We’re deep into the fourth quarter and it has been an exceptionally odd time for us all, including musicians and their new albums. Names such as Syleena Johnson, Jhené Aiko, Alicia Keys, Chloe x Halle, and Jade Novah have already dropped exciting projects, giving a solid nod to more banner releases to close out 2020.
It might be easier to say that these efforts have helped us in coping with the pandemic and problematic times of the day, but many of us still wonder who will give us those internet-breaking surprises before the New Year’s Eve ball drops? Will this be the year that Rihanna finally adds R9 to our Fenty stockings? Will the Pulitzer-winning Kendrick Lamar chronicle the social strifes of this year with his fifth studio album?
COVID-19 may have sidelined us from enjoying the live musical experience, but as we close out this year, there are plenty of stereo-shaking tunes on the way.
With that said, take a break, turn that MSNBC off for a bit, and check out the officially announced and hotly rumored records that we are highly anticipating to drop this fall.
Sadly, the North Carolina MC has hit the snooze button on our expectations, as he recently wrote on IG, “Taking my time, still finishing.” With the clock soon to strike 2021 and the Dreamville Festival already postponed due to the pandemic, maybe Cole World is just playing “middle child” until big bro (Jay-Z) pushes the button. Hey, we can dream, right?
With that said, the outcasts are increasingly hype for Nightmare Vacation, her debut studio album, which was announced with a handwritten letter to fans. Along with releasing “iPhone” in mid-August, the pop-punk princess is “so ready to get [the album] out and share it,” which should ensure another fun and empowering listen for fans both longtime and new.
Announced in August during a chat with TIDAL’s Elliott Wilson, the Wu-Tang Clan member said, “It's time we close that trilogy out. I was holding all night back to tell you that. ‘Cuban Linx III’ baby, the trilogy. It's over after that. It's over.” That may be the case, but real heads will surely accept a Director's Cut ASAP.
Provisionally dubbed R9 by fans who want the album dropped today, Rihanna has teased us (“Me listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it.”) and played with our feelings in a way that only the Bad Gal can. After accruing over 500 samples and working with some of dancehall music's biggest producers and songwriters, we're dutty wining with excitement that 2021 starts off with new Fenty music.
From engaging in a short-lived beef with J. Cole, comparing Beyoncé to civil rights activist Angela Davis, Noname was doing more apologizing than advocacy, plus the supergroup Ghetto Sage (formed with Saba and Smino) was put on hold indefinitely. Whatever form Factory Baby takes, and whenever it drops on streaming services, fans of Noname are highly anticipating her lyrical and life progression on wax.
Now, with his next solo offering, The Hustle Continues, readying for release — the Oscar Award-winning musician has a superstar list of guest features. A$AP Rocky, Lil Baby, and the aforementioned Megan Thee Stallion and Rico Nasty. The first two single, “Gah Damn High,” with Wiz Khalifa, and “Load It Up” featuring NLE Choppa, will surely keep Father Time moving to the beat of Juicy J's 808-drums.
This time around, THEY. is playing for keeps, and will explore and celebrate all the emotions that present itself in relationships. As an act that prides themselves on approaching topics from a different angle, The Amanda Tape's first three singles — “Count Me In,” “Play Fight” with Tinashe, and “All Mine” — will have audiophiles looking at their situationships in a different light when the album hits all DSPs very soon.
Albeit scant with few details, Tiger Woods certainly has a healthy bit of hype surrounding it. With “W.A.P.” causing all sort of controversy and her on-again, off-again marriage to Offset consistently making headline, the BX baddie's prankish, one-of-a-kind personality will be counter to all the other women rappers out there on the scene. Belcalis doesn't need any “comeback energy,” in our humble opinion, but even Michael Jordan needed to have some bulletin board material in order to stay hungry for that No. 1 spot.
Months since that post has only added to the hype and with fans wanting more details by the hour, Adele is keeping everything about 30 (or Adele, who knows yet!) close to the vest. If she is ready to sing those tear-jerking ballads or dance the night away, you can guarantee that Adele will come with it. Add into the mix her recent breakup with Mercury Prize-winning rapper Skepta, and you can consider our ears very much perked.
With his name ringing bells on- and offline, Tobi's sophomore effort, Parrish Blue, is high on many hip-hop and alt-hip-hop fans' lists. Word on the curb is that this project will be out this month, which is emboldened by Tobi's numerous singles that have dropped since the release of Live On Ice, including “Skin Care Tutorial 2020” and “Lingo Starr”. Don't miss out on this chance to learn about this talented act.
No matter how you splice it, the TDE superstar is very much needed to speak to the ills, joys, pangs, and more that his generation and people feel. The People's Champ is looked at as a voice of a generation and this as-yet-to-be revealed album feels to be unlike anything he's produced before, which should make for a fantastic end-of-year hip-hop release.
Megan Thee Stallion has continued to be a beacon of light for not only the rap game's evolution, but for people who are drive to succeed no matter the odds. While the paparazzi and the gossip-hounds focused on her trials and tribulations, Hot Girl Meg stood resolute above the fracas and showed us all how to handle an emotional ebb and flow that her 2020 has produced.
With the drama out in the open and her stance declared, Houston's No. 1 rap star undoubtedly has an endless amount of topics to delve into her next project. Whether that's highlighting the legal dramas with her former label and Tory Lanez or giving the clubs something to shake to, Meg promises she’ll “have music for when we can go back outside,” which she shared with Jimmy Fallon back in April.
And if this effort mirrors her work with Cardi B or anything like Fever, we’ll be sure it’ll shape the entirety of 2021.
That chin-check to the industry comes in the form of CLB, otherwise known as Certified Lover Boy. Ever the troll, his first video, “Laugh Now, Cry Later,” was a swagtastic look at the meme-ability and superstar power Drake still carries. “I’m just kind of enjoying life,” he shared with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson. “I’m enjoying living, going out with people, investing in personal connections. And it's making my music better.” If you haven't been keeping score, it wouldn't be ride to count out “The Boy”.
That led to a maelstrom of hype for fans and foes alike. With her second full-length release since 2017's Ctrl kicked off by “Hit Different,” which features Ty Dolla $ign, the Grammy Award-nominated R&B darling is building up anticipation that will keep her as one of R&B's leading lights in 2020.