2021 has been an outstanding year for hip-hop music. Thanks to multiple brilliant albums with unique styles, we witnessed the genre’s rise to the forefront of culture this year. Join us in discovering this year’s top listened to hip-hop albums! Get your headphones out guys; we’re going on a sonic journey.
MONTERO – Lil Nas X
The Street Cowboy Lil Nas X has been shaking the societal norms since his debut in late 2018. Music-wise, his latest album MONTERO has been the top hip-hop album of the year. The trap-influenced single MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) is the second most-streamed song in the global charts this year!
Certified Lover Boy – Drake
Drake broke yet another record with his sixth studio album. The album got mixed reviews from critics, but it was unquestionably a commercial success. Certified Lover Boy achieved the highest amount of streams in a single day for a debut!
Donda – Kanye West “Ye”
Sensation and musical genius Ye released his tenth studio album at the end of the summer. The artwork explored many themes, from the events in his private life to the maze of his inner feelings. Ye continues to experiment with electronica-inspired progressive rap and leaves us to wonder how far he will go.
Destined 2 Win – Lil Tjay
Young voice Lil Tjay released his second studio album in 2021 spring. Critical reception was generally positive, which critics attributed in part to his growth after the first studio album. We do love to see consistent growth over time! It’s no wonder we’re all anxious to see what the future holds for Lil Tjay.
The Off-Season – J. Cole
J. Cole released his sixth studio album in spring. The artwork has the signature edgy J. Cole attitude focused on the musicality, which garnered positive reviews all-round from the critics. Commercially, the album broke Spotify’s one-day streaming record the day of its release.
El Madrileño – C. Tangana
Fresh out from Madrid, C. Tangana surprised us all with his third studio album. As a tribute to his roots, he explored more classically Spanish-oriented sounds and music in comparison to his previous work, which leant more towards hip-hop and trap. The album also boasts of some of the greatest collaborations to come this year out of Spain.
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator continues to challenge the hip-hop industry with his sixth studio album. The album’s genres cover hip hop, jazz, soul, and reggae, which combine to create the unique Tyler, The Creator sonic palette. Throughout the album, we following the new character, Tyler Baudelaire in his adventures. Critically, the album had positive reviews with praise for its consistency in style.
Culture III – Migos
Migos released the final part of the Culture trilogy this summer. Sharing a similar style with its predecessors, Culture III also exceeded the expectations in critics’ eyes. The album includes countless notable collaborations, Cardi B, Drake, and Future, to name a few.
Trip at Knight – Trippie Redd
Trippie Redd’s fourth studio album was released in the summer of this year. Seems like it was a great summer for hip-hop music! Mixing genres such as trap and hyperpop, the album gives us an unmatched listening experience. Critically, the album got mixed reviews with praise for its colourful production. Guess you can’t please’em all, can you?
Slime Language 2 – Young Stoner Life
Young Thug and Gunna, aka Young Stoner Life, released the second collaboration album. This artwork is acting as a sequel to the 2018 release. With many guest appearances, the album exceeds the limits of the genre. We see the mix of both artists’ solid sides, and it’s easy to conclude that 2+2=5 in this merger.
Exodus – DMX
The eighth and first posthumous album of DMX was released in the spring of this year. Including his signature East Coast hip hop style, the album has the unique DMX flavour in every song. Exodus generally received positive critics albeit with a bittersweet taste.
There were many different choices for different tastes. Every year that goes by, we witness new hybrid genres under the hip-hop umbrella, such as country rap, melodic hip hop, or hyperpop. The richness of the new digital age mixed with the rebel spirit of hip-hop music lays before us a musicality that we’ve never experienced before. It is honestly an immense pleasure to discover new types and be surprised in the best way possible. There’s no doubt that 2021 has been a great year for hip-hop.
At the end of our musical journey, one question remains in our minds. If you absolutely had to, could you pick a favourite one? Because to be honest, we’re not sure we could.