10. Clipse - 'Till the Casket Drops'
9. Raekwon - 'Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II'
Whether Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II, the sequel to Raekwon's '95 street classic, will see its release this year is still anyone's guess. However, fans of the rap elder statesman may be pleased to hear that RZA will return to man the boards for Cuban Linx 2. Expect some viscous beats and witty, intelligent narratives.Release Date: September 8, 2009
When I interviewed Rakim in 2006, he was almost certain that Seventh Seal would be out in 2007. To the disappointment of many, that album is still in limbo. All hope is not lost, though; word on the street is that the eagerly anticipated Seventh Seal may finally drop this year.Release Date: November 17, 2009
6. Kanye West - 'Good A** Job'
5. OutKast - TBA
OutKast's critically acclaimed double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was originally intended as two separate LPs. Apparently, packaging them jointly wasn't a bad idea, as that set went on to sell over 10 million units. There's no arguing that Big Boi and 3000 have been contemplating their respective solo albums for a long time. Thankfully, the two have confirmed that they're working on their respective solo projects, after which they'll reunite for another OutKast album.
4. Lupe Fiasco - 'LupEND'
Lupe is a talented MC, and Food & Liquor and The Cool deserve to be mentioned among the best hip-hop music of this decade. However, the cynical bastard in me is skeptical about a 3-disc rap album. Hip-hop double albums have been disappointing in the past, with a couple of exceptions. So, imagine how much of an uphill task he has created for himself. I'll be more than happy to eat my words if he delivers 100% pure quality on every disc, every verse, every track, every beat on L-U-P-END.
Ask any Jay-Z fan and they'll tell you that his 2001 CD, The Blueprint, remains one of his best albums ever. Jay has been trying to recreate the brilliance of that album ever since. The first Blueprint follow-up, 2002's Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse, marked a low point in Jay-Z's catalog, as the album suffered from excessive filler material and forced collaborations. Cross your fingers and hope for Jay to recapture the magic on Blueprint 3.Release Date: September 8, 2009
2. Dr. Dre - 'Detox'
Any hip-hop fan who isn't looking forward to Eminem's new set either needs to check their pulse or find a new hobby. Or both. A few missteps here and there notwithstanding, Em's still one of the nastiest MCs of our time. His 5th album, The Relapse, is undoubtedly the most eagerly awaited rap project of 2009, rivaled only by Dr. Dre's Detox. Speaking of Dre, word on the street is that he's manning the boards on The Relapse. This is a welcome development because Eminem is a better rapper than he is a producer. It's a good idea to let Dre work the knob so that Slim Shady can focus on his rhymes. "Crack A Bottle," a mid-tempo collaboration with Dre and 50 Cent, is expected to be the first single from Relapse.Release Date: May 19, 2009