outside DJ Khaled’s birthday party a few weeks back.
4. Iggy Azalea
Hate her or lover her, Iggy Azalea makes headlines better than she makes music and that’s why Australia’s newest export grabs number four in this years list. After dropping her debut album The New Classic earlier this year and working with the likes of T.I., Iggy’s had a significant amount of success on the radio. She’s also has success within the Hip-Hop community despite being labeled by some as “not Hip-Hop” and of course constantly being compared to Nicki Minaj. Yes, her butt is just as fantastic as Nicki’s and yes unfortunately that actually matters in Hip-Hop debates, but their worlds apart and in all honesty, Hip-Hop needs more female competition like Iggy. Now, throw in a rumored sex-tape, weekly twitter fights with various artists, multiple character parody’s on South Park, a well publicized relationship with L.A. Lakers forward Nick Young, and lastly her complaints about getting fingered while crowd surfing, it’s fair to say Iggy Azalea has earned her place on this list.
5. Bobby Shmurda
Coming in at number five is the youngest and by far the hardest on this list. Bobby Shmurda began his industry takeover in July with “Hot N***a”, and after only five months, impressively reps over 50 million views on YouTube. His lyrics, energetic dances, videos and off-the-mic legal situations seem to be captivating the majority of the industry, making it a little less surprising that Epic Records came knocking on his door with a cool million dollar deal. The Brooklyn sensation dropped Shmurda She Wrote in early November and has had the time of his life with his new-found fame. He even recruited Lil’ Terrio, a Vine star, for his performance at the BET awards this year while also appearing on Game’s Blood Moon: Year of The Wolf. However, as great as its going for Shmurda, things might be on pause for a minute as he’s just recently landed himself, along with the GS9 gang, in some very serious legal troubles. With a bail set at two million and possibly facing 25 years in prison, here’s hoping this isn’t an even quicker end to a quick come up.
Migos is nothing if not pure entertainment value and your number 6 on the Top 10 Most Interesting People in Hip-Hop 2014. This trio from Atlanta more or less got their first taste of nation wide exposure when Drake (big surprise) remixed their popular track “Versace” in 2013. Since then, they’ve kept themselves busy with stealing chains, fighting fans at concerts, good ol’ classic twitter beef and dropping Rich N***a Time Line in November. The fact their sound is so different at the moment compared to other artists, is a big reason why so many people are now adding Migos into their daily playlists. There’s even an ironic twitter joke still making its way across the internet and if you haven’t seen “Migos > Beatles” yet, you can probably imagine how upset this is making the hardcore classic rock fans. If this year’s headlines are any indication of 2015, they should by no means be slept on any longer and despite all odds might actually stay relevant for another year or two.
Taking seventh on the list, iLoveMakonnen is only just settling into his lane yet somehow still so interesting. Is it his voice? strange look? ridiculous name? Only time will tell. Yet, whether you mess with him or not, his break out track “Tuesday” remixed by Drake has been everywhere and possibly the most popular song of the year. Tons of artists have put their own spin on the record since it dropped and in many cases the songs most notable phrase “goin up” has almost turned into a new culture wide term. iLoveMakonnen also made headlines a few months back after a stage attack allegedly involving Troy Ave. The first rapper to remix Tuesday is now also his boss, as Drake signed the Atlanta artist to OVO back in September. Although the future isn’t quite clear as to what else iLoveMakonnen has to offer us, he probably won’t experience the same attention he did this year but it was fun while is lasted.
8. Dej Loaf
Landing at number eight is Detroit’s newest emerging female talent, Dej Loaf. She’s extremely stylish, friendly, as real as they come and ready to prove she’s far from a one hit wonder. “Try Me’ made waves across the country this year and is easily her most popular song to date. With some unexpected help from Remy Ma, Ty Dolla $ign and Drake (just to name a few), “Try Me” became the ticket she needed for her first major deal with Columbia Records. It doesn’t stop there however, after recently dropping her mixtape Sell Sole, shes focusing on her debut album and a possible joint EP with Young Thug. She’s also recently appeared on a track with Rich Homie Quan and Eminem’s latest project Shady XV, which in turn has refocused some much needed attention back on the Detroit Hip-Hop scene. Dej may not be the cockiest in the room, but just don’t try her.
9. DJ mustard
It ‘s almost impossible to listen to Hip-Hop in 2014 and not hear “mustard on the beat h*e!” every other track. This Ad-Lib belongs to none other than DJ Mustard, and sitting at number nine, Mustard is without question, the most interesting DJ of the year. Although Mike WiLL Made It has also been holding it down, Mustard managed to snag Producer of The Year at The BET Hip-hop Awards in October and for good reason. Yes, a lot of Mustard’s beats are very similar and have a distinct “Mustard touch” to them, but they’ve simply become so popular within the Hip-Hop community that just having his production means an almost guaranteed hit. Mustard also saw significant success after dropping 10 Summers earlier this year in August.
10. Mike WiLL Made It
Starting off this years list of the top 10 most interesting people in Hip-Hop, is Mike WiLL Made It. As some have argued this year has been dry in terms of solid albums and mixtapes dropped, it’s fair to say 2014 was the year of the DJ. It’s been a considerably long time since a DJ Other than Khaled has been able to shake up the rap game so much. With hit after hit, after hit, Mike WiLL Made It has no plans of slowing down. He’s produced for the industries biggest artists, while simultaneously branding his name on some of the years biggest heaters, with most turning to instant classics. He’s also been recruited by stars from outside the genre, lending his talents to artists like Miley Cyrus. In 2013 Mike WiLL Made It won producer of the year at the BET Hip-Hop Awards and was also nominated again this year. After recently dropping his mixtape Ransom on December 15th, Mike WiLL Made It is looking to 2015 to continue his rampage and further solidify his place on the throne of Hip-Hop production.
You might also like
More from Features
DJ Slick B, aka “The Flyest DJ on the Planet,” is based in Detroit, Michigan birthplace of innovators and Motown legends. His ambition and dedication has positioned him to be one of the best in his profession while making it look …
Swizzysworld, formally known as Muqbil Yabarow, is a Washington DC based creative photographer. Known to turn traditional monuments into unorthodox images, his versatility …