It has been a busy summer for hip-hop releases, what with Kanye West’s Yeezus and Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail releasing within two weeks of each other, while the new crop of ‘it’-rappers, including J. Cole, Mac Miller and Wale, put out their sophomore albums in between. There are literally dozens of buzzing indie artists and upstarts who put out quality work–we would be remiss not to mention Queens rapper Action Bronson and Chicago rhymer Chance the Rapper in this sentence. With the end of the summer on the horizon and the fall and winter season soon to be upon us, a number of significant releases are still on the calendar. We’ve rounded up ten of the most noteworthy projects to watch out for in the coming weeks.
1. Stalley – Honest Cowboy (August 8)
The Masillon, Ohio native is very much the dark horse in Maybach Music Group stable, and his MMG debut releases next week without much fanfare. Still, Stalley held his own in a featured verse off his label boss’ very solid God Forgives, I Don’t album and collaborated with Scarface. Don’t sleep on him.
2. Big Sean – Hall of Fame (August 20)
The Def Jam rapper hailing from Detroit is a bonafide superstar and even a cultural phenomenon thanks to his slang. Like it or not, Sean has figured out the recipe for mainstream success; a prime example is the cross-marketing approach with his guest verse on Drake’s new single “All Me,” which also features 2 Chainz.
3. Terrace Martin 3ChordFold (August 20)
A jazz saxophonist who tours with Kendrick Lamar and has produced for Snoop Dogg, Terrace Martin still doesn’t get the kind of love he deserves as a solo artist. He is vastly underrated, but that may finally change with 3ChordFold, which features multiple Grammy-winning songwriter James Fauntleroy and Wiz Khalifa, among others.
4. A$AP Ferg – Trap Lord (August 20)
A$AP Rocky smashed the industry doors for the A$AP Mob, and now it’s Ferg’s chance to show-and-prove. He has built a buzz with “Work,” which has been remixed ad nauseum, and followed it up with another impressive single in “Shabba.” Will his album be consistent? We have to wait and see.
5. Juicy J – Stay Trippy (August 27)
Finding solo success after leaving a group isn’t easy. 2 Chainz did it, and Juicy J, formerly of Three 6 Mafia, is likely to repeat. Juicy has been on the guest verse circuit heavy and being part of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang certainly doesn’t hurt his chances for success.
6. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris (August 27)
Fresh off dissing Jay Z, the Odd Future member is certainly one of most hyped new talents. Will his Columbia/Sony-backed debut deliver? With a compelling backstory, there’s a good chance he won’t disappoint. Earl is surely the oddball in this bunch.
7. 2 Chainz – B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (September 10)
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 2 Chainz epitomizes this old adage going into his sophomore album. Having made himself relevant by going on a guest feature tear, the artist formerly known as Tity Boi is not slowing down anytime soon.
8. Maybach Music Group – Self Made Vol. 3 (September 17)
Compilations can be hit or miss – YMCMB’s Rich Gang was more of the latter – but MMG has the in-house talent (Meek Mill, Omarion, Wale, Rockie Fresh, the aforementioned Stalley) that can hold its own next to boss Rick Ross, who himself is coming off a memorable appearance on Jay Z’s MCHG. (Excuse the acronym usage).
9. Drake – Nothing Was the Same (September 17)
Drake is the Kobe Bryant of hip-hop … at least according to Jay Z. The Canadian sings and raps circles around just about everyone, and is truly in a league by himself. Whether it’s the ubiquitous “Started From The Bottom,” the more obscure “Girls Love Beyoncé” or even his appearance on Migos’ “Versace,” Drake’s third album is easily the most anticipated hip-hop album in the waning months of 2013.
10. ScHoolBoy Q – Oxymoron (TBA)
Rolling with the close-knit Top Dawg Entertainment (backed by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records) has propelled unassuming ScHoolBoy Q into the limelight. He’s probably the third most talented rapper in his own group – after Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul – but he’s a force to be reckoned with. While no one is expecting Oxymoron to live up to the platinum and heralded Good Kid, m.a.a.d City, it’s probably going to be a very solid proper debut with impeccable production and features.