The 28 Most Anticipated Albums of 2018

  /  01.08.2018

2017 brought us stunning debuts, underrated releases, sonically off-center efforts, rule-breaking projects and, of course, overall best albums. But now, we’re looking ahead at the new year, at those who’ve made us promises, at those with whom we’ve lost patience. These are the REVOLT staff’s 28 most anticipated albums of 2018.

Anderson .Paak, TBD

In 2016, we dubbed Anderson .Paak’s Malibu one of the most sonically-extraordinary albums of the year. But since then, he’s been quiet on the solo front: he dropped his collaborative project with Knxwledge; his backing band The Free Nationals released their own LP; and he nabbed guest spots on both Rapsody and Talib Kweli’s latest efforts. But all that won’t distract us from the fact that there is real, visible, evidential footage of him in the studio with—count ’em—Chance the Rapper, Bruno Mars, Nile Rodgers, and Disclosure’s Guy Lawrence. He even posted a video on Instagram back in March with the caption: “Working on the new album in Oahu for a week. (sorry no sxsw).” But that same clip’s subtitle has since been changed to “#NxWorries x @fendi live from a roof top in #Rome :).” And now we don’t know what to feel, except for the feeling of possibly being trolled.—Danielle Cheesman

A$AP Rocky, TBD

It’s been almost three years since his last solo album, but A$AP Rocky hasn’t cooled down one bit. Other than crystallizing his reign in the fashion world, Flacko kept busy on the music side of things, cooking up two solid volumes of the Cozy Tapes with A$AP Mob and enough lyrical heat to warrant a ‘hip-hop’s most underrated’ tag. In the midst of all of that, he’s been hard at work testing his third studio album. So far, we’ve heard a boatload of snippets, spotted Rocky in the studio with Blood Orange and Lenny Kravitz to name a few, and learned that the record will find its star by trying out new sounds. Talking to GQ in October, he shared, “People are scared to test new sounds, so they go with what’s current ’cause it’s the easy thing to do. I prefer to experiment and have my crowd grow with me and to reach new crowds.” Without a dull album in his catalog, we trust all signs are a go for another electric effort from the “greatest contemporary artist of all time.” Flacko Season is almost here.—Ralph Bristout

Beyoncé & JAY-Z, TBD

We know, we know. We’ve been awaiting a joint album from Beyoncé & JAY-Z for a lifetime and the joke has always been on us. In 2014, DJ Skee first revealed “they’re working on an album together.” In 2015, producer Detail promised “they’re doing something together this year.” In 2016, Page Six reported the project was coming “very soon.” And they were all rumors to be taken with a grain of salt, right? But, this year, things changed when Jay himself confirmed to The New York Times what we long suspected: that the couple has unheard hits somewhere in a vault. “We were using our art almost like a therapy session,” he said. “And we started making music together. And then the music she was making at that time [Lemonade] was further along. So her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on. Um, we still have a lot of that music.” We’re not saying we’ve got a drop date for this highly-anticipated LP but, hey, we’re closer than ever before.—DC

Blood Orange, TBD

After dropping 2016’s Freetown Sound, another one of our favorite off-center auditory releases, Blood Orange kept a relatively low profile, appearing only on an interlude of Solange’s A Seat at the Table and producing for the likes of Tinashe (Nightride) and HAIM. But recently he’s been re-emerging with intention. Like .Paak (above) though, he posted a photo to Instagram promising fans one thing—”Currently working on Blood Orange album 4″—before editing it to, simply, “Writing.” Adding another dangling carrot to the string, he soon after told the New York Times’ that the album was “78% done.” And then finally, to torture no more (or maybe a little), he shared a snippet on Instagram of two songs (or one shape-shifting one) and, naturally, he subtitled the clip “4,” but couldn’t do so without an added “?.” What gives?—DC

Cardi B, TBD

Securing the title of ‘Hottest MC in NYC’ wasn’t enough for Cardi B. She had to go on to make Billboard history a few times, be in one of hip-hop’s hottest relationships, and scoop up a couple of Grammy nominations. The former reality television star’s contender for song of 2017, “Bodak Yellow,” helped curate countless summer playlists, while also setting the record straight that the Bronx native was dead ass serious with her music. Along with “Bartier Cardi”—the second single said to be featured on her as-of-yet untitled debut—charting high, her slayage on top 10 hits by Migos and G-Eazy can be used as evidence that Cardi isn’t just another one-hit wonder. Now all she has to do is deliver a poppin’ album.—Kai Acevedo

Chance The Rapper, TBD

As active as Chance The Rapper was in 2017, it’s easy to forget that he didn’t drop an album. After making history with his Grammy-winning Coloring Book, Lil Chano spent much of the last year raising much-needed funds for Chicago schools and having fun with TV spots on Saturday Night Live and his hometown’s WGN News. But he isn’t sleeping musically: he debuted a new song with Daniel Caesar on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, teased a Soul For Real-sampling song on Instagram, connected with Bruno Mars on Twitter for a possible future collaboration, and appeared on his first no. 1 hit with DJ Khaled’s “I’m The One.” He also got busy on stage, performing at Lollapalooza, Essence Music Festival, Governors Ball, and his fans-only Magnificent Coloring World 2 show. Chance told Complex that he was considering selling his next project, which would be his official debut album – not a mixtape like his previous efforts. The decision seems like a risky one, but Chance has proven in recent years that he knows what he’s doing. —William E. Ketchum III

Childish Gambino, TBD

Donald Glover has been working for years, but 2017 was the year he was recognized as a singular cultural force. With the surrealist street satire of his FX show Atlanta, the psychedelic soul and funk from his third album Awaken, My Love! and its powerful lead single “Redbone,” Glover – and his musical persona, Childish Gambino – arguably set the bar for black creativity over the last 12 months, with the fan reception, critical acclaim and award nominations to back it up. Glover has said that his next record will be the final Childish Gambino album, and he’s sure to close the Gambino saga powerfully. —WEK

Drake, TBD

By mastering the art of introducing new bodies of music routinely, while at the same time being able to consistently build anticipation for every passing project, Drake has become one of popular music’s most prolific artists. Just as he creeps up on ten years of dominating the rap game and the pop charts, the signs that he’s probably in full album mode are becoming clearer. Hopefully looking to bounce back from the creative half step that was VIEWS, Drizzy is at an interesting point in his career. “Takin’ summer off, ’cause they tell me I need recovery / Maybe gettin’ back to my regular life will humble me / I’ll be back in 2018 to give you the summary,” he raps on the outro to last year’s More Life. And although he’s expected to rise to the challenge, it does leave many wondering what’s next for him, musically. Recent leaks like “Pistols” and his freestyle over the instrumental to JAY-Z’s “Family Feud” indicate that, at the very least, he’s taking the rap portion of whatever project he’s currently working on seriously.—KA

GOOD Music, Cruel Winter

It’s almost cruel—don’t @ me—we’re still speculating about this one… but maybe 2018 will fiiinally bless us. Back in 2012, fans were treated to the release of Cruel Summer, the debut compilation album from G.O.O.D. Music that featured the likes of Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, JAY-Z, Kid Cudi, CyHi The Prynce, John Legend, Travis Scott and Teyana Taylor, among others. The project instantly sparked rumors of a sequel, as Q-Tip, who infamously was not involved with the first collection, innocently posed the question during an interview at the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards, asking, “If there’s a Cruel Summer then there’s got to be a Cruel Winter, right?” From there, the timeline has gone on to span five years, with hiccups of rumors causing a ripple in the tides ever since. After Common and Pusha T asserted the project wasn’t happening, with Travis Scott and Big Sean later re-stirring the pot, ‘Ye eventually came clean to say he goes “back and forth” about it. However, the first official single “Champions” arrived in 2016, creating yet another beacon of hope. The epic posse cut featured West, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, Quavo and the label’s latest signee Desiigner, with the single marking the first sign that maybe the seemingly long-lost album would soon tangibly see the light of day. With CyHi The Prynce recently getting our hopes up once again and the G.O.O.D. Music website featuring a time ticker, perhaps 2018 will be a G.O.O.D. year after all.—KC Orcutt

J. Cole, TBD

J. Cole hasn’t dropped an album since December 2016’s 4 Your Eyez Only, but still managed to draw excitement during his hiatus last year. In July, he was spotted in the studio with Dr. Dre. In November, he joined a session with Swizz Beatz. And while that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s actually working on new material, the championed lyricist did prove his verbal razor blade is sharper than ever on records for Logic (“AfricAryan”), Joey Bada$$ (“Legendary”), Jeezy (“American Dream”) and Miguel (“Come Through and Chill”). With all that is happening in the world, from the hoopla going on in the White House to current societal climate, Cole’s voice is what the people need right now. Plus, with some rap listeners disputing the quality of his last effort, he may be out with something to prove next time around. His albums usually arrive every two years, so 2018 may be Jermaine’s next conquest.—RB

Jay Rock, TBD

Last April, TDE president Anthony Tiffith, better known as “Top Dawg,” confirmed through a series of tweets that albums by SZA, ScHoolboy Q, and Jay Rock would be released in 2017. Sure, the tweets were posted on April Fool’s Day but that didn’t make the LPs dropping any less possible. Despite a few guest spots on projects like E-40’s The D-Boy Diary, Isaiah Rashad’s The Sun’s Tirade, or more recently on DJ Kay Slay’s The Big Brother, Rock’s been relatively quiet since the release of his 2015 sophomore album 90059 – especially after getting injured in a February 2016 motorcycle accident. Following what would become Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., SZA wound up being the only other TDE artist to release, delivering the acclaimed CTRL. While those two would be a hard act to succeed, a new project from the Watts, Calif. MC was going to have eyes on it. Since Rock’s untitled third LP is still without a release, we can bask in knowing that there is an actual project. In August 2017, Top himself confirmed in an Instagram post, alongside the emcee and in-house engineer MixedByAli, that Rock’s album was in the process of being mixed.—Rob Hansen

Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods (February 2)

Just in case you couldn’t tell by the whiff of sexy in the air, Justin Timberlake is back and with his return comes a season of sonic feels. Man of the Woods, the singer’s fifth studio album, arrives next month and in its trail comes a series of feelings. There’s the beloved reunion between the singer and Justified co-conspirators Timbaland and the Neptunes. There’s the Bon Iver-esque transformation shown in his rustic, earthy album trailer. There’s also the inspiration behind the album: “my son, my wife, my family…where I’m from.” It’s all an interesting turn for the perennial pop star but, five years after his last release (2013’s The 20/20 Experience), it couldn’t have arrived at a better time.—RB

Kanye West, TBD

Before we stir up hype, there is no guarantee that a Kanye West album is arriving this year. But, when there are reports about the G.O.O.D. Music founder being “holed up” on the top of a mountain in Wyoming working on new material, Pete Rock teasing studio sessions, and Kid Cudi back by his side, the mere thought of a Kanye album in the horizon is enough to turn speculation into “Yeezy season approaching.” Adding to the buzz is the fact that ‘Ye took the year off in 2017, following a tumultuous 2016. The last time Mr. West went full Luke Skywalker and receded from the spotlight, he re-emerged with one of the most compelling albums of the 21st century, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. All that said, the one thing guaranteed is that when he does decide to drop his next album, Kanye will undoubtedly shift the paradigm, electrify his catalog, and once again grab the world by the ear.—RB

Kanye West & Kid Cudi, TBD

This started off as a rumor last year, when Page Six reported that Kanye West and Cudi were hard at work on a “top-secret” project together. According to sources at the time, the pair were gearing up to drop a “crazy collaboration” out of nowhere. While rumors are one thing, we started to see receipts via photos of the two in Japan, China for New Year’s Eve. With their penchant for making undeniable G.O.O.D. classics together (808s & Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), a Kanye and Cudi project would make the world a better place. —RB

Lil Xan, Total Xanarchy (March 17)

We all have those friends that surprise us, especially when it comes to their music recommendations. When one of my most trustworthy colleagues in the music industry casually mentioned that he felt Lil Xan was going to surprise us all in 2018, I had to take note immediately and put a pin in any preconceived notion I may have had stemming from the fact his name is derived from the prescription drug Xanax, a substance that has since sparked a national dialogue following the November 2017 passing of Lil Peep—and actually listen to his music and learn his story. The 21-year-old emerging artist has instead tactfully used the platform he’s gained through his viral breakout single, 2017’s “Betrayed,” to urge fans to stop using the drug altogether, often speaking about his own battles with addiction and how he was able to quit the drug after two years. With Lil Xan’s sound signified by whimsical production and an equally laid-back rapping style, it’s going to be interesting to see what he does next now that he’s catapulted into the spotlight via viral fame. Total Xanarchy will definitely speak to his staying power in the era of SoundCloud rappers, and I’m all ears.—KO

Major Lazer, Music Is The Weapon (March 16)

Major Lazer’s last album, 2015’s Peace Is The Mission, brought us the omnipresent juggernaut “Lean On.” So it’s no surprise that they’re likely taking their time trying to recreate that success. They’ve been teasing their upcoming LP for damn near a year-and-a-half though, starting with the Justin Bieber-assisted, summer ’16, No.2-charting single “Cold Water” and following it up with the equally beloved “Run Up” featuring Nicki Minaj and PARTYNEXTDOOR. Diplo then revealed that the album could (could!) feature Usher, Travis Scott, and Tinashe but, ya know, he wasn’t sure “which one’s gonna make the cut.” So the trio dropped the surprise EP Know No Better to hold us over, and that they did with its title track, a Top 10 hit assisted by Travis Scott and Quavo, and the Jidenna-guested, moves-inducing “Particula.” What we’re saying is we’re ready to dance and we’ve waited long enough.—DC

Migos, Culture II (January 2018)

Migos did a lot for the culture in 2017. The same year that established the trio as a collective (as opposed to ‘Quavo and crew’) also saw the release of their multi-platinum sophomore album. Quavo maintained his position as one of hip-hop’s top hook handlers, and also dropped his long-awaited joint project with Travis Scott. With Cardi B playing the Bonnie to Offset’s Clyde and his newly found groove fully in tact, the youngest Migo proceeded to body tracks he touched left and right, like Gucci Mane’s “Met Gala,” “Gucci on My” from Mike Will Made It’s Ransom 2 and much of what’s found on Without Warning, his surprise collab tape with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin. If that wasn’t enough, the new age Beatles sauced it up on the fashion tip at events like the Met Gala, inspired some of the year’s most geeked out memes, and got Cardi and Nicki Minaj to put their rumored beef to the side for the lead single to their forthcoming Culture 2. The hotly-anticipated album’s Pharrell-produced second offering, “Stir Fry”, indicates that the rap group from the “Nawfside” of Atlanta are ready to take the turn up to another level. We just need Takeoff to prove he wasn’t left off of “Bad and Boujee.”—KA

Nas, TBD

Nas, where’s the album? Although you can’t rush greatness, I can still ask for it. “Nas Album Done” saw the return of Escobar Caesar in his finest form; assisted by DJ Khaled and backed by a sample of “Fu-Gee-La,” Nas appeared to be setting the stage for his 12th album, the follow-up to 2012’s Life Is Good. The last few years have seen the Queensbridge native grow into quite the businessman, and an even greater cultural icon, as he expanded outside of his home of rap by launching Mass Appeal Records, his HSTRY clothing brand, and venturing into film and television. Unfortunately, The Get Down, a show which Nas narrated and was an executive producer of, was canceled by Netflix. While he will still be the focus of a new BET miniseries, it remains to be seen if Nas will drop the album we hope that is complete. After the death of Prodigy, a few anniversaries on the horizon, and the general desire of new Nas records, it would still be interesting to hear what the man has to say.—RH

Nicki Minaj, TBD

It’s now been over three years since Nicki Minaj dropped her last album The Pinkprint but you wouldn’t know it by looking back at her 2017. As if to prep us for what’s to come, she kept her name on our tongues and our eyes on the lookout by going full throttle as a guest for the last 12 months. She shared tracks with Gucci Mane (“Make Love”), Future (“You Da Baddest”), Major Lazer (“Run Up”), Katy Perry (“Swish Swish”), Jason Derulo (“Swalla”), DNCE (“Kissing Strangers”), and Fergie (“You Already Know”). But the verses she delivered on Yo Gotti’s “Rake It Up” and on “MotorSport,” her collabo with Migos and Cardi B, are what likely helped shoot them to the Top 10 (and what certainly had us forgiving her for that “three pack from Paris” (side-eye)). She’s already told DAZED, “I have to release a classic at this point.” So, damnit Nicki, that’s what we’re expecting.—DC

Pusha T, King Push

Pusha T’s King Push has lived in the ‘Most Anticipated Albums’ list for about five years, so we’ll keep this brief. Warm-up records like the Jay-Z-featured “Drug Dealers Anonymous” and a short prelude in 2015 showed promise, but the announcement that Kanye West is producing the entire project is enough to stick this project back in the projected 2018 releases lineup. “It’s going to be album of the year in 2018,” he told Billboard in November. “Heavy raps, production by Kanye West from top to bottom.” Sounds like an upcoming classic. —RB

Rae Sremmurd, SremmLife 3

Rae Sremmurd may have had their doubters when they dropped their debut album in 2015, but there’s no questioning their promise now. Their second album Sremmlife 2 had their first no. 1 hit with “Black Beatles,” and saw them taking artistic risks that proved they weren’t simply sticking to their previous formulas. After a year on the road, and letting “Perplexing Pegasus” bubble in recent months, the Mississippi brothers told REVOLT TV that they plan to release their third album Sremmlife 3 by the end of January. With two heaters in a row, our money is on them and Mike WiLL Made-It to continue making magic. —WEK

Remy Ma, 7 Winters & 6 Summers

Remy Ma had a 2017 for the memory books, with many focusing their attention on the reignited beef between the Bronx icon and her longtime nemesis-turned-frenemy Nicki Minaj. After experiencing residual success from her and Fat Joe’s 2016 global anthem “All The Way Up,” Remy started 2017 with a bang, unleashing “ShETHER”, the lethal diss track aimed at Minaj, back in February. The saga that soon followed was sprinkled with plenty of W’s and L’s on both sides, but once the smoke cleared, it became clear that Remy had emerged to a new level in her career, one that she has put in blood, sweat, tears and time to rightfully earn. With 7 Winters & 6 Summers slated for an early 2018 release, Remy is poised to finally claim what’s rightfully hers, all while reminding fans she has nothing left to prove either. She’s been there, done that. What remains is the creative freedom to create the body of work that Remy alone wants to make and, with her own bar set impressively high, it’s without a doubt that 7 Winters & 6 Summers is going to deliver as one of the culture’s most eyeballed releases of 2018.—KO

ScHoolboy Q, TBD

Groovy Q has long been teasing the release of his untitled fifth album. After dragging us through hell during Summer ’16 with his Grammy-nominated Blank Face LP, ScHoolboy revealed to Zane Lowe in February 2017 that he was halfway into his next project. In late May, nearly two months after Top Dawg teased the then-upcoming releases of albums from SZA, Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy as well, Q would later tease his album’s possible release, with no particular date set, and said it would follow TDE’s first lady. During his appearance at the L.A. stop of Ab-Soul’s YMF Tour, the rapper told the audience, “I just might have my album for y’all after SZA.” In September, Q posted to Instagram a video of himself at the gym, writing “First day back was Hella ruff. I wanted 2 go Home after 10 mins but I ain’t a lil bitcH…. I said once my album 90% done I was going back 2 da gym…. well I’m back!!!” So, fingers crossed.—RH

Swae Lee, Swaecation

Life has been good for Rae Sremmurd as a duo, with “Black Beatles” topping the charts in 2016 and the pair keeping busy on the road before the January 2018 release of their third album Sremmlife 3. But Swae Lee has established himself as one of the best hook slingers in the biz, lending his melodic choruses to group efforts and to songs like French Montana’s latest summer hit “Unforgettable.” Fans have clamored for a solo project from him, and in a 2016 interview he revealed that he had eight candidates for a solo album called Swaecation. No word on if this is dropping in 2018 yet, but if it does then it’d likely be another victory for the Ear Drummers squad.—WEK

Swizz Beatz, With The Smoke

Most of the visibility around Swizz Beatz over the past couple years has been for his ventures outside of music: his No Commission project gives exposure to visual artists around the world; he has a multi-year partnership with clothing company Bally; and he recently graduated from the Harvard Business School program. But last year, he still proved that he can push the button on hip-hop at any given moment: his beat battle with Just Blaze was one of the biggest cultural moments of 2017, and the snippet he played of an unreleased heatrock with JAY-Z, Nas, Jadakiss and DMX had rap heads losing their minds. If the snippet was any indication of his upcoming album, Swizz Beatz is with the smoke.—WEK

The Diplomats, TBD

How many times can The Diplomats reunite before fans stop caring? We may honestly never know because every time Cam’Ron, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana patch up old beefs and tease the thought of new music, most of us die-hard Dipset fans succumb to the hype. For the umpteenth time, the Harlem collective is said to be prepping their first official group project in well over a decade. Comprised of gems like “Dipset Anthem” and “I’m Ready,” their debut group album, Diplomatic Immunity Vol. 1, teetered along lines of cult-classic status. However, it’s also been well over a decade since the Dipset movement and its impact were in full effect. There’s still tons of interest in most things Dipset, but will the crew’s new music set the right vibes in this era?—KA

The Roots, TBD

The Roots have spent the last few years as the house band for Jimmy Fallon on late-night TV, but Black Thought’s blistering freestyle with Funk Flex this past December proved that his rhymes are still as sharp as ever. The band’s first album since 2014’s …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, and since the tragic death of their longtime manager Richard Nichols that same year, is scheduled to drop in 2018. Will the band’s usual political subversiveness be sacrificed with their new position in the mainstream, or will Thought have commentary about year one of the Trump presidency? Questlove has said that they’ve recorded nearly 300 songs for the record, and their fans will be ready to hear what they have to say.—WEK

Travis Scott, Astroworld

Outside of touring atop his giant bird, collecting a few platinum plaques, and anticipating the arrival of young La Flame, Travis Scott poured up a splash of playlist fixtures in 2017. He stayed in rotation with new music by dropping loosies like “Butterfly Effect” and securing guest feature work like Miguel’s “Sky Walker.” If that wasn’t enough, to wrap up 2017, Travis closed out the year with Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, his collaborative album with Quavo. Now with all of that in the rearview, eyes are glued on Astroworld, the album he’s been talking about since before 2016’s Birds In the Trap Sing McKnight. Not much has been revealed about the album, other than its ever-present “soon” timetable. However, there have been hints about its direction. In a May 2016 interview with Zane Lowe, Scott described Astroworld as the “album I always wanted to do” and called Birds its “stepping stone.” In March 2017, he sat with GQ and divulged on rich history behind the album title, which derives from a Houston amusement park that was demolished in 2005. “They tore down AstroWorld to build more apartment space. That’s what it’s going to sound like,” he shared. Since then, we’ve only been left with hues of what this sonic amusement park will sound like via teasers like “Green & Purple,” “Butterfly Effect,” and “A Man.” Still, the show looks like a go for 2018.— RB


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