Hip-Hop Takes Top Honors in Local Music Critics’ Poll

The Seattle Times published its annual list of top local albums of the year for 2021. Local music writers, DJs, and playlists submit their top ten favorite local albums, and the list is made up of the albums with the most votes. .

KUOW’s Kevin Kniestedt spoke to Seattle Times songwriter and list curator Michael Rietmulder about the list’s top three albums. For the second year in a row, the top local albums that received the most votes were all hip-hop releases.

1. Jarv Dee and the wrong colors, BlakHouse PE

Michael rietmulder: Over the past two years, I have had so many people approaching me and asking me if I had heard this. It was a release that had really strong word of mouth and got people talking. He’s been a part of the Seattle hip-hop scene for years now, first with the Moor Gang collective, and on this new EP he really changes his style, and mixes both traditional hip-hop and music. house, where he raps to those dance music beats that were produced by a East Coast producer named Bad Colors, and he completely sticks the landing.

2. Travis Thompson, BLVD BOY

Rietmulder: It’s a rapper Burien that the people of Seattle have been stalking for years. This album he released this summer is the biggest of his career to date. It was swinging really big in terms of grabbing some big name features. It was new to him. But for me, what really stands out about this album is that his mastery of the melody has really taken a big step forward.

Travis has always been a very talented rapper and lyricist, but he was also a very good hook writer. In the past, he used the melody in his verses, going back and forth between those half-sung bars and more traditional rap streams. Here he seems a lot more confident to lean into that melody and sort of stay in that space. You see that especially on the song Crossfade which has a very dreamy hypnotic effect. It’s super deworming, and unlike anything it has done in the past.

3. Parisalexa, Finishing line PE

Rietmulder: For the past three years, Parisalexa has been a staple, and for a very good reason. It was this super talented R&B singer and songwriter who really made her mark, especially in Seattle. His career is starting to diversify now. In the past, she has explained how she was influenced by 90s R&B stars like Brandy and Monica who like Parisalexa also have a very strong pop sensibility, and you see it on her new EP. Finishing line.

To see all of the albums that made the list this year, click here.

Listen to the interview by clicking the play button above.

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