The year is coming to an end, and that means it's time to look back and reflect on a year full of ups and downs. While some have considered this to be a down year in hip-hop, there have still been plenty of memorable moments, both under the radar and squarely in the mainstream. As part of our year-end review, XXL takes a look back and highlights some of our favorite songs that we felt were the most slept-on in 2014. The list includes singles that didn't quite grab the attention to loosies that didn't catch the eyes and ears of as many hip-hop fans as they deserved. Whether deep cuts from albums by Big K.R.I.T. and ScHoolboy Q or one-off releases from Jay Electronica and Gucci Mane, here are the best slept-on songs of 2014. —Dan RysEmmanuel C.M.Miranda J. and Roger Krastz

Related: The 25 Most Slept-On Songs Of 2013
The 15 Most Slept-On Rap Crew Members Of The Moment
14 Of The Best Verses Of 2014 

"Pay Attention"
Big K.R.I.T.

Big K.R.I.T. charted new territory with the Rico Love-assisted track, “Pay Attention.” On the song, K.R.I.T. serves up verses for the ladies, something that had not yet been seen from the Mississippi rapper. He speaks of love woes and treating significant others with the appropriate amount of respect, a subject matter that he had yet to lay out on previous efforts. It stands out from his catalog and should have received more attention. —Miranda J

"Grooveline Pt. 2"
ScHoolboy Q featuring Suga Free

A deep cut from Q's debut LP Oxymoron, "Grooveline Pt. 2" is a sexy, slinky track that utilizes the suave pimp-ness of Suga Free perfectly. When Free slides in it's with a coolness that is unequalled, making this song a hidden gem overshadowed by singles like "Collard Greens," "Man Of The Year" and "Hell Of A Night." It's an ideal late-night groove. —Dan Rys

"Better In Tune With The Infinite"
Jay Electronica

Released out of nowhere in March, this is one of the highlights of Jay Electronica's recent output (I know, I know, there hasn't been much competition) and reminds people why every verse of his is so eagerly awaited. "They might defeat the flesh but they could never ever kill me/They might could feel the music but can never ever feel me" for lines of the year. —DR

"Fight Or Flight (Remix)"
Lil Herb featuring Common and Chance The Rapper

In a summer where the spotlight was on the shocking violence riddling Chicago, Lil Herb rounded up OG Common and fellow new cat Chance The Rapper for a ferocious, dynamic look at the issues facing their city. All three come with top-notch verses, and the video reflects exactly what they're discussing on the cut. Herb himself stands out for the sheer power of his two verses. "I'm just giving you the real/'Cause I don't come from Hollywood or Beverly Hills/I'm from where mothers don't care and babies get killed/Where you gotta rob and go steal for stomachs to fill." —DR

"Down On My Luck"
Vic Mensa

With this track, Vic Mensa took all the hype surrounding him at the time and proved it to be warranted. Vic proved his versatility on the song, incorporating more of an EDM vibe than the majority of his catalog. “Down On My Luck” wasn't attached to any project, but made some waves regardless. All in all, it’s safe to assume that Vic’s budding solo career played a major role in the song’s recognition. The record didn’t cross over only because the only people who knew to look for it were already fans. —MJ

"Always Into Something"
Stalley featuring Ty Dolla $ign

"Always Into Something," the lead single from Stalley's debut album, Ohio, served as a great introduction to those unfamiliar with the Midwestern MC. Featuring R&B crooner Ty Dolla $ign, Stalley spits about the daily activities of a dope boy in the slums of Ohio over a bass-heavy instrumental by none other than longtime partner and collaborator Rashad. —Roger Krastz

"How Bout Now"

Dropped out of nowhere along with “6 God,” this Drake track got overshadowed on its release. Over a soft melodic flow, with “How Bout Now” Drizzy crafts up a “Started From The Bottom”-esque hook, in which he reflects on his earlier days and how many of his relationships haven’t lasted through the tests of time. As the chorus goes, “You ain't really fuck with me way back then girl, how 'bout now? / 'Cause I'm up right now and you stuck right now,” how could one not relate to the subject matter? Although this track was released simply as a tool to create hype for his upcoming LP, Views From The 6, maybe Drake should have stashed this cut for the album. —MJ

"Ghost Of Dipset"
Smoke DZA featuring Cam'ron

On "Ghost of Dipset," Smoke DZA shined bright while paying homage to the Harlem collective over a soulful production by King Thelonious. Hollywood DZA is joined by Cam'ron to give the track the official Dipset touch. The Kushed God delivers a pair of verses containing braggadocios rhymes, while Killa Cam brings his witty wordplay to the table. The collaboration marked the first time these two Harlem rappers connected on a track, which only left rap fans wanting to hear another collab (a rumored EP, confirmed by DZA in February, never materialized). —RK

A$AP Mob featuring A$AP Twelvyy

A$AP Twelvyy's "Xscape" was the second single from the now-shelved A$AP Mob project, L.O.R.D.. Released in April, the "Y.N.R.E." rapper reflects on his come up in the streets of New York. From being dead broke to making money with his A$AP brothers, Twelvyy pours his emotion and pain over the nostalgic 1990s production. —RK

gucci mane raury dead people slept-on songs

"Dead People"
Gucci Mane featuring Raury

Was this the most unlikely collaboration of 2014? When this track featuring Guwop and ATL up-and-comer Raury—more a Kid Cudi type than a trap rapper—dropped, it was hard to imagine how the two could combine successfully. But the bouncy beat provided a solid platform for both to do their thing with a catchy hook and Gucci sounding as fresh as he has since going away last September. Raury comes through with an Andre 3000 flow, spitting nimbly over the production. Try to keep up. —DR

"Basement Freestyle"
Travi$ Scott

Amidst his frustrations with Epic Records, Travi$ Scott released Days Before Rodeo, a 12-track odyssey filled with dark trap bounce. “Basement Freestyle” captures the 22-year-old Houston native’s electric production style. Like a lift hill of a rollercoaster, the record starts off with Scott causally shouting out his peers before gradually building up into an infectious jolt of energy. There is nothing complex, but La Flame’s uninhibited message is clear and he raps about it: “Drinkin' fuck a limitation/I done made it out the basement.” Straight up. —ECM

"Too Bad I Have To Destroy You Now"
Kid Cudi

Over woozy production, Kid Cudi lashes out at doubters and backstabbers on “Too Bad I have To Destroy You Now.” Rapper-Cud resurfaces and vents about haters and people who talk behind his back while crooning that the truth always comes to light. The brashness of “Too Bad I have To Destroy You Now” is what makes this song stand out. It’s an eloquent six-minute “go fuck yourself” record that is ridiculously enjoyable to play over and over. Cudi may have super powers after all. —ECM

"Can't Stop"
Theophilus London featuring Kanye West

A project that disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared—it sold under 3,000 copies in its first week—Theophilus London's Vibes nonetheless had a few bright spots, none brighter than this Kanye West collaboration. Yeezy's verse comes through and laces the track appropriately, but the hook as well gets stuck in the head, and the two verses identify two opposite approaches to love and relationships. Extra points for 'Ye's "but it ain't Ralph, though" line. —DR

"Polo Jeans"
Mac Miller featuring Earl Sweatshirt

Mac Miller quietly had a solid year, and his Mother's Day mixtape Faces was quietly a consistent project all the way through. It's been a minute since we've heard from Earl Sweatshirt, but he was on point on this verse, calling back his brightest moments on last year's Doris debut. The chemistry between Earl and Mac is undeniable, and over this airy production the two can both shine. —DR

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