Hip Hop Album Release Dates

Today is the official release date of G.O.O.D. Music’s highly anticipated Cruel Summer. The preliminary consensus is that the album fell a bit short of the lofty exceptions, which is something I strongly agree with. Luckily for hip hop fans, there is plenty of actual good music set to release by the end of the calendar year. Here is a preview of the most notable works.

Click on the album art for tracklists.

September 21: Brother Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color

The Rhymesayers emcee released a streaming version his 5th full-length album today. The physical version will be released on the 2st. He’s kicking off a national tour as well, and if you haven’t ever seen him live, you should make an effort to do so. I was lucky enough to see him perform with another personal favorite of mine, Fashawn, a few years back. It was amazing. The album is very light on features, and is produced by Jake One, another personal favorite of mine. The album is inspired by his recent travels to the Middle East and the Arab Spring, as well as the various political movements here at home like the Occupy movement. As the leaked songs already suggest, and as his website suggests, this album figures to be a thought-provoking “scathing, yet honest, critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities”.

September 25: Danny! – Payback

 The rapper/producer’s 7th studio album that has been delayed due to record label issues is finally set to be released next week. Recently just labeled as Jay-Z’s “fav cat” by Questlove, the anticipation for this album is seemingly boiling over. According to his website the albums content “serves as an extended metaphor for the current state of Danny!’s music career. In this case, the storyline parallels the politics surrounding the creation and development of Payback, practicies in which Danny! has referred to as his ‘revenge’ on a fickle music industry that he feels has largely overlooked him.”

September 25: Murs and Fashawn – The Generation

When Murs and Fashawn announced their collaborative album I was giddy with anticipation. Fashawn has been one of my absolute favorites for years now, and Murs is both a tremendous artist and a great compliment to Fash. The album will be produced solely by Beatnick and K-Salaam and originally was intended to be an EP, but the strong chemistry and a plethora of compelling subject matter compelled them to turn it into a full album. If their first single Slash Gordon is a sign of things to come, this album should be amazing.

Octobor 2: Skyzoo – A Dream Deferred

It’s been two years since Skyzoo’s last album, but a few quality mixtapes have made that time fly by. The guest appearances and production credits alone have me itching with excitement. There will be features from Freeway, Raheem DeVaughn, Talib Kweli and Jill Scott as well as production from !llmind, Jhalil Beats, Eric G, Focus, DJ Khalil, Black Milk, Tall Black Guy, 9th Wonder and Best Kept Secret. If you’re unfamiliar with Skyzoo, check him out. He’s one of the most lyrical and talented rappers in the game, with multiple critically acclaimed albums and as deep of a mixtape library as it gets. His debut album, The Salvation, is regarded by many as one of the best debut albums of the 2000s.

October 2: MellowHype – Numbers

The Odd Future duo of rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain team up to release their third album and major label debut. Features are limited to Frank Ocean, Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt, which seems to be a good amount and a great selection. I’m not a huge Odd Future fan, but Hodgy does consistently put out strong music and is one of the least obnoxious of the crew. From what I’ve heard so far my interest is pretty lukewarm, but there’s still enough to be excited about.

October 9: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist

Macklemore has always been hit or miss with me. I love his serious music, but some of his obscure stuff isn’t my cup of tea. Nonetheless, I’m stoked for his official debut LP with produce Ryan Lewis. Mackelmore has gained a strong following through some solid mixtapes and acclaimed music videos, but The Heist figures to be a big next step in his music career. The album features appearances from Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul from Black Hippy fame, among many others. Already numerous video have been released from this project. Thrift Shop already has almost 3.5 million views. Same Love (posted below) is one of the year’s most poignant, open and powerful tracks. It’s a favorite of mine, as it’s rare to find music like this any more.

October 22: Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d City

Hands down the my most anticipated album for the remainder of the year. This is Kendrick’s major label debut under Top Dawg, Aftermath and Interscope. The album is expected to focus on him growing up in Compton, and “the kid that’s trying to escape that influence, trying his best to escape that influence, has always been pulled back in because of circumstances that be”. If you aren’t familiar with Kendrick, I’m not sure you should be reading this article. He’s currently one of my favorite artists, if not my favorite. He states that the album will sound much different from his critically acclaimed album Section.80, and will have features from his fellow Top Dawg labelmates (Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul) as well as Dr. Dre, Young Jeezy, Mary J. Blige, Kelis and even Lady Gaga. Two singles have already been released. The first was The Recipe featuring Dr. Dre and the second was Swimming Pools (Drank). As Kendrick stated, both do have distinctly different sounds from Section.80, yet you would imagine the bulk of the album will sound a bit different than those two. There is no official track list yet.

October 23: RZA – The Man With the Iron Fists

October 22 will give me my most anticipated album, and the next day I’ll get my second most anticipated. After the disappointment that was Cruel Summer, hopefully RZA’s soundtrack to his movie of the same name will be the compilation album that blows me away. This project might launch RZA into GOAT status for me. He has wrote and produced the movie starring Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu which will be released on Novemeber 2nd. All the while he compiled an album feautring the likes of Kanye West, Freddie Gibbs, Talib Kweli, Pusha T, The Black Keys, Joell Ortiz, M.O.P., Pharoahe Monch and his Wu-Tang Clan teammates. The two leaks off of the album already are both amazing, and my expectations have skyrocketed. The first was Built For This by Method Man featuring Freddie Gibbs and StreetLife. The second, posted below, was Tick, Tock by Pusha T, Raekwon and Joell Ortiz. Both sound like the vintage RZA productions.

October 31: A$AP Rocky – LongLiveA$AP

We have no tracklist, we have no album cover and the album has already been pushed back. The release isn’t schedule for over a month from now, but there are suspicions that the album will be pushed back even further. There have been two known recorded tracks, “Goldie” and “My Bitch”, and Goldie has been announced as the album’s first official single. Besides that, there’s little known about the project. A$AP is hit or miss with me, and it will be interesting to see how focused and strong this album is. It too is his major label debut studio album. The video for “Goldie” is posted below. Note: it is NSFW.

November 6: Saigon – The Greatest Story Never Top Chapter 2: Bread and Circuses

Saigon’s follow up to his critically acclaimed, yet rather slept on, debut album will feature the likes of Killer Mike, Chamillionaire,Styles P, Marsha Ambrosius and Dead Prez among others. Production will feature Just Blaze, Shuko, DJ Corbett, Clev Trev and Rich Kid. Saigon is currently on the Wu-Block tour with Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. The lead single, “Not Like Them” featuring Saigon can be seen here. A trailer for the album was just recently released as well.

November 13: Big Boi – Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Big Boi’s second solo album hopes to follow up both the commercial and critical success his debut Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. Big Boi recorded 30 cuts for the album, and just recently selected 12 of them to hand off to Def Jam. The album will take a different approach artistically, deviating away from the “funk-soaked” style that he and Outkast are well know for. Look for a more eclectic, smooth and indie-inspired tone to the album. Confirmed features include UGK, Big K.R.I.T. as well as surprises in the form of the electric rock group Phantogram and Swedish R&B act Little Dragon. “She Said OK” featuring Theophilus London is posted below.

Novemeber 13: 50 Cent- Street King Immortal

50’s 5th studio album, and the first in over three years, will have features from Eminem, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, Dr. Dre, Lloyd Banks, Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy and others. There are rumors of a Frank Ocean and a Rihanna feature as well.  50 originally sought out to release a dance/rock album, but scratched that in favor of this which he calls a more traditional hip-hop album. Production will come via many industry heavyweights such as Hit-Boy, Dr. Dre, Jake One, Jim Jonsin, Just Blaze and Bangladesh. The album is years in the making, and I’m not sure what to expect from it based on the plethora of features. He released “New Day” back in July, featuring Dr. Dre and Alicia Keys.

November 13: Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson – Dice Game

Apollo Brown was a part of one of my 5 favorite releases of the year, Trophies with rapper O.C. I’m am eager to here how Guilty Simpson sounds on Apollo Brown beats – beats that are  90’s sounding with rich drum bass loops, orchestrating violin and piano arches that often culminate in cinematic-sounding backdrops. He is underground, and nothing about his sound is mainstream. I think it’s a match made in heaven. There wasn’t a bad track on Trophies, and while O.C. is a much more established rapper who’s acclaim spans over decades, Guilty Simpson is as fundamentally sound of a rapper as there is nowadays. I can’t wait.

November 13: Roc Marciano – Reloaded

This will be Roc Marciano’s second studio album, following up his 2010 success Marcberg. Roc Marciano’s styleis one of a kind. It’s rich with multi-syllabic and percussive flow, and he is one of the few that hasn’t traded in his Timbs and Polos for skinny jeans. Q-Tip is on board to help executive produce the entire album, so that should pique your interest all the more. Listen to the two released songs, 76 and Emeralds (below).

November 20: Ghostface Killah – 12 Reasons to Die

Little is known about the project, as it was just announced within the week, other than RZA is the executive producer and the album will followed up with a comic book.

Other notables: Lupe Fiasco’s “Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1” (9/25);  Prodigy’s “The Bumpy Johnson Album” (10/2); Xzibit’s “Napalm” (10/9); Wu-Tang Clan and D-Block’s “Wu-Block” (10/9); Machine Gun Kelly’s “Lace Up” (10/9); Pac Div’s “GMB” (10/16); Vinnie Paz’s “God of the Serengeti” (10/22); P.O.S.’s “We Don’t Even Live Here” (10/23); Meek Mill’s “Dreams & Nightmares” (10/30); Sean Price’s “Mic Tyson” (10/30); Freeway’s “Diamond in the Ruff” (11/13); Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “The Art of War III”.

In addition to those, we have the releases of Jay Electronica’s debut (maybe), Joe Budden’s 3rd studio album, Asher Roth’s 2nd studio album, T.I.’s 8th studio album “Trouble Man”, Wiz Khalifa’s perpetually pushed back album “O.N.I.F.C.”, Tyler the Creator’s “Wolf” and Talib Kweli’s “Prisoner of Conscious” some time before the end of the calender year. Talks of a Black Star album as well.

It could shape up to be a very strong end of the year for hip-hop.

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