A lot rap music comes out on a regular basis, and particularly with frequent shock releases, it may be exhausting to maintain observe of all of it. So, as a method to assist sustain with all of it, right here’s a roundup of the ten rap albums from September 2021 that stood out to us most. We additionally in all probability nonetheless missed or have not spent sufficient time with some nice September rap albums that are not on this record. What had been a few of your favorites of final month? Tell us within the feedback, and skim on for the record (unranked, in no specific order).
Little Simz – Typically I May Be Introvert
The multi-talented UK rapper/singer/producer/instrumentalist Little Simz made one of the crucial bold rap albums in current reminiscence with 2019’s GREY Area, a genre-defying album that connects the dots between Civil Rights period psychedelic soul and gritty ’90s rap. It is not a straightforward album for anybody to prime, however Simz is clearly dead-set on doing simply that. Its followup Typically I May Be Introvert is twice as lengthy, and much more bold, with a genre-fluid method to rap, funk, soul, jazz, R&B, rock, Afro-fusionism, and extra, fleshed out by string sections, choirs, interludes, and different majestic-sounding gildings. As gigantic as GREY Space felt, Typically I May Be Introvert by some means manages to make it really feel small compared.
Simz co-produced the album along with her frequent collaborator Inflo, and their distinct method to hip hop is unbroken, with natural, hard-hitting instrumentation fueling these songs quite than the computerized beats that the style tends to favor. Simz matches the thrilling musicianship with a vocal supply that might cease your favourite rapper of their tracks, and lyricism that is simply as show-stopping. All through these songs, she questions the thought of artists feeling pressured to go away a legacy, however whether or not or not that’s really necessary to her, a swinging-for-the-fences album like that is sure to go away her with one. She tackles the present political local weather, exploring the racism and sexism and different types of injustice that plague it, and she or he additionally seems to be inwards and contrasts her socially acutely aware songs with deeply private ones. Her lyricism is simply as multi-faceted and unattainable to pigeonhole as her instrumentation; the entire thing is a journey, one which’s unpredictable at each flip. It has the makings of a magnum opus, however realizing Little Simz, she’ll in all probability work out a solution to prime it subsequent time.
Moor Mom – Black Encyclopedia of the Air
Final 12 months, the jazz/hip hop/spoken phrase/avant-garde/and so on artist Moor Mom launched the brand new album Circuit City, which was made along with her bandmates within the free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements and was largely a jazz album. Since then, she’s moved from Don Giovanni to ANTI- Data, and her ANTI- debut Black Encyclopedia of the Air is way more of a rap album, fueled by hip hop beats and visitor verses from underground rap greats like Elucid, lojii, Pink Siifu, Nappy Nina, Maassai, and extra. For the common pop music listener, it is simpler to digest than Circuit Metropolis, but it surely’s nonetheless not typical by any means. Moor Mom is an modern, experimental artist, and this album is a mind-bending, outré piece of artwork. Inside the rap world, the closest comparability I can consider is one thing like Shabazz Palaces, however Moor Mom’s resolute songwriting transcends any surface-level comparisons. It is admirable how she will be able to make such drastically totally different albums inside a brief time frame, and sound like such a pure inside a number of contexts. (And Irreversible Entanglements have another new album on the best way too.) Black Encyclopedia of the Air registers as a few of her most direct, most instantly-satisfying work but, however judging by the best way she’s all the time labored, it is in all probability only one cease on her ever-expanding musical journey.
Harm Reserve – By the Time I Get to Phoenix
Moor Mom is not the one artist with a futuristic, mind-bending rap album out this week. In a very totally different method, Harm Reserve’s blown-out sophomore album By the Time I Get to Phoenix walks an identical path. It follows their very promising 2019 self-titled debut album, which — whereas very experimental — was nonetheless firmly a rap album. This one’s nearer in observe to one thing like Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR, a hip hop/artwork pop fusion so genre-defying that it seems like a disservice to name it a “rap album.” It is a main creative accomplishment, but it surely’s additionally bittersweet, because it comes following the tragic, untimely death of group member Stepa J. Groggs. The album was largely accomplished earlier than he handed and it options his contributions, and when the surviving members did have so as to add to the songs, they are saying they “stayed true to his fixed insistence whereas recording to easily ‘make some bizarre shit.'” That mantra sums up the album effectively. You possibly can dive into all the particular sounds and influences and genres and themes that make up this album, however above all else, that is the sound of three inventive pals making some bizarre shit.
Lil Nas X – Montero
When Lil Nas X grew to become one of many first artists to realize precise fame from TikTok virality with “Old Town Road,” he appeared like he’d both use the second as a launching pad for a profession, or rapidly dissolve into one hit marvel standing. When he unexpectedly adopted “Previous City Street” along with his main label debut EP 7, the latter state of affairs appeared much more possible. The unfocused EP was break up between two alt-rock songs, three lure songs, and one try at recreating the nation/rap crossover of “Previous City Street,” and all of it felt half-baked. The Cardi B look, which may have been a spotlight, felt simply as tossed-off and appeared to exist simply to assist promote the report. Solely “Panini” proved to have any semblance of endurance, and largely as a result of the melody was lifted from a Nirvana music.
However Lil Nas X did not throw within the towel, and within the time since 7, he lastly discovered a recipe that works. Throughout a string of singles with “Panini” producers Take A Daytrip — together with “Montero (Name Me by Your Title),” “Solar Goes Down,” and “Business Child” — Nas started crafting a maximalist, rap-infused pop sound that is extra severe than “Previous City Street,” extra achieved than 7, and extra suited to his talents than something he’d launched prior. He is positively not a one hit marvel now — “Montero” is his second chart-topper, and “Business Child” did not are available in far behind at No. 2 — and even when some individuals initially spoke extra about his movies than his music, the songs themselves have continued to carry up.
All three of these songs seem on Nas’ correct debut album Montero, and Take A Daytrip both produced or co-produced the majority of the album. They’ve grow to be an ideal group, and Montero is stuffed with songs that scratch the identical itch as these lead singles. Options from Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, and Miley Cyrus really feel well-placed and well-executed, not simply chosen to throw another large names on the report. (Elton John can be apparently on “One in every of Me,” however I do not hear his voice — possibly that is him on piano on the finish. And I assume Jack Harlow’s verse on “Business Child” is alright.) “One in every of Me” instantly addresses the critics who claimed Nas would by no means prime “Previous City Street,” however a lot of the album simply goes forward and tops that music with out speaking about it. The album is way more of a pop album than a hip hop album, and it is not essentially the best or most groundbreaking factor ever launched, but it surely’s an impressively stable launch that proves Lil Nas X has discovered a sound that works for him. For the primary time in his profession, he has a transparent imaginative and prescient.
Child Keem – The Melodic Blue
pgLang/Child Keem LLC/Columbia
Kendrick Lamar has been taking his time along with his much-anticipated followup to DAMN., however in the meantime he is additionally been directing his consideration in direction of his current protégé (and cousin) Child Keem. Kendrick delivered a comeback verse for the ages on Keem’s current single “Family Ties,” and right now Keem releases his new album The Melodic Blue, via Kendrick and former TDE president Dave Free’s new firm pgLang. It consists of “Household Ties,” in addition to Keem’s current Travis Scott-featuring single “Durag Exercise,” and it additionally options Kendrick on “Vary Brothers” and “Vent” (he is uncredited on the latter). The Melodic Blue is Keem’s third album, but it surely’s his first since Kendrick took him beneath his wing. The 2 additionally labored collectively on Kendrick’s Black Panther: The Album and Beyonce’s The Lion King: The Present, and Keem contributed manufacturing to Kendrick’s TDE labelmates Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q on 2018’s Redemption and 2019’s Crash Speak, respectively. (He additionally simply appeared on Kanye West’s Donda.)
It is easy to see why Kendrick has taken a liking to Keem’s music. Like his extra well-known cousin, Keem is invested in consistently altering up his circulation, experimenting with new concepts, and making rap that has pop attraction however would not sound like “pop rap.” That is evident throughout The Melodic Blue, a robust providing that means Keem will not be residing in Kendrick’s shadow for for much longer. Largely self-produced by Keem (alongside a couple of different contributors, together with longtime Kendrick collaborator DJ Dahi), The Melodic Blue affirms that Keem’s rapping and manufacturing are each creative. And highly effective songs like new single “Points” show Keem could be an intense lyricist. With Kendrick saying his subsequent album can be his final for TDE, it appears possible that he’ll be constructing a brand new empire with pgLang, and if that;’s the case, The Melodic Blue makes for a robust basis.
Lakeyah – My Time
High quality Management
Tyler, the Creator is not the one artist bringing consciousness again to DJ Drama’s legendary Gangsta Grillz mixtape sequence this 12 months. Rising Milwaukee rapper Lakeyah has simply dropped a DJ Drama-hosted tape, My Time, her third full-length prior to now 12 months. It options Tee Grizzley, Tyga, and Bankroll Freddie, and so they and Drama all play supporting roles — it is clear that all of them know they’re within the presence of a rising star. As on 2020’s Time’s Up and this 12 months’s In Due Time, Lakeyah seems like she’s testing the waters, placing out comparatively temporary tasks whereas she hones her promising sound. She’s experimented with powerful, shit-talking rap songs, somber, inward-looking ones, and pop and R&B, and this mixtape is basically targeted on her shit-talking aspect. She seems like she’s out for blood on these songs; getting in her path could be silly.
Present of Gab – Discovering Inspiration One way or the other
Underground rap nice Present of Gab tragically passed away at age 50 this previous June. Earlier than that he hadn’t launched a full-length album since 2012, and Blackalicious — his duo with Chief Xcel — hadn’t launched one since 2015. However after his passing, we realized that he had accomplished a complete new album with producer Nick Andre known as Discovering Inspiration One way or the other, and that album arrives right now. Because the title implies, Gab was capable of finding inspiration, even after such an extended break between albums and the continuing battle with kidney failure that finally ended his life. Possibly a part of the inspiration got here from seeing new rappers emerge who carried the tongue-twisting torch that Gab stored lit within the early 2000s (his 2018 EP is known as Rejoice! Rappers Are Rapping Once more!), however regardless of the trigger, Gab does certainly sound impressed on this album. He raps with the identical urgency and dedication that he had on classics like 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, and he proves that his second hadn’t handed. Discovering Inspiration One way or the other is not a misguided try at a comeback; it actually provides to his legacy.
Lukah – Why Look Up, God’s In The Mirror
Memphis rapper Lukah already launched the superb album When The Black Hand Touches You earlier this 12 months, and now he adopted it with a second album of 2021, Why Look Up, God’s In The Mirror. Produced nearly solely by Walz, it is a darker, extra minimal album than its predecessor, nearer to the gritty, post-boom bap of an artist like Boldy James, who has an ideal verse on this LP. He would not depend on radio-friendly hooks or samples to hold these songs; he drives them along with his in-depth storytelling alone.
Solemn Brigham – South Sinner Avenue
Mello Music Group
After making a reputation for himself as one half of the duo Marlowe (with producer L’Orange), North Carolina rapper Solemn Brigham has stepped out on his personal along with his debut solo album, produced by Supa Ok, L’Orange, The Lasso, Krum, Scud One, Kuartz, & Frank Drake. With no options, Solemn delivers an array of tongue-twisting, in-the-pocket flows, and he all the time matches his technical prowess with actual substance. He is bought a superb ear for beats too — the album goes from soul/jazz-based growth bap to future funk with a lot of different detours in between, and the album has a targeted vibe, however each observe sounds distinctly totally different than the final.
DJ Muggs & Crimeapple – Cartagena
It has been a superb 12 months for DJ Muggs, who’s produced whole albums for Flee Lord and Rome Streetz, and now he is produced a complete album for underground New York rapper CRIMEAPPLE, the followup to their 2019 collab LP Medallo. As on their final album, they have nice chemistry, and so they know how one can put a contemporary spin on ’90s-style New York rap. Friends embody Range God Cooks and RLX.
Blu – The Colour Blu(e)
Curly Castro – Little Robert Hutton
Kari Fake – Lowkey Celebrity Deluxe
Mozzy – Untreated Trauma
Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8
ZillaKami – Canine Boy
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