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20 Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums of 2009

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With 2008 in our rear-view mirror, it's time to look ahead at what 2009 has in stock for hip-hop. This year promises a very exciting lineup of rap releases, including albums from Eminem, Jay-Z, and (*fingers crossed*) Dr. Dre. Here are the 20 Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums of 2009.

20. Chamillionaire - 'Venom'

Grammy-winning rapper Chamillionaire is gearing up his third major label effort, Venom, scheduled for an early 2009 release via his new home at Universal Republic Records. The much-buzzed about follow-up to 2007's Ultimate Victory is led by the single "Creepin' (Solo)," which features a powerful guest verse from Ludacris.

19. Slim Thug - 'Boss of All Bosses'

Slim Thug - Boss of All Bosses
© Koch Records
A distinctly voiced rapper with an imposing figure to match, Slim Thug established a huge following in such a short time. That's also because he's business savvy -— mixtapes released on his own Boss Hogg Outlawz label circulated throughout the Houston region. Slim's not-so-prophetic debut album, Already Platinum, dropped in 2005, while his group the Boss Hogg Outlawz released Serve & Collect and Serve & Collect 2 consecutively on KOCH Records. Now Slim is back on Koch to release his long overdue sophomore effort, Boss Of All Bosses, tentatively slated for March 2009.

18. Joe Budden - 'Padded Room'

Joe Budden - Padded Room
© Amalgam Digital
After securing a release from his Def Jam contract in 2007, Joe Budden immediately became a much sought-after free agent. Though he was approached by several major labels, Budden didn't want to jump from frying pan to fire. Rather, he decided to go against the grain by signing with upstart web-based distributor, Amalgam Digital. Amalgam will release Padded Room with exclusive hidden bonus tracks later this year. Budden's erstwhile adversary, The Game, appears on Padded Room's lead cut, "The Future."

17. Jadakiss - 'The Last Kiss'

The Last Kiss is the final entry in Jada's Kiss trilogy, which began way back in 2001 with Kiss tha Game Goodbye and continued with 2004's Kiss of Death. Of course, a lot has transpired since then. Kiss left Ruff Ryders and joined Def Jam, at Jay-Z's beckoning. The Last Kiss is led by the Ne-Yo-assisted single, "By My Side." It also boasts guest appearances by Jay-Z, Faith Evans, Lil Wayne, Styles P, and Ghostface Killah.

Release Date: April 7, 2009

16. Busta Rhymes - 'Back on My B.S.'

Busta Rhymes - Back on My BS
© Universal
If you've been anywhere near a radio lately you've probably heard the trunk-rattling Busta single "Arab Money." Busta is taking no prisoners on this go-round. Busta kicked off his B.O.M.B. campaign by dropping the poignant street anthem, "Don't Touch Me." He then followed it up with the dancehall favorite, "Arab Money." Not bad for a senior citizen rapper.

15. Saigon - 'The Greatest Story Never Told'

© Henry Adaso/About.com

Saigon's major debut has been delayed so much that I'll have to see it to believe it still exists at this point. Despite the cloud of uncertainty hovering around Sai-Giddy's album, one thing's for sure: with Just Blaze manning the boards and Sai on the mic, anticipation for The Greatest Story Never Told remains at an all time high.

14. Wale - 'Attention Deficit'

© Getty Images

Few new MCs have resonated with hip-hop heads as strongly as Wale. His 2008 mixtape, The Mixtape About Nothing, was superior to many of the hip-hop albums that dropped last year. Imagine the damage he could do if he can parlay those same skills to his full-length debut, due out this year via Mark Ronson's Allido Records.

Release Date: November 10, 2009

13. 50 Cent - 'Before I Self Destruct'

© Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Even if 50 Cent never sells another CD in his lifetime, he'll still have no trouble making his mortgage payments. After all, he's the richest rapper alive. That said, 50 has watched his popularity plummet over the last couple of years. Before I Self Destruct, the Queens, NY MC's fourth solo outing, gives him ample opportunity to win back some admiration from hip-hop heads. The album's lead single, "I Get It In," hearkens to bouncy bangers like "In Da Club" and "Candy Shop."

Release Date: November 16, 2009

12. Lil Wayne - 'Tha Carter IV'/'I Can't Feel My Face'

© Getty Images
Lil Wayne has a very busy 2009 ahead of him. In addition to a rumored Carter III re-issue, the New Orleans rapper is also hoping to keep our iPods fully employed with the following:
  • I Can't Fell My Face (a joint album with Juelz Santana)
  • An untitled collaboration with T-Pain under the moniker T-Wayne
  • Tha Carter IV, and
  • A "rock" album

11. Big Boi - 'Sir Luscious Left Foot'

Photo © Scott Gries/Getty Images
Sir Luscious Left Foot is Big Boi's first solo album. In a 2008 Billboard.com interview, Big revealed that the album is "Big Boi to the extreme." "It’s like a recession special," Big Boi says of the album. "I'm talking about what’s going on in the world, with everything from rising gas prices to the election. It’s just my insights on life up to this point." Look for more guest appearances and production from Andre 3000, who helped make "Royal Flush" the best hip-hop song of 2008.
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