10. Tyler The Creator – TBD
Release Date: TBD
Let’s call a spade a spade: Tyler, the Creator is one of the most creative, unique, tastemakers in music today. Your favorite rapper probably bites his production queues, his influences, his art direction, his style, and if not, they’re probably biting his management style, his rollout, or his promotion tactics. Everything Tyler does is driven by passion, which is probably the most exciting aspect of 2015 being possibly another album year for Tyler. We already know he’s been silently finishing the album via his FADER cover story, yet we have no snippets or singles to base our expectations, and, for once, we don’t even have a title. What we do know is that for the first time, Tyler has absolutely no creative constraints, and no expectations, making this next project one of the most looked-forward to.
9. Travis Scott – Rodeo
Release Date: TBD
G.O.O.D. Music/Grand Hustle signee Travis Scott contributed to some of 2013’s biggest albums from Kanye, Jay-Z and Wale to being one of the only bold moments of 2014 with his near-perfect free album, Days Before Rodeo. With a completely fresh sonic perspective and a little help from his friends Metro Boomin, Vinylz, DJ Dahi, WondaGurl and Lex Luger, Travis was able to create an innovative, gothic, futuristic trap sound of sorts. His debut LP, the appropriately titled Rodeo, promises to be his best work yet, as he hopes to bring the carnival-inspired madness of what Houston really is to mainstream music.
8. Chance the Rapper – Surf
Release Date: Q1 2015
2015 is looking to be another great year for Chicago, as Chance the Rapper is expected to release a number of free albums with his Social Experiment band. The first project will be themed around Chance’s trumpet player (Donnie Trumpet) and will be titled Surf, and if the album is anything like its first and soulful single ‘Sunday Candy’ it should be great. While we don’t know too much about the upcoming series of albums, Chance has recruited quite the cast to come to his LA studio to record. In addition to his talented band and team of producers (which helped make Acid Rap so great), Chance has been working with Frank Ocean, Rick Rubin, J. Cole, Migos and more. Since Surf was originally expected for a late 2014 release, fans should get the album any day now and because Chance has made a conscious effort to stick with the independent route, you can expect a release approach far different than a major label.
7. Vic Mensa – Traffic
Release Date: Late 2015
If all goes as planned, fans may likely get two new projects from Chicago’s Vic Mensa this year, his forthcoming EP Street Lights and his debut album Traffic. Last year, Vic himself took to Twitter to tell fans that Traffic would be “the best album of 2015” and while this may be a big prediction, his latest project INNANETAPE and his 2014 tracks ‘Down on My Luck’ and ‘Feel That’ certainly paved the way for greatness. When you combine the talents of the 2014 XXL Freshman, Grammy nominated producers Stefan Ponce and Ludwig Goransson, and his SAVE MONEY affiliate and longtime friend Chance the Rapper, you are bound to make a hit. Look out for Street Lights real soon and expect Traffic to come later in the year, as both should be two of the best projects to come out of the Windy City this year.
6. James Blake – Radio Silence
Release Date: April/May 2015
With his 2013 album Overgrown being one of the best exercises in minimal Soul and R&B, James Blake recently has shown his evolution from being one of the most emulated electronic producers of the post-dubstep world to being one of the most unique, standalone voices in electronic R&B. His falsetto is like no other, and his voice seems so stark and icy whenever his voice touches a track. James, though, like many people on this list, have been very quiet lately. On the last session of a residency he had with BBC Radio One, James announced the title of his album, Radio Silence, and has said we will likely see this album in the spring. With collaborators rumoured to be from the likes of Kanye West and Bon Iver, this will likely be among 2015’s best