Here Is The Status Of The 25 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2014
ARTIST: ScHoolboy Q
ALBUM TITLE: Oxymoron
ALBUM #: 1
DATE: February 25
BEGAN RECORDING: June 2012
BEATS: THC, Gwen Bunn, Nez & Rio, Sounwave, Tae Beast, J. Cole, Clams Casino, Alchemist, Boi-1da
FEATURES: Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, possibly Raekwon, 2 Chainz, Tyler, The Creator
FIRST SINGLE: “Collard Greens” featuring Kendrick Lamar
FYI: It’s been a long wait for Q’s debut album, but based on some of the singles that have dropped, it’ll be well worth the wait when it comes near the end of February. His first official project since 2011’s Habits And Contradictions, it’s the first major hip-hop album to hit shelves in 2014.
MOVIN’ ON UP: ” This is a street hip-hop album, told from the perspective of a man trying to raise his daughter,” says producer and TDE Co-President Dave Free. “Starting from Setbacks to Habits & Contradictions, previous installments of ScHoolboy Q’s trilogy Oxymoron which goes in depth on how a young man goes from selling Oxycontins to support himself and his family touring all over the world with music. ScHoolboy Q will bring that feeling back, like the first time you heard a 50 Cent album. Go get your bucket hats, it’s Q-Wop Season.”
SALES PITCH: “This is a TDE album,” Free says. “That’s my sales pitch.”
ARTIST: Rick Ross
ALBUM TITLE: Mastermind
LABEL: MMG/Def Jam
ALBUM #: 6
DATE: March 4
BEGAN RECORDING: 2013
BEATS: K.E. On Tha Track, Diddy, DJ Khaled, Scott Storch
FEATURES: Jay Z, Future, Jeezy
FIRST SINGLE: “The Devil Is A Lie” featuring Jay Z
FYI: Ross’ last album, 2012’s God Forgives, I Don’t, earned the Bawse his second-ever Grammy nomination, and he’s only gotten bigger from there. He released a series of singles this past summer—”Box Chevy,” “Oil Money Gang” featuring Jadakiss and “No Games” featuring Future—but when he dropped “Devil Is A Lie” with Jay Z this December, it was clear that Rozay had returned to album form.
MOVIN’ ON UP: Will Mastermind live up to the lofty standards of GFID? Ross’ label certainly thinks so. “Rozay delivers every time he drops a album,” says MMG Vice President Young Sav.
SALES PITCH: “Expect another masterpiece, an album that you can listen to from beginning to end,” says Young Sav. “An album we all will be considering one of the best this year.”
ALBUM TITLE: Nobody Smiling
LABEL: Warner Bros.
ALBUM #: 10
BEGAN RECORDING: 2013
BEATS: No I.D.
FEATURES: Vince Staples, James Fauntleroy, Chicago MCs
FIRST SINGLE: “War”
FYI: Common’s followup to his 2011 album The Dreamer/The Believer will see him re-focus on his hometown of the Chi after spending some more time as an actor on AMC’s Hell On Wheels. It’ll be an expanded version of what was initially supposed to be an EP out in 2013, and will be entirely produced by No I.D.
MOVIN’ ON UP: “All of our conversations in the studio led to the conversation about Chicago. I was like, ‘You are an elder statesman. You have a lot to offer them. You could really help them,’ says producer No I.D on how he and Common came up with the idea for Nobody Smiling. “They [the kids] would love for you to help them. They probably just feel like you don’t like them. Let’s put the cause in the front of our mind.”
SALES PITCH: No I.D. promises that the album will relay Common’s experiences growing up in Chicago and the lessons he’s gleaned, without being preachy. “We were you. We were where you are. Look at us. Being where you are doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere you want to go. Things have changed since when we were you—why are they getting like this? Just because you’re seeing Common acting or clean-cut don’t think he wasn’t 87th Street corner gang banging,” he says. “At one point it was a concept album, but now it’s just turning into a really good, well-balanced album.”