We look forward to 2022 by talking about what we heard in 2021.
MOST UNDERRATED SONG
Justin Bieber – Peaches
You guys didn’t underrate “Peaches,” I did. In my review of Justin’s last album, I didn’t even have “Peaches” in my top five list. As time has gone by, as some of my brain cells have been restored, and as trips have been taken, I can safely say that I was completely wrong about “Peaches” (I get my L’s from the DMV area).
MOST OVERRATED SONG
Drake – Way Too Sexy
I didn’t overrate “Way Too Sexy,” y’all did! For some odd reason, Drake thought that it was a good idea to make this song his first single off of Certified Lover Boy. I mean, the song has an adorable hook and all, but when you break it down, nothing impressive was done by Drake, Future, or Young Thug on it (I actually do not remember a single word Thugger said on his verse). “Way Too Sexy” is way too overrated (The music video to the song is dope, though)
MOST UNDERRATED ALBUM
Folarin II isn’t being talked about enough. By no means am I the biggest Wale fan, but even I can admit that this project is good from start to finish. I feel like the DMV rapper sounds hella comfortable in his own skin and doesn’t force s**t on the album. I also feel like he raps his ass off on the album. I’m sure people like Folarin II, I just don’t understand why it feels like the album silently came and went (It also inexplicably debuted at 22 on the Billboard charts).
MOST OVERRATED ALBUM
Let me start off by saying this: I truly believe that Baby Keem has next. He’s too much of a dynamic rapper to not have next. I just don’t think that his The Melodic Blue album is all that great. While I think that the project is pretty dynamic, there weren’t many rap verses that he hit us with on it that blew me away. When it’s all said and done, Keem might be more Playboi than Kendrick…
Pop Smoke – Top Shotta
First and foremost, RIP to Pop Smoke. In my opinion, he was destined to be a superstar in the hip-hop game. Just the little flashes he showed on his debut album and on Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon impressed me. With that being said, I didn’t really love “Top Shotta” off Pop’s Faith album. Matter of fact, it was probably the worst track I heard this year. I don’t think it was Pop’s fault at all; I think the people behind it got a little carried away with Pop’s ability to turn his Jamaican on.
Soulja Boy (aka Big Draco) is a very entertaining guy. On social media, he makes me laugh more than most comedians. Unfortunately, the music he makes also makes me laugh. After reviewing a few of his tracks on this site, I made it a rule to no longer review Soulja Boy albums. I made an exception for Big Draco because the album was actually teased for months and promised to feature some big-name artists. The biggest name on the album is Bow Wow. As for the rapping on the album, it is so left-field, Richard Sherman wants nothing to do with that s**t.
MoneyBagg Yo – His second verse on “Wockesha”
I am definitely surprised at how big “Wockesha” ended up being this year. I’ve heard so many people request the song in nightclubs that I’ve gone to. While I mess with the beat that powers the song a lot, I do admit, MoneyBagg’s second verse on the song is a little wishy-washy. On it, he attempts to sing like Luther Vandross and just sounds a little drunk. I guess MoneyBagg was trying to show what someone who is addicted to lean would sound like.
Fivio Foreign – Off The Grid
I was absolutely blown away by Fivio Foreign’s verse on “Off The Grid.” I feel like the New York rapper met the urgency/greatness that the song gave off at the rim. Not only did I feel Fivio’s words about being the chosen one, but he also showed a level of pizazz that made him sound like the next great rapper. Fivio’s stock definitely rose after “Off The Grid” came out.
This was a bad year for adlibs. There isn’t a single adlib that stood out to me. Damn, are adlibs extinct?
Young Thug – SKI
“Ski” might be a simple hook, but it is also a very catchy hook. Even though Thugger mainly says “yeah” over and over again, them yeah’s will make a club turn upside down.
Jay-Z on “JAIL”
Jay-Z’s verse on “JAIL” is holy, replenishing, rebellious, refreshing, and most importantly, important. There’s no way in hell that you could walk away from listening to Jay talk about rebuilding his relationship with Kanye without feeling chills.
J. Cole – p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l
Whenever the “p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l” beat comes on, I get excited as f**k! That’s how you know that you got a special beat. To me, the beat has a good mix of devilish vibes, gentle vibes, authentic hip-hop vibes, and modern vibes. If I wasn’t so damn lazy, I would’ve probably made this song the most underrated and the best hook of the year, too.
Polo G – Bad Man (Smooth Criminal)
First and foremost, I want to say this: I love that Polo G likes to experiment with a bunch of different sounds in his music. I’ve heard him on hard-ass tracks, pop tracks, and more these last couple of years. With that being said, the one track by Polo that I just couldn’t get hip to was “Bad Man.” In an attempt to recreate Michael Jackson’s classic “Smooth Criminal” track, the Chicago rapper ended up creating something that just sounded a little too bizarre. Like, the song literally sounds like a joke, to me. Polo has had a fantastic year, though.
BEST INTERNATIONAL SONG
Burna Boy & Polo G – I Want It All
I really wanted to put “Essence” here, but I settled for “I Want It All” (“Essence” released in 2020). To me, the latter features great messages and an instrumental that caters to the music that I loved this year. I also like how the song almost perfectly fits what two of the bigger artists of the year, Burna Boy and Polo G, are all about. If you haven’t heard this joint before, please listen to it fifteen or sixteen times in a row.
BEST INDIE SONG
I have proof that I’ve overplayed Gyyps’ “Careless” track (All you need to do is look at my Apple Music numbers). Literally, everything about the song is fire, to me: The dancehall-inspired beat, the colorful melodies, the carefree lyrics (Ironically), the switch between rapping and singing, and the swagger shown throughout. I am probably responsible for 1000 of the plays this song has gotten on streaming services.
BIG O – The Mind’s Mirror
Did you know that I used to rap? I wasn’t good at it but I tried. My point is this: I used to search for the best beats on the globe to rap over when I was rapping. If I was still a rapper, I definitely would’ve spit bars over most of the instrumentals on Big O’s The Mind’s Mirror album. In my opinion, the beats he hits us with on the album are smooth, slightly gutter, and authentically hip-hop. Without much words being said on the album, the beats you hear do have personalities that are oh so infectious.
SONG WE’RE AFRAID TO ADMIT WE LIKE
Tory Lanez & DaBaby – SKAT
Two of the biggest canceled musicians in 2021 were Tory Lanez and DaBaby. What sucks about folks getting canceled while in their prime is that they are still more than capable of making good music; we’re just not supposed to like them for a while. With that being said, I loved “SKAT” featuring Tory and DaBaby! The hook is great, I love the s**t-talking both rappers do, and the music video to the song is fire. I know we’re supposed to hate these two, but can we just enjoy this banger they created for like another month?
QD’S PERSONAL FAVORITE ALBUM
More than ever, I look at music as a job, so I really only listen to music when I’m driving or working out, so I don’t have as much time as I used to have to fall in love with albums. While I want to say something fancy or totally leftfield for my favorite album of the year category, at the end of the day, the album I blasted the most is DONDA. In my opinion, DONDA has some exciting guest appearances, all kinds of music styles, both good and bad rap verses, and powerful lyrics. On the real, it almost sounds like a compilation album that features the best hip-hop styles of today.
QD’S PERSONAL FAVORITE SONG
This selection is a surprise, right? I’ve never stood on any mountaintop and vouched for either NBA YoungBoy or Rod Wave, yet their “Everything Different” song has won my favorite song of the year.
I just love the passion, the powerful melodies, and the uplifting vibes that this song boasts. Whenever I needed a pick-me-up, I blasted this joint often and loud. I truly believe the track has superpowers.
Kanye West, Lil Baby & The Weeknd – Hurricane
I don’t think there was a clear top song this year. 2021 simply featured a bunch of really good songs. With that being said, I feel like “Hurricane,” for several reasons, is the most special song I heard. For one, the song features perhaps the biggest name in hip-hop in Lil Baby, the last Super Bowl performer in The Weeknd, and the multi-billionaire that is Kanye. The song also boasts these vibes that feel magical and holy. I just feel like this song is far from ordinary.
Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost
The competition for this award was closer than I first thought it would be. When Tyler’s album first came out, I saw nothing touching it. As time went by, albums like King’s Disease II and DONDA entered the chat and made a splash. At the end of the day, I think that Call Me If You Get Lost is too special to ignore. The album came out at a time when we needed it (Around the time when COVID started to feel body blows), it flows magically, it has a great setup, and it has phenomenal raps from one of the world’s most creative artists. I just think this album is one that changed the game (Even other rappers tried to recruit DJ Drama based on its success).
Another year down! I want to personally thank every single person that decided to click on one of our posts, even if it was to show a friend or family member how wrong someone can be when it comes to picking top songs from albums. I will never take a single reader for granted, and I truly mean that with all of my heart. 2021 was huge, but I do have reason to believe that 2022 will be bigger!
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.