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XXL Presents… The 35 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013

5. Eminem, Eighth Studio Album

Expected Release Date: N/A

Label: Interscope, Aftermath, Shady

Number of Pushbacks: N/A

Arguably the best rapper alive, Em’s at a position where he has nothing else to prove. While for the past two years he’s been pushing lyrical masquerades overseeing the projects of Slaughterhouse, Yelawolf, and a collaborative effort with Royce da 5’9”, the guy’s profuse love for the art of rap probably retains his efficiency to strive in the studio non-stop. With that said, he’s most likely knocking out tracks that are piling up, and at his stature, with production provided by the likes of Dr. Dre and every top producer in the game, it’s a no brainer that Em’s next album will be another blockbuster. 50 Cent (who’s also on this list) claims to have heard the materials from the project. Whether Em will bring us forward or take us back, the guy’s rapping is unmatched and the expectations are high.

4. Big Sean, Hall of Fame

Expected Release Date: N/A

Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Recordings

Number of Pushbacks: One

It’s a pretty bold move to name your second album Hall of Fame, considering the ever-looming sophomore jinx. But then again, confidence has never been an issue for G.O.O.D. Music’s Big Sean, who’s enjoying quite the successful run following his prompt ascent with 2011’s Finally Famous. Scoring a few accolades off the debut, including platinum and gold plaques for singles “Dance (A$$),” “My Last” and “Marvin & Chardonnay,” Sean Don kept milestones coming in 2012 as he swamped the game with top-tier verses (“Mercy,” “Burn,” “Clique”), delivered a G.O.O.D. ass mixtape (Detroit) and even scored a Grammy nod (“Mercy”).

One can only imagine what treats Sean Don has in store for Hall of Fame seeing as how he’s recently revealed that J. Cole, No I.D. and Kanye West were all “blown away” after hearing the album. Expected to be a “roller coaster” of different feelings and “far more inspirational and conceptually-driven,” Hall of Fame is said to feature appearances by Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Jhene Aiko, Common, Tyga and possibly Eminem. On this second go-round, Sean is poised to do it B.I.G.

3. Jay-Z, Twelfth Studio Album

Expected Release Date: N/A

Label: Roc Nation

Number of Pushbacks: N/A

It’s fascinating how nearly 20 years deep in the rap game Jay-Z still remains a leading force in what’s supposedly a young man’s sport. His 2011 effort with Yeezy (Watch The Throne) showcased multiple facets of Jigga from personal reflections to flamboyant lifestyle hip-hop’s modern one percent advocates, as well as spawning singles (“Niggas In Paris” and “No Church in the Wild”) that remained on the radio for the whole year. Along with his guest verses featured on G.O.O.D Music’s “Clique,” and Rick Ross’ “3 Kings,” the historic launch of the Barclay’s Center, and the highly publicized birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, Jay-Z remained more active than ever. Now, with a new set of ventures, a daughter, and the throne still trampled with his footsteps, the anticipation for this next Jay-Z venture remains high. Reports have stated that Hov’s been in the lab with Jahlil Beats, Pharrell, Timbaland and–of course–Kanye West. Whatever the outcome, a Jay-Z album never stays silent. It’ll be an event for certain.

2. Drake, Third Studio Album

Expected Release Date: N/A

Label: Young Money, Cash Money, Universal Republic

Number of Pushbacks: N/A

After dropping arguably a hip-hop classic with Take Care last November, he kept his run going with a string of strong guest verses throughout 2012. Drizzy shared on Twitter that he has started working on a new album. “It’s been exactly one year since Take Care dropped. Sitting in our new studio working on the next album. Just want to say thank you.”

Another hint that Champagne Papi is ready to make new music: A song presumably titled “No New Friends.” Produced by longtime collaborator Noah “40” Shebib, “No New Friends” should mark his comeback season in 2013. It’s true that new LPs from legends like Eminem and Jay-Z are huge, but the anticipation is at an all-time high for some new Drizzy.


1. Kanye West, Sixth Studio Album

Expected Release Date: N/A

Label: G.O.O.D. Music, Def Jam Recordings

Number of Pushbacks: N/A

A lot has changed for Kanye West since he unleashed his last solo album, the masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. In the absence of a solo album Mr. West has released Watch The Throne with his big brother Jay-Z and the G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer, he’s seen his protégé Big Sean become a household name, and is now on the verge of fatherhood. He has also sworn off of doing interviews, so there’s so much material there to potentially inspire his sixth solo album. There isn’t much information involving the album available, but we could only speculate that like all other Kanye West productions this album will be one of the biggest events of 2013.

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