15. Cult of the Damned – The Church Of [Blah Records]
Blah Records are UK hip-hop’s best-kept secret. Cult of the Damned are Blah’s supergroup project, featuring numerous rappers signed to the label doing everything they do best – dropping dirty and paranoid rhymes that are as frequently laugh-out-loud funny as they are expertly delivered. The project captures everything that has made Blah such a cult (pun intended) institution and also makes for an excellent introduction for those interested in diving into the label’s murky but intoxicating waters.The Church Of by Cult Of The Damned
14. Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost [Columbia Records]
Tyler, The Creator’s most ornate, elaborate, and all-around ambitious full-length, Call Me If You Get Lost, is a rich meal, but one packed with countless exquisite flavors. Reckoning both with his controversial past and the world’s fractured present, Tyler’s sixth solo full-length is among his most mature outings yet loses none of the mischievous charm that has come to define his persona. The high-energy moments like “JUGGERNAUT” feel as natural as the tranquil “MASSA”, reflecting an artist in complete control of his complex identity.
13. Skyzoo – All the Brilliant Things [Mello Music Group]
As life-affirming as any album released this year – Skyzoo’s beautiful All the Brilliant Things is as laid-back and casual as it is quietly profound. Sharply tackling difficult topics like heritage and gentrification without ever seeming to try, Skyzoo’s relaxed flow is effortless and masterful, matching the soulful and jazz-inflected production. Highlights “Bodega Flowers” and “Bed-Stuy Is Burning” conjure the communal good vibes of a summer-evening block party, adding up to a humanist work of elegant, timeless boom-bap.
12. Czarface & MF Doom – Super What? [Silver Age]
Following his death in 2020, countless posthumous MF Doom features have made their ghostly way into the world. His collaboration with Czarface Super What? isn’t quite Doom’s finest hour, but it’s nonetheless a monstrously-entertaining coda to an illustrious career. Doom himself features on around half of the tracks, highlighted by the dark and hulking “Doom Unto Others”. The venerable Czarface leads the rest, an effort that culminates with the surprisingly-sweet “Young “World” – an unassuming track whose cautious optimism lingers long in the memory.
11. Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti [Griselda Records]
Of the many Griselda-affiliated albums released in 2021, Mach-Hommy’s Pray For Haiti is a highlight of the brilliant bunch. It’s full of obligatory gangster aesthetics and experimental production but elevated by its creator’s singular identity and vision. Exploring Haitian culture via some enthralling insights (check out the fascinating “Kreyol (Skit)”), Mach-Hommy avoids excess braggadocio in favor of introspection, which, combined with Westside Gunn’s colorful production, make Pray For Haiti a unique and memorable addition to the Griselda pantheon.