2020 was a great year for hip-hop. Despite the lack of concerts and music festivals, hip hop fans were treated to a year-long run of quality music releasing nearly every week. With Lil Baby, Drake, Kid Cudi, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Gunna, 21 Savage, DaBaby, and countless other artists delivering full-length projects, there was no shortage of new music for hip-hop fans throughout these past twelve months. As the calendar turns to the new year, it’s time to look at the most anticipated hip-hop albums for 2021.
Travis Scott – Utopia
2020 was the first year in Travis Scott’s career that he did not release a full-length project. This gap has fans anxiously waiting to see what the Houston native and McDonald’s sponsor has in store for 2021. In October Travis posted a letter to social media stating, “Thank you again! For all the support and see you guys in 2021 in UTOPIA!”. Travis always makes sure to keep his fans eager for what’s next. While there is no official release date, many fans speculate the album will arrive closer to summertime in hopes of an accompanying concert tour. Travis is also rumored to be releasing an album with his idol-turned-collaborator Kid Cudi titled The Scotts after their joint song of the same name.
Drake – Certified Lover Boy
It’s Drake‘s world and we’re all just living in it. At least that’s what it feels like whenever the artist known as Drizzy releases new music. With a release date set for sometime in January and his Nike collaboration selling out in seconds, to say fans are excited about new Drake music is a drastic understatement. Read more about Drake’s impressive 2020 and what can be expected for the Canadian superstar in 2021 here.
A$AP Rocky – All $miles
Rocky has been pretty quiet for some time now, with only a handful of singles being released since his 2018 album Testing. After legal issues in Sweden cost the Harlem rapper a lot of creative and studio time in 2019, fans hope a quiet 2020 was a sign of new music in the works. While there has been no official word from Rocky about his release date, frequent collaborator Juicy J confirmed via Twitter that Rocky has been steadily working on a new album. Fans hope to see Rocky’s usual cast of features on his new album, notably Tyler The Creator, Playboi Carti, Frank Ocean Juicy J, Smooky MarGielaa, and of course the members of A$AP Mob.
J. Cole – The Fall Off
After a quiet 2020 with just two singles being released in July, J. Cole fans are ready for more music from their North Carolina icon. After wrapping up his 2018 album KOD with a song titled “The Intro to the Fall Off”, there has been pressure for Cole to drop ever since. While the Dreamville Records founder delivered the collaborative Revenge Of The Dreamers III in 2019, true fans are ready for the next chapter in J. Cole’s solo legacy, features or not. Cole has given little to no information about the release date, something that should be expected from the usually quiet and reserved rapper.
Young Thug – Punk and Slime Langauge 2
In late 2019 Young Thug announced Punk would be released in early 2020 as a follow up to his critically acclaimed album So Much Fun. While the album has yet to see the light of day, Thugger continues to tease fans with music snippets on social media almost daily. The Atlanta native was also rumored to be releasing Slime Language 2, a collaborative album with his YSL Records roster, on black Friday 2020. While neither of these albums dropped this past year, fans are expecting 2021 to be the year for a new Thug project. Frequent collaborator and mentee Gunna also announced a new album for 2021 via Twitter stating, “New year, New money, New Album”. Production from YSL in-house producers Wheezy and Turbo will most likely be found throughout these projects.
A$AP Mob – Cozy Tapes Vol. 3
On April 20th, 2019 A$AP Ant tweeted, “Just got offf phone 12vy, a$ap mob up, cozy tapes 3 coming soon”. Apparently “soon” is a relative term, as 2020 has come to a close and the third installment from the Harlem collective is nowhere to be found. On a serious note, the group has faced many challenges over the past two years including losing leader A$AP Rocky to a Swedish prison sentence in summer 2019 and tension between A$AP Ferg and less recognized members of the collective, A$AP Illz and A$AP Bari, in the fall of 2020. Fans were given hope in the early days of 2021 however, as a video surfaced of A$AP Mob freestyling in a New York studio. This looks to be a sign of improved relations and possibly an upcoming album.
Kendrick Lamar – TBA
Since his last solo album DAMN in 2017, fans have been eager to hear what’s next for Kendrick. In typical Kung Fu Kenny style, he has given almost no information about when his next project will be released. This however does not stop fans from expecting an album soon as the reigning West Coast king was spotted in September filming what appeared to be a music video. Labelmate Ab-Soul took to Twitter to announce his own album for 2021 and was asked if Kendrick’s was on the way as well. Responding with a short “Yup”, it appears all of Top Dawg Entertainment plans to keep the album a secret.