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Ben Niespodziany

Ben Niespodziany is a Chicago-based music photojournalist who writes for MishkaNYC as well as Lily Mercer's Viper Magazine. He spent the last two years in Ecuador with Peace Corps, listening to G-Side and Main Attrakionz in order to combat the heavy doses of bachata and reggaeton. If he's not reading a book and listening to music, he's sleeping.

Alexander Spit – Mansions 2

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This is a fine sequel to an already impressive first installment. Mansions 2 takes you through a haunted house, into a world you didn’t know existed, full of dilated pupils and monster bass. “Pullover Hoodies” is my favorite instrumental of the year. Rap game too scared to Spit over it. See what I did there?

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Lucki Eck$ – Alternative Trap

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This project impressed the hell out of me. At only 16, Lucki managed to create a brand new sound, combining equal parts cloud rap, trap, and Beach House. “Count on Me” sounds like Eternal Sunshine, like Curren$y falling asleep during a Spike Jonze film. 2014 has plenty of shine for Lucki.

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Tree – Sunday School 2

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Tree paved his own lane with “soul trap”: a hip-hop style that blends early Kanye-esque chipmunk samples with stories of life on the streets of Chicago while still remaining relevant and original. “I call ‘em all hoes, I ain’t have a sister. Drunk as hell, man, I probably shouldn’t have a pistol.” Just like the first Sunday School, the sequel is soulful, hungry, and real. “They say the king is back.”

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Vince Staples – Stolen Youth

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Vince isn’t necessarily slept on, but Stolen Youth never received the credit it deserved. The project, which is entirely produced by Larry Fisherman (Mac Miller) is Staples’ most cohesive to date. Bringing along friends like Ab-Soul, Da$h, and ScHoolboy Q, this project is a dark look at being forced to grow up early in order to survive. “Reporting live from delusion.”

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Rockie Fresh – The Birthday Tape EP

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Released on Fresh’s birthday, this free EP has my favorite song of the year: “Panera Bread”, which opens with Rick Ross saying “Chi-Town” over a magically maniacal beat by Lunice. Nothing touches that track. On top of the heat, Fresh also finds himself rhyming over a Stateless sample as well as James Blake’s “Life Round Here”, months before Chance felt like doing the same. Fresh is certainly my favorite member of MMG.

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