After a year marked by a global pandemic, the outdoors will reopen in 2021, as will the music industry. With the green light for touring, more and more artists are willing to give up music in order to hit the road and promote their work. In turn, some dope projects have been released so far this year.
Quite a few big names came back with solid plans after some big breaks. The real is back, the ‘City is back, like J. Cole ended his three-year hiatus to drop the new album, Off-season, in May. Jermaine did not disappoint. Generally unfavorable to functionality, Cole types 21 Savage, 2021 XXL First-year student Morray, Lil Baby and more on the new album. He’s still got a lot of racing, delivering sharp bars and proving his method of quality over quantity is still a solid equation.
Tyler the creator was released in June with his new album, Call me if you get lost, the follow-up of the Grammy Award Winner Igor LP. T proves he’s still at the peak of his powers with another enigmatic version that finds rapper Odd Future tapping into his multi-musical talents with great mastery. He manifested a Gangsta Grillz gang with this one, typing in DJ Drama to host the effort, following a 2010 tweet in which Tyler shared his desire to create a project with the famous DJ.
Some newcomers and respected lyricists have solidified as stars as well. Former XXL First year students Polo G and Wave Rod won well-deserved No.1 albums for Hall of fame and SoulFly, respectively. Griselda continues her impressive run with exceptional outings from Mach-Hommy with Pray for Haiti and Conway La Machine with La Maquina.
With six more months after what has been a musically promising year so far, XXL curated the best hip-hop projects of the first half of 2021 below.—C. Vernon Coleman
What’s your favorite hip-hop project from 2021 so far?