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The 17 Most Anticipated Hip-Hop and R&B Albums of 2018

Will 2018 finally see long-awaited new collections from Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, Iggy Azalea, and Frank Ocean that have been talked about for months (or years) finally arrive?

1 / 17

A$AP Rocky, 'TBA'

INGLEWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Rapper A$AP Rocky performs onstage during the Real 92.3 Real Show at The Forum on November 18, 2
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Release Date: TBA

A$AP Rocky’s follow-up to 2015’s At.Long.Last.A$AP is long overdue, and we still have no idea when it’s actually coming. But the rapper gave some hope when he recently wiped his Instagram clean and began posted snippets of unreleased new music on his stories—and they sounded incredible. "My new album is really about testing new sounds. People are scared to test new sounds, so they go with what's current, 'cause it's the easy thing to do,” Rocky told GQ in his holiday cover story. “I don't just rap—I actually make music. That's why it takes time. These sonics represent me.” — Bianca Gracie

2 / 17

Cardi B, ‘TBA’

Release Date: TBA

A lot of artists working primarily in hip-hop and R&B are slated to drop new projects in 2018, but nothing is more highly-anticipated than Cardi B’s debut album. The reality TV star-turned-rapper crossed over into the mainstream out of nowhere in mid-2017 when her unavoidable smash “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” bolted all the way to No. 1, making her one of the few female hip-hop musicians to rule the chart on her own.

Since then, she’s scored subsequent hits as a featured guest on G-Eazy’s “No Limits” and Migos’ “MotorSport,” both of which have reached the top 10. She’s already delivered a successful (if not quite as catchy) second single, “Bartier Cardi,” and people can’t wait for more from the newcomer. — Hugh McIntyre

3 / 17

Chance The Rapper, ‘TBA’

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 20:  Chance The Rapper performs at Camelback Stage during day 1 of the 2017 Lost Lake Festival on Octob
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Release Date: TBA

It’s incredible to consider that while he is already one of the most critically-acclaimed acts in the music industry, Chance The Rapper hasn’t technically released an album yet. The hip-hop musician has already scored a No. 1 hit and won a handful of GRAMMYs (including Best Rap Album for a mixtape), and he’s still only just now getting around to releasing his debut studio album!

Chance has been quiet about the new art that's on the way, but there’s a good chance that he’ll share something in 2018, though what he’ll label it (not that it really matters, as long as it's great) is still a mystery. — Hugh McIntyre

4 / 17

Frank Ocean, ‘TBA’

PEMBERTON, BC - JULY 20:  Frank Ocean performs on stage during Day 3 of Pemberton Music and Arts Festival on July 20, 2014 in
Andrew Chin/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Release Date: TBA

The elusive R&B favorite has been teasing new tunes on his Tumblr page for months now, but while he loves to hint, he never gives enough away for people to actually be able to mark something down on a calendar...at least not until he’s really ready for something to drop. It’s reasonable to assume that a new Frank Ocean record will come in 2018, though it’s impossible to say when, or whether it will be a visual collection like Endless or a more traditional record like Blonde, both of which were released in August 2016. — Hugh McIntyre

5 / 17

Gallant, ‘TBA’

Release Date: TBA

Capturing the hearts of both alt-R&B and old-school soul fans, Gallant blew us away with his 2016 GRAMMY-nominated debut album Ology. With a knack for poignant lyricism and an effortless ability to blend soul, funk and R&B, the Maryland native has displayed an immense amount of growth since self-releasing his 2014 EP Zebra. Unafraid to play around with production (as heard on the Saba-featured remix of “Bourbon”), Gallant will surely unveil a diverse sophomore LP spanning a multitude of genres—while still delivering his signature, breathtaking falsetto. And for fans who happen to also appreciate Digimon Adventure tri., you might witness an unprecedented R&B-Digimon composition. — Tina Xu

6 / 17

G.O.O.D. Music, ‘Cruel Winter’

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 05:  Pusha T, Big Sean, 2 Chainz(C), Kanye West (R)   perform at the 2016 Hot 97 Summer Jam at Met
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Release Date: TBA

Kanye West’s record label G.O.O.D. Music has released some of the best hip-hop and R&B titles of the past decade, including projects from Big SeanJohn LegendPusha TKid Cudi, and of course, West himself. In between their solo careers, the collective and their friends came together to produce the group album Cruel Summer back in 2012, which spun off hits like “Mercy” and “Clique.” Since then, it seems as if there is some new detail shared or hint about when the follow-up, Cruel Winter, will finally arrive, though nothing appears to be concrete. Cruel Winter may finally emerge from the cold in 2018...or maybe all the rumors will end up being false after all. — Hugh McIntyre

7 / 17

Iggy Azalea, ‘Surviving The Summer’

Release Date: TBA

It was all the way back in fall 2015 that Iggy Azalea first started talking about her sophomore album, which at the time was called Digital Distortion. In the months (more like years) since then, the Australian chart-topper has been through a lot, including a broken engagement and plenty of label drama. After properly promoting singles “Team,” “Switch,” and “Mo Bounce,” it's possible that none of them will appear on her newly-renamed record Surviving The Summer. She’s now with a new company, and 2018 could see her finally return to the spotlight. — Hugh McIntyre

8 / 17

Jennifer Hudson, ‘TBA’

Release Date: TBA

The American Idol alum may be one of the most successful artists to get her start on the program, but she’s had a difficult time lately when it comes to her music career. The Oscar and GRAMMY winner released a pair of singles in 2017 that seemed to herald a comeback, but it was made immediately clear that the public just wasn’t that interested in either “Remember Me” or “Burden Down,” both of which failed to make any impact on the charts. With two songs already out, it’s likely that Jennifer Hudson will shift focus to a third single before attempting an album release in 2018. — Hugh McIntyre

9 / 17

Kanye West, 'TBA'

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 02:  Kanye West performs at the 2011 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2011
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Release Date: TBA

Kanye has been been out of the public eye ever since he was hospitalized in November 2016 due to a reported mental breakdown. While taking a break to focus on your mental health and spending time with your family is more beneficial than trying to keep up with the music world, we can’t help but wonder if he’s been quietly working on the follow-up to The Life of Pablo during this time. “He's coming up, the album is about to be crazy, we working man G.O.O.D. Music, we forever baby,” Desiigner said of ‘Ye’s new record last year. The artist has done no wrong music-wise, so we just have to sit back and be patient to see what he has planned. — Hugh McIntyre

10 / 17

Keri Hilson, 'L.I.A.R.'

Release Date: TBA

Say what you want about Keri Hilson, but her ability to write and deliver a jam is undeniable. To this day I still get life from a handful of tracks off the one-time Timbaland-protégé’s last studio effort, 2010’s No Boys Allowed (like "Lose Control" above) as well as her debut album In A Perfect World. Despite a few leaks and false-starts over the past eight years, fans are still hungry for another batch of Miss-Keri-Baby-crafted bops.

Keri’s teased new music a few times on social media so we know she’s definitely been hard at work in the studio during her time away from the spotlight. In 2016 she tweeted confirming the album title L.I.A.R. but saying it wasn’t ready yet. Then in early 2017 she told talk show The Real more about the title (it stands for “love is a religion”) but sadly nothing about the release date. We’re ready, Keri! — Mark Sundstrom

11 / 17

Mariah Carey, ‘TBA’

Release Date: TBA

The recent Golden Globe nominee spent much of 2017 focusing on building her ever-expanding Christmas empire, and now that all the hard work has paid off, it’s time for her to get back to crafting some of the best R&B/pop in the game. It’s been nearly three years since Mariah's last studio album, the underrated Me. I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, and the Lambs are ready for a new collection of signature Mimi jams. We're still bopping to last year's catchy tell-off “I Don’t” featuring YG and a dope flip of a ‘90s Donell Jones sample (watch above), but it appears it was a one-off.

We know Mariah loves the studio and is constantly working on music, often collaborating with a wide range of artists and producers, so she’s probably sitting on a ton of unreleased music. Here’s to hoping we get to hear some of it with a new album this year. For the record, Mariah Carey is a living legend with nothing left to prove, and while her spot in the history books is assured, we don't think she's done dominating the pop culture conversation. — Mark Sundstrom

12 / 17

Migos, ‘Culture 2’

Release Date: TBA

It has only been a year since the biggest trio in hip-hop established themselves as a powerful force with both a No. 1 album (Culture) and song (“Bad And Boujee” with Lil Uzi Vert), but they aren’t wasting any time when it comes to the second installment. In between the many side projects of the members, which have included smash hits and albums and mixtapes that have charted well, Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff have managed to score another top 10 hit with “MotorSport,” which kicks off this era perfectly. MigosCulture 2 doesn’t have a street date yet, but it can reasonably be expected in the first half of 2018. — Hugh McIntyre

13 / 17


Release Date: TBA

Earlier this month R&B-meets-electronic funk singer/songwriter NAO tweeted out a sexy, dramatic new photo with the caption “G.R.O.W.N 2018” and sent fans into a frenzy, including my own “OMGGGGG!” tweet. Sadly, a day later NAO followed up saying the post was actually not about the new album, but just her vibe going into the new year. Fear not, we know for sure NAO is hard at work on a new album.

In September last year she tweeted an unexpected new song for fans, “Nostalgia” (watch her sing it live above), with the message, “A gift 4 U whilst I create my next album, I promise I won’t keep you waiting long…” The song is a bop and has been on repeat since she dropped it. Heads up, if you’re not yet a NAO fan, do yourself a favor and check out her 2016 debut full-length For All We Know (which we named one of the best albums of 2016) as well as its corresponding 5-track The Remixes EP. You won't regret it. — Mark Sundstrom

14 / 17

Nicki Minaj, ‘TBA’

Release Date: TBA

After a recent rumor suggesting that the reigning queen of hip-hop was about to surprise-drop her new album early in January ended up being completely false, we are now back to not having any solid leads regarding when she will finally return with a new full-length. As the industry speeds up and some of the biggest names drop more and more music, with some stars releasing several full collections every year, Nicki Minaj has done the exact opposite. The “Super Bass” genre-jumper has taken her time on album No. 4...though three and a half years seems like a lot, doesn’t it? Three singles released in mid-2017 didn’t end up preceding an album, and so the wait continues. — Hugh McIntyre

15 / 17

Rae Sremmurd, ‘Sremmlife 3’

Release Date: January TBA

You can’t start off a new year without some music from Rae Sremmurd! The rap duo is following up 2016’s Sremmlife 2 with yet another album that is surely going to be filled to the brim with banger after banger. If “Perplexing Pegasus” is any indication (and we hope it’s on Sremmlife 3), this album is just going to push their stardom even further. — Bianca Gracie

16 / 17

Travis Scott, ‘Astroworld’

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Travis Scott performs at Kailand's Swaggy 16th birthday party at Belasco Theatre on Septembe
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

Release Date: TBA

Travis Scott has yet to drop an album that hasn’t commanded the rap game, so we’re sure that Astroworld will continue to do just that. He recently teased what fans can expect from Astroworld, tweeting “Thom Yorke in my system.” Can you just imagine what kind of Radiohead-inspired magic Travis and producer Mike Dean are cooking up?! — Bianca Gracie

17 / 17

Twenty88, ‘TBA’

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0754 -- Pictured: (l-r) Singer Jhené Aiko performs "Moments" with Big Sean
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Release Date: TBA

Big Sean built himself up to be one of the most successful new names in the hip-hop world years ago, and just recently, he’s become one of the most productive in an industry known for stars who seem to never leave the studio. The rapper teamed up with R&B talent Jhené Aiko to form superduo Twenty88, which released their self-titled debut album back in 2016. Since then, Sean has dropped two albums (one on his own and another with producer Metro Boomin’), while Aiko’s sophomore record Trip proved why she’s still the best. In between solo commitments, the two have somehow found time to continue work on Twenty88 part two, and it might very well arrive in 2018. — Hugh McIntyre

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Photo of the day

Mar 20: Gold Everything

Can this moment be any cuter? This past weekend Beyoncé and Blue Ivy attended the Wearable Art Gala at WACO Theater Center in matching custom made gold dresses. The Gala honored Bey with the WACO Humanitarian Awards and upon receiving it, the artist thanked her mother in a beautiful speech.