Words: Dylan Murphy
With the fresh avalanche of new music landing every month and new artists popping up, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise. That’s why we curate the best new rap tracks to keep you abreast with the most exciting new artists and biggest anthems from acts pushing the needle.
As 2021 wraps up, we’ve been blessed with a heavy month of releases to soundtrack the shorter days and colder mornings. Rico Nasty joined forces with Flo Milli, Rejjie Snow returns hot on the heels of his sophomore album and Andre 3000 reminds us he can still wipe the floor with just about anyone.
Rico Nasty’s voice could be no one’s but her own and just as clear cut is her christmas list this year. Joining forces with another distinctive voice, in Flo Milli, the pair interpolates classic samples from 2 Live Crew’s ‘We Want Some Pussy‘ and Tone Loc’s timeless ‘Wild Thing‘ to let people know they want the bag and they want it now.
It’s been nearly 10 years since a fresh faced Lecs Luther burst on the scene. Since then he’s changed name, signed with the label behind Migos, dropped two studio albums, collaborated with the late MF DOOM, experimented with jazz and played all over the world. Having cut his teeth on Soundcloud and Tumblr, in a culture where acts were less precious with their tracks, Rejjie Snow was raised as internet culture took hold and DIY became the new normal.
Despite all the accolades and experimentation, off the back of his latest jazz and disco-infused album Bah Bah Black Sheep, he took the opportunity to return to his rap roots on ‘Arigato’. With releases prior to the album few and far between he revived the approach of dropping loosies, just because he can. Going over three beats and what could’ve potentially been queued for three different songs, the Dublin artist sounds like an artist that’s been starved of releases as he reminds us he can still go toe to toe with anyone.
If the negative voice in our head was a person in the physical world, we’d straight up stop hanging out with them. It’s fair to say we’re all guilty of giving our defeatist thoughts too much leverage in our daily lives and Chicago rapper Saba is challenging his inhibitions in a no nonsense track ahead of his third studio album.
We’ve the TikTok algorithm to thank for this inclusion. NotNevi’s bit crushed vocals and relentless production result in a what feels like a fever dream you can dance to in CTRL.
Two proud Haitians join forces on $prayforHaiti with the enigmatic Mach-Hommy rapping in Creole.
Though he’s appeared on projects with Armand Hammer, The Alchemist, Mike and Wiki in 2021, it’s been a minute since Earl dropped a solo cut. The Black Noi$e-produced ‘2010’ makes up for lost time, reflecting on his come up and nods to a switch up in style towards a more energetic palette.
Earlier this month, Freddie Gibbs took to Twitter to reveal that KAYTRANADA, Kenny Beats, The Alchemist and just about every relevant producer right now is on his forthcoming album. We may have just got the first track from that yet unnamed project in ‘Black Illuminati’ with Jadakiss. Predictably grim and dark, the cut marks their first collaboration since 2012’s ‘Krazy’.
Is it really a Ye release if it doesn’t land with controversy or intrigue?
‘Life of the Party’ was omitted from Donda on André 3000’s request because Ye censored the explicit lyrics. However, they appeared to make a compromise with the single version left untouched and the deluxe album version having additional edits. We’re just glad it’s here now.
It’s been years since Merlyn has dropped a solo single and until now, it’s been hard to imagine what he’d sound like outside of the Brockhampton universe. He’s not wasting anytime in creating a world of his own on ‘S.Y.K’ which sounds like he’s rapping over a spacecraft exhaust pipe in the best way possible.
KhakiKid is yet to miss this year. Gearing up for the release of a new EP in 2022, he’s shared ‘Cozy’ which sees him co-sign pop culture heroes from Zack and Cody to Joji. Make sure to peep the surreal video too.
Smino really is one of a kind. On ‘I Deserve It‘ he makes the rockiest of emotions sound so damn smooth.
Denise Chaila sounds unbothered by people’s preconceptions on ‘Might Be’. The South West rapper moves at her own pace across a nocturnal beat letting opps know that every time they have her name in their mouth her price goes up.
If aliens wanted to make contact with earth, we’d staff the space shuttle for the coffee date with these three. Flowing like he’s mid flight in a tractor beam to a flying saucer, Your Old Droog goes off like he’s got a point to prove before passing the baton to Lil Ugly Mane and billy.
Balancing school and rap career that’s taking off takes some serious time management, but redveil makes it seem easy. On ‘04′ there’s not a hint of stress from a breakthrough act that’s carefree delivery is a reminder to enjoy the journey.
Isaiah Rashad fans have been eating this year. Following the release of the hugely anticipated The House Is Burning, he returned with a deluxe version and on RIP Young Remix he invited none other than Project Pat and Juicy J for a smokers anthem.
SALOMON FAYE’s ‘NOT HERE’ is as real as it gets. The usual glamorisation of street life is absent in his slowburning video which swaps watches for burnt out cars and grills for POV shots of corner shops. As for the song itself, a lesser artist would be swallowed whole by an abstract instrumental that he surfs on at his own pace.
We first came across Le3 bLACK on ‘Black Ting’ on Loraine James’ Reflection, and now he’s come through with a bone rattling collaboration with Gxbby and Kmado. ‘OH NO’ is the first single from his forthcoming EP due out in April.
Dublin rapper Curtisy‘s languid bars and producer Txpe_eater’s mirage like production is a match made in heaven. All in all, ‘TOBACCO!’ sounds like getting caught in quicksand trying to runaway from your problems.
Speaking on the track, txpe_eater says, “Given the opportunity to say anything regarding this collab – my debut, curtisy’s sophomore – it’s been a big leap for both of us in regards to how we want to handle our music output. The short recording sessions we had making this song weren’t always coherent and i think we weren’t completely aware of what we had made when we called it quits, but the finished product has been the most complete piece of work I think i’ve ever produced in my short time of being a musician.”
It’d be reductive to label Kojey Radical a rapper, the London based artist has proved time and time again he’s comfortable in just about any pocket, whether that be RnB, soul or just about anything he tries his hand at. In ‘Gangsta’ he’s in his storytelling bag and he’s giving thanks to his family with the benefit of hindsight.
In ‘MORE MONEY’, the beat reflects the restlessness of MEEKZ’ hustle. The Manchester rapper is on one right now and he isn’t stopping until his name is said in the same breath as his contemporaries bridging the gap between the UK and the states.
Catch all the inclusions in our ‘Best New Rap Music’ playlist on Spotify: