From Childish Gambino’s final LP, to the Kanye/Chance the Rapper collab Good Ass Job, to the follow-up of SZA’s dazzling debut CTRL, there are many hip-hop albums fans should look forward to in 2019. Hopefully some, if not all of them, come through. Here are the 15 Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums for 2019.
Nas: The Lost tapes 2
It’s been fifteen years of waiting, but the sequel to Nas’ critically acclaimed The Lost Tapes is finally dropping this month. Without any commercial appeal, by taking the scraps of other albums from his cutting floor, Nas achieved No. 10 on the Billboard 200 with 2002’s The Lost Tapes. We guess Kendrick wasn’t the first one who made a banger out of his leftovers. Nas, one of hip-hop’s heroes, teased the album back in June with a promotional Instagram video. In it, Nas is wearing white gloves and a lab coat while holding a fossilized cassette with the words The Lost Tapes II chiseled into it.
The Lost Tapes II will be 16 unreleased songs from his solo album recording sessions. The Lost Tapes II features guest appearances by RaVaughn, David Ranier, Al Jarreau, J Meyers and Kenyon Harrold, in addition to production from Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, RZA, Kanye West, and more.
Ghostface Killah: Ghostface Killahs
Coming this August is Ghostface Killah’s new project, Ghostface Killahs. The three decade, rap veteran and Wu-Tang legend recently dropped a scathing single from the LP. “Conditioning” is impressive as it is heavy, asserting his guttural lyricism as well as his cinematic vision through the accompanying music video. No features have been released from the Supreme Clientele MC’s upcoming album, and much continues to be unknown. Ghostface Killah threw his fanbase off this year by collaborating with Miley Cyrus (“D.R.E.A.M”) for her upcoming seventh album, but we are hoping for a crew of hip-hop icons on the highly anticipated Ghostface Killahs.
The rumors have ceased. Rae Sremmurd, one of the best acts to break-out in the past five years, will not be splitting up. In fact, Swae Lee has recently opened up about the group’s follow-up to 2018’s SR3MM. “As for Rae Sremmurd, we dropped three classic albums already; it’s time for the fourth,” Lee said in an interview with Essence. “The fans have been patient. It’s time to give them what they’ve been waiting for.” In addition to a new Rae Sremmurd album, fans also have their solo projects to look forward to, specifically Jxmmi’s. “And I’m about to drop a solo album, composed of all original music,” Jxmmi said. “I hope fans enjoy it.” Meanwhile, Swae Lee recently dropped “Sunflower” with Post Malone for the new Spiderman soundtrack.
The Internet’s latest offering, Hive Mind, found the hip-hop, funk group in their best form, with singles such as “Wanna Be” and “Roll (Burbank Funk)” reminding us how we fell in love with them in the first place. Now, The Internet’s Steve Lacy is getting ready to drop a solo album. Supposedly, the album will contain a 9-minute, “middle finger” of an opus, in addition to his previously released single “N Side”. Steve Lacy has most recently appeared on Solange’s When I Get Home and the new Vampire Weekend album Father of the Bride. Little else is known about Steve Lacy’s upcoming album, but we think it’s safe to expect some funky instrumentation and meandering soul music.
Chance the Rapper: The First Album
Did you know that Chance the Rapper has never dropped an album? Acid Rap, Coloring Book, those were just mixtapes. But now, Chance has announced in conjunction with his manager Pat Corcoran, that the new “Owbum” will be out July 2019. Not much is known about the upcoming debut from Chance the Rapper, but he released a short statement on the project on Twitter. “This my 1st album so its really good,” he wrote. “I got real famous so I gotta lotta eyes on me that wasn’t fans of me they just fans of whats popular. My first album is for my fans. I’ll always be immensely proud of what I did with Coloring Book. Same Drugs, Summer Friends and Juke Jam are some the realest songs I’ve ever written so u dont have to defend Coloring Book to me. It happened, it made history but I did it already. The album wont be acid rap either.”
Childish Gambino: The Final—yet to be titled—LP
We know it’s happening. Some people, the ones who attended Gambino’s final “This Is America” Tour, even heard it: The final Gambino LP. Though we don’t want the end to be so near, we’re excited for what Gambino has in store for his final say. Will it include his internet-breaking single “This Is America”? Or the love-joyous Summer Pack? Though he’s committed to retiring the Childish Gambino moniker, we are holding out for another Donald Glover rap ego to emerge once this era has come to an end.
SZA’s Ctrl follow-up
SZA fans have been through some things. From the uncertainty of her vocal recovery, to the cancellation of several sets on TDE’s “The Championship” Tour, we were concerned about the durability of this rising star. But Solana is strong, and focused on her upcoming LP, which according to TDE’s oft-used two year album cycle, should arrive in the latter part of 2019. And considering the talent, the writing, the awestruck vulnerability of CTRL, the next album from SZA is destined to be as compelling as her debut.
Chance the Rapper, Kanye West: Good Ass Job
First, there was Kanye. Then, there was Chance the Rapper, who publicly lauded Ye’s College Dropout as one of his driving influences. Then, there was Chance’s iconic work on TLOP‘s “Famous” and “Waves”, arguably the most contagious singles of Kanye’s last full LP. Then, there was Kanye’s hands on the opener of Chance’s second LP Coloring Book, the happy-rap track “All We Got”. And now, we wait for the Chicagoans to pull through on their promise of Good Ass Job, a collaboration that will hopefully result in pure magic.
The weeknd’s Starboy Follow-up
Back in November, The Weeknd shared an image with the caption “love this. VI”. The artwork arrived a month after Tesfaye told a Toronto crowd that Chapter VI would be reaching our ears soon. Clearly, the hip-hop hitmaker didn’t mean in 2018. Especially given his evolving relationship with Bella Hadid, we think it’ll be a few months into 2019 before we see the highly anticipated Starboy follow-up. But considering the known work ethic of The Weeknd, we are certain the new album will be coming this year, as he isn’t one of the artists who emptily promise projects their his fans.
On Friday (Dec. 21) Rihanna slyly responded to a fan on Fenty’s Instagram, who asked outright when the new album was coming. Her response? “2019.” Rihanna’s vocal producer Kuk Harrell also teased the album earlier this week. “R9 is great. R9 is amazing. It’s incredible, And that’s all I’m going to say,” he said in response to a fan on social media. Earlier this year, RiRi was said to have embarked on a dancehall album, taking in over 500 tracks to sample from. Will she use 2019 to explore her Caribbean roots? We think it’s possible, if not likely, since Rihanna’s inner circle is finally opening up about the highly anticipated R9.
Frank Ocean’s Blonde Follow-up
Look, we’re not trying to contribute to the pain that is waiting for—and desperately hoping for—a new Frank Ocean album. Because it’s not. fun. And we’ve been holding onto these words, “If you liked two thousand and seventeen then you’ll love two thousand and eighteen,” since he said them. Not to mention how he got our hopes up with that gorgeous “Moon River” cover and his cameos on both A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott’s summer releases. Not to mention the surprise return of blonded RADIO for November’s Midterm Elections, and Frank making his private Instagram account public. Hopefully 2019 won’t come and go in the same, disappointing fashion.
Kanye West: Yandhi? So Help Me God?
Okay, so maybe it won’t be ‘Yandhi’, or ‘So Help Me God’, but we would be very surprised if he lets 2019 come and go without an album release. And now that Ye freed himself, we think the new LP could match the genius, the chaos, the power flexing of The Life of Pablo. And it’s not like the artist hasn’t been at work. Last year, we saw an impressive 7-track rollout. Yeezy’s hands yielded DAYTONA, NASIR, Kids See Ghosts, and K.T.S.E, which made for a very G.O.O.D Summer. Knowing that Kanye was in and out of the studio pretty much all year, we can’t help but assume that in 2019 we will see the fruit of his labor, in a FULL, solo LP.
Kaytranada’s 99.9% Follow-up
Electronic, soul. Hip-hop and funk. The reclusive Montreal producer Kaytranada can do it all. But will he, in 2019? We hadn’t thought to hope for a 99.9% follow-up any time soon, until he closed out 2018, with new music featuring Ty Dolla $ign, no less. We think this makes the likelihood of Kaytranada releasing a sophomore album in 2019 very likely, which is good, because we have relied heavily on the groovy vibes produced on 99.9% since its release.
Noname: Possible Collab w/ Smino & Saba
It didn’t take long for Noname—Chicago rapper Fatimah Warner—to start discussing her follow-up to this year’s Room 25. Already, she has her fans hyped on what will be her third mixtape. “Critics love Room 25. Fans love Telefone. I love my new shit”, Warner wrote in a recent tweet. Not to mention hinting at a joint album with fellow Chicago rappers Smino and Saba. Especially since they are feeling themselves this year. After all, Noname said it best: “Smino Grigio, Noname, and Saba the best rappers, and radio niggas sound like they wearing adult diapers.”
DRAM’s Big Baby Dram Follow-up
First buoyed into the scene with his hit singles “Cha-Cha” and “Broccoli”, not to mention his appearances all over Chance the Rapper projects, rapper and singer DRAM is well situated to make a huge wave with his forthcoming LP, which should arrive in 2019. His last, 2016’s Big Baby DRAM, had an incredible, albeit short list of guests: Young Thug, Lil Yachty, and Erykah Badu. He landed several music festival appearances, including Chicago’s Pitchfork, and demonstrated to audiences everywhere that it doesn’t matter if he isn’t on your rap radar, he brings the vibe. It won’t be long before DRAM is on everyone’s playlists, and we bet it happens after his forthcoming LP.