We've reached the halfway mark of the year, and only six of our 25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2014 from January have been released. YG, ScHoolboy Q, Rick Ross, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Future and Asher Roth all came through and delivered on their promises with big time albums that helped to define how we will remember 2014. But it's not over yet, and there's plenty more to come. As we set our sights on the second half of the year, XXL has gone through and updated every single thing we know about the 19 albums remaining from our list from the beginning of the year, and tossed in six more albums that we're looking forward to as well.

Ahead, you'll find projected release dates, sales pitches from January alongside updated information, and some brand-new, exclusive quotes from some of the artists who we're looking forward to the most. But as we stand here in early July—just as we did in January—we know one thing: in hip-hop, nothing will ever stay the same. Maybe Jeezy has Seen It All, but we know there are always more surprises yet to come. We'll be ready. Will you? —XXL Staff

Previously: Here Is The Status Of The 25 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2014
The 25 Best Mixtapes Of 2014 (So Far)
The 25 Best Hip-Hop Albums Of 2014 (So Far)
The 25 Best Songs Of 2014 (So Far) 

ARTIST: 50 Cent
ALBUM TITLE: Street King Immortal
LABEL: Caroline
ALBUM #: 6
BEATS: Who knows at this point, but the rumors abound—Hit-Boy, Boi 1da, Chase N. Cashe, Alex Da Kid, Cardiak, Just Blaze, Dr. Dre, Jake One, Bangladesh, Frank Dukes, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, DJ Felli Fel, Drumma Boy and Soulja Boy have all come up.
FEATURES: More rumors! Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo, Jeezy, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Too Short, Trey Songz and John Legend are all legitimate guesses, but after the past month it would be hard to imagine that G-Unit wouldn't be involved in some way.
FIRST SINGLE: So many false starts have come and gone that it's impossible to figure out what might be on this album
JANUARY DETAILS: 50's been working on this followup album for a couple years now, ever since 2009's Before I Self-Destruct hit shelves. The tracklist has been rumored, names of features and producers have been flying, and the album title has changed from Black Magic, so it's impossible to say much except that his purported rift with Interscope was responsible for at least part of the delay. "New Day," the first official single, came out all the way back in 2012, but he seems to be committed to dropping the album this year, especially after he dropped Animal Ambition in June as a way to build his viral marketing campaign for the album. Then again, Street King Immortal also made our most anticipated list for 2013. Tough to say.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: 50 surprised everybody by announcing that Animal Ambition would be an album, and then released every record on the project before it even came out and still debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. He's been absolutely everywhere in the past few months, and with a G-Unit album set to be on the way in November, he doesn't look to be going anywhere any time soon. As for what that means for Street King Immortal, it's hard to tell, but if he can produce more gems like "Hold On" and "Pilot," Fif might really be all the way back.

ARTIST: Action Bronson
ALBUM TITLE: Mr. Wonderful
LABEL: Atlantic/Vice
ALBUM #: 1
RELEASE DATE: This year, he says
BEATS: Uncle Luke? Definitely no club bangers
FIRST SINGLE: "They care about their singles. They care about what’s gonna be played on the radio. I don’t give a fuck," Bronson told XXL in June. "It’s not rocket science here. I am telling you. You can make songs for the radio. 1, 2, 3. That’s simple bullshit. But to actually do art and time this shit, that’s why I’m here. I don’t care about one single here."
FYI: Bronson has been extremely successful on the mixtape circuit, linking up with Alchemist, Harry Fraud and Party Supplies for complete projects. Whether he continues that trend of having one producer helm his entire debut is up in the air, but one thing is certain—it's sure to contain some next-level imagery, as per usual for Bronson. And with his extensive history of collaborating with tons of artists on their projects—from Mac Miller to Chance The Rapper to Curren$y and more—it will be interesting to see what tack he takes on his own project.
MOVIN' ON UP: "If you are already a fan of me, you are gonna expect off the wall, next level to the maximum of what I’ve already done on steroids," Bronson said six months ago. "If you don’t know me, you are gonna laugh, you are gonna cry, you are gonna hate me, you are gonna think I am a piece of shit. You are gonna wanna be with me. You are gonna want to fight for me. Then you’ll slice a fucking bitch’s face for me."
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "I’m on some next level shit," Bronson said. "No one is doing anything that I am doing. If you have a taste for the not basic structure like normal things should be, then I’m your guy."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Bronson has, as usual, crushed every feature that's come his way in the first six months of the year, but no new music directly from him has come along with it. He did, however, go into detail about what to expect on his album when speaking to XXL in June, though like everything with Bronson it's hard to tell which parts he's serious about. "The concept behind it is Mr. Wonderful," he said. "You are going to hear how wonderful everything is. Everything is great. My life is beautiful right now. I couldn’t have asked for more. You are gonna hear the joy that I have. It’s very musical. It’s very heartfelt and fun and thoughtful. You are going to cry. You are going to laugh. You are going to shit your pants. All the bodily functions."

Later, he went on to try and describe what he's been writing to. "It’s psychedelic. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I’m on," he said. "I’m into heavy duty, psychedelic, foreign music. That’s what I like listening to. A lot of Turkish shit is what I am influenced by. Polish, prog-rock. Traveling and listening to different records that have been done from different places. No rap music. I don’t want to hear any rap."

ALBUM TITLE: Cadillactica
LABEL: Def Jam/Cinematic/Multi
ALBUM #: 2
BEATS: DJ Dahi, Jim Johnson, Rico Love, DJ Toomp, Terius Martin, Big K.R.I.T., Organized Noize
FEATURES: Possibly Future
FIRST SINGLE: "Mt. Olympus"
FYI: Cadillactica, the followup to 2011's Live From The Underground, will find Big K.R.I.T taking listeners on a ride to another universe. He's described the album's setting as "the planet called Cadillactica where the soul and the funk comes from."
MOVIN' ON UP: Big K.R.I.T says that the album is "a monster in itself," and is certainly different from his past material. On the LP, the Cinematic rapper says that he's trying a lot of new things and he's experimenting a little bit more between singing and live instrumentation.
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "People think that once you get to a certain point that you may not have to prove yourself anymore, but I still have a want to prove myself," K.R.I.T. says. "Prove myself as far as musically, as far as creatively, as far as being a musician and show growth. It’s very important to show growth at this point in my career, to show growth and really put down on wax those things that I’ve had to experience, those things that I’ve had the opportunity to see."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Not much, outside of the album scheduled for the Fall and that, judging by the fire he spit on the album's first single "Mt. Olympus," we won't see K.R.I.T. as the generous country boy anymore; he sounds like he's out for blood, and for someone as lyrical as he is, that can't be a bad thing. He told XXL in May that Cadillactica is close to being completed, saying he’s “getting this planet all landscaped and ready so that people can take it a a real tour around these parts," but few other details have emerged since.

ARTIST: Common
ALBUM TITLE: Nobody Smiling
LABEL: Def Jam
ALBUM #: 10
FEATURES: Vince Staples, Lil Herb, Big Sean, Jhene Aiko, Dreezy, Snoh Aalegra, Elijah Blake, Cocaine 80s
SINGLES: "War," "Kingdom," "Speak My Piece"
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. Entirely produced by No I.D., it'll be the fulfillment of a one-off deal he signed with Def Jam earlier this year.
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,’" No I.D. said in January on how he and Common came up with the idea for Nobody Smiling. "[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.”
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: No I.D. promised that the album would relay Common’s experiences growing up in Chicago and the lessons he’d 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 said. "At one point it was a concept album, but now it’s just turning into a really good, well-balanced album."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Common promised to showcase some of Chicago's young talent, and he delivered with features from Lil Herb and Dreezy. His message has been positivity while still showing the dark underside of his hometown; the visuals of "Kingdom" are stark, yet he's spoken often of giving back, and joined up with Kanye West to help create 20,000 jobs for his hometown. Com keeps dropping singles ahead of the release of the 10-track album.

LABEL: G-Unit/Caroline
ALBUM #: 3
RELEASE DATE: Late November/Early December
BEATS: Nascent & QB
FEATURES: Still unclear, but it wouldn't be a stretch to think some R&B guys like Trey Songz or Jeremih could be involved
FIRST SINGLE: Still nothing original, but there have been a slew of remixes
DETAILS: If you asked us in January if a reunited G-Unit would be back in the studio working on an album, we probably would have just laughed and shaken our heads. But after reuniting at Summer Jam, the Unit is officially back to their old ways, dropping a string of remixes and diving straight back into the studio to work on new material. Few official details have come from the camp outside the fact that they're "working," but 50 spoke briefly to XXL about the morale of the crew right now. "Now having everybody back in the circle, the morale is great," he said. "They all ready to work. They been on ice long enough. So now you should expect [something]. You already got something new today. It didn’t take but a few hours after the show. Meltdown, it’s on now. It don’t take as much out of me as it takes for me to create a solo song than to create and participate in a G-unit record. We have so many moving parts on it and everybody got to show up."

LABEL: Def Jam
ALBUM #: 5
BEATS: Cardo, Drumma Boy
FEATURES: Jay Z, possibly Future, Usher and Ludacris, probably Rick Ross
SINGLES: "Me Ok," "Seen It All" featuring Jay Z
DETAILS: Jeezy, now an A&R at Atlantic, got into a tiff with Def Jam last year, and aired it out on his first single "Me Ok." But now that the album has a title and a release date, things seem to be a little smoother between the Snowman and his longtime label, and the followup "Seen It All" whet the appetites of a lot of fans with its raw lyrical attack. “A lot of y’all know when I came in the game, I pretty much came in the game with my hands behind my back," Jeezy said about the album last September. "‘Cause a lot of the shit I’d a like to talk about or could’ve talked about probably would have got me in a lot of trouble. This is probably my first album where I can explain and let niggas know where I stand. In layman’s terms, the statute of limitations is over with.” More recently, he described the lyrics on the album as "The Bible" and a "manual." "I’m not gonna tell you that everything gonna be okay, that everything’s gonna be alright, but the moral of the story is never quit, never let up," he said. "A win is a win. That’s what this album is about.”

ARTIST: Joey Bada$$
LABEL:  Cinematic and Pro. Era
ALBUM #: 1
RELEASE DATE: Fall, possibly September
BEATS: DJ Premier, Kirk Knight and Chuck Strangers, possibly J Dilla
FEATURES: Unknown, though manager Jonny Shipes promised "some nice surprises," and he was recently spotted in the studio with Ryan Leslie.
FYI: After two well-received mixtapes—1999 and Summer Knights—the Pro Era captain is finally hard at work on his official debut full-length, reportedly getting into the studio with DJ Premier, who helmed his song "Unorthodox," to knock out some tracks.
MOVIN' ON UP: "Joey has spent the past few years honing his skills to the point he felt he was ready to drop what he feels would be his debut album," Shipes said in January. "The mixtapes were the growth."
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "Fans should look forward to the most uncompromising hip-hop album in a long time," Shipes said. "If you're a fan of Joey you will love this album for no other reason than he did exactly what he wanted to with no corny label people tryin' to change shit about his sound and creative process.... Straight PROgressive CinematiC music."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Joey told XXL in April that fans "can can definitely expect to get to know me a little bit more" on the album, and has been recording in Premier's studio D&D. “This time around I’m going to get more in-depth; like you know me, you know what my story is, where I come from, who I am.” In mid-June he tweeted that the album was 75 percent done.

ALBUM TITLE: The Hustle Continues (THC)
LABEL: Columbia
ALBUM #: 4 (solo)
RELEASE DATE: September, maybe
BEATS: Mike WiLL Made It, Dr. Luke, 808 Mafia
FEATURES: Not many... But "one crazy feature," Juicy told Rolling Stone in January. He later said he may have more now, and mentioned a possible Ty Dolla $ign feature.
FIRST SINGLE: N/A, though he dropped a track for the thots in May.
FYI: Juicy has come roaring back with a solo career to rival his old Three 6 Mafia days (although his second Oscar hasn't yet come through). With 2012's "Bandz A Make Her Dance" and last summer's Stay Trippy, it's clear the Juice Man still has plenty to say.
MOVIN' ON UP: "It’s going to be still me, but it’s like me as a CEO. Me as a boss," Juicy said about the album in January. "I’ve been doing this for years. Now, I’m just going to express and show people and tell people about my life, what I’ve been going through from back in the day until now, to me getting a second go around in this music. Mixed with a little bit of my party life. I can’t forget about my party life. It’s going to be more serious about coming up in the game. You know, how a person can make it out here. It’s a lot of people hustling out here trying to figure out ways to make it. I come straight from nothing. I’m gonna talk about that. Just a lot of personal stuff. From an artist standpoint to a CEO standpoint."
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "Just let a person know what it is," Juicy said. "I’m still gonna do my ratchet turn up cause that’s my life. Everything I’m talking about is my life. I kick it a little bit. But, at the end of the day on the business side, I handle business... The name of the album is called The Hustle Continues. THC. You know what THC is. The Hustle Continues. Pimp THC. Purp, you feel me? The hustle continues. I am going to keep on working. It ain’t over yet. I did that. I got more to talk about. I got more stuff in my life that people need to hear and situations that I have been through."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Juicy says he's got a lot to say. In an interview with The Breakfast Club in March, he shed a little light on what fans can expect. "I've been doing this for so long, so I've got a story to tell," he said. "I gotta tell 'em where it all began and where it is now." Other than that, nothing official, they in the same interview he claimed it was "90 percent done."

ARTIST: Kanye West
LABEL: Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella
ALBUM #: 7 (solo)
RELEASE DATE: End of the year
BEATS: Kanye West, Rick Rubin and Q-Tip, at least; Evian Christ has also said he's working on things, while DJ Mustard said he sent Kanye "100 beats"
FEATURES: Possibly Rihanna, maybe James Blake, potentially Young Thug
JANUARY DETAILS: Kanye got the love that he always wanted for Yeezus, as it grabbed Top 5 status on almost every year-end ranked list (including ours). So when he mentioned at Art Basel late last year that he'd be going even starker for his next project, it was a little bit of a shock, but not totally unexpected. He's been spotted in the studio with Tyga, Miley and a handful of others, but he mentioned he'd be paring down his next project from the 10 tracks that graced Yeezus to just eight this next time around. "It's just reducing down the amount of information that you need," he said at Art Basel. "People say a design is the point where you can't take anything else away. [Yeezus] was very, very designed. I took a departure from radio and popular music in order to get this seat here. If I hadn't made Yeezus, I wouldn't be sitting here with this cool font at Basel right here." Bring on the next one.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Yeezy was scheduled to go on tour in Australia in early May, but a press release distributed by Roc Nation claimed that he postponed those dates until September in order to finish his seventh album. He's notorious for working on his albums in one place—My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was done mostly in Hawaii; Watch The Throne in New York City; Yeezus in Paris and Malibu—and he gave an interview that indicated he may have done the bulk of his recording for this one in Florence, Italy, sparking speculation that it could be more mellow and soulful than its predecessor. So far, the only thing we've really heard from 'Ye is the snippet of a song, "God Level," that he did for a World Cup commercial that sounds like it was left over from the Yeezus sessions. But if the album is really done, there's every chance that we could hear it before the year is out. Now that's something to get excited about.

ARTIST: Kendrick Lamar
LABEL: TDE/Aftermath/Interscope
ALBUM #: 2
RELEASE DATE: End of the year
BEATS: Dr. Dre, Cardo, possibly Alchemist
FIRST SINGLE: N/A, except for this enticing and totally-unfair snippet from a Beats commercial.
JANUARY DETAILS: TDE is poised to have a big year, starting with the release of Isaiah Rashad's EP Cilvia earlier this week and building with ScHoolboy Q's debut on Feb. 25. And while K. Dot has said he'd be back in the studio in January to work on a followup to his Grammy-nominated good kid, m.A.A.d city, there aren't serious plans as of yet—but that could change. ”I got to get back into the studio and vibe out," he told XXL in January, saying he "wouldn't know" if his album was coming this year. "But once I get in there, for sure, I’ll let y’all know.”
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Every little small piece of information that leaks out about this album is consumed and analyzed by millions of microscopes, and that may be part of the reason why Kendrick has been playing things close to the chest in recent months. Originally, Top Dawg told Billboard that the album was coming in September, but that seems a little early at this point since we haven't heard a single song off of it yet. A title, United States Of A.L.A.R.M., was floating around in May until it was shot down by the TDE hierarchy. He's hinted at some Black Hippy freestyles to help build the buzz, but outside of a few one-off guest spots and his ferocious feature on Ab-Soul's These Days..., it's been pretty quiet from K. Dot. His last words on the album came in April, when he said to MTV News, “I’m in the studio now with ideas and things like that and just seeing where it takes me. I look at each project as a journey... I couldn’t give a stable idea of what I’m doing, but it will definitely be a deal.”

ARTIST: Killer Mike and El-P
ALBUM TITLE: Run The Jewels 2
LABEL: Fool's Gold
ALBUM #: 2
BEGAN RECORDING: December 2013
FEATURES: Zach De La Rocha and Travis Barker, anyone?
FIRST SINGLE: Coming Sept. 15
FYI: The duo's first project, Run The Jewels, was critically adored, and both Mike and El are entering in to a second career as elder statesmen who can still entertain the masses. And based off the success of that first project, they hopped straight back into the studio for a second, due out at some point later this year.
MOVIN' ON UP: Mike and El got back into the studio in December, and have been recording between shows ever since. According to Killer Mike, the Run The Jewels 2 project is top priority for 2014.
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "Run The Jewels 2 is gonna be angrier, darker, harder, meaner, and funnier than Run The Jewels 1, which was angrier, darker, meaner and funnier than anything else that dropped last year," Killer Mike said, laughing. "There's our pitch."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: The two have been in the studio a lot lately, and posted some selfies with Rage Against The Machine's Zach De La Rocha and Blink-182's Travis Barker back in April. El has posted a few snippets on Instagram, but it seems like we'll have to wait until Sept. 15, when Adult Swim's Single Series produces their first track from the project.

ARTIST: Lecrae
LABEL: Reach Records
ALBUM #: 7
BEATS: Gawvi
DETAILS: The first single just dropped this week, so there isn't a lot of information about what to expect from Lecrae on his seventh album. But the flow is getting more aggressive, and "Nuthin" is a raw record that evokes a true life storytelling feel. He's been asking his fans to share their stories of being an anomaly on Twitter recently, which could imply that this is one of Lecrae's most personal projects to date. He said in May that he's got 30 songs for the project already, but a final release date hasn't been announced.

ARTIST: Lil Boosie
ALBUM TITLE: Touch Down 2 Cause Hell
LABEL: Atlantic/Asylum/Trill
ALBUM #: 6 (solo)
BEGAN RECORDING: After getting out of prison in March, presumably
FEATURES: T.I., 2 Chainz, Jeezy, Justin Bieber (?), Chris Brown, Rich Homie Quan, Trey Songz, probably Webbie and Yo Gotti as well
FIRST SINGLE: "Heart Of A Lion"
DETAILS: Boosie's release from prison after five years may have been the single biggest hip-hop moment of the year so far, and he got straight to work in the studio, dropping loose tracks here and there before the first official single "Heart Of A Lion" off his upcoming post-release LP, which he also mentioned was to be a double album. In April, he told XXL that he only had four songs left to finish before the album was complete, and that he felt no pressure with the release. "I am not trying to sound like nothing that’s out right now," he said. "I think you start to do that when you listen to these guys so much... When you listen to these dudes, in that same venture, you go and try and make that music that’s similar to them. You are not thinking in your head, but you knowing what you are doing. I know what I am doing to not make it like that, so that’s what I do. My music is going to be different."

ARTIST: Lil Wayne
LABEL: Cash Money
ALBUM #: 11 (s0lo)
RELEASE DATE: August or September
BEATS: Boi-1da, Vinylz, Lee Majors, Mannie Fresh, Infamous
FEATURES: Drake, probably Young Thug, possibly Game, Tyga and Nicki Minaj
FIRST SINGLE: "Believe Me" featuring Drake, "Krazy"
JANUARY DETAILS: Wayne has long said that the fifth installment in his Carter series would not only be his last in the line, but also his last in the game. But then again, we've heard this before from Weezy, who also has a tendency to drop new music out of nowhere—just think back to the seven-day countdown we got when he dropped Dedication 5 in early September. If we can expect anything from the Carter series, it's great production, a bunch of high-profile features, and at least a solid effort from Wayne. But either way, don't expect it to be his final say in the rap game.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: It's done, or so he says. Basically, from everything we've heard—the two official singles, as well as leaks "D'Usse" and "Tina Turn Up Needs A Tune Up"—it sounds like Wayne is back to the form that took him from being the youngest member of the Hot Boys to the most prolific rapper alive. He's linked back up with Mannie Fresh for the first time in a decade, his first single "Believe Me" is absolute fire, and  the anticipation for Tha Carter V is at an all-time high. Whether it lives up to the vaunted heights of the series is up for debate, but we're ready. Check out everything we know about it right here.

LABEL: Def Jam
ALBUM #: 1
RELEASE DATE: Fall, maybe
BEATS: Logic, No I.D., Hit-Boy, Tae Beast, Guy Hutch, Terrace Martin, C-Sick, 6ix
FEATURES: None. "I wanna Illmatic it," he told MTV in May.
FYI: Logic has spent most of the past year on the road, and has finally linked up with Hit-Boy and No I.D. to put together his proper debut on Def Jam. This one, he tells XXL, will be introspective and vivid, and he'll be "painting pictures where he grew up," stepping back from the rappity-rap of his mixtapes and crafting a more coherent sound. "It’s literally the sound of Logic, which is really great," he says.
MOVIN' ON UP: "I have recorded over 17,000 songs in 9 years," Logic said six months ago, which is an insane number. "I have released for free over 150 songs. I have invested half a million dollars of my own personal money that I made in this game in my own album and all that for the fans."
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "The album is not only going to be incredible as far as the music goes, but it’s only going to cost you the amount of two number ones at McDonalds," Logic said. "So, with all the time and effort I put into it, maybe you could support a brother, you know what I am saying?" Good point.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: The album is done, and the majority of it only took two weeks to record, he said in May. But in terms of lyrical content, Logic is diving deep into his rough childhood. "The album is all 100 percent the story," he told XXL in June. "I’m actually taking you to what it was like [growing up]. I got a record on the album where I’m laying in bed and talking about the things going through my mind at that age with this eviction notice on my door and my homie going to jail for attempted murder for slicing this dude’s stomach open...having his guts fall on the cement. That was my best friend, you know?"

ARTIST: Lupe Fiasco
ALBUM TITLE: Tetsuo & Youth
LABEL: Atlantic
ALBUM #: 5
BEATS: Chef Tone & Soundz, Fame & Floss, Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Dahi, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, DJ Frank E, Symbolic One, Soundtrakk
FEATURES: Ab-Soul, Ty Dolla $ign, Rick Ross, Trae The Truth, Chris Brown, Big K.R.I.T., Ed Sheeran, possibly Chance The Rapper
SINGLES: "Drizzy's Law," "Mission," "Thorns & Horns," "Next To It," "Old School Love," "Crack"
DETAILS: Tetsuo & Youth has been in the works for a while, but despite the string of tracks he's dropped—not all of which will make the album—there aren't that many concrete details. Soulo confirmed he'd be on the album, while Lupe has thrown out names such as Chris Brown, Big K.R.I.T., Ed Sheeran and Rick Ross as featured rappers as well. The album is set to feature 12 songs, and Lupe has described the direction as more "ratchet" than his previous projects. “It’s ratchet ratchet-ness on there.” Lupe said back in November. “But it ain’t nothing new for me…My early records before I got known, you know what I’m saying, before Food & Liquor, when I was first coming up… What I was talking about back then was like ratchet, street, hood, ‘let’s do it’ kinda pieces. And it was like I made the decision not to put that on Front Street initially.”

ARTIST: Meek Mill
ALBUM TITLE: Dreams Worth More Than Money
LABEL: MMG/Atlantic
ALBUM #: 2
BEATS: Cardo, Sap, R!O, Pharrell, Timbaland
FEATURES: Paloma Ford, Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Rita Ora, possible Jay Z, Nas and Nipsey Hu$$le
FIRST SINGLE: "I Don't Know" featuring Paloma Ford
JANUARY DETAILS: Details with this one are scarce, but we know he had plenty of new music around the time Dream Chasers 3 dropped last September. In early January, he announced that the second album was "all that matters" in 2014, with the hashtag #specialdelivery, which could hint at a potential album title. Either way, the Maybach lieutenant mentioned in November that he was halfway done with the project, and updated that to 70 percent in February.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: He's said the album is coming this summer, and that the rollout would be a month long, so we're about due for a followup single any day now. He's let slip a lot of details about features and possible producers, but it's hard to tell what will actually wind up on the finished product; expect Ross to be heavily involved, probably as an Executive Producer since it will be a Maybach album. “I’m just looking for that next sound in hip-hop,” Meek told Miss Info last week. “Everybody doing the same methods sometimes. People don’t even notice, the ‘I’m A Boss’ sound, that sound really come from me. I don’t really claim any sounds but that’s what it is. Now I’m looking for a brand new sound to take and bounce around for a year or two... It’s like trap-hop. It’s like trap and hip-hop all together." Take that how you will, and watch out for the album to drop probably some time in August.

LABEL: Def Jam
ALBUM #: 12
BEATS: Timbaland, No I.D., Swizz Beatz, Reefa, but probably not much of DJ Premier until after this project
FEATURES: Unknown, but it's easy to see some heavy hitters lending a verse here and there
JANUARY DETAILS: There is almost nothing to report about this album except that Nas has been thinking about putting out another. It's been a year and a half since his excellent, XXL-rated Life Is Good, and Nasty Nas is due for a followup. It's also the 20th anniversary of his seminal debut Illmatic this April, so there's another reason to commemorate the anniversary. It's tough to say when—or if—a new album will come, but if it does, he's still got plenty of fire left to share.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: It's been all Illmatic, Illmatic, Illmatic from Nas so far this year, as his whirlwind press run for the 20th anniversary of his debut has lasted months. He did launch his own Mass Appeal Records, signing Boldy James, Bishop Nehru and Fashawn, but he's still got one album left on his Def Jam deal before he can join his new artists on the imprint. It still seems like the album is a far way off, especially because Esco appears to have turned his attention to the Mass Appeal Records collaborative project that is coming together now. But he's spoken about being in the booth with Timbo, No I.D. and Swizz, and those three are top-notch as it is. At this rate, if it comes this year, it'd be a surprise.

ARTIST: Nicki Minaj
ALBUM TITLE: The Pink Print
LABEL: Cash Money
ALBUM #: 3
RELEASE DATE: End of the year
BEATS: Dr. Luke, possibly Soulja Boy
FEATURES: Almost definitely Lil Wayne and Tyga, but possibly not Drake, and maybe Cam'ron and Remy Ma
FIRST SINGLE: "Pills N Potions"
JANUARY DETAILS: Nicki has been talking about returning to the booth since her foray into American Idol, new perfumes and a moscato company last year, but music had been scarce—until the last few weeks. The first indication that she was getting back to her roots was her "Boss Ass Bitch" freestyle, which immediately set Twitter aflame, followed by appearances on the "My Nigga" remix alongside Lil Wayne and Meek Mill and her latest one, a ridiculous verse over Young Thug's "Danny Glover." She's getting back to that tongue-twisting, fire-spitting mixtape Nicki, then we're all for it, and she's previously said she's gunning for 2014.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: She's been adamant in every interview that she's getting back to rap, and that we won't be seeing any "Starships" or "Super Bass" pop-leaning tracks on the album. She's also mentioned she's modeling the album after Jay Z's The Blueprint, and that the album will fall under "a new genre called Onika." So there's that. She mentioned that "Pills N Potions" would be “a great indicator of what The Pink Print will feel like in terms of the storyline.” “I feel like it’s kind of like a tragic love story,” she said in May. “And it doesn’t even necessarily have to be like a boy and girl relationship. I just kinda feel like while I was working on the album I started realizing how much I’ve changed. How people change. And how people come in and out of your life and I just felt like talking about that." There hasn't been much information outside of the first single, but here's everything we know so far.

ARTIST: Nipsey Hu$$le
ALBUM TITLE: Victory Lap
LABEL: Independent
ALBUM #: 1
BEATS: DJ Mustard, Don Cannon, DJ Khalil, Ralo, 1500 or Nothin', The Futuristiks, possibly Hit-Boy
FEATURES: Few, if any, though he's posted photos in the studio with T.I. and Jeezy and Lil Boosie. “I don’t got no features, so everything is a solo song, and we’ll figure out what happens with features, Nipsey told XXL in May.
FYI: Nipsey's debut solo album, Victory Lap, has been rumored for some time now, but Nipsey had to get himself out of an unhappy label situation with Epic, first. This past August, he switched the project from its initial status as a mixtape to be his debut album and, after dropping the well-received mixtape Crenshaw in October, it now appears to be on the way. He may use the same Proud2Pay, $100 campaign he used so successfully on Crenshaw, as well.
MOVIN' ON UP: In preparation for the album, Nipsey has been dropping a series of singles, including "Alert" alongside Hit-Boy, though the first official single is still on the way. For Victory Lap, he's been taking his time and making sure it drops his way, on his own.
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: "It was always my vision to drop my album on my own label," Nipsey said. "It's important to be viewed as more than talent. Timing is everything."
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Nipsey called it epic, and unless things have changed since he spoke with XXL in May, he'll be largely going it along with few features. "I got a ton of artists I’m fans of and I fuck with, but just what I’ve been having to say, I need three verses to say it," he said. "I think that’s one of the distinguishing factors [of Victory Lap] so far. Especially in 2014, we livin’ in a feature game. But I’m on some rap shit, I’m on some hip-hop, street shit, fully. That’s what I want the album to sound like.”

LABEL: Def Jam
ALBUM #: 2
RELEASE DATE: "When the music's right," Push said in July.
BEATS: Pharrell, The Neptunes, Scott Storch, Kanye West, The-Dream, Needlz, Nottz
JANUARY DETAILS: If there's one thing we know from the upcoming Pusha T project, it's that it won't actually actually be a Clipse reunion, despite the fact that Push is back working with Pharrell and The Neptunes. As he teased on Twitter, he went into the studio with Pharrell recently to get started on his next project, to be titled King Push, a session that was supposed to last 20 days. You never know with Push—after all, his solo debut was pushed back for more than a year—but if he hops on some more Pharrell tracks, expect fire to erupt from the G.O.O.D. Music man's words.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Push claimed back in February that the album would be a "triumph," and asserted that, like its My Name Is My Name predecessor, it will be the album of the year. “This next album is like a heavy proclamation to me," he said earlier this month. "I told people last year I had the Album Of Year. And I felt that I did. I really feel that King Push has to live up to that same hip-hop expectation… My goal is always to have hip-hop Album Of The Year." No other news has been released as of it, but as Push has been touring nearly non-stop since MNIMN, it may not see the light of day this year.

ARTIST: Raekwon
ALBUM TITLE: F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxurious Art)
ALBUM #: 6 (solo)
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."

ARTIST: Souls Of Mischief
ALBUM TITLE: There Is Only Now
LABEL: Linear Labs
ALBUM #: 6
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."

ALBUM TITLE: Paperwork: The Motion Picture
LABEL: Columbia
ALBUM #: 9
BEATS: Pharrell (EP), DJ Toomp, Keno, Sham, Mars, Tommy Brown
FEATURES: Justin Timberlake, Jeezy, Pharrell, Lady Gaga, B.o.B, Iggy Azalea, Young Thug, Watch The Duck
SINGLES: "No Motivation," "About The Money"
FYI: Originally titled Troubleman II: He Who Wears The CrownTip renamed the album after an influx of new ideas took the direction away from making a followup to his 2012 Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head album. With Pharrell signing on as executive producer, this new project will have a more cinematic feel, he says.
MOVIN' ON UP: "It’s really documenting a day in the life of someone living a lifestyle that everybody ain’t familiar with," Tip said about the album in January. "It’s giving people a safe way to venture out into a lifestyle that’s not very safe for them to do physically."
JANUARY'S SALES PITCH: The Kang emphasized that the album will have a movie-like quality, and was shaping up to be almost a concept album of sorts. "You get to live vicariously through myself and other characters as they present themselves and their dilemmas throughout the course of this album," he said.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Tip had originally set his sights on 20 songs for the album—three sets of six tracks, with two intermissions—to make a three-part "movie" of sorts. That's now been revised and expanded into three separate EPs, which may comprise the full project; T.I. also said that  the “cohesive thing that brings the record together is soul," with each song serving a purpose in the larger storyline. Since then, the most we've heard is that Pharrell has been the main man behind the boards, and that Tip is in the process of clearing Lady Gaga to appear on an upcoming track called "New National Anthem."

ARTIST: Wiz Khalifa
ALBUM TITLE: Blacc Hollywood
LABEL: Rostrum/Atlantic
ALBUM #: 5
BEATS: Metro Boomin, Jim Jonson, Detail, Juicy J, Dr. Luke, Young Chop
FEATURES: Probably Ty Dolla $ign, Miley Cyrus, Project Pat and Juicy J, definitely not Adele
FIRST SINGLE: "We Dem Boyz," "KK"
JANUARY DETAILS: Wiz's O.N.I.F.C. followup has been a while in the making, but details remain very scarce. With a Taylor Gang compilation on the way and Wiz guesting on seemingly everyone's projects, it may not be imminent, but the timing is still unclear. One thing we do know—longtime collaborator Cardo, dropped from Taylor Gang late last year, will probably not be involved, while Taylor Gang cohorts Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign probably will. He's also alluded to potential collaborations with Miley Cyrus, and dropped a track, "Got Me Some More," produced by Young Chop, in December.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SINCE: Ever since he dropped the anthemic "We Dem Boyz" back in February, the song has been burning up the airwaves and emerged as a strong contender for the Song Of The Summer title. But it also introduced Trap Wiz, an alter-ego of sorts that may see Wiz stepping away from his typically hazy, weed-infused Harry Fraud-type tracks and dive headfirst into club bangers on his fifth LP. Then again, Wiz told Rap-Up in June, “Blacc Hollywood in general is gon’ be sonically something that people kinda expect, but it’s like they want it, so it’s gonna be a good thing for me to deliver.” Club music, radio music, festival music and trap.

More From XXL