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Hip-Hop Albums That Are Never Dropping (aka the “Detox” Scale)

Posted by Nathan S. on 01/07/14 | Filed under Opinion

It's only Tuesday, but already this week there's been a lot of news about the possibility of albums coming out that I'd be very happy to have come out, which of course made me think about all of the albums I'd like to hear, and how relatively likely it is for those respective albums to ever see the light of day. I think you all know where this is headed. 

So here are the rules...

First, as you might have already guessed by the title, I'm not going to list "Detox" here because "Detox" has reached such a transcendent, meta level of non-release that it's effectively become the entire concept of non-release itself. To use a sports analogy, "Detox" is to albums-not-coming-out what Cy Young is to the Cy Young Award. I say Cy Young and you think "best pitcher." I say "Detox" and you should think "albums that will never drop." So I'm going to rank each album from 1-5 Detoxes, one Detox meaning there's a pretty good chance it will drop, 5 Detoxes meaning there's no way it's happening. (Note: By definition only "Detox" itself can ever achieve a perfect 5 out of 5 Detoxes score.)

Confused? I don't blame you, I'm pretty drunk right now and there's a solid chance this doesn't actually make any sense. But I bet once we really get into things it will get clearer. Let's give it a shot. 

Common "Nobody's Smiling"

I'm including this one primarily to anchor the low-end of our scale. This week Common announced that he's got an album, "Nobody's Smiling", produced by No I.D. on the way this year, and he paired that announcement with a new joint, "War".  

Common's about as predictable and consistent of a rapper as there is, - do you realize that in his 22 year career Com's never gone more than two years between albums? - and the same goes for No I.D. Yes, there are arrests and label politics and everything else that delays an album, but the most important factor is always the artist himself. Common's personality is as measured as it gets, Jay Elec's personality is mysterious and unpredictable (more on that later). So it's no coincidence that his album release schedule is just as predictable. 

If my dream comes true and Vegas let sme start betting on rap albums to drop, this is the safest money of the year so far. 

Detoxes: 1

Clipse "???"

Well, well then. Just a couple days ago I would have placed a Clipse reunion album much lower down on the scale. The duo's albums have always been about as mired in politics and arrests and miscellaneous shit, but recent Malice's conversion to Christiantiy (and name change to No Malice) seemed to seal the deal on the brothers Thornton as a group for the foreseeable future. In interviews both seemed to indicate that there just wasn't enough musical common ground for them to make a new album on - King Push is 100% dedicated to remaining King Push, No Malice is now 100% dedicated to leaving that life behind. 

But yesterday, Karen Civil reported that Clipse were in the studio with the Neptunes working on an independent album. Now, at the moment some internet reporting seems to be the extent of proof we have of a new album, take that for what it's worth, but it's something. And if the only obstacle to a new Clipse album was subject matter and style, that's a relatively low hurdle to jump. Lord willin we'll have more Clipse by the end of the year. 

Fitting quote: "“I would really love to [make a Clipse album],” but my brother is really on his mission right now.” - Pusha T circa 2013

Detoxes: 3

UPDATE: Of course, essentially the minute I write this Pusha wrote "Clipse working on new album” on his Facebook. Ok then, hell yeah. I'll downgrade this album to 2 Detoxes. 
UPDATE 2: No Malice doesn't seem to agree that they're working on an album - or does he? I have no idea what's going on, I'm going back to 3 Detoxes. 
UPDATE 3: No Malice now says there's no way a new album is happening. See, this is why I'm so pessimistic about all this shit. Until it's an actual album I can buy, it's just a rumor. 

Jay Electronica "Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)"

I know Lucas - aka the biggest believer in a Jay Elec album I know - is going to be mad at me for this one, but sorry, facts are facts. (By "facts" I clearly mean shit I think.) Here are the facts: 

1) "Exhibit C", the song that really got people talking about him, dropped four years ago. Four. 
2) Elec signed to Roc Nation four years ago as well, and in that time has yet to release even one single from a project. 
3) On March 8, 2012, Elec tweeted that the album is complete and he was turning it into the label. And then....
4) Kate Rothschild (of the Illuminati Rothschilds) divorces her husband and officially begins dating Elec

But wait, Just Blaze says the album only needs some slight tweaks and it's done!!!!!! Exciting news, except if you listen to all of that interview, Blaze also says that Elec has always worked on his own schedule, and now that he's boning a billionaire, I doubt that schedule involves anything like "Finish the album now!!!"

Now Ironic Quote Tweet That Everyone Assumed Was an Announcement

Even More Ironic Tweet That Followed That Previous Tweet Seven Months Later

Detoxes: 3.75

Lil Wayne x T Pain "T-Wayne"

Remember when this was totally an album that was going to happen? By all accounts T-Pain and Weezy were absolutely serious about doing a joint project, so what happened? On his Juan Ep interview Pain said that they recorded songs eight or nine songs for the album, but the recording process was super informal. They'd literally take turns: Pain would send Wayne a beat with his part already recorded and Wayne would finish it. Then Wayne would send Pain a beat with his part recorded and Pain would record it. And then they kind of forgot who's turn it was and Wayne got arrested and some texts went unanswered and the T-Wayne boat sailed slowly into the horizon until it disappeared. 

So yeah, this shit is pretty goddamn unlikely. Still, both guys are still alive and still making music. It's not completley insane to think that T-Pain makes a comeback as a big hitmaker, Weezy gets re-interested and boom, we've got an album. Relatively insane, but not completely insane. 

(Related note: I thought about including the Wayne and Juelz Santana "I Can't Feel My Face'" album here, but that shit's so dead it's not even worth bringing up. By my own rules I can't give anything but "Detox" 5 Detoxes, but "I Can't Feel My Face" is a 4.9999999999. Juelz actually breaks it down nicely here.)

Now Ironic Quote: "T-Wayne is an entity that's just gonna take over a side of the game. It's two artists that done collaborated with every artist in the industry except each other. Being that we getting together, this T-Wayne movement is getting crazy...it's a done deal." - T-Pain circa 2008. 

Detoxes: 4.5

Outkast "Non-Existent Album We're Hoping May Someday Exist"

I'm betting that this one is going to be the most controversial placement, it's certainly the most painful. Believe me, I would slap my own grandma to get a new, full Outkast album. (Sorry Grams, but slaps heal quickly, Outkast albums will last you a lifetime.) But there's just no getting around the facts. 

Not only has it been eight years (eight!) since the last Outkast album, Andre 3000 seems to be personally retired from music. Yes, the news that they're going to do a live show or two this year is heartening - it's the .25 remainder in the Detox score below - but it's relatively cold comfort. There's a huge gap between a show and a full new album, and if it's this hard to even get one show out of them, I'm not particularly optimistic about the album. Again, personality is the most important factor here, and while Big Boi's as consistent and reliable as it gets, Andre doesn't seem to want any part of the expectations and obligations that would come with a new Kast project. Is it really less likely to come out than the T-Wayne album? Fucking depressing, but "Sorry", I think so. The stakes are just so much higher. 

Fitting Depressing Quote: "I gave the motherfucker [Andre 3K] about five songs, but I guess he was just too busy. He said he had to do some Gillette shit. No for real. He said he had some contractual obligations." - Big Boi circa 2012

Detoxes: 4.75

Closing Note: Shout out to Papoose's "Naricema Dream" and Saigon's "The Greatest Story Never Told", both of which would have previously been 3 and 4 Detox albums and actually dropped over the last few years. So there's some hope. 

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