In 2021 the world continued to deal with the ongoing effects of a global pandemic, but midway through the year music fans began to have some hope. Live shows made their triumphant return and some of the biggest artists in the game dropped full length projects.
Whether it was Tyler, the Creator‘s DJ Drama-assisted Call Me If You Get Lost or J. Cole‘s bar-heavy The Off-Season, the biggest names in rap put their best foot forward this year (with one notable exception who fans are still waiting on after 4 years… Any day now Kendrick). While new rappers like 42 Dugg and Baby Keem made their mark with albums that prove they’re in it for the long run.
Drake and Kanye West took over the majority of the Hip Hop conversation this year as their bromance turned beef lead to a multitude of album release date changes before finally dropping DONDA and CLB. Thankfully, the two seemed to have squash their beef and are instead using that energy towards freeing Larry Hoover.
Overall, there was a lot to look back on when it came to Hip Hop in 2021.
Every year, HipHopDX staff joins in our Hip Hop Awards discussions, debates and sometimes heated arguments to come up with a list for our Year End Awards. Our nominees will be rolling out all week and be sure to check back on December 20, 2021 when we begin announcing our winners.
THIS YEAR’S AWARD WINNER SCHEDULE
Behold, the 2021 Hip Hop Awards below.
Editor’s note: All nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
HIP HOP ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Hip Hop is an ever changing genre. With each year comes a select group of new artists beaming with potential, ready to take their place on rap’s mainstage. In 2021, the rookie class was particularly loaded with rappers from across the country, from Alabama and Detroit to Los Angeles and North Carolina. The best new artists included in this year’s rookie class span age and style, with some like Morray and Bleu embracing the more melodic side of Hip Hop, blurring the lines of genre, and others like Baby Keem and Blxst redefining California Hip Hop.
The 2021 Hip Hop Rookie of the year award goes to…
His rap skills may have been cultivated by big cousin Kendrick Lamar, but Baby Keem’s successes are the product of years of preparation and growth. The Carson, California rapper may have begun his career with the explosive “ORANGE SODA,” but 2021 marked his transformation into a genuine rap superstar with his excellent The Melodic Blue, an album ripe with bangers to please the old heads and new generation alike. From song-of-the-year contender “family ties,” to the Brent Faiyaz-assisted “lost souls,” no new artist pushed the culture forward more than Keem. The versatility of his expressive voice and cadence, explosive delivery and witty humor make Baby Keem an easy pick for HipHopDX’s 2021 Best New Rapper.
Read more about the best new rappers of 2021.
BEST COMEBACK OF 2021
After a tumultuous 2020, 2021 felt like a time to get back on the horse and take baby steps forward to the dreams that were deferred. In rap music, this made for some beautiful comebacks. There were changes in public perception, music quality, artistic output, importance and even a reminder of the legends we take for granted. Isaiah Rashad turned his whole life around, Jadakiss reminded fans why he’s one of the greatest to ever grab a mic, Kanye returned to form on his latest album, Lil Yachty had one of his best projects in years. It’s time to take a look at the nominees for HipHopDX‘s Comeback Of The Year in 2021.
HipHopDX would also like to send condolences to the family and friends of Drakeo The Ruler, who was tragically killed in Los Angeles before the end of 2021. His impact will forever be felt.
The Best Comeback of 2021 award goes to…
Following the release of his critically acclaimed sophomore album The Sun’s Tirade in 2016, Isaiah Rashad all but disappeared. He later revealed he was drowning in substance abuse and self-doubt, which left him broke and crashing on a friend’s couch. But his close bond with his fans and their undying patience for new music meant the door was always ajar for Zaywop’s return. And after getting his shit together in rehab, he kicked (better yet, burned) it down with his long-awaited third LP The House Is Burning. Featuring a blend of cryptic poeticism, stoned melodies and production that sounds like J Dilla mixed with Juicy J — plus collaborations with the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, SZA and Jay Rock — the album put the TDE MC in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for the time in his career. Isaiah Rashad’s return is a true comeback story in all senses, making him a no-brainer for HipHopDX’s 2021 Comeback Of The Year award.
Read more about the best comebacks of 2021
BEST RAP/HIP HOP MUSIC VIDEO OF 2021
The stakes of music videos rose considerably in 2021. Lil Nas X challenged the status quo with every visual he put out, Drake showed us a lighter side of himself, Tyler continued to elevate his directorial chops, and Cardi B continued to mix high-class aesthetics with bars about sexual independence. There were so many music videos that pushed the limits of the artform this year, but here are the music videos that did it the best in 2021.
The Best Rap/Hip Hop Music Video of 2021 award goes to…
MONTERO – LIL NAS X
It’s hard to think of another rapper that’s had a bigger year than Lil Nas X. From his steamy make-out on the BET Awards stage to his SNL wardrobe malfunction, the threat of one-hit wonderdem that loomed over the Georgia rapper vanished throughout 2021, and it all started with the release of the hilariously controversial music video for “Montero.”
The Tanu Muino directed video finds the rapper/singer giving Satan a lap dance among other colorful obscenities, and the result was a hefty lawsuit from Nike and pushback from Fox News. Cultural commentary aside, the video is gorgeous and transporting with its cotton candy sheen and elaborate costume designs, and not only solidified Lil Nas X as a figurehead for unapologetic queer representation, but also as a compelling storyteller. It’s clear of all the music videos that came out this year, “Montero” will leave the most lasting impact, making it HipHopDX’s 2021 Music Video Of The Year.
Read more about the best Rap & Hip Hop music videos of 2021.
BEST BEAT OF 2021
Here’s a hot take — for the first time in Hip Hop’s history, the producers are more reliable than the artists when it comes to the music. With production-driven projects being at an all-time high and new singles song lengths being at an all-time low, the take may not be as hot as rappers’ current beat selection. Some of the most interesting moments on the biggest projects this year came in the form of instrumentals.
The Best Beat of 2021 award goes to…
FAMILY TIES – BABY KEEM
What better way for Kendrick Lamar to introduce his cousin, lyrical protégé and pgLang artist Baby Keem than to appear on a track with him — that allows both of their personalities to shine through? That’s exactly what the aptly titled “Family Ties” displayed in terms of sound and synergy atop rousing split production.
The Las Vegas-born, Cali-raised MC reveled in his life story over triumphant horns and a thundering stampede of 808s. It’s a tale of perseverance and a winner’s ending all in one swoop. Mr. Kendrick Lamar has been cryptically spoon-feeding fans since the release and sunset of his 2017 album DAMN. and for one of his only guest features in 2021 (the other being another Baby Keem collaboration “Range Brothers”), he ensured his presence was felt; lyrically shitting on today’s streaming-and-sales metrics over a dark, grungy instrumental that personifies the Mad Rapper from the Black Lagoon.
The complex track took the collective team of Cardo, Outtatown, Roselilah, Deats, Jasper Harris, Frankie Bash and Baby Keem himself to construct, making for a melting pot that equated to one of the biggest moments in Hip Hop musically this year. For being equally important and dynamic, “Family Ties” notches HipHopDX’s 2021 Beat Of The Year.
Read more about the best produced songs of 2021.
LEVEL-UP OF THE YEAR 2021
One of the most exciting things about Hip Hop is when a talented artist breaks the ceiling and comes into their own. Seeing the jump from known rapper to star is a rewarding experience, making for some of the most inspired music of a rapper’s career. Although 2021 felt like a precursor to a (hopefully) better year, there was still some notable rappers who ate the Super Mario mushroom and became stronger. MoneyBagg Yo went from a consistently solid rapper to Billboard Chart-topping artist who dabbled in being Floyd Mayweather’s hype man. Jack Harlow rode chicken shop dates, strong features and a solid album to positioning himself as a potential star in the making. Polo G became one of the biggest rappers in the world, anchored by Billboard-topping single “RAPSTAR,” and Maxo Kream got his respect, delivering one of the best albums of the year with Weight Of The World. And finally, Baby Keem ruled the post Drake vs. Kanye conversation with his debut The Melodic Blue, along with strong features and singles prior. All these artists have a stake to the distinction of most improved, but only one can take it home.
The 2021 Level-Up of the Year award goes to…
Yo Gotti’s Collective Music Group has been doing a fantastic job with their artists such as 42 Dugg and EST Gee, but no one on the team can celebrate more than MoneyBagg Yo. The Memphis, Tennessee native dropped his fourth studio album, A Gangsta’s Pain which debuted at No. 1, moving over 110,000 album-equivalent units. The album went back to the top spot in its third week, and if that weren’t enough, MoneyBagg had the highest-selling Hip Hop album of the year until Drake and Kanye West dropped their respective albums. With singles such as “Time Today,” “Hard for the Next,” and “Wockesha,” MoneyBagg made a big statement in 2021. For his huge leap forward and newfound star status, MoneyBagg Yo gets like Tracy McGrady and wins the 2021 Level-Up Of The Year award.
- Baby Keem
- Jack Harlow
- Maxo Kream
- MoneyBagg Yo
- Polo G
BEST HIP HOP PRODUCER OF 2021
In a year filled with amazing production sonically developed by a diverse cast of veterans and bubbling newcomers, 2021 didn’t make the task of ranking producers an easy one. From upper echelon underground bangers to imminent Grammy-domination, the crop of nominees for HipHopDX’s 2021 Producer of the Year dominated charts, playlists and Hip Hop Twitter. Ultimately, a handful of Hip Hop producers cheffed up more magic than the rest. Whether producing for themselves like Pi’erre Bourne or Tyler, The Creator (who scored his second No. 1 album) or tackling full-length projects for artists—like Alchemist, Hit-Boy or Take a Daytrip—the most significant sonic architects this year refused to take their feet off the gas.
The Best Hip Hop Producer of 2021 award goes to…
It’s been almost three decades since LA-born Alchemist was taken into the Soul Assassins fold and molded by the likes of DJ Muggs and DJ Lethal before eventually coming into his own. Alc has never remained stagnant. Following 2020, which saw him drop massive collaborative efforts with Boldy James, Conway The Machine and Freddie Gibbs, he crushed the last revolution around the sun, helming critically acclaimed efforts by Armand Hammer (Haram) and Boldy James (Bo Jackson).
For hardened heads, he also dropped some instrumental affairs, Carry The Fire and the sixth entry in his Rapper’s Best Friend series, as well as a compilation EP This Thing Of Ours—all via his Alc Records imprint. Several members of the DX editorial staff wanted Al to win this award last year. But through his dynamic collabs, superior consistency and impactful projects, Alchemist takes home the HipHopDX 2021 Producer of the year in our tightest vote of the awards.
Read more about the best Hip Hop producers of 2021.
BEST R&B SONG OF 2021
2021 in R&B offered a year of old favorites coming back to the fold and plenty of new stars primed to carry the torch into 2022. Summer Walker proved herself to be the next main draw, sending out several smash hits off her No.1 album Still Over It. SZA and Brent Faiyaz made their presence felt despite neither dropping a full project (well, that wasn’t a SoundCloud leak). And then of course: we got the song of the summer with WizKid & Tems’ “Essence.” Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak teamed up for the pairing that we didn’t realize we needed. All this plus notable contributions from veterans such as Jazmine Sullivan to rising talents like Ari Lennox made for a great year in R&B, where the genre had crosssovers with hyperpop, pop and Afrobeats.
The Best R&B Song of 2021 award goes to…
GOOD DAYS – SZA
One of the most crushing parts of a breakup is thinking back on all the time spent and realizing much of it was wasted on someone who isn’t in your life anymore. Several artists have expressed these sentiments, but none have done it quite like SZA. Her last couple of years have been equal parts interesting and tumultuous. After being banked as the next big star out of TDE, her output ceased. Features and singles helped calm the online mobs and quell rumors, but tweets about her unhappiness with her release schedule added fuel to the fire. Her grand return single “Good Days” — a song about moving forward from a bad relationship and not knowing if peace can be found, but hoping the future brings something better — is a cutting exploration of the anxieties of being single again. Add in the context of losing a year of our lives due to the Pandemic and the song’s uncertain mantra feels fitting for the times. Like many of us, SZA may know what’s next for her, but if “Good Days” is any indication, she’s on the right track. The powerful song takes home the R&B Song of the Year in a landslide.
- Good Days – SZA
- Essence – WizKid f. Tems
- Leave The Door Open – Silk Sonic
- Pressure – Ari Lennox
- Wasting Time – Brent Faiyaz f. Drake
Read more about the best R&B songs of 2021.
BEST R&B ALBUM OF 2021
There was no shortage of soothing R&B music in 2021 to provide listeners with some healing. Summer Walker and Snoh Aalegra continued to prove they are at the top of the genre, Jazmine Sullivan made a massive splash with her first project in over five years and Tems and PinkPantheress provided impactful breakout projects through genres outside the main R&B landscape. Beyond our top five nominees, there were so many great albums released this year that everyone on this list deserves your ears. From Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic project to Yebba’s standout LP, 2021 was a good year to be an R&B fan.
The Best R&B Album of 2021 award goes to…
STILL OVER IT – SUMMER WALKER
Summer Walker has supplanted herself in the public eye, both through her outstanding introductory projects Last Day of Summer and Over It and her tumultuous relationship with Atlanta producer London On Da Track. In doing so, she’s opened herself up to judgment and speculation about every aspect of her life: her pregnancy, breakup with London and subsequent mental health. On Still Over It, Walker combats swirling narratives by utilizing the biggest draw in her artistry — her vulnerability. She displays an innate storytelling ability, marked with raw details about the intricacies of her emotions. Refusing to hold back, Walker covers the project in personal drama, navigating a balancing act between compelling and gratuitous. Her chart-topping confessional spun personal turmoil into gold and for that she edges out Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales for the HipHopDX R&B Album of the Year.
- Heaux Tales – Jazmine Sullivan
- If Orange Was A Place – Tems
- Still Over It – Summer Walker
- Temporary Highs In The Violet Skies – Snoh Aalegra
- to hell with it – PinkPantheress
Read more about the best R&B albums of 2021.
BEST HIP HOP COLLAB OF 2021
The nominations for 2021 Collaboration of the Year showcased different styles that meshed together to create new and refreshing results. From Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem trading flows or NBA Youngboy singing sultry bars alongside Tyler, the Creator, to Kanye West helping to bring out the best in Fivio Foreign, these were some collabs that stood out this year.
The Best Hip Hop Collab of 2021 award goes to…
FAMILY TIES – BABY KEEM ft. KENDRICK LAMAR
Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar’s movements prior to “Family Ties” were shrouded in mystery. Then “Family Ties” finally arrived as the lead single off Keem’s debut album, The Melodic Blue, helping to quell fans’ thirst. Kendrick and Keem’s chemistry couldn’t be closer if they were conjoined by the hip. Keem’s laidback, weird, off-kilter delivery makes way for Kendrick to open his horizons and experiment. K Dot opens his verse with, “smoking on your top fives tonight” with the cadence of an alien taunting his rivals. Then he gives us a reminder, bar for bar, why he’s one of the greatest to touch a mic. The cousin duo notch their collective place in history by creating one of the best hip hop collaborations this year. The familial connection earned the duo HipHopDX’s collab of the year.
- “Best Friend” – Saweetie F. Doja Cat
- “Family Ties” – Baby Keem F. Kendrick Lamar
- “My Life” – J. Cole F. 21 Savage & Morray
- “Off the Grid” – Kanye West F. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign
- WUSYANAME” Tyler, The Creator F. NBA Youngboy
Read more about the best collabs of 2021.
BEST R&B ARTIST OF 2021
The nominees for Best R&B Artist of 2021 exuded comfort through their musings, granted listeners an outlet for their pain, and gifted the world songs and albums that have true staying power past the shortened attention spans of their fans.
The 2021 R&B Artist of the Year award goes to…
The Iranian-Swedish singer-songwriter solidified her status as a master of the break-up album in 2021. Coming off her smash record, Ugh, those feels again, Snoh capitalized off the momentum with her third studio album, Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies. It was another confessional masterpiece, with Snoh wielding her vulnerability to share vital lessons that she’s picked up following the painful and messy end of relationships. There’s only one artist that needs to be playing when you’re crying in the shower post-breakup and it’s Snoh. Peaking at No. 24 on the Billboard 200, and earning nominations for Best R&B album and Best R&B performance with “Lost You” at the 2022 Grammy Awards, Snoh combined her tender voice with beautiful songwriting to create audio comfort food. She also lent her vocal talents to the likes of English rapper Dave and Giveon on standout tracks “Law of Attraction” and “Last Time,” furthering her reputation as a hired gun for emotional intensity. For her beautiful voice, captivating charisma, brilliant songwriting and top-notch features, Snoh Aalegra proved to be the queen in a strong crop of the best r&b artists in the game. Snoh’s year earns her HipHopDX’s R&B Artist of the Year award.
Read more about the best R&B artists of 2021.
BEST RAPPER OF THE YEAR
Being the best rapper in the game comes with a lot, and that helps separate the artists who really care about the craft from those who are just happy to be in the industry. There were several All-Star runs from artists such as Moneybagg Yo going No. 1 on the Billboard 200 two separate times to Lil Baby continuing his meteoric rise from 2020 in the following year.
The Best Rapper of 2021 award goes to…
TYLER, THE CREATOR
Check out Tyler’s reaction to winning rapper of the year and album of the year:
Tyler, The Creator’s evolution into a full-fledged artist has been a remarkable sight. The IGOR rapper began his career pissing people off with his give-no-fucks attitude, but fans grew to love him over time. These days, Tyler is in the elite category, and his latest album, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, keeps his new status intact. The album brought DJ Drama back to his Gangsta Grillz mixtapes days and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It also spawned two singles in “LUMBERJACK” and “WUSYANAME” featuring NBA YoungBoy, while also snagging a nomination for Best Rap Album at the 2022 Grammy Awards. Tyler’s proven to be one of the best rappers of 2021 with a classic project, great guest features and bars aplenty. Tyler’s work this year earns him HipHopDX’s Rapper of the Year award.
Read more about the best rappers of 2021.
BEST RAP VERSE OF THE YEAR 2021
The contemporary rap genre’s most noteworthy elements are the high-profile gimmicks, wild public personas and beats that have largely outpaced lyrical content. But for a small section of literary-minded rap fans, one thing will always come first: bars. The best rap verses reign supreme over everything else. This year, Andre 3000 made us tear up while speaking about the loss of his mother, Lauryn Hill provided a rare verse to hold fans over, Lil Baby and Fivio Foreign stole the show on Drake and Kanye’s songs respectively, and Maxo Kream continued to prove that he is one of the best storytellers in Hip Hop. Here are HipHopDX’s best best rap verses of 2021.
The 2021 Rap Verse of the Year award goes to…
“LIFE OF THE PARTY” – ANDRE 3000
Andre 3000 is rap’s white whale, ever sought and rarely sighted. When he does grace us with a verse, it is invariably awe inspiring. In his most philosophically dense verse of the last decade, 3 Stacks pleads with the deceased Miss Donda to ask his own passed parents questions that have troubled him for quite some time. It’s a heartbreaking rumination on life, death, the passage of time and if indeed there is an afterlife. Andre handles all the topics with grace and wit as fans would expect, yet somehow exceeds expectations. He begins by wondering why, if there is a heaven, his mother wouldn’t be allowed to talk to him. He delves into his family history, creating 3-dimensional scenes with flippant ease, and then asks Miss Donda why his parents were never married, using his aged wisdom to reason into their lives, seeing his parents for the imperfect young people they were. Maturity and brilliance radiate from every line, and the poetic nature of the verse leaves its sentiment ringing in the listener’s ears long after the track comes to a close. The verse had to be HipHopDX’s rap verse of the year.
- “Life Of The Party” – Andre 3000
- “Nobody” – Lauryn Hill
- “Off The Grid” – Fivio Foreign
- “TRIPS” – Maxo Kream
- “Wants & Needs” – Lil Baby
BEST HIP HOP SONG OF THE YEAR 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, there was plenty of great Hip Hop songs that made our commutes bearable, time with our loved ones more special and pregames much more enjoyable. Whether you subscribe to 10 different streaming services, have a day’s worth of music in your playlist, use YouTube and SoundCloud strictly to find music or still buy physical copies, 2021 offered an eclectic array of songs we couldn’t get enough of. From Tyler, The Creator bringing the Gospel out of NBA YoungBoy on “WUSYANAME” to the return of the chosen one: Ms. Lauryn Hill on “Nobody,” these songs served as soundtracks to our lives, as we opened our doors and embraced the outside once again. Here are HipHopDX’s nominees for Best Hip Hop Songs Of 2021.
The 2021 Hip Hop Song of the Year award goes to…
“WUSYANAME” – TYLER, THE CREATOR F. NBA YOUNGBOY
The unlikely collaboration is the second single off Tyler, the Creator’s excellent Call Me If You Get Lost. The production is soulful and cinematic, with Tyler impressively rapping through the fantasies he has for a crush. YoungBoy provides the softer vocal performance of the two, singing about love and the things that suck about it. Tyler has this year’s HipHopDX Hip Hop song of the year.
- “Family Ties” – Baby Keem F. Kendrick Lamar
- “Life Of The Party” – Kanye West F. Andre 3000
- “My Life” – J. Cole F. 21 Savage & Morray
- “Nobody” – Nas F. Lauryn Hill
- “WUSYANAME” – Tyler, The Creator F. NBA YoungBoy
BEST HIP HOP ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2021
It’s true, 2021 will go down as the year Drake’s CLB and Kanye West’s Donda sent a marketing eclipse across everyone in the rap game. However, “biggest” always doesn’t equate the “best” in terms of music quality, consistency and longevity. Take Tyler, The Creator, who spliced one-part DJ Drama-era mixtape wave and another part, pure audio Golf le Fleur to masterpiece his album CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST. TDE stalwart Isaiah Rashad seemed down and out in life before he picked up the pieces to deliver his most important project to date, the cathartic The House Is Burning. These days, UK Hip Hop tends to only make headlines within its pioneering drill scene. However, Dave made a resounding Gen-Z statement regardless of region with his album We’re All Alone in This Together. Vince Staples made such a true-to-life project in terms of self-reflective idioms and lo-fi sound that he named it after himself and Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red carried its Christmas Day 2020 momentum well into the new year to become a modern-day classic for ragers and vampers alike. The best new hip hop albums of 2021 are below.
The 2021 Hip Hop Album of the Year award goes to…
CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – TYLER THE CREATOR
Tyler, The Creator has finally achieved his goal of creating a Gangsta Grillz-inspired album. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, the seventh album released by the subversive artist, has now arrived and is on pace to land in Billboard’s top slot. Hosted by DJ Drama, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is louder and more up-front than IGOR but still tackles inherently personal themes, from cancel culture to Tyler’s thoughts on addressing the Black Lives Matter movement. Produced in entirety by Tyler (with the exception of an assist from Pharrell Williams on “JUGGERNAUT”), CMIYGL is a return sonically to the artist’s earliest work but now, with a maturity and cohesiveness developed over years of experience. Features are used brilliantly throughout, from 42 Dugg’s fast-paced bars on “LEMONHEAD” to YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s stunning auto-tuned gospel delivery on “WUSYANAME.” Even with exceptional features, Tyler is the star of the show, switching between impassioned crooning and masterful bars without hesitation. CMIYGL is not only in the running for the best album of Tyler’s career but also the best album of the year
- Call Me If You Get Lost – Tyler, the Creator
- The House Is Burning – Isaiah Rashad
- Vince Staples – Vince Staples
- Whole Lotta Red – Playboi Carti
- We’re All Alone In This Together – Dave
Check out Tyler’s reaction to winning Rapper of the Year, Hip Hop Album of the Year and Hip Hop Song of The Year:
BEST HIP HOP TV SHOW OF 2021
Hip Hop has always heavily influenced television in terms of soundtracks, fashion, dialogue and more. But lately it’s become common for shows to have Hip Hop-centric narratives like Atlanta, Dave, Wu-Tang and more. Moguls like 50 Cent are being given the keys to create the shows that they’re passionate about like BMF and his upcoming show about Snoop Dogg’s infamous murder trial. No matter how you look at it, rap is running the TV world right now… Even if nobody is watching traditional cable.
The Hip Hop TV Show of 2021 award goes to…
WU-TANG: AN AMERICAN SAGA
Up from the 36 Chambers, the Wu-Tang Clan put together their most cohesive project in years in 2021: their life story. While Season 1 of Wu-Tang: An American Saga focused on more backstory than bars, Season 2 masterfully showcased the RZA connecting dots, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah’s friendship origins formulating into classic material and even Masta Killa getting some unheralded shine on primetime. The showrunners were definitely taking into consideration all lives associated with the project.
As the series enters its last chapter of cementing the Staten Island Hip Hop legends into television lure, fans can rejoice in Wu-Tang: An American Saga holding it down as the Best Hip Hop TV Show Of 2021.
- Wu-Tang: An American Saga
BEST HIP HOP MOVIE OF 2021
During another year of the ongoing pandemic, content became more valuable than ever. Although many movie theatres continued to alternate between being open, closed or at half capacity, there was no shortage of documentaries and movies that went straight to streaming services for fans to enjoy. From artist documentaries like Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell and Kid Cudi’s A Man Named Scott, to the JAY-Z-produced The Harder They Fall, Hip Hop played an integral role in cinema.
BIGGIE: I GOT A STORY TO TELL
Throughout its history Hip Hop has had some mythical figures, but perhaps none more intriguing than The Notorious B.I.G. From his early life to his untimely and mysterious death (which is still unsolved), every aspect of Biggie’s life deserves to be analyzed. In the Netflix documentary I Got A Story To Tell, director Emmett Malloy and crew explore who Biggie was as a person, how he dealt with fame and the impact he had on New York City and Hip Hop as a whole. From start to finish, this documentary was a must watch for any rap fan and was an easy pick for HipHopDX’s Movie of the Year award.
- A Man Named Scott (Kid Cudi Documentary)
- Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell
- Summer of Soul
- Harder They Fall
More nominee articles will roll out each day and winners will be announced the week of Dec. 20, 2021.
David Aaron Brake, Ben Brutocao, Andy Bustard, Trent Clark, Mark Elibert, Kyle Eustice, Mackenzie Cummings-Grady, Jeremy Hecht, Anthony Malone, Matt Ritchie, Armon Sadler, Michael Saponara, Josh Svetz, Riley Wallace.