The 25 Best Canadian Albums of 2021

This year, Canadian artists elevated the craft altogether. Here are the 25 best rap, R&B, and pop albums in Canada, from Emanuel to Drake to Charlotte Cardin.

Drake, Mustafa, Dijah SB, and Charlotte Cardin in an illustration
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Drake, Mustafa, Dijah SB, and Charlotte Cardin in an illustration

Lockdown after lockdown, the Internet continued to remind us that the plague brought Europe out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance. Whether or not that turned out to be an applicable adage nearly 700 years later, it made sense that the imposed isolation and unprecedentedly clear Google Cals would have some creative payoff. So what awaited us on the other side of the pandemic? Each of the year’s most resonant albums were, in some form, dispatches from the eye and aftermath of the storm, making them that much more significant. From Drake’s climactic ode to toxic masculinity to Emanuel’s poignant debut, this year Canadian artists proved that 2021 wasn’t about a return to form, but elevating the craft altogether. These are our picks for the best Canadian albums of the year.

25. Connaisseur Ticaso, 'Normal de l'est'

Album cover for Connaisseur Ticasos Normal De Lest.

24. LMBC, 'Toronto Barrio'

Album cover for Toronto Barrio by LMBC

23. Skiifall, 'WOIIYOIE TAPES Vol.1'

Mixtape cover WOIIYOIE TAPES Vol.1 by rapper Skiifall

22. Alessia Cara, 'In The Meantime'

Album cover for singer Alessia Caras 'In The Meantime'

21. The Halluci Nation, 'One More Saturday Night'

Album cover for 'One More Saturday Night' by The Halluci Nation

20. Haviah Mighty, 'Stock Exchange'

Mixtape cover for Haviah Mightys 'Stock Exchange'

19. Snotty Nose Rez Kids, 'Life After'

Album cover for Life After by Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

18. Smiley, 'Buy or Bye 2'

Album cover for Buy or Bye 2 by Smiley.

17. Allison Russell, 'Outside Child'

Allison Russell Outside Child album cover

16. Rochelle Jordan, 'Play With The Changes'

Album cover for 'Play with the Changes' by Rochelle Jordan.

15. Backxwash, 'I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses'

Album cover for 'I LIE HERE WITH MY RINGS AND DRESSES' by Backxwash.

14. Dvsn and Ty Dolla Sign, 'Cheers to the Best Memories'


13. Emanuel, 'Alt Therapy'

Album cover for 'Alt Therapy' by Emanuel.

12. BADBADNOTGOOD, 'Talk Memory'

Album cover for 'Talk Memory' by BADBADNOTGOOD.

11. Manila Grey, 'No Saints on Knight Street'

Album cover for 'No Saints on Knight Street' by MANILA GREY.

10. Charlotte Cardin, 'Phoenix'

Album cover for 'Phoenix' by Charlotte Cardin.

9. Justin Bieber, 'Justice'

Album cover for 'Justice' by Justin Bieber.

8. Chiiild, 'Hope For Sale'

Album cover for 'Hope for Sale' by Chiiild.

7. Majid Jordan, 'Wildest Dreams'

Album cover for 'Wildest Dreams' by Majid Jordan.

6. Charlotte Day Wilson, 'ALPHA'

Album cover for 'ALPHA' by Charlotte Day Wilson.

5. DijahSB, 'Head Above the Waters'

EP Cover for 'Head Above the Waters' by DijahSB.

4. NorthSideBenji, 'The Extravagant Collection'


3. Cadence Weapon, 'Parallel World'

Album cover for 'Parallel World' by Cadence Weapon.

2. Drake, 'Certified Lover Boy'

Album cover for 'Certified Lover Boy' by Drake.

1. Mustafa, 'When Smoke Rises'

Album cover for 'When the Smoke Rises' by Mustafa.

Latest in Music