The group dynamic is not as popular as it once was. Even the ones making waves today, be it Slaughterhouse or Black Hippy, are the result of emcees teaming up after cultivating success on their own. It’s not often we see trios or four-man groups burst onto the scene as a team anymore.

Over the years, groups have come and gone while the solo route has become the only forseeable path to success for aspiring rappers. Though in 2014 we witnessed a revival of relevant Hip Hop group releases and reunions. From Wu-Tang to G-Unit, the guys we haven’t heard from in awhile are starting to matriculate back into the limelight, which only makes the idea of, say, a new Clipse or Outkast LP all the more enticing and fun to think about.

Without further adieu, here are nine group reunions that stood out for us in 2014:

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Mobb Deep: The Infamous Mobb Deep

Previous Release: Blood Money (2006)

Havoc and Prodigy got off their nightmare G-Unit deal in 2009. Prodigy did a bid on a gun charge and then dropped two albums on the group’s Infamous imprint, while Havoc took the independent route for his album 13 through Nature Sounds. The group’s proclaimed “indefinite hiatus” of 2012 that resulted in these solo efforts eventually ended in reconciliation a year later, paving the way for the The Infamous Mobb Deep. The double-album marks a break from the predictable G-Unit flavor on Blood Money, and a return to the classic New York Hip Hop the group championed in the ‘90s. The album has also enjoyed some commercial success, peaking at #5 on Billboard’s US Top Rap Albums. With a who’s who of emcees and producers, The Infamous Mobb Deep is a treat for Hip Hop fans young and old, and one of the more satisfying reunion stories of the year.

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Dilated Peoples: Directors of Photography

Previous Release: 20/20 (2006)

In August, HipHopDX’s Andres Tardio interviewed DJ Babu ahead of Directors of Photography‘s release. Babu spoke of the group’s eight-year break as necessary personal time for everyone. This was not a tension induced hiatus; just time to settle down while they each did their own things. Evidence worked on the solo tip, Rakaa went back to school to get a degree, and Babu took time to be a father. When each of them started to get the creative itch for Dilated again, they came back with a bang. 

Not one to deviate from the script, Dilated stuck to the same musical formula we’ve come to expect and yet they avoided monotony. In an era where sample-based Hip Hop is a dying art form, Directors of Photography transcends the normality of today’s mainstream Hip Hop. According to Babu, “The record really feels like a full circle for us, or almost full circle, because I don’t know what the future holds for us. Are we going to record another Dilated record? I don’t know. This one feels good. We are all really excited to be presenting it to everyone.”

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Wu-Tang Clan: A Better Tomorrow

Previous Release: 8 Diagrams (2007)

After the lukewarm reception of 8 Diagrams, a break seemed inevitable. Sure, there was a mini-tour once in a blue moon, but that’s about all fans could expect in terms of Wu reunions. Rumblings about the possibility of another album started in 2011 and Clan members took turns confirming and denying their legitimacy. Ultimately, a squashed feud between Raekwon and RZA was the last obstacle in the way.

In their late ages, the nine swordsmen of Wu-Tang took a different approach on A Better Tomorrow with a call for self-preservation. The first music video released was for the title-track; a montage of the ongoing protests against police brutality. Rather than the fancy wordplay Wu Heads have come to expect, the of Wu-Tang style of 2014 was something completely new. Critical reception to the album have been mixed, but one thing is for certain: A Better Tomorrow is representative of the change Wu-Tang wants to see in the world.

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G-Unit: The Beauty of Independence

Previous Release: T.O.S. (Terminate on Sight) (2008)

Not long ago, Young Buck got kicked out of the group. And at the top 2014, Tony Yayo announced that G-Unit was no more. Besides 50, only Lloyd Banks had been able to maintain some relevance, though that claim is dubious at best. 

50 had a rough 2014. The disaster that was Animal Ambition, the first pitch at the Mets game, Instagram fighting with Floyd Mayweather, publicly feuding with his own son. With all of this in mind, the sudden release of new G-Unit material seemed a bit convenient. But fans and critics have appeared receptive to the reunion. Flanked by newcomer Kidd Kidd, all four original members provide fans and listeners with a nice dose of the 2000s Gangsta Rap nostalgia on the 6-track EP. With 2014 being a year 50 Cent is probably looking to put behind him, The Beauty of Independence was certainly a high point.

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eMC: The Turning Point

Previous Release: The Show (2008)

The supergroup reunion. Masta Ace ganged up with Stricklin and Punch & Words in 2008 for The Show. They toured extensively and made the most of their time together, but after the flurry of activity, there was never really a discussion about where things stood with eMC. Each of them went back to solo endeavors and seemed perfectly content. So it was a bit of a surprise when press for The Turning Point kicked up, regenerating fans’ attention. It’s an EP, but the aftermath has seen plans get made for the group’s second full length LP some time in 2015.

Of all the reunions in 2014, emC likely flew under the radar, especially compared to the aforementioned four. But they did not disappoint. At 48, Masta Ace continues to put out new music on a consistent basis, while his fans reap the benefits of Stricklin, Punchline and Wordsworth too.

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Souls of Mischief: There Is Only Now (2014) 

Previous Release: Montezuma’s Revenge (2009)

The Hieroglyphics camp has a dedicated base that stays aware of their creative ongoings and always supports the music. Souls of Mischief dropped their first album in five years in 2014, and while fans knew what to expect lyrically, they were also treated to beats by Adrian Younge. With his work with on There Is Only Now, as well as his collaborations with Wu-Tang, and of course PRhyme, Younge had himself a remarkable 2014. 

There Is Only Now reaffirmed the Souls’ status in Hip Hop that was founded more than 20 years ago. Having one of the hottest up-and-coming producers in the game, and appearances from Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Snoop Dogg, and Busta Rhymes were key to shaping the ambiance of the album with a story that unravels in a most captivating way. “‘93 ‘til Infinity” may have proven timeless, but the Souls are still making noteworthy music today.

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Cunninlynguists: Strange Journey Volume Three

Previous Release: Oneirology (2011); Strange Journey Volume Two (2009)

A three-year break between releases isn’t exactly a lifetime, but a third installment to the Strange Journey series was a notable release from the Cunninlynguists in 2014. Deacon The Villain, Natti and Kno turned to social media for this one, taking direction from their fans about album artwork, guest appearances, and song creation. The idea is admirable, and given the positive reception it’s a wonder more artists aren’t following suit. 

One for the underground heads, Strange Journey Volume Three features a slew of talented and popular guests, ranging from Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, to Murs, Aesop Rock, Blu, and many more. The Cunninlynguists have stayed relevant by finding a niche that has proven effective, and while they stick to what they know, the inclusion of a who’s-who of guests only stokes the fire.

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The LOX: The Trinity 2nd Sermon

Previous Release: The Trinity (2013) 

In December 2013, The LOX suddenly, and without notice reunited for The Trinity EP, their first musical release as a group since the year 2000 with We Are the Streets. Eleven months later, they reappeared with a second EP installment, The Trinity 2nd Sermon. Both releases have been distributed through the group’s own D-Block label, notable if only due to their previous contractual commitments to the Ruff Ryders/Interscope imprint. In other words, their hiatus wasn’t necessarily the result of bad blood within the group.

The steady release of D-Block material comes on the heels of their much anticipated feature-length We Are the Streets 2. If all goes according to plan, The LOX should see their third studio LP drop in 2015, as well as individual appearances on the upcoming Wu-Block album. The LOX reunion is a delight for Hip Hop fans and critics alike, as they continue picking up the pieces from 2000, while building towards their next goal.

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De La Soul: Smell the d.a.I.S.Y.

Previous Release: Are You In?: Nike+ Original Run (2009)

Smell the d.a.I.S.Y. was something of a “treat yourself” endeavor for De La Soul. Sure, who doesn’t love the De La and Dilla pairing? It’s the best of both worlds. Plus fans have already gotten a taste of how good it can be from cuts off of Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump and The Grind Date.

On this mixtape, De La recycled some of their most famous verses (think “Plug Tunin’”), and spit them again. This time, over old J Dilla beats that hadn’t yet surfaced. Some artists dream of getting their hands on never-before-heard Dilla music in hopes of it elevating their raps. For De La, this album was about what could have been, while also preserving the legacy of a friend and one of Hip Hop’s All-Time Greats. And because it’s a mixtape, fans get to enjoy it for free.