5. Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon
Release Date: TBD
Although it was noticeably snubbed by the Grammys, Lana Del Rey’s latest efforts in Ultraviolence were her best yet. The album landed on a number of year end lists, even topping our list, and it was received especially well by critics everywhere. And although our 2014 Woman of the Year has been busy this past year touring, recording her latest album and even landing a Golden Globe nomination for her work on Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes”, Lana has already recorded 9-tracks for her next album, titled Honeymoon. We don’t have anything from the album yet, but according to Lana herself, production on 4 of the 9 tracks is “perfect”. After a “few more songs to tie everything together”, Lana explained, the album will be finished, so fans can certainly expect a 2015 release.
4. Drake – Views From The 6
Release Date: Spring 2015
It doesn’t feel like Drake went album-less in 2014 since you can’t turn on a radio or go to the club without hearing a Drizzy record, but it has been over a year since Drake’s third studio album Nothing Was the Same. While originally being the rap Susan Lucci with a number of Grammy nominations with no W’s, Drake finally got his Grammy last time around, which only sets the bar higher for his next album Views From The 6. So far though he is on pace to keep his momentum going as ‘0-100’ is nominated for two Grammys, his verse made iLoveMakonnen’s ‘Tuesday’ a 2014 hit and his OVO team is getting stronger day-by-day. It may take some time before he is ever in the discussion of passing the likes of Kanye, Eminem, Jay-Z and his mentor Lil Wayne, but right now there is no other rapper (legends included) that can make a song a hit like Drake.
3. Kendrick Lamar – TBD
Release Date: TBD
Kendrick may have started 2015 on a bad note by rubbing many the wrong way during his recent interview with Billboard. Speaking on police brutality, Kendrick explained “What happened to (Michael Brown) should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us?” Agree with the man or not, this doesn’t erase the anticipation that has built up for Kendrick’s forthcoming sophomore album, ever since the release of his critically acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city album. It has been over two years since the release of GKMC (which received 7 Grammy nominations), but music has not seen a better album since. In 2013 he hopped on Big Sean’s ‘Control’ and gave a memorable verse calling out everyone in the rap game and now it is time to see if King Kendrick will fall victim to the sophomore album curse or if his next album, with its lead single ‘i’, can cash the check he wrote for himself in ‘Control’ by reaching the high expectations that we all have for the album.
2. Kanye West – TBD
Release Date: TBD
After the release of his experimental and game-changing album 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, Kanye took a couple years and put out arguably the greatest rap album ever recorded with his 2010 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. While MBDTF may not have been as influential as 808s, it is near perfect from top to bottom. Now, in 2015, Kanye is almost two years removed from his second most game-changing and non-tradition album with his 6th studio album Yeezus. If history indeed repeats itself, we may be in store for Kanye’s best album yet. So what do we know about the album so far? We don’t know when it will be released (and certainly don’t rule out a surprise release) and we don’t know its title, but we do have its first single in ‘Only One’, which is already in the conversation for one of the best Kanye songs ever recorded. We also know a few people who have contributed to Kanye’s upcoming album, such as Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Rick Rubin, Ty Dolla $ign and Q-Tip. In promotion of Yeezus, Kanye talked about Bruce Springsteen’s transition between his Nebraska and Born in the U.S.A. albums (Bruce’s 6th and 7th studio albums), and according to Kanye his 7th studio album will be his Born in the U.S.A. Which wouldn’t be too bad at all, considering Born in the U.S.A. is a classic 5-star Rolling Stone and Grammy winning album.
1. Frank Ocean – TBD
Release Date: TBD
Frank Ocean is the only one in his class. After releasing what is widely regarded as a modern-classic in his debut, channel ORANGE, Frank Ocean has dropped off the face of the earth, only to pop back in and release random songs through his Tumblr account. This exile of sorts also includes the fact that Frank has deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts and has been flushed out of most social media as a whole. It seems as though he is taking the time to genuinely live life before affecting culture as whole once again with his sophomore release, but it also seems that date is coming soon after almost 3 years. He’s changed management to a larger, wider-reaching firm and has been recording with everyone from Pharrell to Lil B. We are excited to see the return of the man who chooses to live and breather through his art and art alone, and who can walk among us in anonymity, yet extraordinarily be one of the greatest storytellers of our time.