Is it too early to start thinking about the second half of 2018? The hip-hop public has been inundated with releases from seemingly every big name in the game: The Carters, Drake, Nas, Kanye (and Kid Cudi), J. Cole, and Migos have all already released projects this year. Even Kendrick Lamar had his fingerprints on the curation of the Black Panther soundtrack.
After so many prominent artists dropped in the first two quarters, it’s worth wondering if any of them will double-up and try to emulate DMX’s feat of two Billboard No. 1 hip-hop albums in one year. If you’re not one for speculation, this may not be the piece for you, but otherwise, take a look below. (Prolific artists like Currensy and Young Thug are going to be left out of the discussion because quarterly releases from them feel like a foregone conclusion, much less bi-annual releases.)
Gangsta Gibbs just went predominantly trap on his Freddie album, but he knows there’s a segment of his fanbase eagerly anticipating Bandana, the follow-up to he and producer Madlib’s classic Piñata album. He says the album is done but recently told Rap Radar that “I don’t gotta put it out yet. I’m straight, I’m good. I could put it out when it’s time to put it out, but that’s the beauty of this.” Hopefully, Gibbs will find a date in 2018 as the right time to drop it. He says Bandana could be his last album, which may explain his reticence to release it.
Will Migos try to bookend 2018 with albums? January’s big release was Culture II, a followup to Migo’ star-making Culture project which didn’t quite have the same reception as the original. Perhaps the prolific trio will want to redeem that perceived misstep with another project before the year is out. There’s not much smoke here, but the Migos are known for creating like crazy. You never know.
LA rapper 03 Greedo released his God Level album to coincide with his departure to prison on a 20-year sentence on drugs and gun charges in Texas. The 27-track project shows what the hip-hop game will miss without the outspoken rapper’s daily presence — but he’ll still be remembered by the hoards of music he has in the stash. As of May, he had recorded 13 of the 30 albums he aimed to record to before starting his bid. It’s likely that he and his team may drop another bittersweet release before the year is out.
In rap’s sad cycle, it seems as one artist goes in, another comes out as Kodak Black will reportedly be home next month. The controversial Florida rapper, already awaiting trial on rape charges, saw his one-year parole violation sentence for guns and drugs charges shortened. Kodak will be free while awaiting the sexual assault trial and may vie to hit the ground running with new music to follow-up his Heart Break Kodak R&B album, which was released in February.
Gifted rapper/producer Milo started the music year off right with his sovereign nose of (y)our arrogant face album, which was literally released on January 1. While the intellectual lyricist recently announced that he and fellow independent maven Elucid have formed the musical “co-op” Nostrum Grocers, it seems more likely than not that we could also see another solo work from the Ruby Yacht captain in the next fives months. sovereign nose came just five months after who told you to think ? ? ! ! ? ! ? ! ? !, a long-awaited album. He’s shown us that with him it’s not about conventional marketing, it’s just about the music.