The year 2020 in hip-hop was supposed to be way different than it actually was. The coronavirus pandemic put a halt to many highly anticipated albums that were scheduled for the clear vision year. With a fresh start to 2021, the new year should be active when it comes to the game’s most favored talents—some of which haven’t dropped new projects in two to three years—and other rappers who are using their established momentum to hit another stride.
Last year, Drake was the first to confirm he would be officially releasing his sixth album, Certified Lover Boy, at some point this month. With rap’s three-headed G.O.A.T. in mind, that brings us to Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.
During 2020, K-Dot was silent as usual—aside from joining protests against police brutality last summer—but TDE’s head honcho Top Dawg told fans on Instagram last May that “king Kendrick will return soon.” Hopefully the time is now. For Faytettenam’s fearless leader J. Cole, The Fall Off didn’t drop as promised in 2020, but before the year ended, he confirmed on Instagram that he has a few projects in the tuck that will see the light of day before the long awaited LP arrives..
Elsewhere, everyone is waiting to see how Cardi B will follow her Grammy Award-winning debut album, Invasion of Privacy. Last year, she unleashed the hit song “WAP” with Megan Thee Stallion as a loosie, which means she must have more heat in the cannon. On the same note, the streets are eager to see what Roddy Ricch will put forth next. After the release of his 2019 debut album, Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, he’s increasingly gotten more snug on the charts and in rap fans' daily rotation.
During the quarantine, select artists have been taking advantage of the solitude and using the free time to tap into another layer of creativity. Travis Scott has been quietly building up the gates of Utopia over the last 12-month span in addition to the joint album he's working on with Kid Cudi. And Post Malone has been in the lab as well, making what he calls the best music of his life.
From additional rap legends like Kanye West to newcomers like Baby Keem, 2021 is surely going to be busy and powerful for hip-hop. As we await the pleasant parade, here are the year’s most anticipated releases.
See the Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums of 2021