At the stroke of midnight, on the onset of 2019, everyone will be rewarded with a medal for surviving this roller coaster of a year. In the meantime, though, we still have some music to enjoy and some more tragedies to live through.
As winter settles in, the release calendar slows down and the end-of-year list debates pick back up where the mid-year debates left off. Don't let that take your attention away from the fourth-quarter hip-hop releases still to come.
We here at DJBooth love anticipation, and good music. While most triple-A albums are reserved for the spring and summer, there are still records coming down the pipeline worth waiting for with bated breath. With that, our entire staff has weighed in with their most anticipated release of 2018.
Is everyone just waiting for Anderson .Paak to drop? Is anyone excited for Lil Peep? What about Smino and these rumored Cardi B bonus tracks? Read our staff piece below to find out what we are most excited for.
Anderson .Paak — Oxnard
Release Date: November 16
After every star rapper and their mother dropped an album (or albums) in the first 10 months of 2018, who is even left to be excited about? Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs, and Alchemist are certain to drop a Halloween treat, Young Thug could drop Barter 7 either tomorrow or never, and I’m still wondering when news of new ScHoolboy Q music will grace our ears. But I’d be lying if I said anything not named Oxnard was the most anticipated release of the next two months. .Paak is following up two classics—who am I to doubt him? —Brendan Varan
Given that Anderson's music seems almost explicitly designed to help listeners cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder, I can think of no better album to help get me through the unforgiving Toronto winter than Oxnard. Armed with the warm timbre of his voice and the rich instrumentation I've come to associate with his music, I can already imagine how the icy roads and dreary skies will start to feel slightly more manageable. Dubious medical benefits aside, the fact that .Paak hasn't released a full-length solo project since January 2016, yet apparently has thousands of songs stored in his vault, is reason enough to be curious about what music he'll actually choose to release. —Hershal Pandya
The follow-up to Malibu has been my most anticipated album all year, and that’s not about to change now that the release date is finally on the horizon. Catch me driving back and forth on PCH from LA to Oxnard all day on November 16, blasting the album on repeat to enjoy the experience in all its soulful glory. —Kenan Draughorne
J.I.D — DiCaprio 2
Release Date: TBA
In addition to being the best rapper on the Dreamville roster—and yes, that includes the bossman—J.I.D quietly released one of the best rap albums of 2017. "The Never Story is like watching a boxer throw immaculate jabs, uppercuts, and haymakers for 12 rounds," Yoh wrote for DJBooth last December. Before the calendar flips to January 2019, I'm looking forward to pressing play on a variety of new albums—Oxnard chief among them—but DiCaprio 2 is my most anticipated release because of what it represents. In 2019, J.I.D has a chance to elevate to another level. He is the only solo artist signed to Dreamville (not named J. Cole) who has a chance at becoming a legit superstar. I'm ready to find out, and I'm sure he's ready to deliver. —Brian "Z" Zisook
Lil Peep — Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt.2
Release Date: November 9
Here's the thing: everyone here knows that Anderson .Paak and Smino are going to release great albums. There's nothing to anticipate, only something to eventually enjoy. Everyone here also knows I am the most emotional person on staff, which makes me a prime candidate for Lil Peep's first posthumous release. In the wake of Mac Miller's passing, too, this album has the potential to not only put me in my feelings but also set an interesting precedent for posthumous albums to come. I'm the First Lady, and I'm ready to feel 15 again. —Donna-Claire Chesman
Smino — Noir
Release Date: November 8
One album that has stuck with me from fall 2017 to fall 2018 is blkswn. Smino’s 18-track debut displayed a unique world of cunning wordplay, sugar-coated melodies, and records that aged like fine wine. It’s rare to find artists defined as the full package, but there’s no better way to describe the gifted St. Louis rap artist. Smino’s recent single, “L.M.F.”—our Best New Song—is an excellent addition to his streak of infectious, yet sharp offerings. There’s no doubt in my mind that his forthcoming album will cause journalists to rearrange their 2018 top-ten lists. —Yoh
Solange — TBA
Release Date: TBA
I never had the courage to wear FUBU as a kid, and I regret to inform you that I don’t have a spectacular head of hair that white people like to touch without permission, but Solange’s A Seat at the Table is one of my favorite albums of the past few years. I even have a playlist dedicated to the interludes for whenever my soul needs a little nourishment (yeah, sex is cool but have you ever listened to Master P’s soothing reflections back-to-back?) When Solange’s recent New York Times profile let slip that she’s got a new album coming this fall, naturally it shot to the top of my Most Anticipated Albums list. Then, when she said, “there is a lot of jazz at the core…but with electronic and hip-hop drum and bass because I want it to bang and make your trunk rattle,” I had to create a new list just for this album called Holy Fucking Shit I Needed This Album Yesterday. —Andy James
Vince Staples — TBA
Release Date: November 2
For a rapper as methodical as Vince Staples, last year’s Big Fish Theory was the tossing of a gauntlet. He’s only concerned with pushing rap forward on his terms and sounding ahead of the curve while doing it. This is only one reason why I jumped out of my skin when he announced a super special project coming this Friday: the Poppy Street savant has come back to take us to the next level. I honestly have no idea what to expect here, but I’m beyond hyped for the next episode of The Vince Staples Show. —Dylan "CineMasai" Green
Westside Gunn — Hitler Wears Hermes 6
Release Date: October 31
I will never be part of a crime family and I’ll (most likely) never take part in a jewel heist where I get to wear an old Richard Nixon Halloween mask with a suit. What I can do, though, is find the musical equivalent of that feeling in Westside Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes series. Gunn’s side projects are often more daring in production, more eclectic in style, and with enough pulp fiction to rival a Raymond Chandler novel. Most of us will never get a chance to know how it feels to be a made man, but every Gunn project at least lets us feel how it must sound from the getaway car. —Matt Wilhite
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