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 Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums for 2019.
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.
Kanye West: Jesus Is King
Okay, so maybe it won’t be ‘Yandhi’, or ‘So Help Me God’, but as of last week, Kanye West’s partner Kim Kardashian West confirmed—via Instagram—that a new album is on the way and it’s titled Jesus Is King.The photo depicted a tracklist of Christian-themed singles, such as “Selah”, “God Is”, “Baptized”, “Sweet Jesus”, and more. Though we aren’t completely shocked by this—Kanye has been touring a “Sunday Service” show for a few months now—we are a little surprised by the singular theme of this record. Even more, we’re shocked that it’s arriving so soon. Kanye West fans and loyal believers, Jesus Is King will be out September 27th. And with Saturday Night Live premiering the day after the release of Jesus Is King, we could be looking at a Yeezy Season after all.
“Be. Still. Our. Hearts. Good, Rihanna-based news has finally arrived. Universal Music France held it’s yearly “open session”—where the label shares its yearly successes and future releases—and lo and behold, Rihanna’s highly anticipated ANTI follow-up is set to arrive in December. This is huge news for fans who feared Rihanna’s dancehall-focused album would never come to light. “It really does suck that it can’t just come out, because I’m working on a really fun one right now. I’m really happy with a lot of the material we have so far, but I am not going to put it out until it’s complete,” Rihanna stated previously.”
We know from earlier, confirmed rumors that Rihanna’s upcoming album is a pivot to dancehall music. After accruing over 500 samples from Jamaican producers and songwriters, Rihanna has crafted a record of Caribbean quality and sound. Though, fans should also expect major pop elements. According to sources, the LP endured a near constant changing of directions. But for the sake of those who dedicated and donated samples to the making of R9, we’re hoping that plenty of the dancehall survives.
In the same announcement where new Kanye West, Rihanna, Migos, and The Weeknd albums were promised came word on Drake’s upcoming venture—reportedly due out in 2019. No matter that Drake recently dropped his The Best In The World Pack EP back in June. The artist, around that time, revealed via Instagram that he’s in full “album mode”. So fans, you may want to prepare for another massive Spotify campaign this year, as Drake continues to be one of the most successful and prolific rappers in the game.
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.
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:Chapter VI
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. But an announcement finally arrived back in August. “Album mode full effect” was all he said. And although he wasn’t pictured in the studio, or with any potential collaborators, the words were all we needed to anticipate The Weeknd’s forthcoming album. Especially since, according to his album release patterns of the past, we are due for an LP in 2020.
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.
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.