This week’s crop of new albums features re-imagined albums, amped-up anthems, and a special jazz orchestral album.
We know how tough it can be to keep up with all the latest releases in 2021. With surprise albums, deluxe editions, and albums coming to digital streaming platforms, it’s enough to make the average music fan’s head spin. Just for you, every week we here at Okayplayer come together to round up the best new albums of the week.
This week, we’ve got new releases from crooners like Rod Wave and Badda TD. There’s new Vic Mensa, as well as sultry R&B from the likes of UMI, Trevor Jackson, and serpentwithfeet. Saigon, Flee Lord, and Crimeapple bring their projects of gritty boom-bap, while Key Glock and Young Dolph drop a trunk-knocking sequel.
Find your favorites from this list on the digital streaming platform of your choice.
Rod Wave — SoulFly
If you’re already familiar with Rod Wave’s music, you know what to expect from the Florida-bred crooner. SoulFly is his usual pain-tinged crooning, this time with a guest appearance from fellow bluesy MC Polo G.
YBN Nahmir — Visionland
Fresh off the dissolution of his YBN collective Birmingham, Alabama MC YBN Nahmir branches out for his first solo album. Bay Area legends E-40 and Too $hort come along for the ride, as well as new-school MCs like DaBoii and G Eazy.
Vic Mensa — I Tape
Vic Mensa returns with a spirited new EP, this time with cameos from Chance the Rapper and Just Blaze. On the track “FR33DOM,” the Chicago MC signal boosts the poetry of Julius Jones, an Oklahoma man wrongly convicted of murder as a 19-year-old. For more info on Jones’ case, watch the two-part documentary The Last Defense.
Trevor Jackson — The Love Language
Actor/singer Trevor Jackson returns with his fourth full-length project, The Love Language. The 14-track project is filled with sultry slow jams like “Bouts to Be” and “Tiny Dancer.”
Armand Hammer & The Alchemist — Haram
New York duo billy woods and Elucid, also known as Armand Hammer, team up with The Alchemist for his latest joint project. For fans of dizzying bars and entrancing beats, Haram is worth repeat listens.
DJ Muggs & Flee Lord — Rammellzee
DJ Muggs and Flee Lord team up for an 11-track project dedicated to Queens, New York art legend Rammellzee. Guest appearances include Ghostface Killah, Roc Marciano, Meyhem Lauren, and Crimeapple.
Price — F.O.E.S.
Price of the Los Angeles duo Audio Push branches out for his second solo album, F.O.E.S. Come for the Hit-Boy production on “Bad Dreams,” stay for the Vince Staples feature on “Issue” and Wyclef Jean’s vocals on the lead single “Selfish.”
Saigon — Pain, Peace and Prosperity: The Yardfather Album
Brooklyn MC Saigon returns–with a little help from DJ Kay Slay for that classic New York feel–for his first project since 2014, Pain, Peace & Prosperity. The underground legend is as solid as ever.
Young Dolph & Key Glock — Dum and Dummer 2
Memphis’ dynamic duo return for another set of bangers on Dum and Dummer 2. The project matches the intensity of the first in the series, but this album also serves as a coming-out party for Bandplay. The Tennessee producer’s church organs on “Aspen” manage to turn a frigid ski trip to a soulful Sunday service.
Ross Gay — Dilate Your Heart
Spoken word poet Ross Gay’s new project features contributions from Bon Iver, Moses Sumney, Gia Margaret, and more. Each track on the album is meant to “resurrect a different mantra from the label’s past, and imbue it with new meaning.”
BlueBucksClan — Clan Virus 2
Los Angeles duo BlueBucksClan keeps their foot on the gas with an energetic sequel to their Clan Virus tape. The momentum is evident in the guest spots: Lil Yachty, Quavo of the Migos, and Hit-Boy join the fun.
Crimeapple — YDFWC?
New Jersey MC CRIMEAPPLE drops a project that’s just as humorous as it is grimy, with hilarious titles like “Manchurian Bandidate,” “Talcum Jamal Warner,” and more.
serpentwithfeet — DEACON
Over the years, Baltimore-bred, Los Angeles-based singer serpentwithfeet has caught the eyes of names like Bjork, Ty Dolla $ign, and Nao. His latest album is equal parts raunchy, spiritual, and revelatory.
24KGoldn — El Dorado
One 24kGoldn double entendre was good enough to earn him a spot at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. If that’s not enough to convince you to check out El Dorado, the earworm “Mood” or Future’s scene-stealing guest verse on “Company” should do the trick.
Karl Benajmin — D.R.I.S.T. EP
UK songwriter Karl Benjamin’s latest EP stands for Deep Rooted Insecurities and Shy Tendecies. Over the four-track project, he covers struggles with fear, morality, love and self-reckoning.
Vic Spencer — Psychological Cheat Sheet
Chicago MC links up with producer August Fanon for the sample-heavy sequel to his 2020 project Psychological Cheat Sheet. According to Vic, 87% of the album was recorded back in 2019.
UMI — Introspection Reimagined
Seattle-born singer UMI takes a step back for her newest release. According to her, she didn’t get enough time to sit with her last EP, Introspection. As a result, she reimagined the project, re-recording it live from top to bottom, with works of the greats like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu in mind.
Valee x AYOCHILLMANNN — The Trappiest Elevator Music Ever
Inside and outside the booth, Valee moves at a pace that’s foreign to the modern music industry. His latest collaboration is something very few people besides him could pull off. The album sounds like easy listening with reserved trap drums. Every track is worth repeated listens.
Gallant — Neptune
Gallant captures the vibes of the golden era of R&B on his latest offering, Neptune. The project features Brandy, VanJess, and Arin Ray. The Maryland singer tells Complex he wanted to dive deeper into “feelings of regret, self-criticism, and aimlessness” from his first album, Ology.
Caleborate — Light Hit My Skin
Bay Area native Caleborate follows up his singles “The Madness” and “Contact” with the full-length effort Light Hit My Skin. Kota the Friend, Deante Hitchcock, and Cantrell all join in on the 15-track LP.
Badda TD — The Prince of Flatbush
Teen Brooklyn MC Badda TD sets the bar high for himself on his Prince of Flatbush tape, recruiting Rowdy Rebel, Kash Sincere, and 42 Dugg for a melodic, reflective seven-track EP.
El Michels Affair — Yeti Season
Leon Michels and his revivalist band the El Michels Affair take listeners through a cultural tour of the Middle East and North Africa on their third studio album. The project features Turkish musician Tamer Pinarbasi and traditional Arabic qanun strings.