As you might have heard, I’ve kind of been obsessed with a little project called Surf. Even after my mental breakdown, after I let all my feels out, I was still expecting it, but it’s slowly starting to hit me that it may be a while. Just yesterday, still clinging to hope, I said to Nathan, “Im sure it’ll be out soon,” and with one word he swiftly killed a piece of my soul.
“Why?” he asked. "What makes you think it'll be out soon?"
I didn’t have an answer.
That’s when it hit me, there are plenty more fish in the sea. Why spend my time waiting around for one, when I could be out setting my sights on others? If Surf doesn’t want me it wasn’t meant to be.
So I got to thinking about all the projects that are coming up. Sure, there's A$AP Rocky, Kanye and others in the more immediate pipeline, but I got really excited when I thought beyond the obvious. If I get all pumped about an actual album it’ll probably be delayed or become the subject of another rumor and I’ll never love again. But if I get super excited about a hypothetical project, about just the prospect of new music, that’s something I can handle.
The way I see it, there are three categories to album anticipation
Defcon 3: It's Been a Minute, We're Ready
We get excited about music that has a name or a release date, no matter how arbitrary and inaccurate those dates may actually be, but sometimes we get excited about artists who may not have a concrete project on the way. They're not late, it feels wrong to complain about a lack of a new album, but it just feels like it's about time for some new music from these cats.
For a year and a half now, Cilvia has been a constant in my life. I’ve listened to it drunk, hungover, high, sober, tired and any combination of said states. I spun it during winter, spring, summer, fall and winter again. As I was bumping it the other day it hit me, I’m ready for some new Isaiah Rashad, he really hasn’t done much post-project. I know TDE had a few other projects to focus on, but now that the Butterfly has been pimped, I think its time for the youngest member of TDE to take the limelight again.
It should be interesting, too. Cilvia came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass. I literally had no expectations at all; shit I didn’t even know it was a thing until January 26. Now? I’m already excited for a hypothetical nonexistent project. I have some pretty high expectations for Rashad and seeing if he can deliver is one hell of a subplot.
Listening to Snoop’s new album kind of has me in the mood for some good old fashioned, well-constructed pop and nobody does it better than Justin Timberlake. I’m never actively waiting on new music from Justin like I am Surf, but I do enjoy his music. I could use some more, it's actually been a minute, so why not?
It’s not that simple though. It’s never that simple. The 20/20 Experience dropped early in 2013, so if JT was a normal artist, you’d assume he has something new in the works, but it took seven years to get another album after Futuresex/Lovesounds was released in 2006. Remember how big that album was? If it took him seven years to follow that up, who knows how long it’ll take for the next one. Also, to be fair, he’s married now (with a child). If I was married to Jessica Biel it’d take me a long time to do anything that doesn't involve spending quality time with Jessica Biel too.
If you're into rap that sounds like someone screaming into a fan, you're into Meek Mill. We were apparently days away from hearing his Dreams Worth Money album around September of 2014, and then those plans were derailed by a jail bid. Upon his release in January he dropped the "B Boy" video, we assumed that release was an indication that the album was once again on its way and then....................nothing...................Nicki Minaj........................random freestyles.
So, is Dreams Worth Money still a thing that's happening? Or??? Because even if it comes out soon (unlikely) it will still be three years since his last album.
There was a short period of time around the release of Old where Danny Brown was my favorite rapper. Since, I haven’t really thought about him much. Where the hell has he been? Has it really been almost two years since Old? Can we even count “Detroit vs. Everybody” as a song?
Danny’s an interesting case, I’m actually in the perfect place with him and a new album. I want more music, but I’m totally fine having to wait a minute. I’m not looking forward to it like I am with Rashad, but I'd totally take some new music. Well shit, seeing this and knowing that this album is more or less done but won't drop makes me kind of want it more. Oh well, I'll just sit here and chill with this Danny/Black Milk Collab EP, Black Vs. Brown.
Defcon 2: Oh Yeah, Shit. What's Up???
At first it doesn't seem like it's been that long since their last album (Defcon 3), but then you think about the last time they actually released something, you probably have to go look to see how long it's been, and then you suddenly realize - oh yeah, shit, what's up with that dude? Damn, can we get a new album?
Yoh already covered this one in-depth, but I had to comment because I just re-stumbled across Channel Orange for the first time in a long time and forgot how incredible it was. Still, it was three years ago now, and I'm not even remotely confident that Ocean's next album will drop this year, with or without a magazine. Until we get something more concrete than an blog post, Ocean's staying in "What's Up???" territory.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Remember that time Macklemore beat Kendrick at the GRAMMYs? It feels like yesterday.
It was February, of 2014. For an album that Macklemore released in 2012.
It’s been a whopping 948 days since the release of The Heist, but because we’ve heard "Thrift Shop" 948 times and seen Macklemore’s Roger Klotz-lookin ass everywhere, it certainly doesn’t feel like it. I gotta imagine they have something in the works, right? Because not only are they apparently content to go through 2015 without releasing a new album, they've barely released any music since The Heist period. I’m putting this on Ryan Lewis since he does damn near all the work. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we soon found out that Macklemore's in a Mindie situation. (He is.) If anything, I’m more excited about that story than any new music. Oh for the record, this, but I'll belive it when I see it.
I love Illmatic. It’s only the greatest hip-hop album ever. Still as beloved as it is I don’t consider Illmatic X a “new” album. Before the Illmatic re-release Nas’ last album came out during the summer of 2012. That’s a longtime for a guy like Nas to be quiet. In fact, it's now the longest gap between albums of Nas' career. Granted, he’s been busy with his Mass Appeal label and added few dope guest spots here and there, but I want a whole album of Nasir.
It’s time for him to earn the March Madness Champion honor. Come on Nas, what's up? If you want to put stock in Nas announcing a new summer album at a show, feel free, but remember how well that worked for Surf.
With the Outkast revival tour, and the fact that "Thickets" is forever the jumpoff, it might be easy to forget that Big's last solo album, Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, came out in 2012. We are never eva eva, eva eva eva getting a new Outkast album, those ATliens have been Independence Day-ed, but I think a new big Boi album is a highly attainable goal, especially because he said there was one in the works in April of last year. Gotta assume he's hard at work at that. I hope.
Meanwhile 3 Stacks is off painting impressonist landscapes with his toes or something.
Wax is always in rotation. Always. He’s one of my favorite emcees. Perhaps that’s why it seems crazy that his last album came out in 2013; he’s so familiar to me, he's so active on social media, I just kind of assumed it hadn't been that long since Continue... I actually had the honor of interviewing him last year and he said after The Warped Tour that he was going to hide out in the studio, hopefully we get to see the fruits of said labor soon.
I never fancied myself a big Bruno Mars guy, but I can still vividly remember defending him to the death at a Super Bowl party. You know, the Super Bowl without a dancing shark and without the worst playcall in the history of histories; the one from two years ago. He may not make music for my age bracket, but the dude has some serious talent and you have to respect it. The man can make a pop banger or two.
"Uptown Funk" may feel like his song, but it's actually from Ronson's album. I could handle some more Bruno Mars, it's now been almost three years. In September of last year he posted this to his Facebook. So if he "started" back in Spetember we should be getitng something new any minute now. Or not. Who knows what's up with that dude?
Defcon 1: "You Dead Mon?"
Are these artists even alive? Did they retire and just didn't bother to tell anyone? Seriously, I wonder if we’ll ever get new music from them ever.
I’m gonna break out my inner-hipster here and stunt for a second. I can almost guarantee I knew about Adele before you. There I was, sitting in my dorm room, sophomore year, high off my ass, and then this video comes on MTVU. For the next two months I shared it with everybody. Like a year later she’s the biggest thing on the planet; where's my check?! Seriously, remember how unstoppable she was? Ever single radio station was spinning Adele like a dreidel. There wasn't a bigger, more widely beloved celebrity than her at that time. Her last song release that I can remember now, though, is the Skyfall theme - SKYFAWWWWWW, CRUMBOWWWWW - and that was like four James Bonds ago, right?
The most insane part of it all is there has not been a single peep about any new album. Last year there was a quickly deleted, misinterpreted tweet which made me think something was in the works, but any thought of an album was quickly squashed by her people. No information. No “coming soon.” Nothing. They basically just said any reports of an album were false and didn’t let us leave anything to hang on to.
Maybe she’s waiting for another break-up or maybe she’s still healing from a vocal surgery, but it’s getting to the point where I’m starting to wonder if she’ll ever return. I mean people close to her don't even seem to know. The last time she dropped an album, Obama was running for re-election. Imagine if she never released another album? She’d be the fallen off GOAT.
No new album, but does an Adele rap-remix album do anything for ya?
Black on Both Sides is the George Clooney of hip-hop albums; it just gets better with age. Also, it dropped in 1999. Mos, who I really should be calling Yasiin Bey (old habits die hard), has always just been around, but I'm getting really worried that 2009’s The Ecstatic will end up being his last album. He’s always good for a cameo, be it a song or a movie, and it’s just enough where he’s too busy to make a new album, but not busy enough where I don’t have a hankering for more.
If I remember correctly there was some buzz last year about a new album, but since then all we've gotten wind of is a DOOM cover project. I was personally super excited after hearing this Mannie Fresh-Mos Def collab in person at an NPR event (go to the 36:30 mark fo the song), but sweet baby Jesus knows when or if that will ever drop. Where is "Let's Go"?!
Man, there’s so much more than Surf. I need to stop obsessing with Chance and widen my scope, look at all these other artists I now have to focus on. Problem solved!
*checks to see if Surf dropped*
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth]