The post-quarantine thirst for music was at its highest, and although musically 2021 may not be remembered as a golden year, it still delivered enough quality music to massage the pandemic ear.
11) Saweetie – Pretty Summer Playlist Season 1
The ICY Queen displayed versatility in her rhymes, a balance of sing-song melodies boss chick braggadocio flows.
Standouts– Risky, Pretty & Rich, Backseat
10) Benny the Butcher – Pyrex Picasso
A Hip Hop list isn’t credible without a Griselda MC listed. Although this album may not be Benny’s best work, it is still a worthy listen that’s ahead of most.
Standouts – The Iron Curtain, PWRDRL, Fly w/ Me
9) Migos – Culture 3
After time away for solo projects and social media stuntin, the trio reunited to remind everyone (and themselves) who they are and how they became THE group.
Standouts – Straightening, Need It, Avalanche
8) Megan THEE Stallion – Something for THEE Hotties
Meg is underrated; yea, I said it! Her rap flow is as commanding as ever on this album, because she raps like a take-no-mess history teacher on every beat.
Standouts – Kitty Kat, Warning, Bae Goals
7) Isaiah Rashad – The House is Burning
Rashad’s growth is undoubtedly a credit to the house Top Dawg Ent who, for the past years with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Schoolboy Q, and others, specialize in quality over quantity.
Standouts – Lay Wit Ya, HB2U, From the Garden
6) Drake – Certified Lover Boy
It’s Kiss, Nuff said.
Drake continues to be the greatest rapper for almost a decade-plus never to have a classic album. His ability to musically create calm river sing-alongs is mastery that certifies his reign.
Standouts – Champagne Poetry, Love All, Knife Talk
5) Kanye West – DONDA
The 28-track listed album may take a while to get through (about a month for me), but once digested, it remains clear that Kanye remains an elite musical maestro with the ability to orchestrate both rappers and producers like a gospel choir.
Standouts – Life of the Party, Heaven and Hell, Believe What I Say
4) Nas – Kings Disease 2
Sequels are usually trash; whether it’s movies or music, most second acts come off as cheap attempts to capitalize from their predecessor(s). However, when you’re a legendary living MC named Nasir Jones backed by a new school producer king named Hit-Boy, the work becomes a remarkable exception to the rule.
Standouts – Rare, Nobody, The Pressure
3) Wale – Folarin 2
Go ahead and add Wale to the “sequels exception rule” list because this album is his best work since 2015’s The Album About Nothing. Wale appears focused and honest on each track with production that matches his unique flow.
Standouts – New Balances, Caramel, Fluctuate
2) J. Cole – The Off-Season
As one-third (with Kendrick and Drake) of the new school leaders, J.Cole’s latest is a display of bravado lyricism, matched by superb storytelling that satisfies his Stans, who felt abandoned by his absence.
Standouts – Interlude, Amari, Applying Pressure
1) Tyler the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost
Tyler’s alias should be Mister Left-turn, because of the unpredictable approach with every album release, and Call Me If You Get Lost is no different. The rap flow and wordplay are top-tier and uplift the backpack production on each listed track. The album displays a Tyler MC with high confidence that is not irritable but admirable.
Standouts – the entire album
- Doja Cat – Planet Her
- IDK – USEE4YOURSELF
- AZ – Do or Die 2
- Lil Nas X – MONTERO
- DMX – EXODUS