Blake Reviews Gabe’s Top 10: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Piñata

In one corner: Flagpole Music Editor Gabe Vodicka, itching to unleash his list of Top 10 non-local albums of the year onto a probably-suspecting public. In the other corner: News Editor Blake Aued, a new father whose awareness of 2014 music is limited to “Shake It Off” and Pharrell’s giant hat. From Dec. 22–31, Gabe will count down his list, and Blake will review each album in response.

7. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: Piñata

GabePiñata was an unassuming album that nonetheless featured some of the freshest production work in years from Stones Throw legend Madlib, whose stoned smooth-jazz abstractions proved a striking backdrop for keyed-up Indiana MC Gibbs, redeeming himself after last year’s underwhelming ESGN

Blake: YAS. I love Freddie Gibbs, but he’s really only got one flow, so the way Madlib changes up the beat keeps it from getting repetitive. I’d quibble with calling Curtis Mayfield and The Manhattans “jazz,” but it’s smooth as hell, for sure. Let’s hope 2015 is the year soul-sampling early-Kanye hip hop makes a comeback.

10. Aphex Twin: Syro
9. Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band: Intensity Ghost
8. Daniel Lanois: Flesh and Machine
7. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: Piñata