Underrated Hip-Hop Songs from 2021: PART 1

Your Grandparents – Sunlight

Smooth, lush instrumentation and 70s vibes. This song sounds like nature. I love the warm drums, catchy hook, and laid-back flows in the verses. I recommend checking out the rest of the album as well. It’s a real gem.

TOBi & Mick Jenkins – Off The Drugs

This song has lovely horns and some really cool off-kilter vocal inflections. It has a great feature from Mick Jenkins (who has so many great features that he deserves a medal). TOBi has released a few projects, two of which are from 2020. I can see him blowing up. If it were up to me, he’d be one of the next XXL Freshman.

Issa Gold – Options

It was hard to pick just one song from this album because the whole album is so cohesive. You might recognize Issa as one member of beast coast group The Underachievers. Well, he’s come into his own here. Very personal, introspective, and chill, Issa reminds me of Slug from Atmosphere and Joey Bada$$.

Bobby Feeno – High Roller

The switch up from the somewhat bluesy intro into the beat drop and rapping works very well. This is one song from his 2021 album Bohemia, which was my introduction to Bobby. He’s another growing artist I’ll be keeping an eye out for.

McKinley Dixon – Chain Sooo Heavy

I found McKinley years ago on Bandcamp, and since then he’s gotten better and better. The live jazz sound of this album is set with “Chain Sooo Heavy” (the first song on the album). Political and indignant, McKinley makes rapping over the instrumental sound easy.

Guapdad 4000 & !llmind – Uncle Ricky

Guapdad is extremely versatile. And so is the producer !llmind. This song has a boom bap influence, others are more trap, and all of them sound great. I found Guapdad through Revenge of the Dreamers Vol. 3 and he’s continued to impress me since then.

Kooley High – Hold Up

Kooley High has been a respected rap group in the underground since around 2010. They have a classic, boom bap, chill NYC sound. They make the kind of classic hip-hop that I never grow tired of.

Prince Shakir – The Great Delusion. (feat Mavi)

New York’s sLUms movement created a great, niche subgenre of lo-fi rap music.  This song by Prince Shakir is my favourite from the album. It’s especially warm and fuzzy, the drums sway in the background and the sample’s texture is engulfing the beat. Mavi and Shakir both have tight, laid-back verses that shine in their writing.

Kevo Muney – Smile When They Come

A bit of a departure from the sound of many other songs on the list, Kevo uses autotune vocals over heavy 808s to explore his emotions. He misses his grandma and feels a lot of pain. With features from Lil Durk and NLE Choppa, I’m betting Kevo’s career will only go up from here.

King Green – Lesson 1: War On Drugs

It was tough picking which song to use from this album because King Green’s quality and versatility are apparent all the way through it. I like this song because, well the beat is lovely, but more impressive is his rapping. It’s concise and philosophical. It makes you think, and it’s concise. The song is short, but that only gives it replay ability.


For this week, I’m recommending DEEMA’s RAINBOW EP. DEEMA, age 20, is an upcoming rapper from the UK. With his newest release, RAINBOWS EP, the artist has proves he’s worth keeping an eye out for.

The songs have catchy flows and hooks, and he has a great ear for beats. For those of you who don’t love UK rappers, you might still enjoy him. His production is lush, upbeat and American-sounding. The drums have a live, grooving sound to them similar to the ones on Noname’s Room 25. Content wise, his raps are hopeful and personal. On “RAINBOW,” he raps about a lack of relations with his father and the fun he has despite this.

My favourite of the tracks is “MAMA, DON’T JUDGE ME.” He’s conscious without becoming overly-preachy. He switches between flows naturally. Throughout the song, he’s talking to his mom about the ups and downs of his life and reflecting. I have high hopes for how his songwriting abilities will grow from here.

You can checkout the EP on Spotify: