As 2015 draws to a close, music fans are already on the lookout for new releases from some of our favorite artists. SoulTrain.com takes a glance at the most anticipated Hip-Hop and R&B albums of 2016.
After the smash success of Rihanna’s 7th studio album, Unapologetic, Riri took a little break from the spotlight to just live life, often seen relaxing on her home island of Barbados rocking nothing but a bikini and a smile. The pop princess who dropped albums once a year at one point was now taking a little bit longer to hit the booth, something fans picked up on and weren’t happy about. Luckily, our island girl didn’t forget about us, dropping the catchy and Paul McCartney- and Kanye-assisted “FourFiveSeconds” and the politically charged “American Oxygen” much to fans’ excitement. Once they got a whiff of “BBHMM” and it’s stellar accompanying video, fans were officially open.
It’s almost been a year since Rihanna, Kanye West, and Sir Paul McCartney performed “FourFiveSeconds” live on The Grammys, and still no Anti in stores. Fans can’t wait to hear what the singing siren has in store for 2016.
‘SWISH,’ Kanye West
Whether people want to admit it or not, it’s pretty hard to deny that Kanye West is one of the most influential artists of today. You can hear Kanye’s flow in everyone from Big Sean to Childish Gambino, and his $2,500 Yeezy sweaters are already inspiring brands such as H&M and Forever 21. While Kanye is a man of many talents, music is what put him on, and ultimately, for what he will always be known. West got back in the game with instant banger, “All Day,” leaving fans wanting more, and expecting a follow-up smash soon after. It seems that life had other plans, as West and his wife Kim Kardashian received news of her second pregnancy just before the release of “All Day.” Now that the West family has welcomed baby boy Saint West into the world, Kanye fans count down the days till the release of SWISH.
‘Views From the 6,’ Drake
Somehow, Drake managed to drop two exceptional bodies of work this year without releasing the one album everyone was actually checking for. The Toronto king’s surprising release, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, was a run-away success, even while dropping out of nowhere. A few Meek Mill disses later and Drizzy drops another fire album, this time a collaboration with Atlanta trap star Future. While teasing his next “official” album, Views From the 6, the entire time, fans have had to settle with “Hotline Bling” and perhaps “Back to Back” as the only hints as to what’s on the record. According to Billboard, the album is expected to arrive January 6th, but you never know with Drake. Predictability has never been his thing.
‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean’s stellar debut Channel Orange not only solidified Ocean’s name as one of the best in his class, but quite possibly the most in-demand, as fans of Ocean’s work are not content with the 2012 release. While the critically acclaimed album went on to win a Grammy, beating out Chris Brown and Miguel in a particularly competitive year, enough time has passed for fans to begin their “when’s it dropping?” talk. Even multi-platinum selling singer Adele says Frank Ocean is the one artist who needs to put out his album. Rumors of a new single, “White Ferrari,” dropping soon are swirling, as well as word that Ocean may even drop the album before the year is up. However unlikely, no one would complain, as the “Pyramids” singer’s stock is only rising with each day of anticipation.
‘Untitled,’ Missy Elliott
After taking nearly a decade off, hip-hop icon Missy Elliott came back with a vengeance, dropping the uber-catchy “WTF (Where They From)” alongside an incredible video that screams “classic Misdemeanor!” Fans flocked to YouTube to see Elliott in her natural habitat, with hopes of something a little more substantial taking shape. While names and dates have not been mentioned, Missy has tweeted that she’s here to stay, so it’s a safe bet we’ll be seeing more of her in 2016.
—Jessica “Compton” Bennett