• The Top Five Hip-Hop Albums We Want To Hear In 2014

    The music industry is incredibly unpredictable. Albums get pushed forward, pushed back, and sometimes never even get released. Hip-hop especially fits this particular bill with sample clearance issues an ever-present threat, or the always-classic breakup of a group looming. The following is a collection of albums we hope to see drop in 2014, ranging from long-awaited solo projects to oft-discussed collaborations, debuts from rookies to legacy-builders from veterans. No one knows what 2014 will bring for sure, but you can bet that this crop of albums would make it a great year in music.
  • J. Cole & Kendrick Lamar Collaborative Album

    Chalk this one up as more of a wish-list candidate for 2014, but the time is now for young lyricists J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar to collaborate. This year saw Kendrick’s rise to stardom by virtue of his late-2012 major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, which dominated critics’ lists and fans’ headphones. Meanwhile, Cole’s second studio album, Born Sinner, had something for everyone, complete with his thoughtful bars. So even though years of talking about recording a project together has led to exactly zero collabo albums, the iron may never be hotter for Cole and K. Dot—it’s time to strike.
  • Andre 3000 Solo Album

    It’s been seven years since Andre 3000 and Big Boi of OutKast dropped Idlewild, their most recent project as the beloved hip-hop duo hailing from Atlanta. Since then, Big Boi has dropped two solo albums, and is well on his way to a third. So what’s holding Andre up? A little bit of acting here, a guest verse there, and some “contractual obligations,” as Big Boi tells it. So why is 2014 the year that fans can expect a release from Three Stacks? In August, a BET executive let slip that Andre told him that the solo album would come out at the “top of the year.” Sure, a denial of any official news on that front came out shortly thereafter, but all signs point to Andre 3000’s long hiatus coming to a close. Including rumors about an Outkast reunion at Coachella!
  • ScHoolboy Q: Oxymoron

    With Black Hippy member Kendrick Lamar releasing his major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city to great success, it’s now ScHoolboy Q’s turn at bat. Oxymoron was originally slated for a 2013 debut, and now has a release date of January 2014. Feeling the pressure from Kendrick’s outstanding project, Q has taken over a year to painstakingly record a project he hopes will best his partner-in-rhyme’s. It’s a tall order, but with production from the likes of Pharrell Williams, and The Alchemist, not to mention Q’s own considerable skills, it’s hard not to count down the days until the new year.
  • Nas Solo Album

    In 2012, Nas released his best album in years, Life Is Good. The project was a critical and commercial success, and found the Queensbridge emcee in his best place creatively in recent memory. At the start of 2013, Nas told the Associated Press that he’s begun work on his twelfth studio album, revealing, “I can’t stop now. I’m in a great zone.” Though the clock has ticked down on 2013, it seems that 2014 is the ideal time for Nas to drop his next album. Why? It just so happens to coincides with the 20-year anniversary of his classic debut album, Illmatic. Can’t beat great timing.
  • Jay Z & Kanye West: Watch the Throne II

    Music fans’ dreams everywhere were realized in 2011 when two of the biggest acts in hip-hop (and in music, period), Jay Z and Kanye West, joined forces to release Watch the Throne. The album was a monster, with smash hits “Otis” and “In Paris” taking over radio waves and locking down playlists everywhere. Jay Z’s go-to sound engineer Young Guru brought up the possibility of a sequel, which has since been discussed by producer and sound engineer Mike Dean, singer-songwriter The-Dream, and Jay Z himself. Although Jay admits there are no dates lined up, as soon as he and Kanye finish their current world tours, there’s no reason to think they won’t give fans what they’ve been clamoring for.