Here are some albums, mixtapes, EPs, etc…. from notable stars that went a bit under the radar
Albums and other full bodies of work requires ingenious rollouts nowadays to standout as opposed to just talent. While yes, this can be a great thing, it can also be a bad thing. Of course stars with access to some of the biggest budgets in the world such as Drake, Kanye, J. Cole, Silk Sonic, Summer Walker, Adele, Jazmine Sullivan, Roddy Ricch, etc… can release music this year AT ANY TIME; and get the praise that they worked for with years of work. Let me add in Doja Cat, Nicki Minaj, H.E.R., Rod Wave, Moneybagg Yo, and NBA Youngboy among triple A releases this year whom can overshadow fellow stars with quality releases.
Add in amazing PR and marketing teams on their camps coupled in with their talent, you get a compelling rollout that carries their bodies of work far beyond its release date. Below are some picks of mine for great music from some artists with notable names who have gone a bit under the microscope with the bevy of trip of releases this year. (FYI – This is more mainstream, sorry if your neighborhood hero gets no love LOL. I support my rising artists though, keep building.)
Another FYI – A considerable amount of deaths in music and posthumous releases contribute to why these artist potentially got ignored due to unfortunate timing.
Snoh Aalegra – TEMPORARY HIGHS IN THE VIOLET SKIES
I know what some of our audience might be thinking seeing her name. Yes. she performed lead single “Lost You” on television. Yes, she has industry and regular civilian support. And yes, I get it, she charts on Billboard consistently. However, with the insane amount of music releasing this year from fellow top notch names can have people forget that Snoh indeed released her follow up to her critically acclaimed follow up to ‘Ugh, those feels again’ in 2021. Crazy right?
Not really with the average listener only listening to 18.4 hours of music weekly, according to IFPI. Even that number sounds hugh but factor in the millions of songs in the history of the world and you get a percentage of retention probably under 4%. WOW. Moral of the story, Snoh needs more love, ASAP. Her voice is beautiful and pen game is incredible.
Polo G – Hall Of Fame
Yes, I know he definitely got praise this year along with a number one single “Rapstar.” However, I thought it was insane social media tabbe dhim the underdog versus modern era legacy hip hop act Migos when they both released albums early this year. Yes Migos has been around longer but Polo G had SO MUCH MORE musical momentum going for him than the Atlanta natives.
The Chicago breadwinner boost some of the most clever wordplay among the younger generation and ‘Hall Of Fame’ showcased how versatile his musical acumen can be. The simple fact that he beat out The Migos with one album when they had the more grandiose rollout along with a deluxe release in the same week is insane. Insane in a good way, check out Polo G’s recent deluxe version of HOF to see why this was possible!
Baby Keem – The Melodic Blue
Starting to notice a trend here? Yes, I know Kendrick Lamar is his cousin and “Families Ties” positioned Keem before his album release. However, ‘The Melodic Blue’ is more than just Kendrick features. It’s a creative combination of 2021 music creative that has a bit of old school influence on it. Add in features from Brent Faiyaz and Don Toliver for good measure that really adds icing to the cake of good music.
PG Lang outdid itself overall with this album and I’m excited for the future of baby Keem. 2021 he established himself as his own artist and his future is bright. Please give ‘The Melodic Blue’ multiple listens today. Different can be bad but in this case it’s great and a top notch release this year.
EST Gee – Bigger Than Life Or Death
So much music has dropped this year and at one point EST Gee out of Louisville, Kentucky might of had the hottest name in the game. ‘Bigger Than Life Or Death’ boost hard hitting production, great features, and gritty wordplay from Gee. It positioned him to stardom and even warranted a December deluxe release of the LP. Crazy how Gee has flown under the radar this year with the amount of music dropped.
I mean , come on! FOREVER ROLLIN is still stuck in my head from the first listen from the project. It has been listeral months. That should speak volume on how solid of a release ‘Bigger Than Life Or Death’ is. Give EST Gee some more streams today and keep him on your radar 2022.
Maroon 5 – JORDI
That’s right, Maroon 5 has been around for nearly two decades and released. While I barely heard anything about this release. Per usual it’s good music from a longstanding act so just listen, I don’t have much words. BTW, H.E.R. and Maroon 5 make such a beautiful sounding combination.
Morray – Street Sermons
His debut album ‘Street Sermons’ boosts some of the more heartfelt and deep playthrough this year. Morray has a gift of storytelling through singing and rapping. Only Morray can have me thinking about feeding a family whom I don’t know exists. His gift of making the struggle audible pleasant to hear for people to understand his life needs more attention for sure.
Add in no features on ‘Street Sermons’ that gives you a full showcase of Morray now and potentially going forward in 2022. Personally, with his mixture of talent, charisma, and style, the “Quicksand” artist is a name to keep tabs on going into the new year. Complex ranked ‘Street Sermons’ tenth on top album of 2021 so it is definitely a must listen.
Tems – If Orange Was A Place
DAMNIT Tems is amazing and it only took five tracks to put this release among my top five all year long. She definitely more than just a hook on “Essence,” Tems is a force of nature. Her voice can put a smile on Kanye’s face, it’s that amazing. Add in clever songwriting and a feature from Brent Faiyaz on this EP, chef’s kiss! My fellow Gemini is a star and needs to be treated as such.
I do not care how many artists released this year, few have made an impact on my ears in the ways Tems had. The Nigerian songbird needs to be a daily fixture in your musical library ASAP if she’s not already. Tems voice soothes me the way Sade, Snoh, and Toni Braxton does, that along speaks to her talent level. Readers please make her global superstar ASAP.
Akeem Ali – Mack In The Day Staring Keemy Casanova
Pimpin’ ain’t easy, well except for the playa from the Mississippi Himalayas Akeem Ali. To me, he’s the modern version of the legendary Big Daddy Kane. NBA sixth man legend Lou Williams got himself a budding star with Akeem and you can see why with my review about this EP earlier this year here.