CULTED’S BEST ALBUMS OF 2021 SO FAR

CULTED’S BEST ALBUMS OF 2021 SO FAR

CULTED’S BEST ALBUMS OF 2021 SO FAR

by Becca Ahern
7 min

The past year allowed musicians the time to create and develop their work, resulting in a number of great releases. 2021 is set to be even better. Drake’s Certified Lover Boy’ is TBC, Billie Eilish’s unnamed album is in the works and London Grammar’s ‘Californian Soil’ is a matter of months away. As we prep for the summer, we have compiled a list of the best albums released so far in 2021, covering everything from your pre-drink playlist to your out-of-lockdown anthems.

Rich The Kid, Lucky 7

Rich The kid has just dropped ‘Lucky 7’, his first release of 2021. The 7 track album contains many collaborations with industry greats. Migos features on ‘Too Blessed’ as well as some of the most talented women in rap with Rubi Rose, Mulatto and Flo Milli appearing on ‘Nasty’. The rapper takes inspiration from his childhood and his rise to fame, basing the album around his decision to pursue music against his family’s wishes. A refreshing blend of Trap and Hip Hops beats, the artist has dubbed ‘Lucky 7’ as an “introduction” to his next upcoming album which has yet to be named.

CULTED FAVOURITE: Money Machine

 

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London Grammar, Californian Soil

Although it hasn’t been released yet, we can’t leave ‘Californian Soil’ out. The highly anticipated album from London Grammar will be the first from the trio since releasing ‘Truth Is A Beautiful Thing’ in 2017. The group have already released a few songs from the 12-track album, including ‘Lose Your Head’, ‘Baby It’s You’ and of course the hit single ‘Californian Soil’. With the band’s recognisably moody and ethereal style of music, we’re waiting with bated breath for the release. 

CULTED FAVOURITE: Baby It’s You

 

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Black Coffee, Subconsciously

Black Coffee needs no introduction as we gladly welcome ‘Subconsciously,’ his first album in five years. The newest project from the South-African DJ calls on big-name collaborators from the South African music industry like Sun-El Musician on ‘You Need Me’ and Una Rams and Tellaman on ‘Flava’. Black Coffee demonstrates a slight evolution in style with elements of pop added to tracks like ‘Drive’ with David Guetta and ’10 Missed Calls’ featuring Pharrell. Continuing his usual blend of House and Afro-beats, he told Tomorrowland “Music should divide barriers and unite us under this one universal language—and that’s exactly what I wanted to do with ‘Subconsciously’”. 

CULTED FAVOURITE: You Need Me (ft. Maxine Ashley & Sun-El Musician)

 

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Arlo Parks, Collapsed in Sunbeams

Arlo Parks presents her debut full-length release, ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’. The 20 year-old from West London dropped 12 poetic tracks challenging antiquated perceptions of sexuality and mental health. Parks takes personal themes and delivers them with a refreshing, cool and collected rhythm. It’s a tracklist filled with raw, honest and soothing emotion.

CULTED FAVOURITE: Hurt

 

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Bryson Tiller, A N N I V E R S A R Y Deluxe

‘A N N I V E R S A R Y’ was so good it deserved a double drop. Bryson Tiller has released a deluxe version of his No. 1 Billboard R&B album chart, featuring a five-track bonus. One of the bonus tracks, ‘Still Yours,’ features Hip Hop great, Big Sean and tells the story of an on/off relationship. The original album features appearances from Drake, Big Sean and The Weeknd. Bonus tracks include ’07:00,’ ‘Losing Focus’ and ‘Like Clockwork.’. The extra five-track drop ensures none of Tiller’s music goes unheard.

CULTED FAVOURITE: Timeless Interlude Pt.ll

 

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Various Artists, Judas & The Black Messiah: The Inspired Album

‘The Inspired Album’ is an essential addition to any playlist. The album is the soundtrack to the recent hit biopic ‘Judas & The Black Messiah’, centred around Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party. To ease you in, the album kicks off with an authentic three minute monologue from Chairman Fred Hampton Jr, set to a gentle, mellow beat. The album holds an impressive directory of artists with the likes of A$AP Rocky, Jay Z and Lil Durk all featuring.

CULTED FAVOURITE: What It Feels Like

Fredo, Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Leaving his past perceptions on money behind, Fredo embarks on a new lyrical direction for his latest album, ‘Money Can’t Buy You Happiness.’ In the most authentic version of Fredo we have seen yet, the narrative of the album is centred around the effects of gang crime, drug culture and prison. The artist has taken two years since his last album to finesse his work and it shows. Still keeping true to his usual no-nonsense style, Fredo has levelled up with the addition of slower paced tracks to bring a contrast of peace and calm to the album.

CULTED FAVOURITE: Biggest Mistake

 

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Genesis Owusu, Smiling With No Teeth 

‘Smiling With No Teeth’ dropped two days ago and it’s already on our list. After seeing great things on Owusu’s EP ‘Drive,’ his debut album is set to go off. It’s hard to define Genesis Owusu under any label, as his tracklist shows his ease of sliding between genres, producing a variety of sounds. Drawing on self-experience as the core inspiration behind the project, ‘Smiling With No Teeth’ makes for a dynamic listen.

CULTED FAVOURITE: Waitin’ on Ya

 

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Slowthai, Tyron

‘Tyron’ shows a new side of Slowthai. The eponymous 14-track album is noticeably split into two sections. The first with capitalized titles signifying his usual abrasive beats. The second half in lowercase letters, presenting a softer, more subdued side to the artist. His style is noticeably different and this can be felt in ‘Feel Away’ feat. James Blake. After a controversial year for Slowthai, following his 2020 NME Awards controversy, a comeback was definitely needed. The 26-year old addresses relevant social issues of street and cancel culture, heard in ‘CANCELLED’. Big Industry collaborators, A$AP Rocky and Skepta each feature on a track making Slowthai’s fourth album a must listen.

CULTED FAVOURITE: 45 Smoke

 

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Bicep, Isles

Usually, by now, the Belfast-born duo would be gearing up to blast their euphoric Tech-House tracks on the big festival stages. However ‘Isles’ shows an ability to adapt to slightly different times. Designed to be an at-home version of their usual grandeur, the album is a stripped down version of their usual work. The Tech-House tracks are uplifting none-the-less, with no compromise on quality; even if it is to be played at home. ‘Isles’ ‘is a blend of Bicep’s atmosphere-building beats with a minimal trance rhythm. The duo presents their newest album with the promise of elevated, hard hitting live performances, the world permitting. Outlook Festival they’re coming for you.

CULTED FAVOURITE: Cazenove

 

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