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1. Run the Jewels | Run the Jewels 2 | Mass Appeal
After four straight years of year-defining albums from Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West, it looked dangerously like 2014 would pass without a definitive hip-hop statement. Enter Killer Mike and El-P, better known as Run the Jewels. RTJ2 simply distills all of the best aspects of the dynamic duo into a lean 40 minutes, riding El-P's best production effort to date (no small feat), and lyrically balancing punch-line braggadocio ("Oh My Darling Don't Cry") and conscious activism ("Early," "Crown").