AUSTIN, TEXAS – OCTOBER 06: Cardi B performs in concert during week one of the ACL Festival at … [+]
2019 was dominated by newer names in the hip-hop space grabbing their first No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, as artists like A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Young Thug, DaBaby, YoungBoy Never Broke Again and the late Juice WRLD were among those lucky enough to send full-lengths all the way to the top of the tally. It’s tough to predict which musicians will come out of nowhere with new collections and own the chart next year, but there are plenty of superstars slated to return with projects that should be huge.
Here’s a look at eight of the most anticipated hip-hop albums coming in 2020.
Migos – Culture III
In January 2017 and 2018, Migos dropped album sfrom their Culture series, and both titles (appropriately named Culture and Culture II) topped the Billboard 200 and produced a number of hit singles. 2019 didn’t see the third installment arrive, but that doesn’t mean they are done creating culture. In fact, Migos member Quavo told this writer last year that the third edition would likely be the last.
After the members dropped solo efforts and tended to their personal lives, Migos looks ready to drop Culture III at some point in 2020, though whether or not it will appear in January like its predecessors is unknown.
Megan Thee Stallion
In mid-2019, Megan Thee Stallion went from a hotly-tipped talent to a proper star with her mixtape Fever, which debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, a huge win for a musician so new to so many people. The set was followed quickly by the single “Hot Girl Summer,” which stalled just one rung shy of breaking into the Hot 100’s top 10, and it lived on the chart for longer than many may have expected for a tune from a rising star. That song will likely be featured on her next collection, which could be a massive win upon its arrival, as there many not be anyone in the field watched more closely than she is.
Young Thug – Punk
After debuting a number of commercial mixtapes inside the Billboard 200’s top 10, Young Thug finally shared his first proper album, and it wasted no time in becoming a leader. So Much Fun ruled the chart in August, and it spun off two singles that missed the uppermost area on the Hot 100 by just a few spots. The set was a huge success, but the rapper isn’t going to rest on it for long.
Punk was originally slated for a very late 2019 street date, but it was pushed to early 2020, and now it looks like it will hit in February.
J. Cole – The Fall Off
As a member of his label collective Dreamville, J. Cole scored his sixth No. 1 album in 2019, Revenge of the Dreamers III, and he’s already announced his next solo effort, which should give fans even more of a taste of where he is musically these days. The rapper’s sixth full-length under his moniker, The Fall Off, doesn’t have an actual date when it will be streamable, but it’s sure to go straight to the top of the Billboard 200 when it does appear.
The Grammy winner has already been promoting Tiger Woods (a title that may be a joke, according to the rapper herself) for months, but it still isn’t clear when the set will debut. She started previewing the follow-up to her massively successful Invasion of Privacy with lead single “Money,” which arrived in 2018. This past year, her songs “Please Me” with Bruno Mars and “Press” both also climbed toward the top of the Hot 100, giving her more big wins.
Anticipation is high and expectations may be even higher, but if anyone can turn in an album that the entire world will listen to for months or even years at a time, it’s Cardi.
Run The Jewels
The hip-hop duo’s first three albums all arrived close to one another, with full-lengths dropping in 2013, 2014 and 2016. It’s now been an uncharacteristically-long four years since their last release, and it’s time for the fourth installment of their self-titled series. While no music has been shared, the pair has confirmed they will give fans what they’ve been waiting so patiently for in 2020.
The most successful musician on the planet doesn’t usually give much warning when it comes to full-length projects (be they albums, mixtapes, playlists or whatever he chooses to call them), but he rarely goes a year without delivering something. It looked like he wouldn’t have anything to share in 2019, but his compilation of older, previously-unreleased songs, titled Care Package, debuted atop the Billboard 200, giving him his ninth leader.
Drake recently dropped the new single and video “War,” and it may be the first sample of a new album…or perhaps not. There’s no telling what the Canadian musician will do, but it’s a safe bet he’ll have new music in 2020, and that the campaign will be enormous.
Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
Out of almost nowhere, the pioneering rapper’s new single “Futsal Shuffle 2020” appeared in December, and it launched at No. 5 on the Hot 100, instantly becoming his highest-charting solo cut and his first top 10 debut. The title of the track suggests that more special music is coming this year, and his new album, already titled Eternal Atake, is expected.
Keep An Eye Out For
New music is anticipated, though not because of any official statement, from acts like Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar, simply because it seems like time for them to kick off a new era. Fellow stars of the genre like Lil Baby, DaBaby, Kid Cudi and Noname, Smino, Saba (who are planning on releasing something together as a supergroup) could all also share full-lengths in 2020. There are also sure to be plenty of semi-surprise albums and mixtapes from newer, rising acts that break them, though who will make 2020 their year is yet to be seen.