The new year is right around the corner, and while we’re sure you’re squeezing every last bit of new music you can from the few remaining “Best of 2012” lists, it’s important to look toward the future and keep in mind all of the great music still to come. While we’ve all but given up hope that 2013 will be the year we see Detox on store shelves, there’s still plenty of releases either officially announced or alluded to that have us excited. It’s with the boom-bap baby new year in mind we bring you five hip-hop albums we’re excited for in 2013.
5. LL Cool J
While a 13th album from any rap artist might seem like a bit of a dark horse, we’re actually excited for LL’s Authentic Hip-Hop. Early leaks “Take It” and “Ratchet” have caught a few longtime fans off-guard, and LL has proven time and time again that just when you’ve counted him out, he returns to relevancy with a banger that turns the rap world on its ear. This’ll be his first album since 2008’s Exit 13, making this LL’s longest stint away from the studio. We’re willing to bet he returns to the mic with a vengeance. In the event he does, just remember, “don’t call it a comeback.” (Sorry.)
4. Kool G. Rap & Necro
One of the most frequently seen names on any number of “Greatest Rapper of All Time” lists, Kool G Rap is known for spitting some of the most celebrated verses ever committed to wax. As one of the genre’s all time great innovators, it shouldn’t be that shocking that he’s teaming up for a project with someone whose production work is as consistently dope as it is rooted in hip-hop tradition. The fact that said producer also happens to be controversial underground rap artist Necro has turned a few heads. Truth be told, few artists have visibly shown as much reverence and understanding of G Rap’s legacy as Necro, so a collaborative effort featuring both rapping and Necro behind the boards should play to both of their strengths better than anyone else in rap today.
Debut album, Title TK
Since 2004, former Definitive Jux MC Despot has maintained roughly a one-verse-per-year output average. While he may not be the most prolific rapper, Despot’s developed a cult following for being an incredibly consistent artist without a wack verse in his catalog. A close associate of El-P, Ratatat and the now-defunct Das Racist, the odds of the new year finally bringing a Despot full-length are greater than they’ve ever been. If the new songs he premiered on this year’s Killer Mike/El-P/Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire tour were anything to go by, Despot’s eventual debut may prove to be truly worth the wait.
My Name Is My Name
One-half of critical darlings Clipse, hip-hop fans have speculated what a full-fledged Pusha-T solo album would sound like for over a decade. Now aligned with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music, the potential production line-up and accessibility for guest-appearances on-paper make Pusha-T’s My Name Is My Name and early, unheard potential candidate for album of the year (as absurd as that sounds). With Clipse’s legacy having two of the most cohesive rap full-lengths of the 2000s, there’s a strong chance Pusha will utilize these G.O.O.D. resources for another well-crafted album.
1. A$AP Rocky
Thirteen years after the rise of file-sharing eradicated all limitations of music accessibility, we shouldn’t be too surprised that an undeniably Harlem artist with a heavy Memphis, Houston and New Orleans influence has become one of the most buzzed about new MCs. A$AP Rocky’s consistent output since 2009 has seen his fanbase rapidly expand to the point where he now sells out shows at venues like Roseland Ballroom without an official retail album in stores. With Long.Live.ASAP‘s lead single “Goldie” being a strong enough cut to be released last summer and still top several 2012 Best Rap Singles lists, expectations for the album are high. With each leaked track being stronger and stronger, Long.Live.ASAP may already be 2013’s safest bet.