2021 was a great year for hip-hop, with many artistes dropping excellent songs throughout. From the latest offering by Drake with Certified Love Boy to the 10th studio album from Kanye West, Donda.
More on the pop side of things, Lil Nas X released his debut album Montero, spawning viral hits like Industry Baby starring Jack Harlow. Some more underground artistes shone with excellent projects, such as Griselda’s Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn.
However, many artistes have ended up delaying their albums due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, limiting access to studios and ability to collaborate with other artists and producers. Other artists have been mysteriously quiet and are secretly slugging away at their upcoming offerings.
2022 is shaping up to be another amazing year for the genre, with many of the biggest artists in hip-hop set to release albums, mixtapes and singles that have us incredibly excited.
So, let’s take a look at ten of the most highly anticipated albums confirmed to be releasing this year.
10. Donda 2 – Kanye West
Kanye West is in the news every other day it seems. From his split with wife Kim Kardashian to threatening Pete Davidson on his new song with the Game ‘Eazy’.
But something that has diehard fans excited is the seemingly impending follow up to Mr. West’s latest work. Kanye’s 10th solo studio album was released in 2021 to a pretty mixed reception, with the project clocking in at almost two hours in run time.
It has spawned several hit tracks from the rap banger Off the Grid to the ethereal Hurricane carried by The Weeknd’s signature vocals. So far, Kanye has been spotted in the studio with a variety of artists, apparently crafting the next entry in his acclaimed discography.
Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo seems to be a target for Kanye, as he was not only seen in the studio with the producer turned rapper but Yo actually shared some text messages between the two, with Ye saying ‘I got to lock in with you on Donda 2’. Other rappers seen in the studio with Yeezus include Big Sean, Asap Rocky and Pusha T.
Expect a bizarre album rollout, as has become custom to Kanye and hopefully a sequel to Donda in 2022.
9. Supreme Clientele 2 – Ghostface Killah
Supreme Clientele is one of the most iconic hip-hop albums of all time from the Wu Tang clan standout, Ghostface Killah. The original album released all the way back in 2000, with an up-tempo rap tracklist featuring many fellow Wu Tang members such as RZA, Method Man and of course, Raekwon.
It’s since become legendary, with many rappers sampling, quoting and referencing the project in the decades since its release.
Fast forward to 2021 and Tony Starks himself has announced a follow up to his classic album, with Supreme Clientele 2 coming in 2022. Not only that, the album will be executively produced by Kanye West and his long time collaborator Mike Dean.
With sample-heavy production sure to be present throughout, we are incredible excited for SC2. With no specific release date and Kanye busy whittling away at his own sequel project, Donda 2, this is certainly one to keep an eye on.
8. The Party Never Ends – Juice WRLD
Juice WRLD had an unfortunately short career, but this did not stop the young rapper from racking up huge streams, sales and hit songs across his album and mixtape line-up.
The Chicago-born rapper rose to incredible levels of fame through smash tracks like Lucid Dreams and All girls are the same. While his tragic, untimely death in 2019 meant Juice could not reach his full potential with further projects during his lifetime, two posthumous albums have already been released with a third planned for 2022.
Juice WRLD’s manager Peter Jideonwo has stated that the album will include less than five guest features, which have not been specified as of yet. Building hype for the latest posthumous project, Jideonwo went on to say that the album will be the best one yet, creatively and musically. He also stated that the production team is crafting something that will be considered a classic and will be talked about for the next ten years.
Those are big words but we are hoping that the album can deliver a tribute to the late rapper that honours his legacy and creativity for years to come.
7. Utopia – Travis Scott
Travis Scott has cemented himself as one of the most creative and interesting artists in hip-hop; from his gloomy debut album Rodeo to the highly conceptual follow-up, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.
It’s his previous album, though, in which La Flame outdid himself to become one of the most exciting artists in all of modern music. Astroworld was released in 2018 to stellar reviews and phenomenal sales, even netting him two Grammy nominations.
Alongside the album, Travis reconstructed the theme park that the album is named after for a unique and ambitious promotion and performance. Since then, Scott has actually created an entire Astroworld festival, which befell tragedy in 2021 when ten people died during a crowd rush and many more were injured. This has been a controversial event for the rapper, with many claiming irresponsible behaviour from the artist and the festival team led to the shocking incident.
While this incident looms heavily on Travis Scott, he is hard at work on his follow up album, Utopia. Whilst details are currently scarce, it has been stated that he wanted to work with new artists on the project, possibly leading to some interesting and unexpected collaborations.
He has also cited psychadelic rock as an influence on Utopia, which would give way to some exciting sounds and samples. With no release date yet and Scott still under fire from the controversial festival, we may be waiting a while yet for his next outing.
6. King’s Disease III – Nas
Nas is undoubtedly one of the greatest rappers in the history of hip-hop, with classic albums like his revered debut Illmatic under his bet and millions of units sold across his extensive discography.
In recent years, Nas has been on an incredible run. Partnering with producer Hit-Boy, they released the Grammy Award-winning album King’s Disease in 2020. A year later the pair came together again to release an excellent follow up in King’s Disease 2, which was also met with strong sales and rave reviews.
In the same year they worked together again, with the excellent album Magic releasing at the end of the year. We have been completely spoiled by the slick production from Hit-Boy and masterful vocals of Nas for the last couple of years and that is not set to change any time soon.
King’s Disease 3 was confirmed on the track ‘Ugly’ from the Magic album, with Nas rapping ‘I’m on offense every day until I see the love, KD3 on the way, this just to feed the buzz.’
It seems that Nas is revelling in his position in hip-hop at this stage of his career and intends on bottling even more of the magic that happens when the rapper and producer come together.
5. It’s Not Dry Yet – Pusha T
Pusha T is an artist that has been conservative with his project output across his lengthy career. One half of legendary rap duo Clipse, Pusha has been working closely with Kanye West, appearing on several of his albums including the iconic 808’s standout Runaway.
Releasing the caustic and cutting rap album Daytona in 2018, Pusha T found himself in a conflict with the biggest artist in all of hip hop, Drake. Pusha actually came out on top of this beef, releasing the song The Story of Adidon, revealing to the world that Drake had a secret son which took the internet by storm.
Since then, Pusha T has been relatively quiet, with some guest appearances on other artist’s projects, without a release of his own. YouTube Music seemingly leaked the title of the rapper’s upcoming album, with an accidental post stating which read “Pusha T’s new album: Listen to ‘It’s Not Dry Yet.”
This is yet to be confirmed by the artist or his team but it seems a good bet that this will be the next project’s title.
4. The Pink Tape – Lil Uzi Vert
When Lil Uzi Vert is not cementing a gemstone into his forehead, he is usually creating fun projects full of rap bangers. Towards the end of 2020, Uzi jumped onto Instagram live and played some snippets of unreleased songs which were sonically very similar to his earlier mixtape work, leaving many fans very exciting for his upcoming project.
He announced the next album The Pink Tape in December of that year and throughout 2021 there remained no sign of the project. In his latest update on The Pink Tape, Uzi stated that he is taking his time so that the album ‘doesn’t suck’.
For an artist who normally pumps out projects at an extremely rapid rate, this is an interesting proposition. We are definitely up for waiting for The Pink Tape if it’s going to be an artistic evolution for the Philadelphia born rapper. Here’s hoping it sees the light of day in 2022.
3. Entergalactic – Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi has proven himself as one of the most influential hip-hop artist of modern times and has even managed to cross over into television and film. He recently played the part of DJ Chello in Netflix’s Leonardo DiCaprio led movie Don’t Look Up.
Despite his foray into film, Scott Mescudi is very much still focused on his next album, which will actually be a TV series tie-in. Cudi is set to star in the upcoming Netflix adult animated series, Entergalactic, and is currently working on an album to accompany it which will share the title with the show.
The artist took to Twitter to share his excitement for the upcoming album, tweeting that he can’t wait for fans to hear the music he has been working on for Netflix. A very short snippet of a song was shared with some of the animated visuals, with the beats produced by frequent collaborators Plain Pat and Dot Da Genius.
There is no specific release date at this time for the show and album, but it will be coming at some point in 2022.
2. The Fall Off – J. Cole
J. Cole has become one of the best rappers of all time, releasing many acclaimed albums and mixtapes and working with some of the best artists and producers in the game.
The outro track on his 2018 album KOD is titled 1985 (Intro to The Fall Off). This song addressed younger rappers, specifically Lil Pump with an offering of advice for the younger generation.
While Lil Pump is no longer relevant, J. Cole is enduring as one of the top artists in all of music. Many fans imagined that The Fall Off would be the follow up to KOD, although this was not the case. The Off-Season was the next album, which delivered some great songs and received a nomination for best rap album at the Grammys.
While there are not many details about The Fall Off, J. Cole has discussed the possibility of retiring after the release of his sixth studio album. Fans of hip-hop everywhere hope this is not true but it means Cole will want to deliver his best work to go out with a bang.
1. Unknown Title – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is one of the biggest artists in all of music but he is also one of the most mysterious. He has crafted an incredible discography of creative concept albums such as Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN.
Since DAMN was released in 2017, Kendrick Lamar has been relatively quiet, only popping up here and there as a featured artist on other rapper’s songs. Recently, he has collaborated twice with his cousin and rising star Baby Keem on hit records Family Ties and Range Brothers.
We would expect Keem to feature on Kendrick’s upcoming album, as the two have undeniable chemistry and success in their outings so far.
There are not many details surrounding the upcoming project, although the artist is set to perform at the 2022 Superbowl half-time show, which would be the perfect opportunity to debut new music or promote a new project.
We fully expect the album to release this year, so keep your eye out on social media for more Kendrick Lamar news.
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