Hip hop has several intensely anticipated albums slated to drop in 2013. There’s something for everyone; albums from mainstream superstars, underground darlings and pretty much everyone in between. Read on to find out who made the list of TRU’s 13 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013.
13. Wale- I Ain’t Perfect
Wale has made a lot of fans through his work with MMG. Even though his sophomore album, Ambition, received mixed reviews, it still went Gold. What’s more, Folarin is considered by many to be the strongest rapper in MMG. I Ain’t Perfect will be released some time in 2013 and will likely include members of the Maybach roster.
12. Ludacris- Ludaversal
For over a dozen years now, Ludacris has maintained success in the rap game. His last full-length, Battle of the Sexes, featured the hits “How Low” and “My Chick Bad,” both of which proved Luda can still get bodies on the dance floor. Even though none of the singles from Ludaversal- “Jingalin,” “Representin” and “Rest of My Life”- were as well received as past Ludacris singles, Luda has a large enough fan base to make his seventh solo studio album a hotly anticipated release. Ludaversal is set to be released in the first quarter of 2013.
11. Kid Cudi- Indicud
Kid Cudi could have easily gone the way of Charles Hamilton and faded into obscurity. However, the lonely stoner has managed to amass a niche of fans (growing up 90 minutes from his hometown of Cleveland, I’ve personally witnessed how rabid they are), that are hotly anticipating his next release. After his foray into rock music with WZRD, Cudi is back to rhyming with his third studio album, set to be released in March. The first single off the album is “Just What I Am” featuring King Chip and produced by Cudi. The kid named Cudi will produce other songs on Indicud, and has confirmed he has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Cage, Pusha T, Kanye West, Jaden Smith and J Cole for the album.
10. Raekwon- Fly International Luxurious Art
Even if the Wu-Tang Clan’s final album (detailed below) doesn’t see the light of day in 2013, hip hop heads can likely count on Raekwon releasing a solo album. Rae recently announced the title of his latest effort, which he said will be released in the second quarter of 2013. Even on his worst day, Raekwon is still solid, so when the album drops, expect a delicious entree courtesy of The Chef.
9. Freddie Gibbs and Madlib- Cocaine Pinata
One of hip hop’s better hardcore rappers and one of its better producers collaborating on a full-length? Check. Freddie Gibbs’ first official album? Check. An anticipated hip hop album for 2013? Check check check. Not much is known about the album, except that it’s slated for release some time this year. Still, a Freddie Gibbs-Madlib collaborative album could reasonably be expected to be a smashing success.
8. Danny Brown- Old
Arguably hip hop’s most eccentric emcee, Danny Brown’s first retail-available album will be anticipated by niche fans and general hip hop heads alike, simply because Brown himself is so fascinating. On December 17th, Brown told Pitchfork Media that the album was 75 percent done and in the mixing stages. Collaborators include A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, as well as production and vocals from Canadian electronic music duo Purity Ring. There is no set release date for Old.
7. A$AP Rocky- LongLiveA$AP
Even though A$AP Rocky’s debut album has already been leaked, it won’t legally see the light of day until January 15th. The album caters to several different audiences: stoners, southern rap afficionados, NYC heads and “new school” fans. The first two singles off the album are “Goldie” and “Fuckin’ Problems,” which features Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar. Producers on board include Hit-Boy, T-Minus and Jim Jonsin. Expect A$AP’s signature dirty south sound on his debut, as well as a bevy of guest features.
6. GOOD Music- Cruel Winter
In 2012, GOOD Music supplanted Young Money as the hottest collective in hip hop. Although the crew’s album Cruel Summer received mostly lukewarm reviews, it spawned multiple hit singles, including “Mercy” and “Clique.” Since the release of Cruel Summer, Big Sean and John Legend have confirmed that GOOD Music is prepping a follow-up titled Cruel Winter. The album will likely feature most of (if not all of) the GOOD Music roster and is set to be released some time in 2013.
5. Wu-Tang Clan- Final studio album
This one would be higher on the list, but the fact is that whether or not this album will be recorded remains to be seen. Still, RZA seems very determined to get everyone together for one last effort, and Ghostface Killah and Raekwon are all for it. RZA said that he would like for the album to be released in November, to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the release of Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers.
4. J Cole- Born Sinner
J Cole’s first album was a success, both critically and commercially. Now the question is, can he avoid the sophomore slump? Songs Cole has released since Cole World- The Sideline Story dropped have hinted that he can. Seemingly having no interest in turning any poppier than “Work Out,” Cole’s first single off Born Sinner is the politically charged “Miss America.” If the lead single is an omen for the album, we’re in for a real treat. Cole initially wanted to release Born Sinner on his birthday, January 28th, but said on New Year’s Eve that the album will be released on a later date.
3. Pusha T- My Name is My Name
Pusha T’s first solo album with a The Wire-inspired title is sure to catch the attention of mainstream and underground rap fans alike. Expectations for the album could be reasonably high, as Pusha T torched many of his guest verses in 2012. Pusha T has said My Name is My Name is thematically based on the 1997 Al Pacino flick The Devil’s Advocate, saying the album is very dark but also beautiful. The first single off the album is “Pain” featuring Future. Producers reportedly on board are Kanye West, Pharrell, The-Dream, Just Blaze, No I.D., Swizz Beatz and Rico Beats. My Name is My Name is expected to drop early on this year.
2. 50 Cent- Street King Immortal
After several false starts and label-related delays, 50 Cent’s latest offering is slated to be released on February 26th. Although many consider him to have fallen off, the four songs released from Street King Immortal suggest otherwise. 50 is in all his classic forms here: “New Day,” featuring Alicia Keys and Dr. Dre is inspirational; “My Life” featuring Eminem and Adam Levine is radio accessible; “First Date” featuring Too Short showcases Fif’s sly wit; “Major Distribution” featuring Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy is appropriately gangsta. 50 Cent has called this album his “comeback,” so the stakes are high.
1. Eminem- eighth studio album
Admittedly, the only signs of a new album from Shady are confirmation that he’s been recording for it, and a collector’s edition hat which features all of the years he’s released albums- including 2013. Yet, it’s been three years since Eminem released a solo album and the year on the hat basically etches in stone, er, thread, that he at least plans to release an album this year. No I.D. and 50 Cent have reportedly been working in the studio with Em.