Talkhouse Weekend Playlist: Spectacular Diagnostics’s Best of 2021

The Chicago-based producer highlights the MCs that caught his attention this year.

Listening to Spectacular Diagnostics’s “Raw Transmissions,” you’re immediately taken on an otherwordly journey. In between beats and samples, you can start to understand how Robert Krums, aka Spectacular Diagnostics, builds his sound, chopping up beats and drum loops, and stitching together old sci-fi movie dialogues. For his latest record, Ancient Methods, Krums makes you feel like a pioneer, transporting you on a new sonic journey. To celebrate the release, we asked Spectacular Diagnostics for his top picks of 2021.
—Keenan Kush, Talkhouse Director of Operations

It’s a near-impossible task grouping the “best,” so I’ve concentrated on highlighting artists that I’ve worked with or plan to in the future. These are all MCs that piqued my interest and dropped some amazing releases in 2021. 11 picks! Not 10. 🙂 In no particular order.
—Spectacular Diagnostics

Curly Castro — “Dah Switchness”
Off an album filled with stand-out cuts, this one grabs you by the throat. I’m a big John Carpenter, so the inspired synth line drilled into my brain.

Armand Hammer — “Stonefruit”
Get the lighters out for this one. I hope they’re playing this in stadiums 35 years from now, in a better world.

Lee Scott & Hyroglifics — “The Humble Annihilation of Self”
Lee is one of my favorite MCs for the past couple of years. Endless punchlines but not a punchline MC. Highly recommended.

Defcee & Messiah Musik — “Snares”
Defcee dropped an atom bomb on pre-written end of year lists with this release.

Koncept Jack$on & Morriarchi feat. Kayana — “A Toa$t”
Morriarchi played this track for me months before it dropped and it still sounds fresh. Atmosphere on this track is so lush.

Kid Acne feat. Jaz Kahina & Vandal Savage — “Transistors”
OK, yes, I produced this track, but it’s everyone’s efforts that makes it truly shine. It doesn’t even feel like my beat anymore. They made this an anthem.

Strange U — “Maybe”
King Kashmere and Dr. Zygote are our alien overlords. It was very dope to hear Strange U return in 2021.

Fatboi Sharif feat. YL — “Fly Pelican”
I hadn’t heard of Sharif until this year. One of the year’s best musical finds.

PENPALS feat. Jerre — “Kapow”
Super hype joint off of the PALS latest opus. These guys get busy and stay busy.

NAHreally — “Civic”
One of NAH’s friends is related to Michael Chiklis… What else is there to know? Don’t sleep.

Kipp Stone — “2 Weeks Notice”
Kipp is one to watch. I really dig this track… and (cough) I designed the artwork.