2021 has been a strange one for music as there have been near constant additions to my iTunes (yes, I still use iTunes) but not a great deal in the form of full-length albums. That being the case, to decide my favourite music of the year I’ve separated releases into two categories dependant on the length of the record, listing the top three for each.
1 – 12 tracks – EP / MP
13+ tracks – Album
Without further ado, let’s get into my favourite music of 2021!
EP / MP’s
3) Hell’s Kitchen – Overdrive
The final release of the year had to go off with a bang, and Bukshot and Turncoat Dirty / Boondox did not disappoint by returning to their underground double act as Hell’s Kitchen. It has so far proved impossible for me to listen to this EP just once and it constantly cycles through, repeating over and over, because as soon as it ends I want to hear it all again.
2) Insane Clown Posse – Yum Yum’s Lure
I seem to be pretty isolated in the opinion that this is a great EP. I fucking loved it from day one, and it took the anticipation I already had for the new Joker’s Card and multiplied it by ten!
Afraid of Life is a direction which caught me completely off-guard when I heard it, and is honestly one of my favourite second deck tracks. Ding Ding Doll took a little while to grow on me, but now that it has I can safely say I love this project from beginning to end.
1) Bukshot, Mr Grey & Lo Key – Cabal: The Watchers
This was my album of the year for months before I counted the track list, and is the main reason I’ve split my ranking for best music of the year, purely out of the amount of love I have for The Watchers.
As you may know by now, I’m into this genre for the wicked shit. Give me some nasty and brutal horrorcore rap and it darkens my day, but in an extremely positive way, somehow. The Watchers is this exact mood personified in its rawest state, simultaneously with a fresh new feeling anyone can listen to but also firmly rooted deep in the underground music scene.
The performances by Bukshot and Mr Grey are some of their best ever, and whilst I’ve previously tried to get into Lo Key’s music, this record persuaded me to give him another shot.
3) KSI – All Over The Place
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this album as KSI’s music has previously been a little hit or miss with me, but this album really knocked it out of the park. A little feature heavy for my taste, though as it helped every track feel a little fresher than a rappers solo projects can sometimes be (bit of a self-burn there) it works really well with the vibe of the album.
I knew it would be a contender for album of the year the first time I had heard it, and here it is. Thassa Madness.
2) Insane Clown Posse – Yum Yum Bedlam
You have no fucking idea how much I wanted this to be my top album of 2021. Just from the level of hype I had before it dropped alone should have meant it was a guaranteed win, but unfortunately there’s just not enough substance here for me to say that I love the album.
Am I going to be petty and say the producer tags are a contributing reason to why Yum Yum Bedlam isn’t winning? You’re Goddamn right I am. Keep that shit off Joker’s Cards!
Album of the Year – G-Mo Skee – The Filth Element
I was blown away by this, an album from an artist I had pretty much forgotten about since his parting with Majik Ninja Entertainment, I didn’t even listen to it when it dropped, mainly because I had no idea it had! When I finally got around to it I instantly wished I’d listened to it sooner. The Filth Element is absolute fire from end to end. The production, the beats, and most importantly, the filthiest filth G-Mo Skee is best known for immediately set in stone that this is his best record yet, and the best album released in 2021.
There’s so much comedy scattered throughout this album, with more than a little wicked shit sprinkled in and, surprisingly, even a glimpse into G-Mo (the attack honey badger of the rap game) showing humility and appreciation towards his old label, MNE, as well as Twiztid. I would have put money on him dissing them all the way through his first album post-leaving the label and it made me so happy to hear that they’re still on good terms and there’s no hate. Unlike Twiztid and a couple of other rappers, which I won’t go into..
When all is said and done however, as much as I do believe The Filth Element is better than Yum Yum Bedlam (I’m still amazed I feel this way, you’re not alone) I have to give song of the year to a song off the latter record for the sheer volume of times I’ve listened to it. Its runtime is almost to the second the amount of time it takes me to drive from my home to my work, which means I often listen to it twice a day just while driving, and I honestly believe it is one of the greatest tracks Insane Clown Posse have ever recorded. Yes, even with the producer tag at the start.
Track of 2021 – The Drunk & The Addict
Thanks for reading, and let me know your album of the year in the comments! 2021 has been a great year for music for me both because of the above, and many more I haven’t had the chance to talk about today, but also because I put out the first two singles off my next album releasing next year, Hyperaggression! The links to those can be found below, and I’ll be back next week with my game of the year picks, so will catch you then!