The Best Albums of 2021

Here are Complex's picks for the best albums of 2021, ranging from Hip-Hop and R&B to Pop. Find out which if your favorite project is the top album of the year.

It’s been a great year for new music—especially over the past six months. As COVID restrictions started to lift this summer, some of our favorite artists finally released the albums they’d been holding onto. Nearly every week, there was a flood of great new music to sift through. There were blockbuster releases from A-list artists—dueling rollouts from Kanye West and Drake dominated the summer—and standout albums from rising stars like Baby Keem, Summer Walker, and Don Toliver. On any given Friday, we were greeted with long-anticipated projects from veteran acts like Silk Sonic and stunning debuts from newcomers like Yebba.

For brief moments this year, as concerts made a return and major album releases resumed a regular cadence, things even started to feel (a little) normal again for music fans. As we do every December, we put together a list of our favorite albums of the past year. Hand-picked by the Complex Music staff, these are the albums that resonated with us the most in 2021 and defined the year in music. These are Complex’s picks for the best albums of 2021.

50. Migos, 'Culture III'

Migos, Culture III

49. J Balvin, 'JOSE'


48. Meek Mill, 'Expensive Pain'


47. Aminé, 'TwoPointFive'

Amine new album cover art

46. PinkPantheress, 'To Hell With It'

PinkPantheress 'To Hell With It'

45. Pi'erre Bourne, 'The Life of Pi'erre 5'


44. Boldy James & The Alchemist, 'Bo Jackson'

Bo Jackson Album Cover

43. Willow, 'Lately I Feel Everything'


42. Ransom & Rome Streetz, 'Coup De Grace'

Ransom and Rome Streetz album cover art.

41. Rod Wave, 'SoulFly'

Rod Wave 'SoulFly'

40. Ka, 'A Martyr's Reward'


39. Slowthai, 'Tyron'


38. Billie Eilish, 'Happier Than Ever'

Billie Eilish 'Happier Than Ever' cover art.

37. Morray, 'Street Sermons'


36. G Herbo, '25'

G Herbo '25' album cover art.

35. Lil Nas X, 'Montero'


34. Halsey, 'If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power'

Halsey 'If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power' cover.

33. James Blake, 'Friends That Break Your Heart'

James Blake

32. Nas, 'King's Disease II'

Nas and Hit-Boy's 'King's Disease 2'

31. Young Thug, 'Punk'

Young Thug 'Punk' album cover

30. Sleepy Hallow, 'Still Sleep?'

Sleepy Hallow, 'Still Sleep?'

29. Conway the Machine, 'La Maquina'


28. Armand Hammer & The Alchemist, 'Haram'


27. Yebba, 'Dawn'


26. Polo G, 'Hall of Fame'

Polo G

25. Wale, 'Folarin II'


24. IDK, 'USee4Yourself'


23. Maxo Kream, 'Weight of the World'

Maxo Kream's cover art for Weight of the World

22. Kacey Musgraves, 'Star-Crossed'


21. Snoh Aalegra, 'Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies'


20. Justin Bieber, 'Justice'

Justin Bieber

19. Vince Staples, 'Vince Staples'


18. Westside Gunn, 'Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf'

HWH: Sincerely Adolf Vol. 1

17. Isaiah Rashad, 'The House Is Burning'

Isaiah Rashad 'The House Is Burning'

16. Moneybagg Yo, 'A Gangsta's Pain'


15. Olivia Rodrigo, 'SOUR'


14. Silk Sonic, 'An Evening With Silk Sonic'

Silk Sonic album cover art.

13. Baby Keem, 'The Melodic Blue'


12. Drake, 'Certified Lover Boy'


11. Benny the Butcher & Harry Fraud, 'The Plugs I Met 2'


10. Shelley FKA DRAM, 'Shelley FKA DRAM'


9. Don Toliver, 'Life of a Don'

Don Toliver - "LIFE OF A DON"

8. Mach-Hommy, 'Pray For Haiti'

'Pray For Haiti' —Mach Hommy

7. Summer Walker, 'Still Over It'

Summer Walker 'Still Over It' Album Artwork

6. Kanye West, 'Donda'


5. Jazmine Sullivan, 'Heaux Tales'


4. Doja Cat, 'Planet Her'

Doja Cat, 'Planet Her' cover art.

3. Adele, '30'

Cover art for Adele's new album "30"

2. J. Cole, 'The Off-Season'


1. Tyler, the Creator, 'Call Me If You Get Lost'


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