There are a pair of highly anticipated sequel albums coming out this month. Nas’ Lost Tapes 2 aims to follow up the cutting room floor format of the original Lost Tapes, with tracks culled from his expansive vault. Nas has recorded so many tracks in that he’s already announced there will be a Lost Tapes 3 and 4 down the road.
Elsewhere, Rick Ross is seeking to rekindle the magic of his debut Port Of Miami album, which featured “Everyday I’m Hustlin,” the get-on-your-grind anthem that catapulted him into hip-hop stardom. 13 years later, Ross is an iconic figure in the rap game looking to show that he’s still got the juice just like he did in 2006. Nas and Ross are releasing the latest sequel albums in a gradually growing canon of artists looking to breathe new light into their opuses. Sometimes the strategy is a home run like Dr. Dre’s (The Chronic) 2001, but there are other projects that just shouldn’t have been associated with classic work.
Here are some of the most notable sequel albums, ranked in terms of how well they stack up to their predecessor. Famed album series like The Blueprint, Tha Carter, and others weren’t considered for the list:
1. Dr. Dre — 2001
In terms of sequels, it doesn’t get better than Dr. Dre’s 2001. The album was originally going to be titled The Chronic 2001 before Suge Knight and Death Row Records pettily undercut him with the Chronic 2000 album. Suge tried to take the name from Dre, but he couldn’t recreate the experience.
Aside from the sentimental “The Message,” Dr. Dre sticks to The Chronic’s script of women, weed, weather, and gunsmoke over one of the cleanest soundscapes you’ll hear on any album. While The Chronic was a dense introduction to G-Funk (for many), 2001 was stripped down to menacing, unforgettable loops and sharp drum programming that exhibited a master class in immersive simplicity. Dre brought along the same cast of characters from The Chronic, along with a height-of-his-powers Eminem who stole the show on several tracks.
2. Raekwon — Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2
While 2001 is undoubtedly classic, it was technically Dr. Dre’s second solo album.
The mid- to late-2000s were a period in which a generation of hip-hop stars were settling into their roles as OGs, and going to the well of revisiting their classic work. The results were middling, but Raekwon set the bar with 2008’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, a follow-up to his 1995 opus. Raekwon tabbed RZA to executive produce the project, which showed Raekwon and Wu brethren like Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Inspectah Deck sounding rejuvenated with his vivid, colorful crime tales over a slew of soulful, sinister beats. With tracks like “New Wu,” “10 Bricks,” and “Surgical Gloves,” Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 is one of the few sequel albums that are arguably a classic in their own right.