previews... - December 22, 2017

hmv previews 2018's Best Albums... Hip-Hop and R&B
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor,

hmv previews 2018's Best Albums... Hip-Hop and R&B

Over the next few days, we'll be previewing 80 of the best albums you can expect to hear in 2018. Most will arrive, some inevitably won't, but they are all worth getting excited about.

Today we investigate the return Kanye West, a possible comeback for Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, and a new album from Drake...

Kanye West

Title: TBC

Release date: TBC

2016 ended with a turbulent few weeks for Yeezy, with the robbery of his wife Kim Kardashian in Paris reportedly triggering an episode described as “temporary psychosis” which saw the rapper admitted to hospital for several days, eventually leading to the cancellation of this Saint Pablo tour. The following May, Kanye took the uncharacteristic step of deleting his Twitter and Instagram accounts, and while there has been radio silence from the rapper himself ever since, there have been reports that his next album is underway.

TMZ reported shortly afterwards had headed to the mountains of Wyoming to soak up some inspiration for his new album, the reports stating that Pusha T had been visiting help the rapper find his creative stride. Three tracks supposedly intended for the new album leaked a month later in June, but there has been no confirmation of whether these were genuinely new or headed for his next LP. All we really know is that he's working on it; beyond that, it's anyone's guess, but if he's been working since at least May 2017 we'd be surprised if 2018 came and went without a new Kanye West album.


Craig David

Title: The Time is Now

Release date: January 26th

Having enjoyed a somewhat unlikely comeback with his 2016 album Following My Intuition, Craig David returns once more in January with its follow-up, The Time is Now. This time around the singer has recruited some collaborators in the form of Bastille frontman Dan Smith, J.B. Cooper and rapper Goldlink, as well as a couple of up-and-coming talents such as AJ Tracey and Ella Mai.

Fraser T. Smith, whose career began as David's touring guitarist, is one of several producers on the new album, including Kaytranada, Tre Jean-Marie, Chase & Status, Blonde and Jonas Blue, the latter manning the controls on David's latest single 'Heartline'. The new album is set to arrive in stores on January 26th and you'll be able to catch him at one of several signings at hmv stores in January – more details here.



Title: Godfather II

Release date: March 2nd

The former Pay As U Go Cartel member and undisputed king of Grime returns in 2018 with a follow-up to his 2017 album Godfather. Back in January when the album was released, Wiley had stated that it could be his last album, but it seems the rapper from Bow in East London still has a few things to say and with Godfather becoming the highest-charting album of his career, a second instalment is set to arrive on March 2nd.

Titled Godfather II, the new album will feature 20 new tracks including the already-released collaboration with JME, 'Call The Shots'. Other contributors rumoured to appear include Skepta and Giggs, and while neither have been confirmed as yet, we won't have long to wait for the album coming in early spring.


Nicki Minaj

Title: TBC

Release date: TBC

It has been over three years now since The Pinkprint and for most of 2017 Nicki Minaj has been teasing a new album in one way or another, but it has yet to emerge. The good news is that this makes it almost certain that a fourth LP will arrive in 2018, but Minaj has remained tight-lipped about its title or release date.

In October 2016, Minaj expertly trolled her fans on Twitter with the announcement that her new album would be dropping “at midnight” and would be titled Pick My Fruit Out, even tweeting a fake tracklist with song titles such as 'Watermelon' and 'Bananas (Harambe interlude)', but more than a year later we're still waiting.

It's coming though; as far back as January 2017, the rapper slipped a line into her verse on Major Lazer's 'Run Up' stating “'Bout to drop an album, this is my fourth”, and while Minaj has been busy putting out singles with the likes of Lil' Wayne and Drake over the last 12 months, she's clearly taking her time to make sure it's right. In two separate interviews with DJ Whoo Kid and Dazed, Minaj has said that her next LP will be a “classic hip-hop album” and described the tracks written so far as her “best body of work”, but in the latter Dazed interview she also offered an update: "I can’t say if I’m 50 percent, 80 percent or 10 percent done, because I don’t know.” That, ladies and gents, is as much as we know.



Title: TBC

Release date: TBC

On 'Do Not Disturb', the parting shot from Drake's “playlist” More Life, the Canadian rapper announced “I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary”, and given the prolific level of output that has marked Drake's career so far, we've no reason to disbelieve him.

Drake did also tell the crowd at a Toronto gig in August that he is working on a new album for next year, even hinting that it might feature a collaboration with fellow Canadian The Weeknd, who was in attendance at the show. Beyond that, there's nothing much more concrete as yet, and a “new album” named Scriptures turned out to be a prank from one of Drizzy's longtime producers Noah “40” Shebib, but you can bet a new LP is in the offing and, barring any major disasters, it's almost certain to arrive in the next 12 months.


Pusha T

Title: King Push

Release date: TBC

Pusha T isn't making any attempt to manage expectations about his next album, stating in November that his upcoming LP King Push is “going to be the album of the year in 2018.” If things go to plan, it could arrive sooner rather than later, with the G.O.O.D. Music head honcho telling Billboard in November: “I’m actually finishing it up. I’m probably working on my last song.”

There's no release date as yet, but what we do know is that the album has been produced “top to bottom” by Kanye West and, if anything, the thing holding the album back has been West's perfectionist streak: He A&R’s my album all the time. He will pick all of my beats. I’ll rap to all of the beats, song’s done. Then, he will listen to it and say, ‘Hey, I can do all of these beats better.” Whenever it arrives, it's sure to be exciting.


Travis Scott

Title: Astroworld

Release date: TBC

Houston rapper Travis Scott has been talking up an album called Astroworld ever since May 2016, before he even released that year's LP Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight – an album he described as a 'stepping stone' towards Astroworld - but it seems like 2018 might be the year it finally appears. Taking its name from a Houston amusement park that was demolished in 2005, the album has been in gestation for a while now and in October pictures emerged of Scott in the studio with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, hinting at one of the collaborations to feature on the album.

Despite all of this, a release date has yet to be mooted and with the rapper known to have been working on a collaboration album with Quavo – and already being mixed, according to the Migos rapper – it seems that Astroworld might be held back a little longer in favour of releasing the joint album first. What we do know though is that Scott is already making plans for the Astroworld tour, which he says will feature amusement rides circling the stage. All we're missing is an actual release date, but you can bet it's coming soon and we'd be amazed if it didn't arrive in 2018.


Run The Jewels

Title: TBC (but probably RTJ4)

Release date: TBC

El-P and Killer Mike have become one of the most formidable rap duos around in recent years, releasing three albums together under their Run The Jewels banner, each one more impressive than the last. With their third LP arriving late in 2016, the pair have spent much of 2017 touring the album relentlessly, but as one of the most prolific producers of the last couple of decades, El-P isn't one to rest on his laurels. A recent tweet stated that he and Mike are already hatching “filthy, dirty, dusty plans” for their next record.

When exactly a fourth album might arrive, we can't say, although with a tour just wrapping up in the last couple of weeks it's fair to say that the pair have earned a rest, but we'd expect something towards the second half of the year if their recent work rate stays at the same level.


Danny Brown

Title: TBC

Release date: TBC

It has been little more than a year since Detroit rapper Danny Brown released Atrocity Exhibition, but in recent weeks he's revealed that he's already deep into a follow-up which, he says, is being produced entirely by a “legendary” hip-hop producer, although he's still refusing to say at this stage who that might be.

That hasn't stopped his Twitter followers from guessing though, with everyone from Madlib to Dr. Dre being speculated on, but Danny is keeping his cards close to his chest. It does, however, seem likely that the new album could emerge in 2018, but for now, we'll have to wait until the raper spills the beans.


Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

Title: TBC

Release date: TBC

Given the supposedly acrimonious split between one of the most influential rap duos of all time, it seemed as though hell had truly frozen over when C.L. Smooth and his erstwhile partner Pete Rock stepped out on the stage together in 2016 for the first time since the duo's 90s heyday. But as if that wasn't enough, the producer also revealed in an interview that he and C.L. also had a new album in the works.

Pete Rock revealed the news on The Breakfast Club while promoting his recent collaboration with Smoke DZA earlier in 2017, saying then that the album was “coming in 2017” and was “going to be awesome”. As the months have ticked by however the album has yet to emerge, but with the duo repeatedly promising audiences that they have “new music coming” on the All Souled Out tour, this could be one of the most exciting returns of 2018.

If You're Reading This It's Too Late
If You're Reading This It's Too Late Drake

More Articles

View All Quiz.... previews... previews... previews... Quiz....