2021 has been a year of turmoil, treacherous paths and tantalising events, and as we see the year out behind gritted teeth it became clear that despite the topsy-turvy new ways of living, our artists were behind the curtains working harder than ever and we were never short of new music. Hip hop and grime are genres that always have plenty to say, and the artists behind the work have had an abundance of time and space to get their opinions off of their chest – and rightly so. From grime to hip hop, and funky feminine soul beats, here we have listed the top albums that have blessed us through the year 2021.. and as we begin 2022, it’s time to reminisce, so sit back and enjoy.
Release date: September 3rd, 2021
The ferocious ‘Venom’ rapper comes through with her fourth studio album. The multitalented musician and actress appearing in shows such as Top Boy feed us a confessional and conscious album that strips down to the very core of her private self and life. Lil Simz has never been shy of spitting savage bars and selling some severe truths about her own experiences of being a black female in the music industry.
Lil Simz is a straight-talking and forthcoming character who tells an honest and humble story regarding bad habits and flaws. The North Londoner is known for her smooth and speedy flow with nose scrunching bad girl attitude, but ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ embodies a more soulful brassy drama with an orchestral melody and femininity. Her lyrical output reveals a down to earth and understanding female who can forgive her own mistakes as well as others’. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is straightforward and somewhat poetically sweet, and with 19 tracks to get through, it’s clear that there’s still a lot we don’t know about her.
Release date: October 1st, 2021
The latest and greatest of Potter Payper is undoubtedly Thanks For Waiting. Potter is a raw road rap realist with an enormous sense of self and those surrounding him, and Thanks For Waiting is his most polished album yet. The flow and fluctuations in his rhyming patterns remain as honest and open as ever before.
The London based rapper is as gangster as it gets. Potter Payper has proven time and time again that he’s not one to beat about the bush with his lyrical content. Potter Payper is the bread and butter of rap, a diamond in the rough that is basic but brutal and for all the right reasons. Thanks For Waiting was highly anticipated, and the clue is in the name.
Release Date: March 26th, 2021
During the deepest part of the second lockdown, Ocean Wisdom got his head down and gave us his most matured, mellow and personally reflective piece of work so far, particularly with tracks such as Uneven Lives featuring Maverick Sabre and Don’t Speak – speaking volumes of a certain ‘disconnect’ to the world and the people surrounding him. Dedicating a humbling and pensive mood compared to his previous albums, Wisdom focuses on the importance of social, political, personal and emotional issues that become blurred in the midst of the competitive rat race.
Stay Sane is particularly credible for being one of the best hip hop albums of 2021 because it slows down to match the beat of the current state of the world. The transparency, versatility, appearance, flow, thought process and rhyming pattern in Stay Sane are just some of the reasons this is one of the best hip hop albums of 2021. From the title name to the overall pace and lofi dejection, Stay Sane is one of the most reflective and melancholic in nature of 2021 whilst still successfully maintaining the full flavour and abundance of attitude that Ocean embodies.
Release Date: June 27th, 2021
Doja Cat first hit the scenes around 2014, but in recent months has become outstandingly popular on so many platforms, particularly Tik Tok, aiding her fame induced explosion over the lockdown period of 2020 and 2021. The feminine and freakish artist explores beats of a soulful yet playful nature, with her distinctive playful childlike tone and extremely colourful and artistic appearance. Doja begins to prove the heights at which her talent and versatility can reach on Planet Her. Doja is not necessarily a rapper but it is clear that she has a flow in a number of different tracks such as Get Into It and Naked.
Associated with high profile artists such as SZA, Gucci Mane and Ariana Grande, Doja had an incredible ability to express her weird and wonderful wackiness from her earliest releases. Planet Her is included in this list as one of the best hip hop albums of 2021 because of her unapologetic individually and intergalactic style and oddly catchy beats that are hard to match.
Release Date: February 19, 2021
The 36-year-old UK star Ghetts came through with his hotly rated ‘Conflict Of Interest’ – an album with a coherent and orderly story which is first clear on his first track Fine Wine when he said: “now listen to the rest of the album please” and the very end of the song. Conflict Of Interest is an album of real integrity and journalistic storytelling and complete devoid of boasting about status and clout.
Ghetts is a versatile artist that can vibe with both light and dark, hot and cold, and Conflict Of Interest reaches the top 10 hip hop and grime albums of 2021 on our list down to the severity and direct nature of his lyrics. Combined with the depth and the gloom of the grey cloud surrounding his world, Conflict Of Interest is a no-mess and no-fuss album Featuring high profile artists such as Jaykae, Skepta, Ed Sheeran, Emilie Sande, Stormzy and more.
Release Date: February 12th, 2021
The T N Biscuits star swam his way up to the surface with his highly energetic and verbally rowdy album. Tyron during the early months of 2021. Slowthai faced a huge controversy at the NME awards following a bad joke involving comedian Kathrine Ryan taken too far, but he didn’t let it consume him and came back bigger and better than before. Having worked with artists like Gorillaz and Slaves, it’s clear that Slowthai is a versatile and menacing live wire. TYRON reaches our top albums of 2021 due to the sheer energy and shrewd attitude with a candid self-awareness within his messy and rebellious approach throughout the album, especially in tracks like Play With Fire.
Release Date: June 25th, 2021
Undoubtedly, Tyler is never short of a bout of sarcasm or an insult and Call Me If You Get Lost is no exception. Tyler the Creator knows how to fuse and weave himself effortlessly between genres. Even with his boom-bap vibes and broken beats combined with deep and piercing vocals, he somehow seems to find a way to evoke emotion and soul into his music. Call Me If You Get Lost reaches our top hip hop albums of 2021 for the drama, distortion and dark humour that Tyler The Creator is notorious for.