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It seems like the year 2019 just started a couple of weeks ago. However, it’s zooming full speed ahead and we can’t believe that we’re already almost in March. A quarter of the year already around the corner? How could that be?
But, yes, it’s true. The new year is getting less and less new, and in turn, the music world is waiting for albums from some of our favorite recording artists to finally release. From rap fans to R&B fans — and everyone in between — music lovers move to the edges of their seats at the end of every week — Thursday night/Friday morning in particular — to see if their favs dropped any new projects. Though some dope stars such as Future, Kehlani, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Pump and more have released albums and EPs within the last few weeks; we’re still waiting on others to bless us with new hits this year, too.
Like last year, and many years before that, 2019 is going to be great for the music world. We’re anticipating some of the biggest names in the recording industry to release new records and we can’t wait. So, we’ve compiled a list of some stars who we want to drop their much-anticipated projects badly. Check it out below and tell us, whose project are you looking forward to in 2019?
Can you believe it? It’s already been over three years since Rihanna dropped her eighth studio album, ANTI. So, naturally, many of the Bajan beauty’s fans are begging for Robyn to finally release her ninth. We’ve been proud of all of the money moves that she’s been making within the past couple of years after ANTI‘s release such as Savage x Fenty, Fenty Beauty and more. However, the Navy wants to hear some tunes, too. What’s especially exciting about Rihanna’s upcoming album is that it’s rumored to have a completely different type of vibe from the singer’s previous projects. Riri’s previous LPs have all been very pop-heavy — after all, she’s a pop singer. But, this upcoming album is said to be a Reggae one! Yes, dih bad gyal is getting back to her Bajan roots and our bodies — literally — are ready. Pon de replay, queen. We can’t wait to hear that fire. — Isha Thorpe
The Harlem rapper has been on his grind for years now. In 2010, East dropped his very first mixtape and he’s been building his fanbase ever since. Over the past few years, the MC has definitely been making more of a name for himself with the several other projects that he’s released. In Nov. 2017, he dropped the DJ Holiday-hosted Karma mixtape and it was soon followed by Paranoia 2 in January 2018. Before 2018 wrapped up, East would drop Karma 2 and his joint album with Styles P, Beloved. But, we’re still waiting on that solo debut album, fam! It looks like it’s finally on the way. In Nov. 2018, East teased that his long-awaited project is coming in the first quarter of this year and it will be title Survival. It’s also being executive produced by Nas. With that flex and East’s bars, there’s no doubt in our minds that it’ll be worth the wait. — Isha Thorpe
Belcalis Almanzar is really out here. The Bronx rapper, who goes by Cardi B, shook the music world when she dropped her debut album, Invasion of Privacy, in April 2018. Many of us expected it to have a few bops here and there, while other people didn’t think it would slap at all. But, we were all blown away when we heard the project for the first time because it was at that moment that we fully understood that Cardi came to f–k s–t up. Every single song on the album was a banger! Since the LP’s release, Cardi’s received multiple accolades — including her historic Best Rap Album Grammy win — endorsements and partnerships with brands like Fashion Nova and Pepsi, and so much more. So, we’re hoping that the recording artist’s next project will continue Cardi’s winning streak and let the world — her naysayers included — know that she’s here to stay. Here’s to the rapper’s sophomore album further showcasing that her 15 minutes won’t be up anytime soon. — Isha Thorpe
A$AP Rocky’s TESTING was effectively hindered by the timing of its release. It was washed away in the storm of Pusha T’s Daytona, which hit streaming services on May 25. With all attention turned to the first of Kanye West’s executive produced projects in Wyoming, and subtle shots at Drake (see “Infrared”), the adventurous body of work never got a chance to garner the praise that it should have. Videos continue to roll out from it and they reveal outside-of-the-box anthems designed with more care than most of what came out in 2018. In 2019, Rocky’s inevitably going to come back with something even bigger. He’s a rapper who’s long thrived on competition and for once, it appears that he’s in last place. Perhaps it will be his long-rumored Beauty and the Beast: Slowed Down Sessions (Chapter 1) tape that was promised in 2013. Maybe it’ll be a well-earned reunion with Clams Casino who’s largely responsible for the atmospheric aesthetic that Rocky built his career upon. Whatever it is, Rocky’s going to elevate the intricate work of TESTING into something even bigger. The year 2018 was his test. The year 2019 will be when he implements what he’s learned. — Trey Alston
Blueface, the viral Los Angeles rapper whose singles “Respect This Crypn” and “Thotiana” brought about a new fascination with off-beat flows, has signed to Cash Money under Birdman. Although Birdman is — judging by his past dealings with Lil Wayne — an abysmal business associate, it would be hard to imagine any scenario where he doesn’t do right by Blueface and make sure that 2019 is his year. So, we’re calling it now. Blueface will have his debut album out before the end of this year. What it will consist of? Well, we’re not quite sure. He’s reportedly already linked up with Drake, Quavo, and Lil Uzi Vert. So, the industry’s elite are backing him. E-40 also happily posted a video of the two meeting some time ago. So, it looks like the culture’s paragons are embracing him, as well. But, if his album is anything like Two Coccy or Famous Cryp, then the manic energy will set the internet ablaze once again. This time, he’ll have the backings of Cash Money for luxurious instrumentals and features that compliment this sound. It’s hard not to get excited thinking about the possibilities. — Trey Alston
As we inch closer toward the end of the decade, it’s all but a foregone conclusion that Kendrick Lamar will be remembered as one of the defining artist to have emerged. Since catching the hearts and ears of rap fans with topically dense projects like Overly Dedicated and Section.80, the kid from the mad city known as Compton has done more than good with two multi-platinum albums, one platinum release, and an acclaimed EP on his resume. Many artists in today’s climate view rap as a numbers game with the endgame being the number of units sold and the income grossed. But Lamar, on the other hand, appears to be more concerned with his legacy as an artist, which makes the potential next steps he’ll take in his career that much more intriguing.
Notoriously measured by his recording process and the amount of material he releases, Lamar has been particularly active over the past few years, releasing his third major label LP, DAMN., in April 2017 and taking on the reigns of the Black Panther soundtrack in February 2018. This leads us to believe that the TDE franchise player more than likely has something bubbling in the lab to end off the decade with a big bang. The only question is, what should listeners expect from said album and what direction will Lamar take creatively? At this juncture of his career, Lamar has arrived to the point where he has little to prove in terms of accolades or metrics. The Grammys have been secured, the plaques have been awarded, and the classic albums are already being ranked among the greatest of all-time. So, could he hit us with another conceptual album in the vein of his magnum opus To Pimp A Butterfly? Would he decide to dominate radio with a succession of hit records and stick to the winning formula of his last collection? Or will he shoot to create a body of work that will shift the paradigm within hip hop and certify him as this era’s unquestioned preeminent MC. Only time will tell. But, one thing is for sure. We’ll certainly be watching. — Steven “Preezy” Brown
In an age where albums, mixtapes and EPs are thrown out with disregard; there’s something endearing (or annoying, depending on who tells it) about the creative who toils away in their artistic lair, while striving to refine and perfect a piece of art to present to the world in its finest, and purest form. Q-Tip is one of the most celebrated members of this class. While the times have changed, Q-Tip certainly hasn’t. Released over a decade ago, his last studio album that was comprised of new material was The Renaissance and it was praised as a masterpiece. And the long-awaited The Last Zulu has been trapped in purgatory for years. First announced in 2012, when it was revealed that Q-Tip had signed on to become a member of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, the album was originally set to be released in 2013. But, it’s suffered continuous pushbacks and false starts. However, last June, Q-Tip — whose last imprint on the music world came in 2016 with the release of A Tribe Called Quest’s sixth and final studio album, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service — hopped on social media to give fans an update on the album by tweeting, “The last Zulu aka the riot diary #ComingSoon.” We expect The Last Zulu to be a heavy contender for Best Rap Album of the Year in 2019 and to extend the legacy of one of the greatest figures in hip hop history. — Steven “Preezy” Brown
The year 2019 will mark 14 years since Lil’ Kim has released her fourth and last studio album to date, The Naked Truth. Since becoming the first and only female to receive a “5 mics classic” rating from The Source for The Naked Truth, the original Queen Bee has kept her discography alive with mix-tapes. In 2017, she teased the possibility of a fifth full length LP releasing the hypnotic, bag-securer “Took Us A Break.” The chorus rings, “Took Us A Break, but we back now!” From there, Kim has delved into the many facets of her alter egos and diverging sounds: She got Brooklyn “Spicy” with Fabolous on another banger and turned into a dancehall-spitting “Nasty One.” Her storied career and the present momentum female rap has on today’s scene (thanks in large part to her preeminent influence and game changing) deserves a moment like LK5, whenever we shall receive it. It seems like my 2018 year of standom will have to hold bated breath for 2019. When Lil’ Kim’s ready to make her statement through a new LP, we’ll all know. — Da’Shan Smith (former writer)
Last September, the hip hop world was rocked by the sudden death of Mac Miller. One of those most affected by the news was none other than ScHoolboy Q, who had planned to release his follow up to 2016’s Grammy-nominated Blank Face LP. Previously offering us cinematic cuts such as “Blind Threats” and “Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane,” ScHoolboy Q’s music makes us feel rowdy, rebellious, and out right energized. Listening to his body of work, fans of the South Central emcee experience his former days of drug dealing oxy and gang-banging with Crips. In 2018, we received a small dose of what sonic direction ScHoolboy Q could be heading in with his feature on “X” from Lamar’s curated Black Panther: The Album soundtrack (alongside Saudi and 2 Chainz). Throughout the cut, all the men ask us, “Are you on ten yet?” But, it’s ScHoolboy’s gloating verse that brings us back to his “Man of the Year” days. Now that ScHoolboy’s faced tragedy from losing a friend (and unfortunately to drugs that the rapper once dealt during his youth, as a means to survive), we may very well receive one of his most vulnerable and eye-opening albums in 2019— shall he be in the right state of mind to release. –Da’Shan Smith (former writer)
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