So we decided to make a list of the most anticipated albums this year, from all genres. And we got a pretty good list courtesy of Complex.com. Check out the list.
10. A$AP Rocky
You know it’s album time when A$AP Rocky starts deleting shit off his Instagram. As of late, he’s been using his recently scrubbed profile on the app to tease new music, posting multiple IG Stories, each with low-fi sounds and lo-res visuals—a continuation of his IRL snippets that he previewed at last November’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival. The blown out sound he’s been promoting shouldn’t come as a surprise. Speaking with GQ Style last October, Rocky declared his dedication to experimenting with different music on this forthcoming work. “My new album is really about testing new sounds,” Rocky said. “I prefer to experiment and have my crowd grow with me and to reach new crowds. I don’t just rap—I actually make music. That’s why it takes time. These sonics represent me.” We’re all waiting to see exactly what he offers to his patient fanbase. —Brandon ‘Jinx’ Jenkins
Drake blew through the 5 Stages of Grief in the months following the release of his last capital-A Album. He denied critical reaction using numbers, sales, and stans to shield himself. He spitefully questioned if we even “really want[ed] the views” on guest verses and scorned anyone who would dare say he lost it on the superior “4 PM in Calabasas.” By his birthday he was bargaining with us, offering a whole new project—a playlist, though, not an album. By winter, he had come around, admitting to Semtex that Views was “just another album” not his “opus or anything.”
Then he gave us More Life, which was pretty damn solid. And I politely asked him to stick to his promise on that project’s closer, “Do Not Disturb,” and go away. Drake definitely doesn’t care about my requests, but incidentally, he granted it anyway. Save a few verses for family and friends, he was musically quiet through the rest of 2017. More Life didn’t even get submitted to the Grammys for consideration. Of course, it was only a few months after ML’s release that he gave fans enough rope to hang themselves over Take Care 2theories, but nothing materialized. A cover story with THR even implied a full-on musical sabbatical was imminent. Well if it is, it’s coming after whatever he’s been teasing ad nauseam on the ‘gram. Champagne’s hard at work on something, with multiple 8 AM studio session flicks to prove it. If history is any indicator, this will be the project he allows us to call an album, i.e. the one he takes seriously and isn’t just a mixtape/playlist/collection of songs that shows how effortlessly he can make a catchy hit. The last time he changed modes, he took himself too seriously and gave us a redundant, overlong wet firework instead of a classic contender. Maybe the fifth (seventh, but let’s not quibble) time is the charm? —Frazier Tharpe
8. Nicki Minaj
If there’s one person who loves to play with our poor, Barbie emotions, it’s Nicki Minaj. We’ve been patiently waiting over three years for the follow-up to The Pinkprint, and we don’t have any indication as to when the wait will be over. To add insult to injury, Nicki has trolled curious fans on numerous occasions, even going so far as to put out a fake tracklist for an album called Pick My Fruit Out, which included tracks like “Mango” and “Bananas (Harambe Interlude).” We’re still a bit salty about the mind games, but we’re also too excited to stay angry. Of her next release, Nicki has said that it will be a “classic hip-hop album,” “a billion times more epic than anything ‘Anaconda’ could have delivered.” She also expressed in an interview with Roxane Gay that working on the album has been a journey of self-discovery, and she is “getting Nicki Minaj figured out.” We’re all for introspection, but please Nicki, it’s time to give us something. —Carolyn Bernucca
7. Frank Ocean
I’m not sure what we’re waiting on from Frank Ocean is, in fact, an album. Though he’s teased a follow-up to Endless and Blonde, 2017 saw him release a collection of randomly distributed loosies, each one stopping listeners in their tracks with their release. The thing is, you could easily argue that the sum total of those tracks—”Chanel” foremost among them—were better than nearly any full-length that came out last year. Frank is clearly past his reclusive phase and embarking on something stranger and less predictable. There’s no telling what he has in store for this year, but whatever it is it’s likely to be the best thing we’ll hear in the next 365 days or so. —Brendan Klinkenberg
Rihanna is not working on your schedule. She’s given exactly zero hints or basis for the belief that her ninth studio album is on the way, but according to my imprecise calculations (an average of 1.6 years between releases), in late 2018, Queen Rih will deliver. To be fair, since dropping 2016’s Anti—the singer’s most revealing conflicted album yet—Rihanna has been busy. Busy serving up lewks, creating the inclusive cosmetics line Fenty Beauty, dropping several Puma collabs, and generally getting hers. She’s offered her sultry vocals to hit tracks like N*E*R*D*’s “Lemon,” DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts,” and Kendrick’s “Loyalty,” and cemented herself as a legitimate movie star. Rihanna’s every move is master class on how to make bravado work in your favor, so expect Rih’s next release to be equal parts unexpected and—like every Rih project—a wildly aspirational treatise on how one should live. Feminists have never needed the fodder more. —Shanté Cosme
5. Cardi B
The Queen of the Bronx is the current top dog on the New York rap scene, and we fully expect her debut album to be filled bangers top to bottom. You can doubt Belcalis if you want to, but after her 2017 that is something, I will not do. It was the kind of breakout year that redefines what a breakout year can be. With six singles currently sitting on the Billboard Hot 100 list, seemingly everything she touches goes platinum. Not bad for someone who two years ago was dismissed as merely an Instagram celebrity. It’s the most anticipated major label debut to come out in years, and one thing is certain: Cardi will stay true to herself and continue to set the benchmark for authenticity in a world full of fakes. —Angel Diaz
4. Travis Scott, ‘Astroworld’
To be totally honest, we’re all being spoiled brats about the looming release of Astroworld. Yes, Travis has been teasing this album for well over a year, but prior to it, he gave us a project a year with Days Before Rodeo, Rodeo, and Birds in The Trap Sing McKnight.
But it’s the consistent growth on each project along with the sustained output that made him one of today’s biggest artists—and the father to the new age of artists doing their best to walk in his exact footsteps. With imitators springing up on all sides, Astroworld needs to serve as the elevation of his sound and aesthetic, and place him high above his kin, further solidifying his role as an innovator and leader. Otherwise, someone’s always ready to take his place
Surely with a break from touring, and his collab album with Quavo out in the world, Astroworld is underway. —Brandon ‘Jinx’ Jenkins
3. Chance The Rapper
Where you at, Chance? We haven’t heard much new material, aside from what was added to last year’s re-release of Merry Christmas, Lil Mama, his joint holiday tape with Jeremih. And 2016 was, of course, the year of Coloring Book, the almost overwhelmingly positive and God-centered project that features not one, but two songs called “Blessings.” Chance took a… chance by going so hard for Christ on wax, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll go that route again. Whichever direction he goes, all I ask is that he continues to bring the bars of glory. —Kiana Fitzgerald
It’s the sheer curiosity behind our No. 1 that edges Beyonce down to #2. The Queen is coming off of her two-best albums back-to-back. We are in the midst of Beyonce’s imperial phase. At this moment, barring an uncharacteristic miss of a lead single, there’s no reason to be dubious of the quality of any new material Bey has up her sleeve, it’s just a matter of when, a factor she’s controlled like no other since December 13, 2013.
To be honest, Lemonade, from the surprise release of “Formation” through to the 2017 Grammys performance, was such a full multi-course meal it feels greedy to ask for or expect all of that again so soon. Sure, it’s been almost two years since that album dropped, but consider its accompanying movie, or how each award show performance brought different set pieces and choreography from the tour into living rooms. Bey’s earned a long, long break.
And yet, we know she’s been working. No I.D. casually let it slip that she booted him and Jay out of their home studio so she could do her own recording. Eagle-eyed Hive members have been quick to cite laptop sightings and a roulette of style changes, both of which typically signify she’s hard at work on music and visuals respectively (after the Beyhive’s long run of successfully calling all sorts of predictions correctly, we’re not going to scoff at the possibility they really are receiving coded messages from the Queen Bee). Is Yoncé pulling up to Coachella with six albums’ worth of hits, or a brand new bag? The world awaits another full-stop. —Frazier Tharpe
1. Kanye West
Are we finally getting Turbo Grafx 16, complete with more Street Fighter samples? Will it sound totally different than anything he’s ever done before—a Yeezus-like experiment—or will he go back to his essence and give us an album of soul loops? There’s no predicting what Kanye’s been working on, no seeing what he might have up his sleeve, and that’s what makes this the album we want to hear the most.
Kanye has had an interesting year since dropping the Life of Pablo in February 2016. He should have a lot to talk about. He’s had some wins, alongside some very public difficulties, all of which should influence his new music heavily. What he chooses to address colors what could be the most pivotal album of his career since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
I fully expect Kanye to return to form this go ’round. What that sounds like is anyone’s guess. —Angel Diaz