The 10 Most Disappointing Hip-Hop Albums of 2021

2021 has been a great year for hip-hop and music in general in my opinion, but of course not every album could live up to the hype. So many artist's dropped great projects that lived up to the hype and this has been one of my favorite years for music in recent history, but not everyone is guaranteed to deliver. Artist's like Tyler, The Creator and Isaiah Rashad dropped anticipated albums that fans loved, while artist's like Baby Keem took over the music scene with little to no expectation on them. But today, we are going to discuss the ten hip-hop albums that were the most disappointing to be and that I expected to be better.


10. Shiesty Season - Pooh Shiesty

What I Expected: 5/10

What It Is: 3/10

When Pooh Shiesty dropped his highly anticipated debut album, which by the way sold a whopping 62k first week, he was cruising high and mighty off of his smash hit single Back In Blood with Lil Durk. He was super popular and showed that he had a fun flow and an eccentric delivery with those dangerous street rap bars that have clouded mainstream hip-hop this year. He had clear potential, though it was even more clear that he didn't have much versatility to him. I was expecting him to deliver a solid trap album that had a couple Back In Blood level bangers, and it simply did not. Yes, there were other good songs but very little is in my rotation to this day. Instead of that fairly solid debut trap album we essentially got Back In Blood the album as Pooh proves himself to be damn near a one-trick pony. Despite all of the criticism I am excited to hear more from him if he doesn't go to jail for a long time, as his potential is still there and I think that he can drop good verses, he just needs to do more than that.


9. Folarin II - Wale

What I Expected: 7/10

What It Is: 6/10

Wale did not disappoint in the sense that he dropped a bad album, as Folarin II is a good, solid listen with some good tracks and flows, I just expected a bit more from him. Earlier this year I had my first Wale listening experience with Wow... That's Crazy, and I was pleasantly surprised as I love that album and now see Wale as a great rapper who is vastly underappreciated in hip-hop. And well he doesn't have any one particular standing out point, he is just a good rapper who makes good music, and I expected Folarin II to be another showcase of this, and again it certainly wasn't bad, it just felt watered down. Wale wasn't as personal and there wasn't as much versatility in the track list. The painfully bland and cliché Poke It Out with J. Cole is one of the worst songs I have heard recently and shows Wale trying to garner a more mainstream audience, but sacrificing his artistic greatness in this effort to do so.


8. Bobby Tarantino III - Logic\

What I Expected: 6/10

What It Is: 3/10

I would like to genuinely know what prompted Logic to release this album. He recently retired, dropped a great "final album" in No Pressure and then his next release as Logic is this uninspired mess. The only reason this album is so low on the list despite my high-ish expectations is because it is Logic, who is extremely spotty and just because he did drop a great record in No Pressure recently, it doesn't mean he could keep it up. Though still having good one-liners and rhyme schemes with the occasional corny lines, it is a return to weak trap beats and painfully bad singing on most of the tracks. It is a quick listen at just over a half an hour but for Logic's official return to the rap game, it is more than disappointing.


7. HARAM! - GoldLink

What I Expected: 7/10

What It Is: 4/10

I'm sure most of you either forgot about GoldLink or didn't know this dropped as it went super under the radar this year, and not just because GoldLink is irrelevant. The follow up to his album Diaspora, which I was thoroughly impressed with from top to bottom, is a step in a completely new and far more experimental experience. This being the reason it is also fairly low on the listen despite how high my expectations were, it is simply just not my cup of tea. The transition from lyrical and jazzy rapping and singing to eerie trap beats and distant, distorted vocals is something that I did not expect at all. Since listening to this album I have dove deeper into experimental hip-hop so I think one day my appreciation for it could grow, but for right now I was just not entertained through this desolate, odd and drowsy listen.


6. Unbothered - Lil Skies

What I Expected: 6/10

What It Is: 4/10

I have mentioned before that I used to be a big Lil Skies fan and he was one of my first "favorite rappers" when he was on the come up. I thought Shelby was a solid trap project and I liked it a lot at the time, and though it has grown off of me I was still excited about Skies' next release. The first couple of singles he put out during his silence like Havin My Way, Riot and Fidget were all good songs and got me even more excited to hear what Skies had to offer. But when he finally dropped off Unbothered it was one of the most disappointing listens of the year. The whole album sounds the same as there is little to no variance in his flows, lyrics or even instrumentals. There was a complete lack of memorable songs, like his earlier hits Red Roses and Nowadays, and the best songs on the albums were his singles, which is almost always a bad sign. By the time Unbothered dropped my interest in Lil Skies was dwindling, and once it did, there was no going back as Lil Skies has not been in my rotation in a long time.


5. Destined 2 Win - Lil Tjay

What I Expected: 6/10

What It Is: 5/10

Being from New York, I have always had a soft spot for Lil Tjay. I have thought of him as one of the better up and coming trap artist's in the game, and with his early collection of great singles like Resume, Long Time, Leaked and Brothers he was gaining a huge following. When his debut album, True 2 Myself dropped I thought, and still think it is great. It is a concise collection of songs that showcase Lil Tjay's abilities, Destined 2 Win is far from that. When it first dropped I thought it was great, but that opinion changed very quickly. This album is super bloated and yeah it has standard Tjay bangers like Oh Well and Go Crazy, but other than that there aren't many tracks that stand out in a good way. As much as I wanted to love Destined 2 Win because I love Tjay, there is no getting past the lazy and repetitive nature of this album.


4. Sin City The Mixtape - Ski Mask The Slump God

What I Expected: 6/10

What It Is: 3/10

Though this is only a mixtape, it doesn't really matter when this is Ski's first commercial release in nearly three years. His fans, including myself, have been clamoring for new music from Ski Mask following the success of Stokely and when it finally came, it was not up to snuff at all. In this three year stretch Ski would pop out for the occasional feature which were normally great and only excited me further. So to get the final product being this grim, short and lethargic project it's safe to say it was disappointing. This is the first time I have ever heard Ski so devoid of personality it was not the same without the unique beats, quirky bars and vibrant flows. Even though it doesn't steer too far from Ski Mask's typical music it just feels uninspired and is missing that flavor that makes him such a special rapper.


3. Faith - Pop Smoke's Team

What I Expected: 5/10

What It Is: 3/10

With this being Pop's second posthumous album I was definitely skeptical, but the stacked tracklist got me excited, but I should've seen it as a red flag. Very few if any of these songs were recorded during Pop's life or were even intended to be released, and it shows. Pop nearly always has the shortest appearance on the songs with features, and the ones without are bad, derivative and short. This album is disrespectful and it seemed as if Pop's team was going to handle his legacy better, and they clearly didn't. I hope this is the last posthumous Pop we hear as this is quite frankly just an embarrassing mess. Yeah, songs like 30 with Bizzy Banks and Brush Em with Rah Swish have that traditional New York drill sound, but Pop feels more like an afterthought rather than the focus of those songs.


2. Certified Lover Boy - Drake

What I Expected: 7/10

What It Is: 5/10

With Drizzy's early release of Scary Hours 2, which featured some of my personal favorite songs from him, I was excited. The energy he brought on Wants and Needs and his massive feature run this year, and his lyricism on Lemon Pepper Freestyle and his Seeing Green feature I really thought we were in for Drake's best album since If You're Reading This It's Too Late. We were getting that top of the world energy and that introspective but braggadocious pen game all year until he finally dropped the album. Certified Lover Boy is one of the messiest and most uninspired albums I have ever heard. There is no sense of cohesion or realization to this record, and a complete lack of effort as we pretty much get the most essential, basic Drake music he has released. Drake is clearly comfortable with where he is and has no motivation to innovate in his music, and I mean good for him he's been the biggest rapper in the game for a while now. His feature run this year bamboozled us into thinking we were getting that hungry, respect seeking rapper from the Six which he was far from on his sixth studio album.


1. Hall Of Fame - Polo G

What I Expected: 7/10

What I Expected: 5/10

Before Hall Of Fame dropped one of my favorite parts about Polo's music was the replay value in his music. I couldn't get enough of Die A Legend and The Goat as they just did not get old, then Hall Of Fame killed that. Similar to Drake on CLB, we see Polo in his comfort zone, putting in what feels like little effort, and delivering a derivative, boring mess. I've always thought highly of Polo as he has immense potential that he shows off in his flows, singing and lyricism, but only on occasion. Bloody Canvas is an amazing, deep track from Polo but it seems as if he's only capable of delivering one of these songs per album, whereas if he harnessed this ability for a whole record he'd drop an album of the year contender. But instead he feeds us fifteen cookie cutter Polo G songs that I could hear better versions of other albums, but also aren't inherently bad, just boring. The other five or so songs are original or unique in some aspects and highly one strong aspect of Polo as a rapper but doesn't build on it.


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