Some of our favorite rap artists seem to be readying new albums to dominate 2023. 2022 saw big-name artists come out of the shadows of the pandemic with chart-topping albums, such as Kendrick Lamar's Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers and Drake's Her Loss with 21 Savage. 2023 is expected to be a similarly huge year.
J. Cole - It's a Boy
Back in 2020, J. Cole took to social media to announce his next three projects. The first of the three, The Off-Season, was released in 2021. Featuring soulful, Southern-centric beats and appearances from Lil Baby and 21 Savage, the record stood as the rap album of the year. Cole's pen game was at its peak as he reflected on his patient grind to the top of rap. Right before the album's release, he also announced It's a Boy and The Fall Off. The latter of which is speculated to be his final album. With it being two years since the release of The Off-Season, fans are beginning to suspect that It's a Boy will release in 2023.
Travis Scott - Utopia
It's been five years since Astroworld, a cinematic rollercoaster experience that served as an ode to the Houston community. From the tightknit banger "No Bystanders" to the psychedelic production on "Skeletons," the record's diverse soundscapes set it amongst the best hip-hop records of the 2010s. Scott hasn't been entirely silent since the release of Astroworld. He was the driving force behind the Jackboys compilation. He also released two singles in the form of "ESCAPE PLAN" and "MAFIA."
However, Utopia has been anticipated from fans for years. Back in 2021, rumors were swirling surrounding its release. However, the tragic events at the Astroworld Festival delayed Utopia's release. Back in February, Epic Records' Sylvia Rhone announced, We have a new Travis Scott album, expected to come in June." We're only a few weeks away from June and so far, there haven't been any signs on Scott's front that he cemented a release date for his highly-anticipated album.
Playboi Carti - Narcissist
Whole Lotta Red's build-up went down in hip-hop history. Between cryptic Carti's cryptic tweets and announcements from his associations, his second studio album was a last-minute album of the year contender. Released on Christmas night, the album was met with mixed reactions upon its release. Diverting from the banger cloud rap sound synonymous with Carti, the Atlanta-born aggressor carved out a new lane of punk rap on Whole Lotta Red.
With Narcissist, the assumption from fans is that Playboi Carti will dive further into the tone of tracks such as "Punk Monk" and "Stop Breathing." However, up until this point, the album's rollout has consisted of a motorsports clothing line and a tour. So far, he hasn't released a single that even indicates where he'll be heading on his next album. Although information surrounding Narcissist is limited, he confirmed that music is on the way in an interview with XXL. "I've been rapping about going to rehab," he revealed. "I want to go to rehab because I think I'm bipolar. Everybody should feel free. I want this album to make everybody feel free."
Nicki Minaj - NM5
Nicki Minaj diverted from the world of music for the past half-decade, especially as she ventured into the business world. However, Minaj confirmed plans to release her fifth studio album in 2023. 2018's Queen was met with a generally positive reception although, her loyal and dedicated fanbase didn't seem to hold it to the same standard as her previous efforts. However, Minaj has vowed that her next album will be "the best thing that will come out of 2023 and will raise the bar to new and unreachable heights." Additionally, she revealed plans to hit the road. She added, "NM5 tour will be hailed as genius. That's it and that's all." It looks like Nicki Minaj is coming for the title of the best rap album of 2023.
A$AP Rocky - Don't Be Dumb
It's been five years since the release of A$AP Rocky's Testing. Fans widely regard the project as a competent albeit limited effort from the Harlem MC. Collaborating in the fashion world, spearheading a whiskey line, and starting a family with Rihanna, Rocky has certainly stayed busy over the past five years. Rocky was also jailed in Sweden for assault charges, sparking a #freeRocky campaign across the United States. However, rumors of his fourth studio album have been swirling around the Internet over the past calendar year.
Titled Don't Be Dumb, Rocky teased his contender for the best rap album of 2023 with the release of the single, "Same Problems?" back in January. Differing from artists such as Playboi Carti, Rocky hasn't been coy about the sonic direction of the project. In an interview with GQ, he revealed that Metro Boomin's production will be featured throughout much of the album. In addition, Rocky has been performing new music during recent performances. He was seen filming a music video for a song off of Don't Be Dumb in Paris in late April.
Schoolboy Q - Untitled Album
Schoolboy Q's CrasH Talk was met with a mixed reception. The golfer's laid-back flows and LA-based basslines made the album a signature addition to his discography. However, many fans haven't taken to the record in comparison to projects such as the Blank Face LP. Schoolboy Q announced his new album all the way back in 2020. Since then, we've heard very little Q. The exception is 2022's "Soccer Dad," a straightforward featuring minimal trumpet-based production.
Thanks to The Alchemist, we know that the two are working on a new album. In reference to Schoolboy Q's feature on The Alchemist's "Clip In a Tray," The Alchemist stated, "Wait till you hear the s**t we got for his album" in response to a post on Instagram. On top of that, Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith suggested that Q's readying a 2023 release. So far, no word from Q but the updates from Alc and Top Dawg is a promising sign that Q's follow-up to CrasH Talk is on the way.
Coi Leray - Untitled Album
Coi Leray has already begun her rollout for her sophomore studio album, releasing singles "My Body" and "Bops" over the past month. Delivering an electric amount of enthusiasm and confidence, Coi Leray has been an uncompromising figure in the music industry since her 2021 XXL Freestyle. Surmounting the doubters, her debut studio album, Trendsetter, established the Boston-born artist as a hit-making force.
In an Apple Music 1 chat with Eddie Francis, Leray confirmed her new album will only contain "a couple features." Expanding on this, she stated, "the second album's going to make people go back to Trendsetter and make them actually appreciate it for the music instead of the bulls**t and the negative headlines and Coi Leray always being the topic. This album is all about me." With her sophomore effort, fans will be looking for a more focused effort from "Players" superstar.
Saweetie - Pretty B**ch Music
Saweetie's debut full-length album was set to arrive all the way back in June 2021. She's been delaying the release of Pretty B**ch Music ever since. In March, she, once again, confirmed that she was still in the process of creating the project. However, she's delivered a string of music since then to hold fans over. In 2022, she released THE SINGLE LIFE EP. However, it's certainly getting to a point where the delay is harming Saweetie's notoriety rather than creating hype. Anchored by the Full Stop Management record label, generating hype for the album may be more difficult than it would've been a year ago. However, the extensive delay will hopefully result in her best work to date.
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