After the 61st annual Grammy Awards— where a jam-packed year with plenty of new hip hop was celebrated—it’s time to turn our focus to 2019. Although this past year will be a tough act to follow, we’ve got plenty of familiar faces in the industry ready to do big things.
Chance the Rapper Debut Album: TBD
The 25-year-old independent rapper came on the scene with successful mixtapes 10 Days, Acid Rap, and Coloring Book. This July he’s set to release his debut album. This project is still untitled,, but the Chicago native gave some encouraging words to his die-hard fans regarding his new work.
“This is my first album so it’s really good,” he said. “I got real famous so I gotta lotta eyes that wasn’t fans of me they just fans of what’s popular. My first album is for my fans.”
His aforementioned project, Coloring Book, released back in May of 2016, broke records for a streaming-only project and garnered a Grammy in 2017. I’m intrigued to see what the young star has in store for his follow-up.
Kanye West & Chance the Rapper: Good Ass Job
You want to talk about a match made in heaven for Chi-town rap fans? Look no further than this upcoming collaboration featuring rapping and producing legend Kanye West and the aforementioned rising Chance the Rapper.
Good Ass Job was originally supposed to be the final piece of Ye’s education-themed series that began with his debut album The College Dropout and 2008’s Graduation. Both are classic albums in my opinion. Good Ass Job wasn’t made until after the passing of Kanye’s mother; he gave us 808’s and Heartbreaks instead.
After another busy year for the crazed musical genius—with seven-track albums Ye and Kids See Ghosts with Kid Cudi—Mr. West is ready to continue in 2019 alongside Chance in what is sure to be a soulful endeavor with sounds of the Chicago streets written all over it.
Kanye West: Yandhi
It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to understand Kanye is an oddball. After his most experimental album from a sound standpoint came out back in 2013, Yeezus, combining his nickname “Yeezy” with Jesus, he’s now doing the same with Gandhi. Kanye really does love himself some Kanye.
But then again, so do most hip-hop fans. There’s high anticipation for this album, whose release has already been pushed back twice after its announcement back in September. Ye has been recording this new project in Uganda to get in touch with his ancestral roots. Oh, and he’s also there to gift the president of Uganda a pair of Yeezys while he’s at it.
A release date has not been set after the original date of Black Friday, but it is expected we will get Yandhi in 2019. After a year filled with controversy, it’s fair to say Kanye’s judgement and brash actions are disappointing for such a huge artist. But how can you not be amped for new content from one of the greatest artists the industry has ever seen?
It felt so good being on the stage last night with my brother Cudi. After performing again, I realize the new album I’ve been working on isn’t ready yet. I’ll announce the release date once it’s done. Thank you for understanding.
— ye (@kanyewest) November 13, 2018
Kendrick Lamar: TBD
I don’t care that “Kung-Fu Kenny” hasn’t revealed a title or any details regarding his 2019 album. And you shouldn’t either. Based on this man’s track record you can expect more amazing music from someone nearly unanimously recognized as the greatest rapper of this generation.
At age 31, Kendrick has already put out three sure-to-be-remembered as classic albums in his tenure. Whether it’s his timeless project Good Kid Maad City, or his masterpiece filled with political and social outcry To Pimp A Butterfly, or his incredible debut album Section 80 that jump-started his career, Kendrick is never a bad listen.
In 2018 Lamar crafted The Black Panther Soundtrack, which complemented Marvel’s film extremely well. So much so that it was nominated for eight Grammy’s, including Album of the Year. This is just the second soundtrack to be nominated for this category in the 21st century.
The sky’s the limit for this man who clearly has a lot more to give, and is showing no signs of slowing down. I didn’t mention Damn in the classics list, I don’t know if it will ever reach that level. Having said that, it was still very deserving of rap album of the year, a testament to how special he is.
Joey Badass: TBD
Outside of the aforementioned Lamar, this Brooklyn native doesn’t take a backseat to anybody in the rap game today. “Badmon” is back again after a quiet 2018, indicating on Twitter he understands his fans “need a new Badass album in their life”.
Badass’ last work was an album full of powerful political protest in All Amerikkkan Badass. In a serious time of turmoil I didn’t mind the approach, but fans should be more excited for this upcoming project. Expect him to revert back to his roots with 1999 and Summer Knights mixtapes, where his flow and thorough level of lyricism hit its peak.
At only 24 years old, it’s crazy to think Joey can go nowhere but up after incredible success up to this point. But at such a young age, it’s reasonable to think he has the potential to be an all-time great.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib: Bandana
This “PB and jelly” like combination of Gibbs on the microphone and Madlib on the keys should get rap fans fired up. Have any doubts about this? Go check out the duo’s street classic Pinata, released back in 2014.
Five years later, the pair is setting up to give their fans another project. There are multiple rumors that this is the final album for Gary, Indiana, native Gibbs. That may just be talk, but given that it’s a possibility, and the fact that Gibbs is taking his time putting this together ( the writing dates back to 2016), it’s a safe bet to say this will be another great album.
Won't be long before we get that new @FreddieGibbs now…
— HotNewHipHop (@HotNewHipHop) February 13, 2019