This year we’ve had albums from most of hip hop’s elite including Drake, Kanye West, Future and Chance The Rapper to name a few and this late in the year it would be unreasonable to expect more… but we do and as they say ‘those who ask shall receive!’. Although we’ve well and truly crossed over the halfway point on 2016, the best of this year’s rap albums may still be ahead of us. Here’s 12 to look out for!
Album Title: TBA Release Date: TBA
In the 90’s and early 2000’s a Nas album was something we could expect once a year or every two years during a dry spell. It’s now been 4 years since Nas dropped his last album ‘Life Is Good’ and there’s still no new album in sight.
Nas’s decision to hold onto the album and drop stellar feature verses instead has definitely worked in his favour. Releasing an album every year has often meant that his genius hasn’t received the credit it’s deserved, but this cooling off period in between albums has really allowed his fans to go back through his catalog and appreciate the legend’s work.
At this point in his career none of us are expecting an ‘Illmatic’ or a ‘God’s Son’, but another ‘Life Is Good’ will do us just fine. Nas has really grown into his role as one of rap’s elder statesmen and is part of the select few rappers who are able to deliver a mature album with a meaningful message at its core.
Although Nas hasn’t given us a release date for his latest album (which he promised us last year), his track on DJ Khaled’s album, ‘Nas Album Done’ suggests that it’s only a matter of time before we get to hear God’s Son at work again.
Album Title: Dreamchasers 4 Release Date: TBA
Meek Mill’s rise to fame from grinding on the streets of Philly to last year’s chart-topping success with his album ‘Dreams Worth More Than Money’ is the stuff of legend. Yet as of late, when Meek’s name is mentioned in hip hop circles, the word ‘legend’ isn’t, in it’s place… the letter ‘L’.
His highly publicised beef with Drake in 2015 turned him into the punchline of many a joke, but his recent ‘4/4’ and ‘4/4 Part 2’ mixtapes have shown that he’s still a force to be reckoned with and still has Drake firmly sights! In what is shaping up to be a career defining moment for Meek, the pressure will be on him to silence the doubters with ‘Dreamchasers 4’.
Album Title: Cruel Winter Release Date: TBA
The G.O.O.D Music label currently reads like a roll call of who’s who in Hip Hop – Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, Desiigner and that’s not even including the label’s ever-growing list of affiliates (2 Chainz, Common, Travis Scott, etc). Whilst their first attempt at a compilation album ‘Cruel Summer’ was a mixed bag, it still managed to produce some of the biggest anthems of 2012 (‘Clique’ and ‘Mercy’), as well as giving artists like Pusha T and Big Sean an opportunity to put themselves on the map.
With Pusha T now at the helm of the G.O.O.D Music family, it will he interesting to see if Kanye West still plays as big of a role on this project as he did on the last (featured on 7 of the 12 tracks). It will also be interesting to see how the album will utilize the vocal talents of John Legend and the unpredictable energy of the label’s newest recruit Desiigner.
Puff Daddy & The Family
Album Title: No Way Out 2 Release Date: TBA
“Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks (Ha!)” – P Diddy, 2001
Well we can only assume that Diddy has been writing bigger checks because his pen game really stepped up recently. Generally I don’t look forward to hearing Diddy’s voice on a track, matter a fact I usually turn it off, but his MMM mixtape last year was surprisingly… good. It even found its way on to many reputable year-end ‘top 20’ album lists.
Fittingly P Diddy has decided to return to his original stage name of Puff Daddy for the last album, which will be titled ‘No Way Out 2’ (the sequel to his first album), bringing his rap career full circle.
Puff has never claimed to be an artist,what he is is an ‘entertainer’ with an endless budget. With Puff announcing his latest album will be his last, be under no illusion that he won’t pull out all the stops to bring together the best writers and producers in the business for one last final hurrah.
Album Title: MC4 (Mac and Cheese 4) Release Date: August 19th
Hate it or love it, the unmistakable sound of French Montana’s “Haaaaan” ad-lib has been a constant in the club since the release of his first album ‘Excuse My French’. Three years removed from his major label debut, French returns to his roots to add a fourth installment to his successful ‘Mac and Cheese’ series. Offering up a tracklist that reads more like a compilation album than it does a solo project, ‘Mac and Cheese 4’ promises to be a showcase featuring some of the newest and most seasoned artists in the game.
Album Title: King Push Release Date: TBA
Pusha T produced the best solo work of his career last year with ‘King Push – Darkest Before The Dawn: The Prelude’ and with it, removed all doubt in his ability to succeed on his own outside of The Clipse. Whilst DBD channelled the darkest and bleakest thoughts from the nether regions of Pusha T’s mind, according to the man himself ‘King Push’ promises be a much broader sonic display – in both lyrics and production. El Presidente (as he prefers to be known nowadays) has gone from strength to strength with his releases since his solo debut in 2013 and if that trajectory is anything to go on, ‘King Push’ is set to be his best album to date.
Fat Joe and Remy Ma
Album Title: Plata o Plomo Release Date: TBA
We all remember turning up to Lean Back in ’04, heck we still turn up to it now, but most of us can admit that we were more than a bit sceptical when we heard that Fat Joe and Remy Ma were coming back together to try and recreate that same formula. Most of us can also admit that we were wrong!
Fat Joe and Remy Ma delivered on their promise to drop a smash hit. Since its release ‘All The Way Up’ has been ringing off in the clubs, revitalised the careers of both Remy and Joe and gone on to achieve platinum certification (all without a feature from Drake) and that’s not even the icing on the cake. So what is the icing you ask? According to Fat Joe, ‘All The Way Up’ isn’t even the best song on the album.
If what he’s saying is right, Fat Joe and Remy Ma season is fast approaching!
Album Title: The Dime Trap Release Date: TBA
9 albums, 3 Grammys, Record Label owner and owner of his own clothing brand… all this and the man is only 35. T.I.’s list of achievements make it easy to forget just how young he is and just how much more he’s still got left in the tank!
At the tail end of last year T.I. dropped the well received ‘Da ‘Nic’ EP, which saw the Atlanta rapper do what he’s always done, continue to adapt to the latest tends. T.I. has said that his latest album, ‘The Dime Trap’, will be an ‘ode of appreciation to his day one fans’, throwing it right back to the themes of his second album ‘Trap Muzik’ – this emphasis on an ‘unapologetically urban’ sound will (literally) be music to his fans’ ears. The ‘King Of The South’ has already managed to secure the services fellow East and West coast royalty in the shape of Jay Z and Dr. Dre, the latter of which produced the album’s first single, ‘Dope’.
10 albums in and T.I’s dedication to his craft can’t be faulted. Oh yeah, and by the way he’s going by the name ‘Tip’ again, just thought I should put that out there.
Album Titles: ‘DROGA S light’ + DROGA S + SKULL Release Dates: TBA
Producing one cohesive body of work is a challenge for most artists, but to then repeat that same feat three times in the space of a year is unheard of, seems like somebody forgot to tell Lupe Fiasco that…
In January Lupe revealed that he would be releasing the last three albums of his career this year, this was followed by the release of the album titles in April and as we reach the midway point of August the only release we’re still waiting on are the actual albums!
It’s no secret that Lupe has always struggled with the pressures of living life in the limelight so his decision to retire was always a matter of time. Lupe has been one of hip hop’s brightest creative minds and his last album ‘Tetsuo and Youth’ was his best in years, here’s hoping that these last three albums provide a fitting end to what has been an amazing career.
Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole
Album Title: TBA Release Date: TBA
“As soon as me and Cole done with our own albums we’re gonna get to work on that collaboration album”… the words of Kendrick Lamar at the beginning of 2015, a year and a half later and we’re still waiting on that album. Collaboration albums normally take place when both artists are losing relevance and in need of a quick buck, but to get a project from two of the finest rappers of their generation at the peak of their powers would be a groundbreaking moment in their careers and hip hop history.
Compton and Fayetville’s favourite sons are two of the most socially conscious rappers in the game right now and with racial tensions and political turmoil rocking America to its very core, the time for these two to speak up couldn’t come any sooner.
Album Title: TBA Release Date: TBA
It’s been 11 years since Missy Elliott’s last album ‘The Cookbook’ dropped and since then many female MCs have come and gone but none like Missy. Missy Elliott’s attention to detail in her choreography and eclectic approach to making music has really been missed in an era where artists take themselves way too seriously. Despite her long stint away, the reaction to her latest single ‘WTF (Where They From)’ and her Superbowl performance early last year prove that the appetite for her music is a strong as ever. The return of Missy will likely see her back in the studio with her long-time producers Timbaland and Pharrell… brace yourself for the bangers people!
Jadakiss & Fabolous
Album Title: Freddy vs Jason Release Date: TBA
Whenever the statement “New York hip hop is dead” is uttered anywhere, at any time, the instant rebuttal will always be to mention either or both of these two names, Jadakiss and Fabolous.
Earlier this year the New York veterans announced that they would be teaming up for a the ‘Freddy vs Jason’ themed mixtape, which is likely to drop close to Halloween.
Whilst other rappers in their city are either still struggling to get on or have fallen off, Jadakiss and Fabolous have remained as just as consistent and just as hungry as when they first picked up the mic – dropping ‘track-stealing’ verses on features, remixing songs and making them more memorable than the original and flat out bodying any track they put out.
Neither artist has anything left to prove, but this mixtape shows they aren’t ready to just sit down and let themselves be left in the 2000’s, moreover they’re still gunning for the title of best in the game!