Nas & DJ Premier
“N.Y. State of Mind Pts. I and II.” “I Gave You Power.” “Nas is Like.” “2nd Childhood.” Just the mention of the highlighted tracks should be reason enough to demand an album’s worth of offerings from QB’s Finest and the man known as Primo. After years of dreaming about the project, Premier confirmed what we’ve all been waiting to hear in a recent interview with Where's My 40 Acres at the A3C Hip-Hop Festival.
"It's coming," said the beatsmith, who touched on the only obstacle coming between the destined collabo. "He has another project to drop with Def Jam, and then he's a free agent. I'll let him get that out, and that will give me time to get my artists prepped and ready. Maybe we can all tour together." Nas’ final Def Jam album, which he’s been reportedly began working on since January, is slated for a 2014 release. The countdown to destiny has begun.
Jay Electronica- Act II: Patents Of Nobility (The Turn)
To say that we are overdue for Jay Electronica’s debut album is putting it lightly. In this age of every move being tracked, the lyricist has managed to create such an air of mystery around his forthcoming album, that he’s got music heavyweights like Diddy and Jay Z in the same group as fans, with wondering and waiting to see if it will actually drop. Hova even went so far as to tweet the track listing for the album, which includes himself, Diddy and Kanye West among the guests contributing to the project. Aside from the occasional guest appearance on other people’s songs, we haven’t heard much from Jay Electron.
In September, Just Blaze, who is working with Electronica on the album, confirmed to Vlad TV that the highly anticipated offering is “pretty much done” and just needs “a few, small additions.” From the looks of it, the Louisiana rapper is making his way to the masses as he tweeted "Ok, now it's my turn. Let's go." after Jay Z dropped his latest, Magna Carta Holy Grail. The ball is in your court Mr. Electronica. Prove us right by making it worth the wait.
Dr. Dre – Detox
Dr. Dre may have put himself into a no-win situation. How do you follow up not one, but two classic albums, both of which introduced MCs who would go on to become rap icons? The answer may lie with Detox, Dre’s final studio offering and hip-hop’s version of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy, an album that took 14 years to come out. After a couple of singles here and there, (“Kush” and “I Need a Doctor”), a snippet during a May 2009 Dr. Pepper commercial, there was hope that the doctor’s near-mythical project was finally going to see the light of day.
On top of this, we've received occasional mentions of how there's an extensive amount of songs and beats that have been composed and finished for Detox, (which Dre reportedly began working on in 2001-- 12 years ago). Nevertheless, Detox has yet to come out and fans are growing tired. The album is well on its way to surpassing Chinese Democracy as it becomes more urban legend than solid project. Even those close to Dre (Snoop Dogg, Game, 50 Cent) have said that Detox will never be released. Only Dre knows for sure whether he will unleash his final opus. For what it’s worth, the producer was recently hanging out in the studio with Nelly, gathering ideas, "I guess for Detox or for whatever project we were doing," Nelly told Vlad TV. Optimism was also present from Jon Connor, the newest addition to Dre’s Aftermath label. "Detox is going to come out whenever it's ready for him to put it out," Connor told MLive.com. "It's not as mythical as people think. I don't know what people think, but Detox is definitely real." Here’s hoping that that's true.
Ms. Hill, Ms. Hill, we truly miss you. More than a decade has passed since you graced us with your Miseducation and we still need "That Thing." Personal drama, in addition to legal problems, have caused a significant decrease in anything new musically from the ex-Fugee. But she is reportedly back in the studio working on new material. Shades of new Lauryn, who has toured every now and then over the years and launched a new record label with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, have been found in "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)," released in May and “Consumerism,” released in October. TMZ reports that a judge has approved her request to go out on tour from November 15 through December 31. Hill will have to check in for approval with her probation officer for each tour stop and serve the rest of her sentence via home detention after the trek. Looks like things are moving forward- let's hope it stays that way.
Three Stacks is in definitely in demand. While we've received two solo albums from his Outkast partner in rhyme Big Boi, Mr. Benjamin himself has only given us standout verses from guest appearances. If rhymes were measured for quality over quantity, Andre 3000 would be a rich man. No question, the ATLien has made the most of his time on the mic with verses that truly connect with listeners, on songs from Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, T.I. and Drake, to name a few. Which makes the idea of him following in Big Boi’s footsteps all the more puzzling. Fans got a glimmer of light when reports surfaced in August about Andre dropping his solo offering in 2014. But that soon got put out when reps for the rhymesayer would not officially confirm the talk.
Whatever the case may be (waiting for the right time, stage fright or just not wanting to come back to music at all), until we get a proper solo album, we’ll have to settle for the occasional sightings-- 3000 is reportedly featured on Future’s forthcoming album Honest. Despite not currently working on new music, Three Stacks did admit to constantly writing songs. Whether or not we’ll hear them is the question. Once Andre drops his album, we may finally get to see his long-lingering reunion with Big Boi. Which brings us to the next item on the list…
An Outkast album would definitely be what the doctor ordered. We almost got a taste of it when a remix to Frank Ocean’s “Pink Matter” featuring a verse from Big Boi dropped. But Andre 3000 quickly put that to rest with a statement saying it was not what it seemed. Although fans want to see their favorite duo back together, Mr. Benjamin may not feel the same way. “As far as Outkast, I really don't know if or when that will happen,” the rapper told GQ last year. 3000 continued to hold his ground while talking to the Associated Press. "Man, we've had a great ride. ... Like when we got into it when we were high school kids and we just wanted to do something fun and push it, and if it's not that then why do it?" Andre told the Associated Press last year. "I'm not the type that prescribes to nostalgia, and most people say they want an Outkast album because they used to love it. Y'all don't even know if y'all still love it. You just know you used to love it. But you may not like it now, who knows?"
With any luck, it would be nice to get some new Outkast music in 2014. The year marks the 20th anniversary of the group’s classic debut, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Nothing’s been confirmed but XXL.com reports that Big Boi has been in the studio with Ray from Organized Noize recently. What they are working on is unclear, according to the site. Stay tuned…
RZA- The Cure
He may be an accomplished actor, director, author and producer, but music fans mostly know the RZA for being a music producer and a member of Wu-Tang Clan. While his fellow clansmen have released solo albums, supporters are staying alert for RZA’s much delayed headlining effort, The Cure. The album, touted as RZA's final solo album, has been talked about for more than 10 years, but has yet to come to fruition. The anticipation over The Cure even yielded a mixtape of previously released RZA tracks called Formula for The Cure in 2004. Realizing the impact of his vision for the album, RZA opened up about The Cure's delay during an interview with Montreality in June. According to the Abbott, the delay was more personal than professional, saying "I wasn't living up to the words that I was inspired to write. I live more to those words now—but still not fully. Maybe I'm like 70% livin' like that...the cure that I was writing about, was [where] you could have Heaven every moment of your life, in yourself."
"Maybe I will release that album; maybe it'll be a book,” RZA stated. “Maybe somebody will find it and discover it, and maybe another artist will record it for me. But I wrote a lot of positive lyrics, and I strive as best I can, to be a positive example for humanity. Because I want to be somebody who helps humanity, not somebody who hurt us." No disrespect to RZA, but he can truly help us out by giving us that "Cure" now rather than later.
Kendrick Lamar & J. Cole
Ask any rap fan to list the hottest rhymers out now, and chances are J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar will show up somewhere in that list. Both rappers have made more than their fair share of noise in the last couple of years, translating their underground acclaim into mainstream success. The idea of Cole and Lamar doing an album together would be a dream come true for fans. Given the reaction to Lamar’s verse on “Control,” it would be interesting to see him collaborate with one of the rappers he called out on that song. To date, fans have only received a small taste of what could be as Cole produced Lamar’s “The Jig Is Up.” Compton MC returned the favor by singing the hook for “Forbidden Fruit,” a song off Cole’s latest album, Born Sinner.
Lamar and Cole have both gone on record saying their album is "still happening" but they've also said not to expect a planned release date. While there are not many details as to what to expect from it, Cole has said the vibe of the album will be "mad competitive."
"It's mad competitive. It has to be, because we both love it. We're not gonna speak about it, it's not gonna be like, 'Yo man I killed you,' " the NC rhymeslinger told MTV News earlier this year. "It's pride. You have pride in your craft and what you do, but to a certain extent… It's not about who's better verse, it's about the song," he said. "But if it's just for flexin', you definitely wanna show out." And we can't wait to hear what will surely be a certified classic.
Black Hippy Collaborative Album
After tearing up the BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, people are trying to get a hold of anything from anyone in TDE’s Black Hippy crew. Comprised of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, the collective has been making individual noise for some time. So it’s only natural that these guys do an Avengers type deal and combine for the highly anticipated group offering, right?
Wrong, according to three members of the unit. “No, never, ever!” Ab-Soul told HipHopWired.com “Fa real, seriously.” “Like why [do] nigga’s want a Black Hippy album? It’s so corny,” ScHoolboy Q told Page31.com. “Why you want the hardest nigga’s to do an album? Why we can’t just do our own shit? Why ya’ll want all of us to do it? It’ll never come out right. When the hardest nigga’s always get together it never come out right. That’s how I feel. We the hardest nigga’s, but I just don’t feel it’ll come out right. At least right now.” “It won’t. I don’t know man…I don’t think it’ll ever be a Black Hippy album,” Jay Rock added. And there you have it. Any bets on which will drop first, a Black Hippy group album or Detox?
As one of two singers on this list D’Angelo stands out among the artists who need to unleash a new collection of tunes. Questlove has provided updates for fans as he’s stated that a new album is "99 percent done." Couple that with D’Angelo performing new songs like "Sugar Daddy,” "The Charade," "Ain't that Easy," and "In Another Life” during his return touring and the seeds for a much needed return are starting to grow. "I would not be far off by saying this is probably my generation's version of Sly (and the Family Stone's) 'There's a Riot Goin' On.' It's potent. It's funky. It's an extremely hard pill to swallow,” Questlove admitted to Billboard in January about the album formerly called James River.
“He's one of those artists that have, of course, taken 13 years to follow up a record. It's going to take you about 10 years to digest this record. Totally brilliant. Just the way this society works with music… being able to judge if something is a classic after the first listen, you can do that after thirty seconds on this. And the fact that we started this record in 2004, and it still sounds like it came out five years from now, it is a testament to the timelessness of it." There’s no doubt that D’Angelo will deliver a stellar follow-up to Voodoo. The question is how much longer will we have to wait to be reintroduced to the father of neo-soul before we buy another copy of his first two albums after wearing them out for the umpteenth time.
Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli)
In the days since Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli gave us Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star the hip-hop landscape has definitely changed. And with that comes a desire for balance with the return of Black Star. Kweli has carved his own niche as a solo artist, while Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has made his mark in the world of acting to go along with his activist endeavors and music. While fans can appreciate their individual achievements, what many want is a return to the group life for the duo. 2011 was marked by plans for a Black Star return with a new album for 2012. In preparation the group performed a new song (“Fix Up”) on “The Colbert Report” and released another new song, “You Already Knew.” Although they recorded four songs for a mixtape inspired by the music of Aretha Franklin, their busy schedules prevented Bey and Kweli from finishing it.
In January, Kweli addressed the possibility of hooking up with Bey again to Peter Rosenburg and the Hot 97 Morning Show. "It's a toss up. But you know what, the great thing about Black Star is it was never dependent on the output of the album," he said. "It was like a lighting in a bottle thing, our intention was to do that one album and then do our solo careers, but people loved that album." Can (or will) lightening strike again? We'll keep the umbrella handy, just in case.
Jay Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne 2
With movies, if a film does well at the box office, a sequel is automatic. And Jay Z and Kanye West should not be an exception to this, given the success of their collaborative opus, Watch the Throne. The album was a movie itself, that boasted standouts like “No Church in the Wild,” “Otis,” “New Day,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and the monstrous“Niggas in Paris.” Fortunately for us, it sounds like Ye and Hov agree that a sequel is in order. News confirming WTT2 was made known last year, courtesy of Mike Dean, a musician who worked on the first album. Despite Dean’s confirmation, another chapter of Watch the Throne is currently not on West’s radar as he voiced his main focus on MissInfo.tv. “It could be a possibility. It’s not my focus in all honesty,” the rapper/producer said. “Music is not my focus…I’ll make music. I’m not going to stop producing, need to do more… I’m focused on getting this backing [for DONDA]. I care about this far more than making a Watch the Throne 2.” And while things are in the early stages, Jay Z did confirm to Power 106 in LA that WTT2 has been discussed with Ye. "We don't have any dates lined out for it, but we definitely spoke about dropping solo albums and then going back to do Watch the Throne 2, so we'll see what happens."