2016 was a major year in music with outstanding releases from hip-hop and R&B’s best, and this year is already shaping up to be a continuation of that with some highly-anticipated albums on the horizon.
The array of stellar LPs for the new year may include projects from Beyoncé and Jay Z. Will we finally see the long-rumored joint album from music’s royal couple, or will Beyoncé quench our thirst with a LEMONADE follow-up?
Originally set to arrive last month, Drake now plans to give fans More Life in 2017. Prior to his headlining performance at Coachella, all eyes are on Kendrick Lamar and his To Pimp a Butterfly sequel, while rap queen Nicki Minaj is coming back to claim her throne with her first album in two years. Meanwhile, 2017 may finally see the long-awaited release of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V.
With blockbuster projects and refreshing efforts potentially on the horizon, Rap-Up is looking into the year ahead, breaking down some of the year’s most anticipated releases. Here’s a look at 10 albums that are sure to make waves in 2017 (in alphabetical order).
Queen Bey reigned for much of last year with LEMONADE and 2017 could be an encore. However, it could also be the dawn of a new era with a new project. Expectations are high as last year’s release topped most year-end lists, including Rap-Up’s. There are also rumors that she will link up with Mr. Carter for a much-discussed joint effort, which wouldn’t be farfetched given how personal LEMONADE seemed to be. With a headlining role at this year’s Coachella, it’s looking like Queen Bey will have fans in “Formation” all 2017, too.
Oh God! Big Sean is coming off perhaps his most acclaimed album to date with Dark Sky Paradise, making I Decided. one of the most anticipated projects of his career. Since then, a breakup from Ariana Grande and a new relationship with Jhené Aiko have no doubt given The Don plenty inspiration for his rhyme book. “No More Interviews,” “Bounce Back,” and “Moves” have already offered previews of things to come and it looks like there’s even more in store. Besides I Decided. which is due Feb. 3, the Detroit spitter is also teaming up with his new girl Jhené for the sequel to last year’s TWENTY88 debut.
Team Breezy is set to howl in 2017, as Chris Brown gears up for Heartbreak on a Full Moon, the follow-up to 2015’s Royalty. Although it’s been somewhat clouded by a newfound beef with Soulja Boy, Breezy’s been teasing his new LP for months, dropping tracks like “Grass Ain’t Greener” and “Party” featuring Usher and Gucci Mane. On top of that, he’s been previewing tracks thought to be on the album via social media, including collaborations with Kap G and T-Pain. With his chart-topping resume, it’s likely Brown will have another big year in what’s become an achievement-filled career, even if controversy follows.
With Views, Drake is coming off his most successful album to date, but there’s More Life ahead. After tabulating billions of streams on his last effort, his forthcoming project is one of the year’s most anticipated. With his rumored J.Lo relationship and the release of “Fake Love” and the 21 Savage-assisted “Sneakin’,” Drizzy has only added fuel to those rising expectations. 2016 was his biggest year to date, making it all the more interesting to see how the 6 God will follow it up.
It’s been a “Hard Knock Life” for Jay Z fans for the last few years. That’s because H-to-the-O-V hasn’t released a new album in almost four calendar runs. Sure, S. Dot maintained a strong presence as a business, man, particularly given his Roc Nation and TIDAL ownership, but a new LP has remained elusive. There is hope, however. Not only have talks of a new project (including murmurs of a joint effort with wife Beyoncé) been swirling since last year, but his guest spots in 2016 were a sign of fire in his MC spirit. One person who’s heard Hov’s new material, Roc Nation’s own Vic Mensa, offered this teaser: “It’s fresh as fuck.”
Even in the midst of what’s been called a mental “breakdown,” Kanye West was ready to work. After being released from the hospital, he has reportedly wasted no time, crafting the follow-up to last year’s The Life of Pablo from a makeshift studio in his home. But, it’s likely that there’s more than one album on the way for Yeezy. In 2016, he promised three albums a year, teased an LP titled Turbo Grafx 16, and G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Winter compilation. If even a couple of these see the light of day, this could be a potentially prolific year for Yeezus.
Despite last year’s untitled unmastered., which offered To Pimp a Butterfly B-sides, it’s been nearly two years since King Kendrick has served up a proper studio album. This year could bring the Top Dawg MC’s latest effort, the follow-up to his Grammy-winning sophomore album. With K-Dot headlining Coachella, a new album before April is plausible, particularly if he wants to perform new music at the desert fest. There has also been ongoing talk of a J. Cole collaborative project, thanks to a semi-confirmation from Ab-Soul last year, but that remains to be seen. Whether he drops a solo CD or a duet effort with Cole, this could be another big year for the Compton king.
Lil Wayne spent much of 2016 entangled in a Cash Money feud, but it looks like 2017 will be all about new music. So far, at least five new Tunechi projects have been teased, including Dedication 6, Funeral, and Velvet. But according to both Wayne and Birdman, this year may finally see the release of the long-awaited Carter V. Although his $51 million lawsuit against Cash Money still looms, it’s clear Weezy has big plans for the new year.
God’s Son confirmed that his next LP was finished when he dropped the boldly-titled “Nas Album Done” on DJ Khaled’s Major Key. Now in his 23rd year in music, it looks like Esco is finally ready to deliver the project. This is great news for Nas fans, given that it’s been nearly five years since his last album, Life Is Good. There’s more good news. His appearance on Khaled’s album did more than just announce a pending project; it also showed he’s as sharp as his trademark fade and ready to usher in a new era.
It’s been two years since Nicki Minaj dropped The Pinkprint. Since then, she’s embarked on and ended a relationship with Meek Mill, giving her plenty to talk about on her forthcoming album. Last year, she remixed Rae Sremmurd’s chart-topping hit with “Black Barbies” and dropped a fiery freestyle to Young M.A.’s “Oooouuu.” While she has reportedly been working on a steady stream of yet-to-be-released features, the Queen of the Barbz is likely to drop her fourth studio album, which she calls “freaking epic,” by year’s end.