Hip-Hop in 2013: Looking for This Year’s Kendrick

good kid, m.A.A.d. city was head and shoulders above all rap albums in 2012. That’s not saying it didn’t face stiff competition, but it was both commercially successful and critically adored. With 2013 underway, the easiest place to start the search for this year’s GKMC is less than two weeks away.

(Disclaimer: rap album release dates change pretty much all the time, so it’s almost guaranteed that these dates below will change too.)

January 15 – A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP is a pretty great album. It leaked really early for its release date (just before Christmas), so that may hurt its sales a bit. But from that leak, it gets somewhat close to GKMC‘s level. “Goldie” and “Fuckin’ Problem” were already major hits in 2012, “Long Live A$AP” is tearing up MTV music video playlists and “1 Train” is a hip-hop head’s dream. But with the potential of so much happening later in the year, A$AP’s album could get the Life is Good treatment and be overshadowed by summer and fall albums.


TBD, Early 2013 – It’s not likely that G.O.O.D. Music’s next collaborative effort, Cruel Winter, will garner overwhelmingly positive reviews. What is very possible, however, is that it will be a step up from Cruel Summer. The way this happens is if the album’s tracks remain hush-hush until its official release. By the time Cruel Summer came around, everyone had already heard “Mercy,” “Clique,” “New God Flow,” “I Don’t Like (Remix),” and “Cold,” which was half the album. The other half was somewhat underwhelming, with only two solid tracks via “The Morning” and “Sin City” that still weren’t quite on the singles’ levels.


February 26 – Ignoring Lil’ Wayne’s upcoming album and going straight to the end of January, the next big album could be 50 Cent’s Street King. Fitty is more or less going through the Nas/Illmatic dilemma where his debut album was so fantastic that it’s hard to follow up. But with no major release since 2009’s Before I Self Destruct, buzz can build around Street King, and if he delivers some vintage 50 Cent songs, then this has potential to be a big rebound album, much like his rival Game’s Jesus Piece was in 2012.

February, TBD – The success of Cruel Winter could make or break Big Sean’s next album, Hall of Fame. Will people still be interested in the G.O.O.D. Music member by the time his second studio album rolls around? Or will he just be played out? Regardless, Big Sean has hyped the album, saying everyone – from Kanye West to J. Cole – has been impressed by early listens. It may not have the same feel as GKMC, but it might induce the same anticipation.

March, TBD – After the lackluster performance in Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager and the pretty terrible WZRD album, Kid Cudi has a lot to make up for. Though, as this blog has mentioned, “Just What I Am” has got Cudi fans excited again. The song was the first single off of the upcoming Indicud, an album that, if it’s like Man on the Moon I: End of the Day, could receive a ton of acclaim. Basically, all Cudi needs to do is look at what he did during the success of his early mixtapes and he’ll be fine.

April 16 – This selection is probably just bias, but Rittz’ The Life And Times Of Jonny Valiant could be a big step forward for the rapper. Recently signed to Strage Music, Rittz has quickly become a favorite of Tech N9ne’s and that can only help his career. Hopefully his new connections can lead to more exposure, because Rittz definitely has a unique, incredible delivery. Check out his verse in “Growing Up in the Gutter” or either of the White Jesus mixtapes to see what I mean.

Spring, TBD – I’m not sure how I feel putting this here, but Gunplay’s Medellin could either be a really strong effort, or a complete and utter disasterpiece. There are times where you hear Gunplay and sort of shake your head. But then, there are other songs that make you really like the guy. If 2012 is any indication, he could have a fantastic 2013, and success along the lines of fellow Triple C’s member Rick Ross. Let’s hope that we’re hearing Gunplay from “Cartoon & Cereal,” “Bible on the Dash,” and “Ghetto Symphony” on Medellin.

TBD, Rest of the Year

Old – Danny Brown – People are already calling him the next ODB, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. His odd delivery and voice make him such a magnetizing rap personality. With the spotlight finally on him (thanks to “Grown Up” and an XXL Freshmen Class honor), I have the confidence that he’ll deliver. So many people loved his last album, XXX, but I doubt it will be hard for him to follow up with something greater.

Doris – Earl Sweatshirt – Getting sent to a school for troubled children in Samoa was probably the best thing for Earl’s career. (But also probably a not-so-fun time for himself.) Consequently, it feels like every single he releases will be praised, scrutinized, and overhyped. “Chum” is a dark, moving first major solo release since his return, and if that is what is on Doris, then it’ll be a damn good album.

My Name is My Name -Pusha T – First of all, regardless of what else anyone releases this year, Pusha T already has the album title of the year. Taken from one of Pusha’s favorite shows, The WireMy Name is My Name probably suggests a theme of crime and drug dealing. But really, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since that’s a very consistent theme in his music. Hopefully his work with G.O.O.D. Music will continue to give him the attention he deserves.

Oxymoron – ScHoolboy Q – After last year’s Habits and Contradictions, people are getting excited about Top Dog Entertainment members that aren’t Kendrick Lamar. ScHoolboy Q will look to use his momentum from 2012 to make an even bigger splash in 2013, and hopefully not as many people will sleep on his work this time.

Born Sinner – J. Cole – It’s already been delayed a couple of times, which is never a good sign. And hopefully it will be better than Cole World. This isn’t really the project of J. Cole’s that people are looking forward to though…

Untitled Upcoming Projects

… because of the collaboration between J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar that will hopefully happen during 2013 …

… other G.O.O.D. music members set to release albums include 2 Chainz and Kanye West, and if there’s a Kanye West joint coming out, it’s guaranteed to compete for the “Album of the Year” …

… Tyler, The Creator is expected to release Wolf this year, but after Goblin, people are cautious going into this one …

… veterans Eminem, Rick Ross, Drake, and Jay-Z are all expected to release some sort of album, but we’ll see how many actually do …


2 responses to “Hip-Hop in 2013: Looking for This Year’s Kendrick

  1. Pingback: Return of the G. Hip-Hop in Springtime. | John Fichera·

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