From Illmatic to Madvillainy, To Pimp a Butterfly to Aquemini, Tha Carter II to De La Soul Is Dead, we look at the best hip hop albums of all time, year by year.

One of the most stacked years in recent hip hop history, 2021 was all about the big names. With COVID-19 settling down and lockdowns starting to end, artists who were saving their albums for touring began to drop.

With releases from Drake, Kanye, J. Cole, Tyler, the Creator and Migos, rap fans were blessed with albums from some of the biggest names in the game. Meanwhile, Nas was proving (yet again) why he’s the greatest rapper of all time by dropping two stellar releases King’s Disease II and Magic, something we’ve never seen before from a rap OG.

Griselda were continuing their legendary run from the underground to the Billboard charts with acclaimed releases from Mach-Hommy, Westside Gunn and Benny the Butcher; while young rappers like Polo G, NBA Youngboy, Moneybagg Yo, Rod Wave, and Baby Keem were proving they had the fanbase to stick around for a while.

From Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert to Tyler, the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost and J. Cole’s The Off-Season, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 2021.

25. Migos – Culture III

Released: June 11, 2021

Label: Capitol, Motown, Quality Control

Singles: “Need It”, “Straightenin”

Features: Drake, Cardi B, Polo G, Future, Justin Bieber, Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.

24. NBA Youngboy – Sincerely, Kentrell

Released: September 24, 2021

Label: Never Broke Again, Atlantic

Singles: “Toxic Punk”, “White Teeth”, “Nevada”, “Life Support”, “On My Side”

Features: N/A

23. Moneybagg Yo – A Gangsta’s Pain

Released: April 23, 2021

Label: Roc Nation, CMG, Bread Gang, N-Less, Interscope

Singles: “Time Today”, “Hard for the Next”, “Wockesha”, “Scorpio”

Features: Kaash Paige, Big30, Future, Tripstar, Polo G, Lil Durk, Jhené Aiko, and Pharrell Williams.

22. Wale – Folarin II

Released: October 22, 2021

Label: Every Blue Moon, Maybach, Warner

Singles: “Angles”, “Down South”, “Poke It Out”

Features: Rick Ross, Chris Brown, J. Cole, Jamie Foxx, Ant Clemons, Yella Beezy, Maxo Kream, Chase Young, and Shawn Stockman.

21. Polo G – Hall of Fame

Released: June 11, 2021

Label: Columbia, ODA

Singles: “Epidemic”, “GNF (OKOKOK)”, “Rapstar”, “Gang Gang”

Features: The Kid Laroi, Lil Durk, Lil Wayne, Scorey, G Herbo, Rod Wave, DaBaby, Young Thug, Roddy Ricch, Nicki Minaj, Pop Smoke, and Fivio Foreign.

20. Rod Wave – SoulFly

Released: March 26, 2021

Label: Alamo

Singles: “Street Runner”, “Tombstone”, “Richer”

Features: Polo G

19. Lil Baby & Lil Durk – The Voice of the Heroes

Released: June 4, 2021

Label: Quality Control, 4PF, Only the Family, Capitol, Motown, Alamo, Geffen

Singles: “Voice of the Heroes”

Features: Travis Scott, Meek Mill, Young Thug, and Rod Wave.

18. Lloyd Banks – The Course of the Inevitable

Released: June 4, 2021

Label: Money by Any Means, Empire

Singles: N/A

Features: Freddie Gibbs, Roc Marciano, Benny the Butcher, Styles P, Ransom, Sy Ari da Kid, Vado.

17. Young Thug – Punk

Released: October 15, 2021

Label: YSL, 300, Atlantic

Singles: N/A

Features: Strick, J. Cole, T-Shyne, Gunna, Future, BSlime, Juice Wrld, Post Malone, ASAP Rocky, Lil Double 0, Drake, Travis Scott, Doja Cat, Nate Ruess, Jeff Bhasker, and Mac Miller.

16. Benny the Butcher & Harry Fraud – The Plugs I Met 2

Released: March 19, 2021

Label: Black Soprano Family, SRFSCHL

Singles: “Thanksgiving”

Features: 2 Chainz, Chinx, Fat Joe, French Montana, Jim Jones, Rick Hyde and Teyonahhh.

15. Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – Unlocked 1.5

Released: March 5, 2021

Label: PH, Loma Vista

Singles: N/A

Features: Smino, Joey Badass, and Benny the Butcher.

14. Kanye West – Donda

Released: August 29, 2021

Label: GOOD Music, Def Jam

Singles: N/A

Features: Jay-Z, Fivio Foreign, Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, the Weeknd, Vory, Kid Cudi, DaBaby, Baby Keem, Marilyn Manson, Travis Scott, Lil Durk, Don Toliver, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, Jay Electronica, Pop Smoke, Roddy Ricch, DaBaby, Ty Dolla Sign, The LOX, and Swizz Beatz.

13. Drake – Certified Lover Boy

Released: September 3, 2021

Label: OVO, Republic

Singles: N/A

Features: Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Giveon, Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Future, Young Thug, Yebba, 21 Savage, Project Pat, Tems, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Kid Cudi.

12. Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf

Released: September 28, 2021

Label: Griselda, Empire

Singles: N/A

Features: Stove God Cooks, Mach-Hommy, Rome Streetz, Jadakiss, Boldy James, Sauce Walka, Lil Wayne, Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, DJ Clue, Jay Electronica, Chase Fetti, Flee Lord, 2 Chainz, Armani Caesar, Billie Esco, Keisha Plum, Jay Worthy, Larry June, AZ, Tyler, the Creator

11. Nas – King’s Disease II

Released: August 6, 2021

Label: Mass Appeal

Singles: “Rare”

Features: Eminem, EPMD, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, YG, Lauryn Hill, Charlie Wilson, Blxst, and Hit-Boy.

10. Dave – We’re All Alone in This Together

Released: 23 July 2021

Label: Neighbourhood

Singles: “Clash”, “Verdansk (Survival Mode)”

Features: Stormzy, James Blake, Wizkid, Snoh Aalegra, Boj, Fredo, Ghetts, Giggs and Meekz.

9. Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson

Released: August 13, 2021

Label: ALC

Singles: N/A

Features: Benny the Butcher, Earl Sweatshirt, Roc Marciano, Stove God Cooks, Currensy, Freddie Gibbs

8. Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – Haram

Released: March 26, 2021

Label: Backwoodz Studioz

Singles: N/A

Features: KAYANA, FIELDED, Earl Sweatshirt, Curly Castro, Amani, Quelle Chris

7. Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning

Released: July 30, 2021

Label: Top Dawg, Warner

Singles: “Lay wit Ya”, “Headshots (4r da Locals)”, “Wat U Sed”, “From the Garden”

Features: Jay Rock, SZA, Lil Uzi Vert, Duke Deuce, Smino, Amindi, 6lack

6. Vince Staples – Vince Staples

Released: July 9, 2021

Label: Motown, Blacksmith

Singles: “Law of Averages”, “Are You with That?”

Features: Fousheé

5. Nas – Magic

Released: December 24, 2021

Label: Mass Appeal

Singles: N/A

Features: ASAP Rocky and DJ Premier.

4. J. Cole – The Off-Season

Released: May 14, 2021

Label: Dreamville, Roc Nation, Interscope

Singles: “Interlude”, “My Life”

Features: Morray, 21 Savage, Lil Baby, Bas, and 6lack.

3. Mach-Hommy – Pray for Haiti

Released: May 21, 2021

Label: Griselda, Daupe!

Singles: N/A

Features: Westside Gunn, Keisha Plum, Melanie Charles and Tha God Fahim.

2. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Released: September 3, 2021

Label: Age 101, AWAL

Singles: “Introvert”, “Woman”, “Rollin Stone”, “I Love You, I Hate You”, “Point and Kill”

Features: Cleo Sol and Obongjayar.

1. Tyler, the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost

Released: June 25, 2021

Label: Columbia

Singles: “Lumberjack”, “WusYaName”

Features: 42 Dugg, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Wayne, Domo Genesis, Brent Faiyaz, Lil Uzi Vert, Pharrell Williams, Teezo Touchdown, Fana Hues and Daisy World.

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