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Music January, 29 2013

10 Hip-Hop Albums We’re Looking Forward to in 2013

Before we get to it, what’s included in this list are only albums which have a very high, if not definite, chance of being released in 2013. That means no rumored albums are listed which leaves out a few huge contenders that we would have otherwise included like Jay-Z, Andre 3000, and Kanye West.

We’ve also left out albums from this year that have already dropped like A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP. But enough with disclaimers, check out which 10 albums we’re looking forward to below in chronological order.

1. Lil Wayne – I Am Not A Human Being II

Expected release date: February 19, 2013

Perhaps the artist that has the most to prove with his upcoming release, Lil Wayne has ping-ponged around the hip-hop game over the past few years. It seems likely then that I Am Not A Human Being II will determine if Weezy is still the self-proclaimed best rapper alive. Of course the New Orleans rapper will always be able to deliver a few slappers each year, but only time will tell if he is able to deliver all-killer no-filler albums the way he was once able to.

2. 50 Cent – Street King Immortal

Expected release date: February 26, 2013

After countless delays, it seems Spring 2013 will finally see the release of 50 Cent’s fifth studio album. Early reports cite the album as being more soulful and insightful than any of the New York rapper’s earlier releases. At the very least it’ll be interesting to hear a different, more sensitive side of an artist who’s practically staked an entire career on being the toughest, most indestructible man alive. Admittedly, the album title is ironic given the nature of the album’s supposed themes. Either way, we’ll be giving it a good amount of spins once it’s out in the wild.

3. Pusha T – My Name is My Name

Expected release date: March 2013

With all-star production from Kanye West, The Neptunes, The-Dream, Just Blaze, No I.D., and Swizz Beatz, Pusha T’s debut studio album is sure to contain a handful of bangers for the Spring and beyond. In fact, we’re just as anxious to hear the music behind T as we are his raps. We’ll have to wait until March to hear his debut LP, but for now we’ll settle for his mixtape Wrath of Caine.

4. Wu-Tang Clan – TBA

Expected release date: November 2013

The hip-hop veterans were recently revealed to be headlining this year’s Coachella Festival and are expected to release a new studio album in November for their 20th anniversary. I don’t think we need to explain why we’re looking forward to a new album from rap’s greatest group of all time. Look for it toward the end of the year.

5. Eminem – TBA

Expected release date: 2013

The Detroit rapper has seen no shortage of controversy throughout his career which is to be expected from one of the G.O.A.T.’s who brought hip-hop’s divisive themes to the whitest and cleanest of suburbs seemingly overnight. After a 5 year hiatus from 2004 to 2009, Marshall Mathers returned triumphantly to the scene as a more mature artist with a score of things to get off his chest.

And although his latest albums haven’t received the same amount of critical acclaim as earlier releases, we still wait with bated breath for anything Eminem puts out. After all, very few rappers ever have been able to implement visceral yet humorous storytelling with extremely complex rhyme schemes and syncopation.

6. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

Expected release date: 2013

Arguably Odd Future’s most talented member, the young LA rapper is set to release the follow-up to 2010’s Earl by the end of the year. At just 18 years old, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile aka Earl Sweatshirt has released a string of tracks over the past few months in collaboration with both his label mates and other important hip-hop figureheads like Flying Lotus. With a solid and dedicated group of fans, we’re excited to see what the teenage wordsmith has up his sleeves for the Year of the Snake.

7. Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful + Saab Stories

Expected release date: 2013

After an exceptional 2012, Action Bronson is gearing up to release 2 albums in 2013. Midway through last year, Arian Asllani signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. by way of VICE and has already appeared on several jams from this year like the posse cut “1 Train” off of A$AP Rocky’s latest album. His experience as a respected fire-flame chef in New York gives him a unique perspective in the rap world that we’re looking forward to hearing more of in 2013.

8. Danny Brown – Old

Expected release date: 2013

Hip-hop has always been a hotbed for bizarre, eccentric acts with certain artists holding the title for weirdest throughout different eras. Detroit’s Danny Brown is at the forefront of the latest weirdness with his loud, abrasive voice and a certain level of tongue-in-cheek vulgarity.

That’s not to say Brown’s lyrics lack substance. Quite the opposite in fact. His 2011 concept album XXX, for instance, received critical acclaim for its experimental sound and absorbing story line. Thus, we’re eager to hear what he has in store for us with his upcoming album Old.

9. Joey Bada$$ – TBA

Expected release date: 2013

Another youngin’ we wouldn’t kick off our lawn, Joey Bada$$ has grown to become one of New York’s most promising prospects. Appearing on 4 mixtapes in 2012 (2 of his own and 2 with Pro Era), 2013 looks to be a big one for the 18-year old. After quelling rumors of signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, the young artist is still independent thereby allowing him more freedom than he might otherwise have on a major label. In a word, expect good things from Mr. Bada$$ in 2013.

10. The Roots – & Then You Shoot Your Cousin

Expected release date: 2013

Hip-hop’s hardest working group is back in 2013 with the follow-up to 2011’s exceptional album Undun. How the Philly natives manage to find time to write and record their own music while performing nightly on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and working on another album with Elvis Costello is beyond us. In any case, we’re always looking forward to hearing what ?uestlove, Black Thought, Captain Kirk Douglas, and the rest of the Roots crew have on the horizon.

Honorary mentions include Big Sean, Snoop Lion, YelaWolf, Juicy J, Jay Rock, KiD CuDi, Talib Kweli, J. Cole, Rick Ross, ScHoolboy Q, and whoever your personal favorite hip-hop artist is.

What are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments section below.

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