2021 Album Reviews Round Up (Part Two)

Abra Cadabra – Product Of My Environment (2020)

Debut mixtape from this London rapper and it’s quality is high enough that this would pass as a great debut album proper. It’s hard edged, containing elements of grime, trap and drill but with injections of melody and hooky choruses that keep things feeling fresh. One of the best up and comers on the UK scene, he’s already followed this up with a handful of strong singles.

  • 1. Trenches – 7.5/10
  • 2. How We Living (feat. Kush) – 9/10
  • 3. Usual – 7/10
  • 4. On Deck – 8/10
  • 5. Show Me – 8/10
  • 6. Spin This Coupe – 8/10
  • 7. Seen It All (feat. Krept & Konan)
  • 8. Selective Bad Boys (feat. Dappy) – 8/10
  • 9. Flicky – 7/10
  • 10. You (feat. Dirtbike LB & Young Adz) – 8/10
  • 11. Begging Flexxing Stressing – 7/10
  • 12. Keep Going – 8/10
  • 13. My People – 7.5/10
  • 14. Everywhere I Go – 7.5/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Vince Staples – Vince Staples (2021)

This is a solid, if not overly spectacular, mini-album (22 minutes). It contains a couple of really good tracks with the rest being of a decent quality but ultimately nothing really grabs you. He’s shown in the past that he’s capable of more than this and this feels like a stop-gap before we get something more substantial.

  • 1. ARE YOU WITH THAT? – 8/10
  • 2. LAW OF AVERAGES – 7.5/10
  • 3. SUNDOWN TOWN – 7.5/10
  • 4. THE SHINING – 7.5/10
  • 5. TAKING TRIPS – 7.5/10
  • 6. THE APPLE & THE TREE – Interlude
  • 7. TAKE ME HOME (feat. Foushee) – 8/10
  • 8. LIL FADE – 7.5/10
  • 9. LAKEWOOD MALL – Interlude
  • 10. MHM – 7.5/10
  • Overall – 7.5/10

Fredo – Money Can’t Buy Happiness (2021)

On this, his second album, Fredo really hits his stride. This is a great record, full of hard hitting, personal raps and superb production that covers the spectrum from trap/drill to more accessible tracks that keep one eye on the charts. The first of two albums he’s released this year.

  • 1. Biggest Mistake – 8.5/10
  • 2. Back To Basics – 8/10
  • 3. Spaghetti – 7.5/10
  • 4. Ready (feat. Summer Walker) – 9/10
  • 5. Money Talks (feat. Dave) – 9/10
  • 6. Do You Right – 7/10
  • 7. Burner On Deck (feat. Pop Smoke & Young Adz) – 6.5/10
  • 8. I Miss – 7.5/10
  • 9. Blood In My Eyes – 8/10
  • 10. Aunt’s Place – 8/10
  • 11. What Can I Say – 7.5/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Dave – We’re All Alone In This Together (2021)

This was one of my most highly anticipated albums of the year, following the awesome PSYCHODRAMA (2019). This is a really strong album but not quite at the level of his debut. The middle of the record, whilst not bad in any way, does contain tracks that are more pop chart orientated than I would have hoped for and don’t really suit Dave’s style. He’s at his best when getting to let rip on a track like ‘Heart Attack’ which is absolutely incredible and is a must listen.

  • 1. We’re All Alone – 8/10
  • 2. Verdansk – 7.5/10
  • 3. Clash (feat. Stormzy) – 7.5/10
  • 4. In The Fire – 9/10
  • 5. Three Rivers – 8/10
  • 6. System (feat. Wizkid) – 7/10
  • 7. Lazarus (feat. Boj) – 7/10
  • 8. Law Of Attraction (feat. Snoh Aalegra) – 7/10
  • 9. Both Sides Of A Smile (feat. James Blake) – 8/10
  • 10. Twenty To One – 7/10
  • 11. Heart Attack – 9/10
  • 12. Survivor’s Guilt – 8/10
  • Overall – 8/10

The Antlers – Green To Gold (2021)

This is a gorgeous sounding record, quiet and relaxing with beautiful arrangements and harmonies. It’s definitely the kind of record to put on and sit back and let it wash over you, it’s uplifting and shows a band still putting out material of the highest quality six albums into their career.

  • 1. Strawflower – 7/10
  • 2. Wheels Roll Home – 7.5/10
  • 3. Solstice – 9/10
  • 4. Stubborn Man – 8.5/10
  • 5. Just One Sec – 8/10
  • 6. It Is What it Is – 7.5/10
  • 7. Volunteer – 7.5/10
  • 8. Green To Gold – 8.5/10
  • 9. Porchlight – 7.5/10
  • 10. Equinox – 7/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Anuel AA & Ozuna – Los Dioses (2021)

The teaming up of two Latin music’s biggest stars, rapper Anuel AA and reggaeton singer Ozuna, works perfectly on this great album. Building on the individual tracks both men have shared previously, the promise shown on those songs plays out just as well across these twelve. The production across the whole piece is excellent and it contains enough of both artists respective styles to make it feel like a true collaboration.

  • 1. Los Dioses – 9/10
  • 2. 100 – 8/10
  • 3. Antes – 7.5/10
  • 4. Dime Tu – 8/10
  • 5. RD – 8/10
  • 6. Nena Buena – 7.5/10
  • 7. Contra El Mundo – 7/10
  • 8. Perreo – 8/10
  • 9. Perfecto – 7.5/10
  • 10. La Maria – 8/10
  • 11. Nunca – 8/10
  • 12. Municiones – 8/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Rich The Kid – Lucky 7 (2021)

Slightly disappointing mini-album from Rich The Kid. He has a flow reminiscent of Lil Wayne but I find it’s not captivating enough on the tracks where he is completely solo. The best tracks are the ones containing features, which seem to bring out the best in him, something we’ll see on the next review.

  • 1. Split – 6/10
  • 2. Laughin (feat. DaBaby) – 9/10
  • 3. Money Machine (feat. SipTee) – 7.5/10
  • 4. Boom Boom (feat. Lil Mosey) – 7.5/10
  • 5. Right – 6/10
  • 6. Nasty (feat. Flo Milli, Latto & Rubi Rose) – 6.5/10
  • 7. Too Blessed (feat. Quavo & Takeoff) – 6.5/10
  • Overall – 6.5/10

Lil Wayne & Rich The Kid – Trust Fund Babies (2021)

Talking of Rich The Kid sounding like Lil Wayne and working better when collaborating with others, this album proves both those statements to be true. This is a fun hip hop record, with both rappers sounding like they are having a great time and bouncing well off of each other. Wayne in particular sounds refreshed on here, kicking rhymes for the love of it rather than trying to create some kind of masterpiece. Not everything hits home but it’s certainly an easy listen.

  • 1. Feelin’ Like Tunechi – 8/10
  • 2. Headlock – 7.5/10
  • 3. Trust Fund – 7/10
  • 4. Admit It – 7/10
  • 5. Shh – 6.5/10
  • 6. Big Boss – 7/10
  • 7. Still – 7/10
  • 8. Bleedin’ – 7.5/10
  • 9. Buzzin’ (feat. YG) – 8/10
  • 10. Yeah Yeah – 7.5/10
  • Overall – 7.5/10

Fredo – Independence Day (2021)

For any band/artist to release two full length albums in the same year these days is quite a rarity. For someone to release two great albums in the span of just a couple of months is almost unheard of. That’s what Fredo has achieved here, this album being somewhat darker and harder than the earlier release but even stronger than what came before. These two albums put Fredo at the forefront of the UK rap scene and it’s a position he will be dominating for some time based on the quality of material he’s putting out.

  • 1. Independence Day – 8/10
  • 2. Freestyle – 9/10
  • 3. 14 (feat. Potter Payper) – 8/10
  • 4. Mind (feat. Clavish) – 7.5/10
  • 5. Talk Of The Town – 8.5/10
  • 6. Bad Boy – 7.5/10
  • 7. My Mother’s Life – 7.5/10
  • 8. Wandsworth To Bullingdon (feat. Headie One) – 8/10
  • 9. Double Tap (feat. Sus) – 8/10
  • 10. Skinny Niggas – 7.5/10
  • 11. Flowers And The Snow – 9/10
  • 12. Don’t Cry – 8.5/10
  • 13. Everyday – 8.5/10
  • 14. Outro – 8/10
  • Overall – 8.5/10

CARM – CARM (2021)

Multi-instrumentalist and arranger CJ Camerieri has worked with a number of artists, including the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver (both featured here). This debut album under the CARM moniker captures the elements of what makes him so in demand as a collaborator, containing layers of horns, electronics, uplifting swells of sound to quiet moments of beauty. It’s a little too much like a collection of individual tracks to really flow like a complete album but does contain a couple of gems.

  • 1. Song Of Trouble (feat. Sufjan Stevens) – 9/10
  • 2. Soft Night – 7.5/10
  • 3. Nowhere – 7/10
  • 4. Already Gone (feat. Georgia Hubley & Ira Kaplan) – 7.5/10
  • 5. After Hours – 8/10
  • 6. Invisible Walls – 7/10
  • 7. Tapp (feat. Shara Nova) – 7.5/10
  • 8. Slantwise – 7/10
  • 9. Scarcely Out (feat. Mouse On Mars) – 6/10
  • 10. Land (feat. Justin Vernon) – 8/10
  • Overall – 7.5/10

Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine – A Beginner’s Mind (2021)

This is an excellent album, perfect for fans of either of the two featured artists plus anyone with a love of Elliott Smith or Simon & Garfunkel. It’s full of lush harmonies, crisp sounding acoustic guitars, vocal melodies that tug at the heart and tremendous production, it’s up there with the very best albums I’ve heard this year and keeps getting better with every listen. Definitely one to add to your lists.

  • 1. Reach Out – 8.5/10
  • 2. Lady Macbeth In Chains – 7.5/10
  • 3. Back To Oz – 9/10
  • 4. The Pillar Of Souls – 8.5/10
  • 5. You Give Death A Bad Name – 9/10
  • 6. Beginner’s Mind – 8/10
  • 7. Olympus – 8.5/10
  • 8. Murder And Crime – 8/10
  • 9. (This Is) The Thing – 7.5/10
  • 10. It’s Your Own Body And Mind – 8/10
  • 11. Lost In The World – 7.5/10
  • 12. Fictional California – 7.5/10
  • 13. Cimmerian Shade – 8.5/10
  • 14. Lacrimae – 7.5/10
  • Overall – 9/10

H.E.R. – Back Of My Mind (2021)

This is classy, well produced R&B from one of the most talented ladies creating music in the genre. This is her debut full length album and whilst it’s good and contains a couple of really strong tracks, it’s way WAY too long (21 tracks and almost an hour and a half long!!). No album needs to be that long, no matter how well written/sung/played/produced, especially when everything is of a similar, slower pace. This could have been a lot better split into two, as it is, taken as a whole it’s good but nothing I want to tackle again in one go.

  • 1. We Made It – 8/10
  • 2. Back Of My Mind (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) – 7.5/10
  • 3. Trauma (feat. Cordae) – 8/10
  • 4. Damage – 7.5/10
  • 5. Find A Way (feat. DaBaby) – 7.5/10
  • 6. Bloody Waters – 8/10
  • 7. Closer To Me – 7/10
  • 8. Come Through (feat. Chris Brown) – 7.5/10
  • 9. My Own – 7/10
  • 10. Lucky – 7.5/10
  • 11. Cheat Code – 7.5/10
  • 12. Mean It – 7.5/10
  • 13. Paradise (feat. Yung Bleu) – 7/10
  • 14. Process – 7/10
  • 15. Hold On – 8/10
  • 16. Don’t – 7.5/10
  • 17. Exhausted – 7.5/10
  • 18. Hard To Love – 7.5/10
  • 19. For Anyone – 7/10
  • 20. I Can Have It All (feat. DJ Khaled & Bryson Tiller) – 7.5/10
  • 21. Slide (feat. YG) – 8/10
  • Overall – 7.5/10

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