Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron
This one is so close that I’m actually fiending for it like Tyrone Biggums for crack. It’s to the point that I’m checking r/hiphopheads like every 5 minutes (rather than the usual every ten minutes WE REALLY OUT HERE) to see if it’s leaked. If it leaks while I’m writing this article you’ll know because it will read like complete gibberish after I have an aneurysm and pass out on my keyboard (PETRILLO, HIT PUBLISH I’M BUSY!). TDE is on fire and everything I’ve heard from this project has been stellar. I haven’t been this hyped for an album in a while and I hope it lives up to my expectations. Even if it does, Fantano will still probably give it like a light 5 anyway.
2) Freddie Gibbs – Pinata
My anticipation for this one is actually damn near approaching Oxymoron levels. If I die any other way than from an anticipatory stroke I’ll be surprised. Actually, I’ll be dead but you get the point. Produced entirely by the legendary Madlib and sporting a guest feature list that pretty much reads like a who’s who of my favorites from the new era of MCs (Danny Brown, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt, Meechy Darko, Domo Genesis, Mac Miller, etc) as well a couple veteran legends (Raekwon & Scarface), this album looks immensely promising on paper. I haven’t even mentioned Gangsta Gibbs himself, who is an absolute beast. From what we’ve heard so far, his infectious flows go together with Madlib’s soulful production beautifully. This duo is as natural as Bert and Ernie. PAUSE.
3) Joey Bada$$ – B4.Da.$$
Unlike the two albums I’ve previously mentioned, this one is far from being an almost surefire success. I’m much more tepid in my anticipation for Joey’s major label debut for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost being that he really hasn’t done much to maintain the buzz that he and his Pro Era Crew created when they burst onto the scene two years ago with Joey’s acclaimed mixtape 1999. That tape made Joey an overnight sensation, with many critics going so far as to compare his 90’s style flow and effortless lyricism to legends like Nas. Now I don’t know if I would go quite that far but I did enjoy the album immensely and certainly looked forward to seeing what the young kid from Brooklyn could go bring in to the table in the future. Unfortunately, what followed was the tragic suicide of his super talented right hand man Capital STEEZ as well as two disappointing mixtapes (Rejex & Summer Knights). In the time since the release of 1999, several other members of the Beast Coast movement (Flatbush Zombies, The Underachievers, Action Bronson) have surpassed Joey and the Pro Era Crew as a whole in terms of popularity and critical acclaim. Also, a lot of people clown on Joey’s name (you would not expect the lyrical skill out of someone with the name “Bada$$” not to mention that the whole the dollar sign thing is played out as fuck) but I think that is a dope album title. Joey has a lot riding on this album and I’m excited to see whether he can live up to the challenge.