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Rodney Carmichael

Dr. Regina N. Bradley and Christina Lee, hosts of <em>Bottom of the Map</em>.
Bottom of the Map
Dr. Regina N. Bradley and Christina Lee, hosts of Bottom of the Map.

The year in hip-hop can't be quantified by new music alone. Not in 2021, when starting a podcast feels like a rite of passage for every rapper flirting with retirement. Ever since the podfather Combat Jack taught hip-hop how to "dream them dreams," the proliferation has been unreal. Now podcasts are the culture's official mouthpiece and the genre is as varied as the rap game itself. You can hear everything from real journalism and cultural criticism to straight-up jaw jacking. Here's my shortlist of the best hip-hop podcasts of the year, along with the albums I couldn't stop listening to in between time.

Top 10 Albums of 2021


• Mach-Hommy, Balens Cho
• Lukah, When The Black Hand Touches You
• 42 Dugg, Free Dem Boyz
• Greentea Peng, MAN MADE
• MIKE, Disco!
• Moor Mother, Black Encyclopedia of the Air
• Mick Jenkins, Elephant in the Room
• Baby Keem, The Melodic Blue
• Westside Gunn, Hitler Wears Hermes (side A and B)
• ZelooperZ, Van Gogh's Left Ear

Top 10 Hip-hop Podcasts of 2021

Big Facts with Big Bank & DJ Scream
The Bridge: 50 Years of Hip-Hop
Drink Champs
Bottom of the Map
Juan Ep is Life
Have You Heard George's Podcast?
Geto Boys Reloaded
What Had Happened Was
Fresh Era

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer. An Atlanta-bred cultural critic, he helped document the city's rise as rap's reigning capital for a decade while serving on staff as music editor, culture writer and senior writer for the defunct alt-weekly Creative Loafing.

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