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 6 rap albums from October 2021 that stood out to us most. We also probably still missed or haven't spent enough time with some great October 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).

Wiki - Half God
Wikset Enterprise

New York rapper Wiki has been very prolific this year, and he's been experimenting with a few different styles too. Back in May, he put out the album Telephonebooth, which was entirely produced by NAH and which was some of the darkest, most psychedelic music he'd made yet. Following a string of non-album singles, he's now just released his second album of 2021, Half God. This one was entirely produced by Navy Blue, who's become a leader of the off-kilter Brooklyn rap scene. Navy Blue gives Wiki a warmer, more organic sounding backdrop than the one he had on Telephonebooth, with beats often derived from jazz and soul, but still in a way that feels underground and experimental. Navy Blue's own music often has a hazy, head-in-the-clouds feel, and his production contrasts well with Wiki's more direct style. As he's been doing for years, Wiki tells stories of the city that raised him. He sounds tough but thoughtful, and he always makes you feel like you're right there with him, in whatever scenario he's describing. Guest appearances come from frequent Navy Blue collaborators MIKE and Earl Sweatshirt, as well as NYC indie-soul singer duendita, Remy Banks of World's Fair, and UK rapper Jesse James Solomon. It's an eclectic, appealing cast of guests, and it all makes sense within the world that Wiki and Navy Blue have created.

 

Maxo Kream - Weight of the World
Big Persona/88 Classic/RCA

Houston rapper Maxo Kream is back with his third album, and it's got some of his best material yet. Maxo's melodic, storytelling style just keeps getting stronger, and the album gets a boost from guest appearances by Tyler the Creator, Freddie Gibbs, A$AP Rocky, and Houston newcomer Monaleo. Read my full review here.

 

Mick Jenkins - Elephant in the Room
Cinematic Music Group

Last year, Mick Jenkins put out the brief The Circus EP, and now he's back with a full-length followup to 2018's great Pieces of a Man, Elephant in the Room. Like on its predecessor, the new album finds Mick rapping over lush, jazz/soul-derived instrumentals, and he uses his deft, in-the-pocket delivery to tell personal, emotional stories. Mick shares traits with other artists in the thriving Chicago rap scene -- his taste in beats is similar to Noname's, he shares a love of melodic rapping with Chance the Rapper -- but even within the context of that very crowded scene, Mick stands out. As soon as he opens his mouth, he reminds you that nobody sounds like him, and he keeps you hanging on every word. His storytelling and his delivery are both as unique as they are commanding.

 

The Alchemist - This Thing of Ours Vol. 2 EP
ALC

Earlier this year, the great hip hop producer The Alchemist put out his new EP This Thing of Ours, which features songs with Earl Sweatshirt, Navy Blue, Boldy James, Maxo, Pink Siifu, and Sideshow. Now he follows it with a sequel, this time featuring Vince Staples, MAVI, MIKE, ZelooperZ, and Bruiser Brigade (aka Danny Brown, JUS, Fat Ray, and Bruiser Wolf), and it scratches the same appealing itch as its predecessor. Alchemist has been active for decades, but his current interest in jazzy, psychedelic boom bap revival has been defining the current wave of '90s-style underground rap, and it's a treat to hear all of these rappers entering his world. They all have their own ever-evolving sounds, but they know an Alchemist track requires you to rap your ass off in the traditional sense, and that's what all of them do. Across both EP's 10 songs, Alchemist collaborates with 15 different rappers, and it's a testament to Alchemist's style and vision that the whole thing sounds like one cohesive work. It seems like just about everything he touches turns to gold lately, and these star-studded solo releases are up there with any of the albums he's produced lately (like Freddie Gibbs, Armand Hammer, Boldy James).

 

YUNGMORPHEUS & Eyedress - Affable With Pointed Teeth
Lex Records

Speaking of prolific rappers, Affable With Pointed Teeth is YUNGMORPHEUS' third album of 2021, following the ewonee-produced Thumbing Thru Foliage and the largely self-produced States of Precarity, and he remains on a roll. This one was entirely produced by Eyedress, who also recently put out his own new album Mulholland Drive (ft. King Krule, DāM-FunK, Dent May, and more), and Eyedress provides a palette of stoned, jazzy beats that allow YUNGMORPHEUS to go off into third-eye-open space. The only guest is Pink Siifu, whose own left-of-center rap style fits perfectly on this album, but mostly it's just YUNGMORPHEUS and Eyedress, showing off a ton of chemistry and coming out with music that feels cozy and trippy all at once.

 

JPEGMAFIA - LP!

Entirely written, produced, mixed, and mastered by JPEGMAFIA himself, LP! is a trek through the unique, experimental, genre-defying rap music that Peggy has been making since day one. If you liked his last few albums, you'll probably find this one scratches a very similar itch.

Honorable Mentions
Ransom & Rome Streetz - Coup De Grace
Steel Tipped Dove - Call Me When You’re Outside
Bronze Nazareth & Roc Marciano - Ekphrasis
Guilty Simpson & Gensu Dean - EGO
Lil Ugly Mane - Volcanic Bird Enemy And The Voiced Concern

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