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From SchoolBoy to K.R.I.T: The 5 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014

Posted by Lucas G. on 12/16/13 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Preview, Albums

As quickly as my obsession for all things 2013 came on in the past few weeks, it has subsided just as fast. I'm still very much invested in the 2013 RefinedHype Awards, but with no more big releases for the year - unless Beyonce has another surprise album in store for us - it's safe to say there isn't much left for the music buffs this year.  So what do you do when the release field looks as barren as the Sahara Desert after a nuke? Look ahead to 2014. As you know, nothing is ever written in stone when it comes to releases, but here are the five biggest or most-anticipated projects (hopefully) of 2014. Obviously things could change, and other albums could be announced, but for now, these five will be what gets me through to the new year.

Big K.R.I.T. - "Cadillactica"

I think Krizzle spoils people; "His King Remembered In Time" tape dropped early in 2013 and while it is one of the stronger, more consistent projects of the year, people still seem to be sleeping. I think it has become a situation where people just expect dopeness from him so when he does bring us new stuff it doesn't get talked about because it is the status quo. It's sort of like how we have come to expect Peyton Manning to throw four touchdowns a game and the hoopla around a Manning four-score game isn't as big as some average QB throwing four dimes. It is both a gift and a curse.

Once "Cadillactica" drops I hope people finally start truly appreciating him and it will be hard not to with a strong album. Unless it is on "Acid Rap" status, mixtapes are definitely in danger of being overlooked in favor of albums, so once this album hits shelves (hopefully in the first quarter off 2014), Krizzle should be back on top. Pseudo-kinda-sorta-maybe single "Just Last Week" isn't my favorite, but since its not officially attached to the project, although it may be soon, I am not scared.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - "Piñata"

One of my goals of 2013 was to become a fan of Freddie Gibbs. I made some headway, but unfortunately, it looks like it will have to be my new years resolution as well. Don't get me wrong, I admire, respect, and appreciate Gibbs' talent, but it isn't exactly my wheelhouse. While, "Cocaine Piñata" was obviously an amazing name, I am still interested in this album. Listening to Gibbs' older stuff, I kind of feel like I am late to the party and playing catch up, so I feel like I need something new from Gibbs to get with the program. I am really hoping that Gibbs and his good buddy Madlib can cook up something really different with this album, and make something that makes me fall in love with Gibbs; I really want to, but just haven't found that project/song yet. If it is anything like their 2013 joint, "Deeper" (above), I should have no trouble. 

And oh yeah, "Cocaine Piñata" (I am calling it that because it is so much better than just "Piñata") drops in early February, so we shant be waiting too long.

A$AP Mob - "L.O.R.D."

2013 was a colossal year for the New York crew and most, if not all of the credit goes to Rocky. Sure Ferg had an album, but Rocky's was much bigger and much better and opened the door for Ferg. Anyway, I am really eager to see if the crew can capitalize on their buzz and their L.O.R.D. album looks liek it'll be the next chapter in the A$AP saga. What  will look for most from the March album is for someone, other tan A$AP to step up and really blow us away. This group can;t depend on Rocky and Rocky alone for the next 10 years if they want to stay relevant and someone else has got to use this chance as a way to break out. For the record, my money is on Twelvy.

Lupe Fiasco - "Tetsuo & Youth"

For as much guff as we gave him this year (I.e. this, this, and this) I am actually pretty excited for this album. Often the ones we make fun of most are the rappers we also love the most too. Lupe pulled the plug on Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 2 early in the year, and we know that Tetsuo & Youth will take its place.

He might be a little out there, but Lupe can still rap wtht he best of him and even if the album doesn't meet exepctations, he will likely give us plenty bloggable moments around the albums release date. It wouldn't be Lupe without some controversy. More importanly is the music, and with the first single, "Old School Love" Lupe has hit the ground running. It is deifnitely radio-friendly but by no means is it bad. Lupe's lyrics are deep as always and Ed Sheeran's hook gives it that poppy edge; a really nice blend. The album is due out early next year, but with Lupe, who knows when it will actually drop.

SchoolBoy Q - "Oxymoron"

For most of 2013, the whispers about this album were deafening, but I never really understood all the hype. People were so excited for the album, but what had SchoolBoy really done to deserve it? Then I really listened to "Collard Greens", "Yay Yay", and "Banger (Moshpit)" and now I am definitely on the "Oxymoron" bandwagon.

On paper, this album looks like it will be in the album of the year discussion. I know it's early (literally a year early), but with production from Pharrell, J. Cole, and The Alchemist and guest spots from Kendrick, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, and A$AP Rocky (plus the other TDE spots which are certain to come) this album has all the star power needed to make it through the year; If you are a hip-hop fan and aren't excited at the lineup, check your pulse.

Adding to the mystique, this album is not only Schoolboy's major label debut, but is the first TDE album since "GKMC" (which means it is the first album since the posse really blew up. If this album hits like "GKMC", TDE will become a dangerous force in the rap game (as if they aren't already). The album was pushed back into 2014, and I actually think it helped build anticipation for the album, so now, come February 24 if all goes well, all eyes will be on Schoolboy. So far "Oxymoron" is far and away the most anticipated album of 2014.

Dr. Dre - "Detox"

So there you have it, the five most anticipated projects of 2014. There was one I didn't mention though, and that's because it hasn't actually happened yet. I am very excited to see who is the Chance The Rapper of 2014 is. Obviously, they might not be as successful as Chance (his rise was unlike any other emcees ever) but the best projects always seem to be the ones that come out of the blue and are unheralded.

Everyone is looking forward to "Oxymoron", and rightfully so, but you should be just as excited about that album or mixtape you haven't heard of from that rapper you don't know about because those always seem to be the best surprises. What will that album be? We'll just have to wait and see, and that's the best part. 

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