2021: The albums I have enjoyed this year

Last year I was able to make to lists and separate the ones who was Hip Hop and the ones who was Pop & Afrobeat. However, this year I will make a joint session. Since well, music haven’t been as prevalent for me. Neither has the music been as vital or been as close as before. The lockdowns and quarantine has stopped a lot of time listening time for me. Usually, I listen to the most music in transit or watch music videos at home. Therefore, I lost a lot of space and opportunities to it by default by being home during lockdowns this year.

That’s why I will have one simple list and all genres will be represented here. The albums I did appreciate and can see myself bumping in the future… and the ones that was lost on me… the famous dishonourable mentions, if you may.

Well… here we go.

Mr. P – “The Prodigal” was a fun afrobeat album from the P-Square alumni. He really showed swag and wished more people had talked about it. There is nice joints on here and it’s underwhelming how little that has been pushed about this album.

HRSMN (Canibus, Kurupt, Killah Priest & Rass Kass) – “Last Ride” was a dope hip-hop album made by old-school heroes. It was really fun and not with tracks fit for modern radio. This was the finesse and funny bars from a collective of wordsmiths. All of these gentlemen have proven their skills in the past and this was just a gem to listen too.

B-Real & Scott Storch – “Tell You Something” was a shocker of a release. Not that I have anticipated or awaited anything produced by Scott Storch in a decade or so. Storch fell off and seemed to be lost .B-Real has been on joint LPs with Xzibit and Derrick of late, which has been super awesome to listen too. So, his just following up on that and is having a great time on the beats of Storch. FYI: “Never Go Home” has a terrible beat and it should have been forgotten on whatever Nintendo Gameboy Game he sampled it from. That’s the only downer on this one and is an instant skip.

Rudeboy – “Rudykillus” is the other P-Square alumni album of the year. Where he starts of the album reminiscing and reminding everyone of his past hits. His swagger is cool and all. This is an album worth listening too and tracks like “Focus” shows his star-power and talent.

Talib Kweli and Diamond D – “Gotham” is another wordsmith and hip-hop album, which I felt has gone under the radar. Not shocking, as it been years since Talib was a main-stay and relevant for a broader audience. Still, he deserves credit and can produce nice of bodies of work to this day.

Joell Ortiz – “Autograph” is the A-Typical project of the Slaughterhouse MC at this point. He can tell stories and paint pictures with his words. The beats are refreshing and vibrant. It’s an absolute gem of a LP. These are the sorts that should be higher on rankings and get acknowledged, but the game is rigged. That’s why it’s not there…

Fashawn & Sir Veterano – ‘All Hail The King”. The F is finally returning and off Nas’s Mass Appeal. He shows why his a cool dude and an artist. Here his just brazen and direct, as there is steady and funky beats by Sir Veterano on the production. This is a real underground, but he should get credit. As he has continued to push out his craft and with this LP his showing that he is a force to be reckon with.

Dax – “Pain Paints Paintings” was an album which grow on me. Dax hasn’t changed or anything. Listen to him thanks to YouTube and the videos there in quarantine. He dropped a few EPs before and it was evident there was skills there. Now with a full project it was fun to listen too. Not it is revolutionary or has any sort of traditional hip-hop over it …. NO. But, it is a fun joint and easy-listening, as Dax never goes to deep.

Saigon – “Pain, Peace & Prosperity” is the album of a man I have followed since the Yardfather mixtape series in the early 2000s. It is nice seeing him shining on this one. It is clear that Just Blaze isn’t as involved or have production on here. Though, it is refreshing to see Saigon deliver a full project and get support from all across the board.

Remedy – “Remedy Meets Wu-Tang” is the most out of left-field album of the year for my part. It was just so amazing to see the Wu-Tang Collective shine on a album in 2021. This was like the golden age returning and nothing had changed. The beats, the bars and the whole setting was made for this. Remedy, which I haven’t heard of and maybe I lost the memo. Was showing his skills, but there was plenty of times where the Wu-Tang MCs out-shined him, but who cares? It’s an awesome project!

Lloyd Banks – “The Curse of the inevitable” with the return of the G-Unit wonderkid. Well, Banks isn’t a kid anymore and been a long time coming for his return. The G-Unit rapper dropped an album which fits into the Griselda era and could easily been dropped on that imprint. This wasn’t sounding like any of his previous LPs or even having the production of a G-Unit album. However, his word-play and bars was obvious on this one. That was what made this one unique. Not like he was pressured by Interscope or G-Unit to make a radio-friendly jam to be played on Hot 97.

Tiwa Savage – “Water and Garri EP” was a fun instalment, a very short one, but a worthwhile one. This is what you expect and as always, Tiwa does deliver. There is no skips and just a jolly atmosphere until the project is over. Nas even featured on the first track and he phoned it in sadly, but at least he wasn’t speaking of “crypto-currency” on this one. Tiwa had deserved a more fitting rapper on the track, but she maybe wanted someone who is celebrated and gets recognized world-wide.

This here is my list and it’s subjective. There was several of albums that I still enjoyed, but didn’t play like did this. Others that I have in my “tape-deck” but haven’t gotten into. Which would be another list. Albums I tried to listen too, but never caught on or had the rush to bump again. There is a few of those. However, I don’t feel the need to drop those… Peace.

2020: The Pop- and Afrobeat albums I enjoyed

This is a more fun mix of music. This genres are more diverse and that will show. 2020 have been an inspiring year here. I have listen to Jose Chameleone, Bobi Wine, P-Square and Tiwa Savage for the ages. Therefore, this isn’t new music for me. The Afrobeat and African Pop music has a special place for me. Pop music is always on the radio, but still it is easy digestible at times. Which you can enjoy in easy listening moments.

In this manner, the 2020 have been in a rich year in music. Even within the lockdown and with everything happening. The music is still the tones to life and the inspiring tunes to, which brings both hope and joy.

I’ll give you the best of what I enjoyed from these two spaces. If it wasn’t for places like ZAMUSIC and JustNaija online. I wouldn’t have the access or ability to listen to so much of this and get to enjoy what these music scenes has to offer. Which is so diverse and so filled with talent. That deserves recognition.

Rowlene with “11:11” is a worthy introduction to RnB and Pop music. It has a unique blend of tunes and her voice is really cool.

Davido’s “A Better Time” is a banger and his funny ways of writing and entertaining. This man knows how to keep things interesting. There isn’t a dull moment on this album.

Alicia Keys with “Alicia” is a mesmerizing and worthy LP, which feels like it has gotten under the radar. She has the voice and the passion to tell stories now. Not just be another piano-lady who has a voice.

Tiwa Savage’s “Celia” is a Afro-Beat album that slaps every-time. She’s the Queen and proves that her. Her voice and the beats are nice. Tiwa deserves more credit and should have a much bigger stage. That is just my opinion though.

Yemi Alade with “Empress” returns with a spark of joy and shows her skills yet again. Another Afro-Beat album that shows talent and the softness of her voice is so suitable over the beats. It’s a joy to listen too.

Jojo’s “Good To Know” is a poppy hip-hop beats album where she shows her voice and writing skills as an independent artist. Jojo came into scene as teenager, but has grown up in the public. Her voice and tales are more sexual and that shows. Still, an underrated performer.

Sauti Sol with “Midnight Train” is a fun experience where he shows his abilities and also over a diverse beats. This is just a joyful experience and puts a smile on face playing this. The melodies and the hooks are captivating to me.

Simi has dropped two projects this year. My favourite was “Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1”. It is really banging and been on steady rotation. Not that “Restless II EP” is a bad project. However, the first project has so many good tunes it has a hard time competing with the EP.

Chike with “Boo of the Booless” is a real event of an album. The man who is a rough diamond and this is first project. Can really become an interest artist to look forward too. He got it in him. The album shows a lot of promise and hopefully he drops more story-telling songs. As those are the ones that is interesting from this album.

Patoranking with “Three” was a breath of fresh air and his captivating style persisted through the project. Worth a listen now and then.

Burna Boy’s “Twice as Tall” became a big LP worldwide. Though I preferred his previous project much more than this one. It is good, but he had more flex on the last years effort. Sill a good and solid LP. Though just missing a few touches and not as “in your face” as the previous one.

Albums that fell short for me was Beyonce’s “The Lion King: The Gift”, Berita’s “Songs in the Key of Love”, Harrysong’s “Right About Now EP”, Ariana Grande’s “Positions” and Ava Max’s “Heaven & Hell” . These was worth putting on, but nothing that took me back or made me feel something. It was just noise in the background. These songs surely fits the radio and MTV. However, they are not there for me and made a difference. Even if they are big acts and artists that is supposed to have the team behind them to drop something notable.

This list I dropped here for 2020 shows how diverse I am and what I listen on a daily. I’m willing to try and listen. We need fresh touches and try out new things. To be sure what we really like and enjoy. These artists have shown that and that’s why I enjoy their work. Peace.

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