The 25 Most Anticipated Albums For The Rest Of 2014

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ARTIST: Raekwon
ALBUM TITLE: F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxurious Art)
LABEL: EMI/Ice H2O
ALBUM #: 6 (solo)
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 16
BEGAN RECORDING: Late 2012
BEATS: Jerry Wonda, Roadsart
FEATURES: Estelle, Melanie Fiona, Akon
FIRST SINGLE:Call Of Duty” featuring Akon
FYI: Shaolin’s finest chef comes back with his first album since 2011′s Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang, setting aside his Wu-Tang responsibilities to focus on making an album bigger than any of his other projects to date. With the Wu-Tang 20th Anniversary album, A Better Tomorrow, constantly on and off again, Rae has cleared the way for his sixth solo project to drop in the Fall.
MOVIN’ ON UP: F.I.L.A. is a more grown and more stadium-wide music album,” Raekwon said in January. “This is me being able to walk into arenas that I could have walked into a long time ago but I didn’t do it. I wanted to make an album that would represent the world and would open up doors in my life as far as being an artist.”
JANUARY’S SALES PITCH: “It’s a comfortable-feeling album; it’s me at my finest,” Rae saod. “It’s me giving you luxurious art. Everybody says their art is art, but this one is luxurious for me, because it has me walking in many different paths of perfection. It’s a good thing.”
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED SINCE: Originally scheduled for the Spring, the album was held up by some of the Wu-Tang drama that has swirled around Rae and RZA in the past four months, but the album is finally done and the release date is set—for the same day as albums from 50 Cent and game. Not that that worries The Chef. ”Making this album has been a hell of a ride, but great things came out of it,” Rae told XXL in June. “My thing is just to make a great body of work, and this one is very authentic; it’s today and yesterday all in one, and you gonna feel good about hearing a real good hip-hop album with a great MC on top of it. I never try to push for something that people might not expect; my thing is to do the unexpected and make it work without you saying he tried to do something that was out of his character. Just give quality, prestigious hip-hop all the time, which you expect from me, and more of today what’s going on.”

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  • Souls

ARTIST: Souls Of Mischief
ALBUM TITLE: There Is Only Now
LABEL: Linear Labs
ALBUM #: 6
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 26
BEGAN RECORDING: mid-2013
BEATS: Adrian Younge
FEATURES: Snoop Dogg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Busta Rhymes and William Hart
FIRST SINGLE: ”There Is Only Now” featuring Snoop Dogg
DETAILS: Narrated throughout by A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the OGs linked up with producer Adrian Younge—who helmed Ghostface’s 12 Reasons To Die last Spring—for a concept album of sorts that will serve as a throwback to their original sound as well as contain an updated soulful sound. “It’s a project that if somebody misses the sounds of 93 ’til Infinity meets The Low End Theory meets De La Soul Is Dead. If somebody misses that kind of sound, they’ll be happy to hear this album because it goes back to that time, you know,” Younge told XXL last July. “And it’s also a concept album too—Souls of Mischief almost gets killed by some dude that was just crazy and the whole album just starts off with this incident, and then it blossoms into these different stories that are a result of this volatile incident. And that’s basically what that album is about.”