2018 was a great year for music especially in Hip Hop and R&B. Let’s walk through the best album rollouts of 2018 and what albums we can expect for the new year.
Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Summer
The rollout of Kanye’s G.O.O.D Summer started off with the polarizing figure’s return to Twitter. It was then followed by infamous sound bites and the rapper seemingly aligning himself with the 45th President. Somewhere in between the chaos, Kanye revealed that he would be releasing 5 separate albums from G.O.O.D Music artists. Much anticipated albums from Nas, Teyana Taylor, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, and West himself lined up the series. Though the series was heavily critiqued and ditched out some tough disappointments (see: Nasir), each project produced strong first week numbers and debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 list.
Lesson Learned: Never underestimate the power of Twitter.
2. Cardi B- Invasion of Privacy
When Cardi B finished 2017 with number 1 single, Bodak Yellow, everyone was on the edge of the their seats waiting to see if she could match the single’s success. She started 2018 releasing a bedazzled vintage single cover and video to promote Bartier Cardi. The video featured husband Offset, reminiscent of Beyoncé’s Partition. After that, she released Be Careful, which showed her versatility as an artist. And her record Drip with Migos dropped the same week her album did. Cardi’s consistent head-nodding club singles were able to keep everyone’s attention until the album release. High profile appearances like the Alexa Super Bowl commercial didn’t hurt either. ‘Invasion of Privacy’ turned out to be one of the top 3 selling albums last year.
Lesson Learned: Great singles keeps everyone’s attention.
3. Drake- Scorpion
Drake’s release of ‘Scorpion’ was marked with a steady flow of viral singles that swept the nation. The 1-million dollar music video for God’s Plan currently has almost 1-billion views on Youtube. God’s Plan was followed by I’m Upset and Nice For What. A month before Drake’s album was to be released, he entered a rap beef with Pusha T as a response to the Kanye West produced track, Infrared. Surprisingly, Pusha T won. Drake was forced to back down after Pusha T exposed him for doing blackface and allegedly neglecting to take care of his baby. The rap beef boosted Pusha T’s streaming numbers and introduced him to a pop fan base. It also helped Drake stay relevant until ‘Scorpion’ was dropped in June. In My Feelings unexpectedly went viral after the album release and became the song of the summer.
Lesson Learned: Rap beefs are good publicity if you’re able to come out of it alive.
4. EVERYTHING IS LOVE- The Carters
When Beyoncé and Jay-Z announced their OTR II tour, everyone expected new music to drop. But it didn’t. The tour started and the duo did several shows without any new music giving fans the impression that OTR II was simply just that- on the run part 2. Many began to even speculate that it was a publicity stunt to recover Jay-Z’s image. But in true surprise by the originator herself, the duo’s first collab album dropped in June. The couple premiered the Apesh*t song and video during their London tour stop. The words ALBUM OUT NOW appeared on the screen at the conclusion of the video. The album exclusively streamed on Tidal for two days before hitting Spotify and Apple music. Apesh*t is nominated for Best Music Video for this year’s Grammy Awards.
Lesson Learned: Go on tour first, drop music later.
5. J. Cole- KOD
J. Cole’s album rollout was as simple as the rapper portrays himself to be these days. Without fuss. He gave fans same week notice via social media that his album would be dropping that Friday. He then proceeded to host first come, first serve listening parties. While this could have been a risky move for an artist that seemed to be in hiding and cocooning, Cole solidified his superstar status and capitalized on his fan base by rolling out KOD this way.
Lesson Learned: If you continue to cater to your core fan base, anything is possible.
Ultimately, what we’ve learned from album rollouts in 2018 is that there are no more rules to this. You can drop on Twitter, on tour, same day notice on Tuesday and still be successful. The more creative the better. It’s the authenticity that counts. When Kanye West snapped the album cover for ‘Ye’ on his way to the listening party, it was against all industry rules. But, it worked. And we can expect to see more of that pure, raw energy in music. Artists and their delivery no longer have to be cookie-cutter and by the book.
Moving forward in 2019, we can expect to see highly anticipated projects from a few veterans of the game.
In November, Rick Ross responded to Lebron James and confirmed that he was in the final stages of ‘Port of Miami 2’. However, don’t hold your breath. He made it clear to the NBA player that creating classics takes time.
In an interview with Angie Martinez, Nas confirmed that he has another album on the way. We’re assuming its the album he spoke of on 2016 DJ Khaled track, Nas Album Done.
Last October, Solange told the New York Times that her follow up to ‘A Seat At The Table’ would be dropping in the Fall. However, no such thing happened. It still keeps us on notice that a fully developed Solange album exists and is just waiting for a release date.
What albums are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.