From Childish Gambino’s final LP, to the long-awaited R9 from Rihanna, to the follow-up of SZA’s dazzling debut CTRL, there are several hip-hop albums fans should look forward to in 2020. Hopefully some, if not all of them, come through. Here are the Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums for 2020.
One of the best rappers alive is rumored to be dropping a new album this year. The evidence is staggering and just keeps coming. First, Kendrick was enlisted to headline several music festivals both local and international. From Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival to London’s American Express British Summer Time, to Germany’s Wireless Festival, Kendrick is slated to spend a big part of his summer on stage.
Then, there was Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde who spilled that not only is Kendrick’s album nearly done, but that it involves “more rock sounds” than what we’ve previously heard from the Compton rapper. Though we always expect Kendrick to defy expectations, to deliver an album unlike anything he’s produced before, this news concretizes what will inevitably be a fantastic year for hip-hop releases.
Be. Still. Our. Hearts. Good, Rihanna-based news has finally arrived. Universal Music France held it’s yearly “open session”—where the label shares its yearly successes and future releases—and lo and behold, Rihanna’s highly anticipated ANTI follow-up is set to arrive in December. This is huge news for fans who feared Rihanna’s dancehall-focused album would never come to light. “It really does suck that it can’t just come out, because I’m working on a really fun one right now. I’m really happy with a lot of the material we have so far, but I am not going to put it out until it’s complete,” Rihanna stated previously.
We know from earlier, confirmed rumors that Rihanna’s upcoming album is a pivot to dancehall music. After accruing over 500 samples from Jamaican producers and songwriters, Rihanna has crafted a record of Caribbean quality and sound. Though, fans should also expect major pop elements. According to sources, the LP endured a near constant changing of directions. But for the sake of those who dedicated and donated samples to the making of R9, we’re hoping that plenty of the dancehall survives.
Earlier this year, the Long Beach rapper signed with Motown Records and promised a new project—his fourth studio album. His last record, FM!, restated what we already knew about Vince Staples: The rapper is exceptionally talented, unrelenting in truths, and will rampantly do whatever he wants.
So what has Vince Staples been up to since 2018’s FM!? Staples has launched a web series, aptly titled The Vince Staples Show, featuring new music and sketch comedy visuals. The first episode dropped in August and debuted the new single “So What?” while the second episode arrived earlier this month and contained the single “Sheet Music” feat. Ray J.
Later this month, Vince Staples will have a new song out via the star-studded Queen & Slim soundtrack. You can listen to the uncharacteristically soulful single, “Yo Love,” here. Vince Staples will likely drop his fourth LP, containing the Vince Staples Show singles, before the end of 2019.
Cardi B: Tiger Woods
We’re coming up on two years since Cardi B’s debut album Invasion of Privacy dropped, a catering record which scored high acclaim and respect for the rapper
—all overwhelmingly deserved. Since then, Cardi B has dropped a number of hit singles, including but not limited to the hard-hitting “Money,” in addition to making her film debut in Hustlers. All in all, it looks like Cardi B’s reign has only just begun.
Now, fans are getting ready for the release of her sophomore album, rumored to be titled Tiger Woods. The album is said to feed off of the strong, comeback energy golf professionals and enthusiasts have witnessed from their formerly-fallen hero, Tiger Woods. Though we don’t think that Cardi needs any other societal figure to bolster her own reputable energy, we are excited for what this album will bring.
In the same announcement where new Kanye West, Rihanna, Migos, and The Weeknd albums were promised came word on Drake’s upcoming venture—reportedly due out in 2019. No matter that Drake recently dropped his The Best In The World Pack EP back in June. The artist, around that time, revealed via Instagram that he’s in full “album mode”. So fans, you may want to prepare for another massive Spotify campaign this year, as Drake continues to be one of the most successful and prolific rappers in the game.
1992 Deluxe, Princess Nokia’s sophomore album, arrived just two years ago. But her rap ego and lyrical prowess has developed leaps and bounds, her most recent singles dripping with confidence and saturated with delicious lines. Could we be witnessing the rise of a new contender for Queen of NYC?
This year, the Puerto Rican rapper dropped two singles, “Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T)” and “Balenciaga,” the latter of which hits hard, delivers chills upon its listeners. Check out the NSFW “Balenciaga” music video to know exactly what we mean.
Princess Nokia has promised a new album to arrive in the first half of 2020 and we’re holding her to it, because these bars are too nice.
Amongst the recent TDE releases
—Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and Zacari
—fans are likely to bypass one of the label’s prodigies, the Black Hippie Ab-Soul, who is more than likely to drop a new album in 2020. He’s remained relatively tight-lipped since the 2016 release of Do What Thou Wilt, but just two weeks ago after his Day N Vegas set, Ab-Soul promised his audience a new album for the new year.
“I been cookin’ the bird up slow” he said, before closing his set with a freestyle. He signed off by promising: “New album 2020. We takin’ everything.”
The rumors have ceased. Rae Sremmurd, one of the best acts to break-out in the past five years, will not be splitting up. In fact, Swae Lee has recently opened up about the group’s follow-up to 2018’s SR3MM. “As for Rae Sremmurd, we dropped three classic albums already; it’s time for the fourth,” Lee said in an interview with Essence. “The fans have been patient. It’s time to give them what they’ve been waiting for.” In addition to a new Rae Sremmurd album, fans also have their solo projects to look forward to, specifically Jxmmi’s. “And I’m about to drop a solo album, composed of all original music,” Jxmmi said. “I hope fans enjoy it.” Meanwhile, Swae Lee recently dropped “Sunflower” with Post Malone for the new Spiderman soundtrack.
The Weeknd: Chapter VI
Back in November, The Weeknd shared an image with the caption “love this. VI”. The artwork arrived a month after Tesfaye told a Toronto crowd that Chapter VI would be reaching our ears soon. Clearly, the hip-hop hitmaker didn’t mean in 2018. But an announcement finally arrived back in August. “Album mode full effect” was all he said. And although he wasn’t pictured in the studio, or with any potential collaborators, the words were all we needed to anticipate The Weeknd’s forthcoming album. Especially since, according to his album release patterns of the past, we are due for an LP in 2020.
J. Cole: The Fall Off
For those who were paying close attention when J. Cole dropped 2018’s KOD, it comes as no surprise that J. Cole’s forthcoming record is titled The Fall Off
—as indicated in the final song of KOD titled ” “1985 (Intro to ‘The Fall Off’).
According to a 2018 interview with Angie Martinez, J. Cole has been working on The Fall Off since 2016; the project has occupied a back burner while Jermaine has developed projects for his rap alter-ego kiLL edward, as well as the recent Dreamville compilation Revenge of the Dreamers III.
But according to J. Cole, he’s “working on it,” a statement heavily confirmed by an ad which ran during his set at the Day N Night Festival.
“It seems like shit is all fucked up. The country needs a hero to turn to in these turbulent times. Jermaine Cole is that hero,” a narrator spoke over media of the North Carolina rapper, along with corresponding visuals. “A man whose humility knows no bounds. A man whose pen is so potent, each word of his verses reportedly cost $2,000. We need someone with big ideas and bold solutions. An expert in diplomacy. A candidate that can heal the inter-generational war.”
The voice-over concluded, “Make your voice heard. Vote The Fall Off for 2020.”
Run the Jewels: RTJ4
For four years (specifically from 2013 to 2017) fans basked in the constancy of rap duo El-P and Killer Mike
—otherwise known as Run the Jewels. When awaiting RTJ4, the follow-up to 2016’s delectable rap album, fans were assured that even though both members of Run the Jewels were busy getting married, scoring films, quitting smoking, etc, that RTJ4 was coming.
Fast-forward to now, when RTJ4 has yet to arrive but the rap duo is scheduled to tour with reunited rock band Rage Against the Machine from March – September 2020. Though we aren’t positive, we can only hope that this means RTJ4 is well on its way. According to Consequence of Sound, we could be getting their fourth album as early as the first Coachella weekend.
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie
Though A Boogie Wit da Hoodie recently spoke of taking a break from music and touring, he promised to do so after his Hoodie SZN follow-up. He just dropped a new track with Lil Uzi Vert titled “Reply,” The track will likely be on the forthcoming Artist 2.0, along with “Mood Swings,” which arrived earlier this year.
Artist 2.0 will not be short of features. Hoodie SZN was fortified by appearances from Young Thug, Juice WRLD, Offset, 6ix9ine, Lil Durk, PnB Rock, and more. With a stellar Lil Uzi Vert feature leading off the pre-album rollout, we think Artist 2.0 is bound to be even more stout than A Boogie’s last offering.
It’s been nearly two years since Jhene Aiko released Trip, the mythical, freestyle-bolstered third album from the R&B singer with one of the dreamiest voices we have today. This year, we’ve received glimpses of her forthcoming project: the sunny “Triggered (freestyle)” and “None Of Your Concern” feat. Big Sean
—a frequent collaborator for Jhene Aiko. From the sounds of this year’s singles, Jhene Aiko is getting ready for another stunning album release.
Back in August, Aiko stated the album will be getting here “sooner than later.” We think it’s optimistic, but are hoping for a release by Summer 2020.
It’s been a wild year for the Atlanta-based, U.K-born rapper 21 Savage, who last year experienced a prolonged and stressful spat with ICE. He’s been all but quiet in the months since his release, appearing on songs with DJ Khaled, Cardi B, Young Nudy, Offset, DJ Snake, and Gucci Mane. Over the Summer, 21 Savage stated a comeback by touring with rapper DaBaby.
Last month, as previewed in last year’s Mortal Kombat 11 trailer, 21 Savage released the full single “Immortal.” The haunting beat below a murderous verse sits comfortably within 21 Savage’s discography, one which is dominated by the talent and near-perfection of last year’s i am > i was. Though little is known about his forthcoming release, we think fans will be getting a few more 21 Savage singles before the year’s end.
We know it’s happening. Some people, the ones who attended Gambino’s final “This Is America” Tour, even heard it: The final Gambino LP. Though we don’t want the end to be so near, we’re excited for what Gambino has in store for his final say. Will it include his internet-breaking single “This Is America”? Or the love-joyous Summer Pack? Though he’s committed to retiring the Childish Gambino moniker, we are holding out for another Donald Glover rap ego to emerge once this era has come to an end.
SZA fans have been through some things. From the uncertainty of her vocal recovery, to the cancellation of several sets on TDE’s “The Championship” Tour, we were concerned about the durability of this rising star. But Solana is strong, and focused on her upcoming LP, which according to TDE’s oft-used two year album cycle, should arrive in the latter part of 2019. And considering the talent, the writing, the awestruck vulnerability of CTRL, the next album from SZA is destined to be as compelling as her debut.
Noname: Factory Baby
It didn’t take long for Noname—Chicago rapper Fatimah Warner—to start discussing her follow-up to this year’s Room 25. Already, she has her fans hyped on what will be her third mixtape. “Critics love Room 25. Fans love Telefone. I love my new shit”, Warner once wrote in a tweet.
Factory Baby, the reported title of her forthcoming album, is hopefully due out sooner than later. Though she has promised not to tour, we would be satisfied with a witty, humorous, and gritty album from Noname. One ladled with all of her lyrical promise.