The countdown to the end of 2021 is now at 24 days. That is still plenty of time to add in some more year-ender lists from any critic out there. With that in mind, Phil’s Picks has yet another list to offer up. Today, that list comes in the form of the year’s top new rap and hip-hop albums. This year brought quite the array of new releases from that realm, too. Between new music from the late, great DMX to new material from Common, and from Atmosphere and others, rap and hip-hop fans had plenty to cheer about this year. As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this list features this critic’s Top 10 favorite new albums in said category along with five honorable mention titles, bringing the total to actually 15. The honorable mention titles, as with every other list, are there because they deserve their own applause, even being just outside the Top 10. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Rap and Hip-Hop albums.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW RAP & HIP-HOP ALBUMS
Common – A Beautiful Revolution Part 2
Adrian Younge – The American Negro
Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Evidence – Unlearning Volume 1
Atmosphere – Word?
NDN Collective – Landback
DMX – Exodus
DJ Abilities – Phonographic Phoenix
Aesop Rock & Blockhead – Garbology
Shad – TAO
DJ 2-Tone Jones – Contraband From India
Wax Tailor – The Shadow of Their Suns
K.A.A.N. – Long Time No See
Dap The Contract – Powers Volume 2
R.A.P. Ferreira – In The Garden Level Café Of The Scallops Hotel
That’s it for this list, but there is still plenty more to come. Phil’s Picks still has year-ender lists in the categories of rock, hard rock, country/bluegreass/Americana, new live CDs, and of course the year’s best new albums overall. That is all before switching over to new DVD and Blu-ray categories, too. So, stay tuned!
The new year is getting off to an interesting start in terms of new music. Independent rock band The Soviet Machines released its self-titled debut on the first day of the new year. It was just one of the handful of records released upon the year’s opening. Independent rap/hip-hop artist R.A.P. Ferreira released his new album Bob’s Son Jan. 1, too. Released through Alpha Pup Records, the 12-song record is a presentation that will find wide appeal among fans of the noted genres. That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The production of those arrangements adds its own touch to the record’s appeal. It will be discussed a little later. The sequencing of the record’s featured songs rounds out its most important elements, putting the final touch to the album’s presentation. When it is considered along with the album’s other noted elements, all three make the album a good way for the rap and hip-hop community to kick off 2021.
Independent rap/hip-hop artist R.A.P. Ferreira’s new album Bob’s Son is a strong new offering from the veteran musician. It is a presentation that is an equally strong introduction for new audiences and for his established fan base. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question take that road less traveled. Yes, there is some familiar rap and hip-hop influence incorporated into the arrangements, but there are also more subtle aspects used in place of the typical heavy beats and bass that are so common from mainstream rap and hip-hop acts. ‘Bobby Digital’s Little Wings’ for instance, gives audiences the best of both worlds. The hip-hop beats and R.A.P. Ferreira’s vocal delivery style pairs with the electronics and samples to make the arrangement in whole a work that will appeal to fans of Handsome Boy Modeling School just as much as to those of perhaps Mos Def. On another note, ‘Yarnships, Flaxscript,’ with its semi-jazzy sample gives the song more of an experimental, progressive work. R.A.P. Ferreira’s subtle vocal delivery pairs with the song’s musical arrangement to make the work that much richer. For those rap and hip-hop purists who prefer something a little more mainstream, ‘Rejoice (ft. Eldon Somers)’ offers just that with its gentle, steady beat, keyboard line and rapping. Between that song, the others noted here, and the rest of the album’s featured arrangements, the overall musical content that is featured in R.A.P. Ferreira’s new album in itself gives audiences more than enough reason to take in this record. Building on that foundation is the very production of the arrangements.
The production of the songs featured in Bob’s Son is important in its own way because each featured arrangement is so subtle in its presentation. As noted, none of the arrangements featured in this record takes the road generally less traveled. Because of the route that it takes in its overall presentation, it means a lot more attention has to be paid to each work. Thankfully, that attention and painstaking effort to balance each element within paid off. From the electronics and keyboards to the samples and rapping, each item is expertly balanced against its counterparts within each song. Whether it be in the somewhat bluesy ‘Diogenes on the Auction Block,’ the harmonics in the progressive fusion style ‘Abomunist Manifesto’ paired with R.A.P. Ferreira’s spoken word style delivery and the random change into a country music style approach, or even the very fusion-r&b hybrid approach to ‘Skrenth,’ or even the balance of elements in the album’s other works, it is clear that the production of Bob’s Son leaves it sound just as good in terms of its aesthetics as its general presentation. Speaking of that general presentation, the sequencing of the album puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.
The sequencing used in Bob’s Son is important to address because the sequencing plays into the record’s overall energy, which decides whether an album can keep listeners engaged and entertained. Listening through the whole of Bob’s Son, listeners will notice that the album’s energy remains relatively stable from start to end. Each song’s energy is so relaxed, but never too much so. Rather there is a certain warmth and depth to each song’s arrangement. That depth and warmth, continued from start to end, ensures in its own right, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. The energy remains stable throughout, point blank. Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the album’s featured compositions and their production, the end result is a presentation that makes for a healthy start to 2021 for the rap and hip-hop community.
R.A.P. Ferreira’s new album Bob’s Son is a record that his established fan base will appreciate just as much as those who might be less familiar with his work. That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements, which are themselves very unique. The production of those noted arrangements adds its own touch to the record’s presentation, showing how much effort was put into making each arrangement sound its best. The sequencing of those songs puts the finishing touch to the album, ensuring that their energies keep listeners entertained and engaged, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album a positive return for R.A.P. Ferreira and an equally positive start to 2021 for the rap and hip-hop communities. Bob’s Son is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of R.A.P. Ferreira’s latest news at: