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The top 10 American raps of 2021 for the editorial staff of Generations

The editorial staff voted for their favorite albums of the year 2021.

Despite a year still disrupted by the Covid-19 and the pandemic, American rap has nevertheless kept all its promises in terms of album releases. There is quantity and above all, the most important thing for all of us, quality. And also a lot of different proposals in terms of styles and influences. At Generations, we think that our top reflects this diversity quite well with choices, once again, not necessarily made among the projects that have worked the most, even if it is difficult to ignore Kanye West and Drake for example. But we also looked at opuses that offer openings to another form of rap and that show the extent to which American hip-hop is both abundant and talented. Obviously, the choice was difficult to make and, there too, led to endless discussions in the editorial staff. In the end, it seems homogeneous and well built. You obviously have the right to disagree, in which case, we meet on our social networks to discuss it…


So yes, the group composed by Bruno Mars and Anderson. Paak is not strictly speaking rap but how not to put this album in our top? When it’s good music, it’s good music. Point. With nine tracks and 31 minutes, Mars and Paak deliver their best performances of revamped ’70s funk, soul and R&B. So, it may lack a bit of the smoothness of the time, but it’s just as effective and from the first listen, you inevitably want to move your body unless it does it on its own, carried by lively, joyful and festive music. The complicity between the two artists is obvious, we even have the impression that they have been evolving together for years. Above all, they manage to offer us music that only they seem capable of making. All the more reason to put them in this top…


With her unique voice and flow, Summer Walker is one of the most sought-after R&B artists in recent years. Between Drake, Usher, Khalid or even Trey Songz, the Atlanta singer has worked with many different artists. In his album “Still Over It” unveiled on November 5, 2021, Summer Walker gives herself up completely and continues to tell her story and especially her setbacks through titles that are all very personal. His vocal technique is his true signature and the album “Still Over It” is the perfect example.


After the incredible success of “Old Town Road”, Lil Nas X, no doubt pushed by his record company, wanted to strike the iron while it was hot by releasing an EP that everyone has forgotten today ( and for good reason) “Extended play” released in haste, without any real artistic vision or work. A catch-all project without interest therefore. For a time, we even thought that Lil Nas X would be a “One Hit Only”, the man with a single title, a single hit. It was misunderstanding the boy. For his album, he took his time, exploring various artistic avenues to deliver an incredible synthesis of all his influences. “Montero” is complete and shows how talented its author is. Obviously, he has all the popstar but he is perhaps, also, the future of rap.


This disc was released a few days before “Donda” out of pure malicious intent when Drake and Kanye West had not yet reconciled, “Certified Lover Boy” is above all a very good album and it was necessary to support the comparison with “Donda”. Above all, we have been waiting for it for a long time and the figures have suffered. “CLB” is one of the most listened to albums of the year. It is a commercial monster that has been calculated as such. So, obviously, it’s not in this disc that we will learn a little more about the Canadian, but everything we love about Drizzy is present both lyrically and musically. We could say “Again?” but when it’s so well done, we can only bow and play again…


Impossible not to mention YE’s album in this top 10, as it has been expected and almost fantasized. Tenth studio album from our favorite megalo-bipolar rapper, he was also an umpteenth provocation when it was released, by surprise, this summer, after months of waiting. In the end, “Donda” is two hours of avant-garde rap, as many religious praises and unpacking of intimate life, all surrounded by all his friends, or almost, for our greatest pleasure to all. Little more for his direct rivalry with his lifelong “enemy”, Drake, (who threatened to release his album at the same time), which made him even more powerful…


Young Thug is one of its artists who still manage, despite the years, to surprise musically. His album “Punk” is the perfect example. Twenty songs, impressive feats (Drake, Travis Scott, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Post Malone, Juice WRLD, Gunna or even Mac Miller), but above all a unique style that represents the eccentric rapper well. In “Punk”, Young Thug offers an assortment of various universes. He alternates between very angry trap pieces, others approaching pop and softer titles, more sung with piano, guitar, or even acoustic accompaniment. “Punk” confirms that Young Thug is a multifaceted artist. A risk-taking which, in the end, worked since the album was placed directly at the top of sales in the United States when it was released.


A true phenomenon, Doja Cat will have marked the year 2021 and is now one of the most listened to artists in the United States. Propelled in 2020 to the front of the stage with her title “Say So”, the American singer and rapper was able to diversify and prove that she was not just a TikTok artist as we could reproach her for. For her second studio album, “Planet Her”, Doja Cat called on Young Thug, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, JID or SZA. The titles “Woman” or “Kiss Me More” are now essential for the year 2021, but through all the titles of the album, she has been able to give a real identity to each piece. Oscillating between phases of pure kicking and singing, it’s no wonder that “Planet Her” led to her being nominated in eight categories for the next Grammy Awards.


Harry Fraud has long worked with Action Bronson or Curren$y. Lately, he has also done joint projects with Jim Jones and Benny The Butcher, two rappers from different generations but who have in common the street, the harshness of their rap and their flow. Finally, the pinnacle of these combinations has certainly been achieved with his album with Dave East. In this opusthe New York rapper takes on the personality of union leader Jimmy Hoffa who disappeared without a trace in 1975, no doubt a victim of the Mafia. But East also distills memories of his own life there and the alchemy with the beats created by Harry Fraud is obvious. This is not the best known project of this top but nevertheless it is worth the detour.


The most creative of all came to save us with the album “Call Me If You Get Lost”. He had set the bar very high with his “IGOR” project in 2019 and the challenge has been met. Nominated in the category “Best rap album of the year” at the Grammy Awards for the January 2022 ceremony, Tyler The Creator’s opus is accompanied by a website on which you can directly create your own travel document, at the same image as the cover of the project.


After months of waiting, the album originally scheduled for July finally arrived in October. The signing of Travis Scott’s label, Cactus Jack Records, invites us to continue to enter his universe where he is joined by his sweet Kali Uchis on the title “Drugs N Hella Melodies”, Baby Keem, HVN, SoFaygo and Travis Scott for two titles. With “Life Of A Don”, he proves to us once again that he manages transitions like no other and that his evolution in the game will continue. Don Toliver is surrounded by a good team, including Mike Dean, who produces for the crème de la crème of US rap, so we don’t worry about him. He will also open for The Weeknd’s “After Hours” tour scheduled for 2022.


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