Today, one of the biggest musicians in the world right now- Drake, released undoubtedly one of the most anticipated projects of 2016. However, it’s not the only album with a lot of hype surrounding it. 2016 has already had some stellar, and much anticipated releases. We’ve seen projects from Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Kano, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Massive Attack just to name a few, and with it only being April, there’s still plenty more on the way. Here I’ll be summarising some of the most anticipated projects to come out in the second half of 2016.
Run The Jewels – RTJ3
Run The Jewels are a low-key juggernaut within rap. Killer Mike and El-P go about their business ignoring distractions such as record labels, marketing campaigns and selling their projects, in turn focusing more on the end product- their albums and their live shows. With their self-titled debut blowing critics away, Run The Jewels had a task in itself to replicate the quality found on RTJ1, RTJ2 was in my opinion better, and hit harder than I’d ever expect with venomous lyricism and explosive production. I can only sit in anticipation for what the Run The Jewels have lined up next.
Vic Mensa – Traffic
Vic Mensa has really slowed things down as of late, and I’m at a loss as to why. Emerging alongside fellow Chi-Town talent Chance The Rapper, Vic
released a stellar breakthrough mixtape in the form of INNANETAPE, he then went on to sign with JAY Z’s Roc Nation, followed by two huge collaborations with Kanye West with Wolves and U Mad. Then it all came to a halt, with still no sign of his much-anticipated debut being released, let’s hope Vic doesn’t keep us waiting too long.
Gorillaz – TBD
Everybody’s favourite animated band are back! The musical-minded Damon Albarn was recently pictured in the studio, while the artistically-minded Jamie Hewlett has been teasing us on Instagram with the latest developments of planet Gorillaz. Not a whole lot more has been unveiled about the latest project from the experimental group, but there’s a lot pointing to a release this year.
Massive Attack – TBD
Let me be the one to tell you: it’s hard work being a Massive Attack fan. Refusing to give us devotees any updates on any recording process, with the constant air of an inevitable break-up lingering, the elusive pairing of Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall seem like they’re on track to release their long-awaited sixth. We all thought it was forthcoming, but instead came an EP called Ritual Spirit, not the project we longed for, but at least it’s got the ball rolling. There will be a sixth studio album from Massive Attack this year, there has to be.
Skepta – Konichiwa
At the moment, Skepta is flying the flag for grime across the world, with Americans and Europeans losing their minds over the grittiness and hard-hitting allure of the genre. Skepta has emerged from the hype provided courtesy of Kanye and Drake, as something of a pioneer, with big singles such as Shutdown resonating with loyal grime fans, as well as new found transatlantic hip-hop heads. With no signs of slowing down, Skepta is prepping the release of his next studio album Konichiwa, which should be released any day now.
Chance The Rapper – TBD
Chance The Rapper is my favourite rapper in the world right now. His music is refreshing in a world of rap dominated by trap stylings and autotune. Following one of the best
albums mixtapes of 2013 in the form of Acid Rap, Chance The Rapper’s output has mainly come via The Social Experiment, more specifically with their genre-criss-crossing project, SURF. Chano’s third solo project, be it an album or a mixtape, is one of the hottest releases of this year, and after seeing some of the names he associates with nowadays, expect some big surprises.
Kanye West – Turbo Grafx 16
After the drawn-out saga and eventual disappointment with The Life of Pablo, another Kanye West project in the same year would still be something to get excited about. There were definitely some gems of TLOP but unfortunately it was bogged down with tracks like the three Fs of failure- Fade, Feedback, and Facts. Here’s to hoping that Turbo Grafx 16 would be more of a complete project- although naming an album after a video game doesn’t fill me with hope.
Frank Ocean – Boys Don’t Cry
Frank Frank Frank, when oh when will it end? It’s been four years Mr Ocean blessed us with his album- channel Orange, and in reality it seems like a whole lot longer than that. However, I can certainly deal with a gap between albums and pauses in output, I am a Portishead fan after all, but Frank Ocean has literally vanished off the face of the earth. What makes Boys Don’t Cry even more hotly anticipated is that there is absolutely no hint of what to expect- there’s no tracklist, there’s no collaborator, no leak, no artwork, I don’t even trust that it will be called Boys Don’t Cry by the time it’s finally released, but we’ll have to see.
Radiohead – TBD
Anything from Radiohead of course has every ounce of hype surrounding it, and following a five-year pause since 2011’s Kings of Limbs, the experimental group are back with a new album. With a number of high-brow festival headline spots, mainly in America much to my annoyance, as well as three sell-out dates at The Roundhouse, Radiohead’s manager tips their next studio album to be released at some point in June.