Welcome to 2015, Lime Nation!
There’s a lot to look forward to here in the new year and one of the biggest is this year’s music releases. There are some long anticipated arrivals (Tha Carter V, Testsuo & Youth), there are some who appear to be on their grind in 2015 (Ghostface, we’re looking at you) and there are some who have announced releases but few other details (Kendrick, Kanye, Nas). So join us as we take an in-depth look at what we know about the Hip Hop releases coming our way this year.
2015 kicks off with a bang as quite a few releases are planned for January. January 20th in particular is a popular day with at least 4 releases from Hip Hop artists, along with a bunch from other genres.
January 20: Joey Bada$$ – B4.DA.$$; Lupe Fiasco – Tetsuo & Youth; Ne-Yo – Non-Fiction; Wu Block (Ghostface Killah and Sheek Louch) – Hidden Gems
Following up a strong 2013-14 just below the mainstream surface, on the date of his 20th birthday Joey Bada$$ will drop his major label debut. With promo antics that include an arrest this week in Australia, as well as a picture surfacing of Malia Obama wearing a Pro Era shirt, B4.DA.$$ may take the top spot as the most anticipated release of the year’s first quarter.
— #PROERA (@PROERA) January 5, 2015
Chi-town’s lyrical prince Lupe Fiasco drops his fifth album Tetsuo & Youth on the 20th, a feature-heavy work that promises his longtime fans a return to form before the Lasers debacle. “Day one Lupe Fiasco fans, from 2003 or 2004, they’re gonna get a lot of that back,” he says.”That’s gonna be a surprise. You gotta have those five or so years to have that retrospective moment.” Ghostface Killah is on a serious grind at the moment, contributing some of the best work on A Better Tomorrow and dropping his 11th solo release, 36 Seasons, to critical acclaim in December. On 1/20 he returns with the first of two (or maybe even three) collaboration albums in 2015, pairing back up with LOX emcee Sheek Louch as Wu-Block for Hidden Gems, a set of unreleased tracks from their 2012 album. In the non-Hip Hop world, Marilyn Manson returns with his 9th studio album The Pale Emperor, plus releases from The Decemberists and Fall Out Boy will give the Rap world plenty of competition. Though The Game had been heavily talking up a 1/18 release date for The Documentary 2, ten years to the day after the first volume dropped,
it would seem that release has been pushed back and he will instead perform an anniversary concert in which he’ll perform The Documentary in its entirety. With a lukewarm reception for last year’s feature-laden Year of the Wolf, perhaps some extra time is warranted for his reunion with Dr. Dre.
Also in January, it was announced just yesterday
that DMX will release his 8th album Redemption of the Beast on January 13.
UPDATE: It turns out that yesterday’s news of Redemption of the Beast was completely false according to Swizz Beatz’ IG page who is hard at work on X’s next album. No word yet on the source of the false info but The Dog is on the hunt.
Ghostface continues in February, as 2/17 marks the release of his collaboration with Canadian jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD entitled Sour Soul. Though it’s DOOMStarks that many fans are eagerly awaiting (more on that in a moment), Sour Soul‘s lead single “Six Degrees” with Danny Brown has me excited for this one.
Ghost recently confirmed via reddit that 2015 will indeed also be the year of the long-rumored collab with MF Doom, DOOMStarks, interesting timing given that 36 Seasons saw the re-emergence of Tony Starks for the first time in 9 years (hence the title). No word yet on a date but 2015 may certainly prove to be the Year of the Ghost.
March promises a variety of releases. After hitting #16 on Forbes’ ‘Hip Hop Cash Kings’ List with an annual income around $8M, the genre’s most successful independent artist Tech N9ne and his label Strange Music show no signs of slowing down, maintaining a 100+ shows per year schedule and dropping his 14th (!) album Special Effects on March 17.
On the 31st Wale brings us his 4th studio album, The Album about Nothing, following his Festivus mixtape dropping at the end of last year. What is the deal with all the Seinfeld references, you may ask? It’s hard to say where it began (2008’s The Mixtape About Nothing seems a likely point of origin) but the NY comedian is reported to be a full collaborator on the upcoming album and the artist himself had this to say:
“This is the most creative musical experience I’ve ever tried to offer. One of those things that you gunna get this joint or you not. A lot of people ain’t gunna get it, but the people that get it are gunna say it’s genius. This is my moment to show what I can do from a music director standpoint.”
Also, you gotta watch this:
Also on March 31st, Ludacris drops his 9th solo album Ludaversal which the pride of Atlanta describes as his “most personal album to date”. “It’s, ‘Welcome to my world,’” he says, “’this is where I live, this is what I go through on a day-to-day basis.'”
UPDATE 1/8/15: Snoop Dogg announced last night that his next album, his 13th, will be a Pharrell-produced work called Bush and will be released in March. It will be led by the single “Peaches N Cream.” No word on a date but this fanboy is excited.
To round out Hip Hop’s first quarter, there are a number of big releases that are confirmed for the Spring but thus far lack a specific date.
Pusha T has promised his sophomore solo release King Push will be out this Spring and in December he dropped the single “Lunch Money” complete with a crazy ass video. The Neptunes are said to be heavily involved and with the success of 2013’s stripped-down MNIMN I think many of us are looking forward to where the former Clipse star goes next. Read more here and here.
“…Listen up boy, you better stop eavesdropping / We already got Spring 2015 poppin’ / PND droppin’, Reps-up P droppin’ / Majid Jordan droppin’, not to mention me droppin’…”
Last summer, on “O to 100/ The Catch Up” Drizzy Drake put us all on notice that it’s about to be the season of OVO. Well Spring 2015 is nearly here and who’s to know how many of his sidekicks will actually see the light of release but his Views from the 6 figures to be an album on everyone’s radar. He announced the title in July but said he wouldn’t begin work on it until after his tour with Kanye concluded in September.
Action Bronson, the oversized emcee from Queens, is set to drop his debut album Mr. Wonderful sometime early 2015. After false ones surfaced online, Bronson tweeted a tracklist at the end of December but has yet to announce an official release date.
So that’s what we know for certain (or at least highly likely). The larger end of this list lies with the Announced, Anticipated and Rumored and there’s a good (read: some) probability (read: possibility) that these will come to fruition.
Announced and/or Rumored:
Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V
The troubles with Cash Money Records have been well publicized over the past few months, including Weezy basically twitter-crying to his fans about his situation. Only time will tell if TCV is worth the hype (III was, IV was not) but eyes will certainly remain fixed on the Young Money star (and his Twitter account) as 2015 rolls on. The latest update is word of a collaboration with Master P on a song called “Power” after famously feuding for years and perhaps one reconciliation means goods things for another.
Meek Mill – Dreams Worth More Than Money (DWMTM)
Meek was forced to push back the release date of his 2nd studio release due to a 6 month jail term in 2014 for parole violations related to his 2008 drugs and gun charges. With that, his beef with Cassidy, and the death of Dreams Chasers artist Lil’ Snupe all now behind him, the mixtape master is prepared for a brighter year.
Over at Shady Records Shady XV took top priority in 2014, featuring the Slaughterhouse smash “Y’all Ready Know”, and coupled with the (moderate) success of the battle-rap show Total Slaughter served to push the group’s 3rd album Glass House to this year. In recent interviews the group’s members have said the album is complete but we’ll have to wait for a release date.
Label mate Yelawolf is set to drop his second album, Love Story (reported some places as Love Stories, plural), this year and has already given us a hot lead single in “Till It’s Gone”, featured in an episode of the final season of Sons of Anarchy. In a December interview with Radio.com he explains his unwillingness to rush the album’s release. Let’s just hope the ‘Bama native doesn’t make us wait too long. Roll Tide.
Ice Cube – Everythang’s Corrupt and Straight Outta Compton
NWA’s lead emcee announced the title of his 10th solo album back in November of 2012 when the title track single dropped on the eve of the presidential election. Delays continued and the second single “Crowded” followed in March. Delays persisted until the third single “Sic on Them Youngins” dropped in February 2014 and a March album release was announced. Now it’s 2015 and with the biopic Straight Outta Compton hitting theaters August 14th and Cube heavily involved as producer, Everythang’s… likely due for another delay. The positive end is that some of the better material from Cube’s planned solo project may make its way onto the movie’s soundtrack which I predict to be one of the biggest albums of the Summer.
We’re also Keeping an Eye Out for…
Kendrick Lamar has announced that the much-awaited follow-up to Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City will emerge in 2015 but with no dates or further details. Lead single “i” dropped in September and then in December as tv host Stephen Colbert prepared to close out his show The Colbert Report and head to the larger world of Letterman’s The Late Show, Kendrick took the Report stage performing an as-yet-untitled track (a move reminiscent of the Wu’s performance on The Daily Show). Nothing else has come out from/about a new album so for now we’ll just have to tide ourselves over with this awesome music video (is that Mr. Big?).
Nas – Season of Nasir
Lead single “The Season” was released in October and word began to circulate that the Dilla-backed track was the precursor to Nasty’s 12th studio album.
Raekwon – Fly International Luxurious Art
As the soldiers of Shaolin re-united for last year’s lackluster group effort, word in the Twittersphere was that Raekwon was the member holding up the works, more focused on his upcoming solo release than interested in the RZA-led A Better Tomorrow. Will Chef join partner-in-crime Ghostface in rocking 2015 with his 6th solo album?
Also, does RZA’s completion of A Better Tomorrow mean he now has the time to help Method Man with the long-rumored-and-awaited Crystal Meth? Only time will tell.
There’s been heavy word of a new Kanye album in 2015 and the NYE release of his collab with Paul McCartney “Only One” lead to mass speculation about where Ye’s next project might be headed. Will we get the Watch the Throne 2 that’s been floating around the rumor mill or will Hova team up with bae Be to continue their spousal domination?
It promises to be an entertaining year in the world of new Hip Hop with the latest installments from some of the genre’s titans, some unlikely but interesting collaborations and even a couple major label debuts.
What artist are you most excited to hear from in 2015?