So much rap music comes out all the time, and especially with frequent surprise releases, it can be hard to keep track of it all. So, as a way to help keep up with all of it, here’s a roundup of the 5 rap albums from November 2021 that stood out to us most. We also probably still missed or haven't spent enough time with some great November rap albums that aren't on this list. What were some of your favorites of last month? Let us know in the comments, and read on for the list (unranked, in no particular order).

Aesop Rock Blockhead
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Aesop Rock x Blockhead - Garbology
Rhymesayers

Aesop Rock's classic late '90s and early 2000s albums like Labor Days, Float, and Appleseed wouldn't have sounded the way they did without producer Blockhead, who worked on so many of Aesop's most beloved songs, including fan favorite singles like "Daylight" and "None Shall Pass." The last time Blockhead contributed to an Aesop Rock album was 2007's None Shall Pass, but now the two have reunited and they've put out Garbology, the first-ever Aesop Rock album entirely produced by Blockhead. Aesop Rock put out plenty of great music throughout the 2010s without Blockhead, but there's a certain chemistry that arises when these two get together, and Garbology fully recaptures the charm that Aesop Rock's albums had in the aughts. Blockhead's beats on Garbology sound as futuristic today as his beats on Labor Days sounded 20 years ago, and Aesop Rock sounds fully inspired. He's delivering the kind of surrealistic tongue-twisters that defined his classic era, and he sounds like he's having a hell of a good time doing it.

Pick up Aesop Rock vinyl, including new color pressings of his '90s/2000s classics, in our store.

 

R.A.P. Ferreira
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R.A.P. Ferreira - The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures
Ruby Yacht

Prolific underground rap great R.A.P. Ferreira (formerly known as milo, sometimes also known as scallops hotel) kicked the year off with the release of Bob's Son on New Year's Day, and now he's got another new album out on Black Friday, The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures. Compared to the often-abstract Bob's Son, The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures feels a little more traditional, with warm production derived from jazz, soul, and psychedelia, and tight, in-the-pocket rhymes from R.A.P. Ferreira. Still, "traditional" is relative in this context; R.A.P. Ferreira's version of hip hop remains experimental and forward-thinking. He uses elements of rap's golden age, but reshapes those sounds into something futuristic. And his words remain surrealist and stream-of-consciousness, painting vivid images in your mind and conveying raw emotion too.

 

Your Old Droog
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Your Old Droog - Space Bar
Nature Sounds

New York rapper Your Old Droog has been very prolific this year. He already released two albums with Tha God Fahim and his own new album TIME, and now he's back with his fourth full-length of 2021, Space Bar. With production from 88 Keys, Nicholas Craven, SadhuGold, and Elaquent, it's one of Droog's most psychedelic albums, instrumentally speaking, but his rhymes are as clear and focused as ever. As on all of his releases, Droog takes clear influence from '90s East Coast rappers but he's got the knockout punchlines and razor-sharp flow to compete with just about any of his forebears. The first half of the album is an onslaught of top-tier Droog bars, while the second half brings in some great guests. Tha God Fahim shows up on two songs, Nickelus F is on one, and the most show-stopping guest appearances come from Lil Ugly Mane and billy woods on album highlight "Meteor Man." It's one of those songs where everyone involved is operating at the top of their game, challenging and encouraging their collaborators at every turn.

 

Defcee
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Defcee & Messiah Musik - Trapdoor
Backwoodz Studioz

Chicago rapper Defcee is a longtime staple of his home city's underground rap scene (his 2015 album Damn Near Grown featured collaborations with Saba, Noname, and Joseph Chilliams before those artists blew up), and though he took some time off from music, he's been more prolific than ever for the past couple years. He put out the August Fanon-produced EP We Dressed the City with Our Names earlier this year, and now he teamed up with billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz for a new album, Trapdoor, entirely produced by Messiah Musik, who's worked on multiple albums by billy woods/Armand Hammer, as well as other Backwoodz releases and projects by Mach-Hommy, Your Old Droog, Quelle Chris, and more. "His work reminds me of what I loved about RZA’s beats when I first discovered Wu Tang," Defcee said of Messiah Musik. "’Dusty loops, heavy bag drums’ to quote billy woods." Armand Hammer appears on the album, as do ShrapKnel members PremRock and Curly Castro (whose own new album Little Robert Hutton features Defcee), as well as Henry Canyons, Convertible Ashley, Joshua Virtue, Freddie Ol Soul, and Alaska. Messiah Musik's production style will be very familiar to Backwoodz fans, and Defcee's tough delivery fits it perfectly. Defcee is a rapper that frequently gets called "underrated," and if you're still sleeping on him, wake up and listen to this album.

 

Remedy Wu Tang
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Remedy - Remedy Meets Wu-Tang
RemedyRoss Music

Staten Island rapper Remedy has been an affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan since appearing on the 1998 Wu-Tang Killa Bees compilation The Swarm, and now he has roped in several Wu-Tang members/affiliates (Ghostface Killah, RZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Shyheim, Killah Priest, Solomon Childs, Trife Diesel, and StreetLife), plus Griselda's Conway The Machine, for his first new album in over a decade, Remedy Meets Wu-Tang. It was almost entirely produced by Ghostface/Inspectah Deck collaborator Danny Caiazzo, and it features at least one Wu-Tang member on almost every track. Remedy may have a history as a supporting cast member, but here he's the director and the star, and he's also given us something that pretty much counts as a new Wu-Tang album. From the production to the rapping, everything sounds like it could've come straight out of the mid '90s, and the low-stakes rawness makes it feel refreshing. And if this happens to be your introduction to Remedy, it's a plus that he also included his signature song "Never Again" (from The Swarm and multiple Remedy solo albums), in which the Jewish rapper tackles Holocaust history in an incredibly personal way, taking inspiration from the real-life experiences his own family members had during that tragic period.

 

Honorable Mentions
Apollo Brown & Stalley - Blacklight
Aminé - TwoPointFive
Killah Priest & Shroom - The Mantra
Joell Ortiz - Autograph

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rap vinyl
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Past monthly rap album roundups here. For more hip hop, stay up to date with our weekly rap and R&B song roundups, and read our daily hip hop coverage here.

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