Finest hip-hop albums of 2021
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Finest hip-hop albums of 2021

Hip-hop in 2021 felt raw and urgent

Finest hip-hop albums of 2021

One of the best things about hip-hop is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Since its inception in the 1970s, hip-hop has spawned numerous subgenres such as conscious rap, G-funk, trap, mumble rap, and many more. Thanks to the infinite streaming world, fans can listen to rap anytime, anywhere. 

Throughout the year 2021, hip-hop reigned supreme. It's clear that the genre is the most popular amongst consumers year after year. Here is a list of the finest hip-hop albums of 2021, in no particular order.

Weight of the World, by Maxo Kream

The album title 'Weight of the World' gives fans the impression that Maxo Kream will be more open and vulnerable. The rapper's upbringing, growing pains, and self-realization are themes on the 16-track album. With 'They Say,' it's all about people criticizing his lifestyle, music, and success and realizing that they won't appreciate him until he's gone. He also has no qualms about displaying a braggadocious yet ambitious spirit on songs like 'Big Persona' before warning listeners to be wary of fake and envious people with 'FRFR'. Through 'Local Joker', he describes how much his life has changed, and with 'Trips', he depicts his brother's tragic death. The world is constantly throwing battles at people, and Maxo is simply trying to prepare for all of life's highs and lows.

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Doja Cat, 'Planet Her'

Planet Her is a celebration of the hot-pink lipstick-burlesque environment she lives in- blending pop, trap, dancehall, and science fiction. With the dazzling bubblegum tongue-kissing raptures of 'Kiss Me More,' she brings out the freak in the Weeknd ('You Right'), Young Thug ('Payday'), and SZA. 'I Don't Do Drugs,' a duet she performed with Ariana Grande, exemplifies how unique these two divas are. 

Lil Nas X, 'Montero'

Following his hit song 'Old Town Road' in 2018, some speculated that Lil Nas X would be a one-hit-wonder and questioned his ability to deliver consistently. Old Town Road went on to become the longest-running number-one song in Billboard Hot 100 history, and Lil Nas X hasn't stopped since. While his debut album 'Montero' isn't a traditional rap album at its core, Lil Nas X represents a new generation of pop-rap stars by fusing the two genres. His single 'Call Me By Your Name' caused quite a stir because the video featured him doing a lap dance on Satan. He then collaborated with Jack Harlow on their single 'Industry Baby,' which plays on the theme of being an 'Industry plant', and he still breaks records.

Drake, 'Certified Lover Boy'

Certified Lover Boy is still a joyous autopilot ride from modern pop's most endearing glob of anger and self-pity. Expensive samples, platinum guests, bitter bars about exes and frenemies — Drake hits all the familiar notes that have made him one of the most famous artists on the planet. He also remakes Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" into a Lonely Island-worthy comic rap song to prove he can. You'll laugh, weep, and listen again and over again.

Young Thug, 'Punk'

Punk is surprisingly mellow for an album named after an aggressive movement. When he's delicate, Young Thug can be crass ('I want to lay with you every night and we never bone'), but he's candid about his fears ('I come from nothing, but that ain't how the world sees me'). Thug displays competence in the tender without compromising the humour of his oeuvre while navigating his childhood traumas, complicated relationships with police enforcement, and duties as a wealthy community figure. This year, Punk's album features some of the best work from his contemporaries J. Cole, Drake, Doja Cat, and Gunna, deftly balances fun and darkness. —MC.

Ye (f.k.a. Kanye West), 'Donda.'

Donda was a 27-track brain-heart-spleen-ego dump that was perplexing, exciting, morally bankrupt, deadening, and brilliant in equal measures. There's God-touched beauty ("Moon," the gospel-dream drone "No Child Left Behind"), soul-scouring realness ("Jesus Lord"), and even the occasional for-the-ages moment of old-Kanye banger transcendence (the Weeknd/Lil Baby-assisted "Hurricane") amidst what is an athletically unfocused, petulantly redundant two-hour-plus mess.