With the release of new albums from Drake and Yelawolf recently bumped into November, it’s shaping up to be a very competitive fourth quarter in hip-hop. Along with those two, Rick Ross and local favorite Wale are both gearing up for big November releases. With all four artists presumably hoping to cash in on the holiday shopping rush, Click Track’s contributors each picked the one disc we’d most hope to find in our stockings.
Chris Richards: Last year at this time, a thrilling new rapper named Nicki Minaj was rewarded in spades for dropping an album that played it totally safe. Her debut, “Pink Friday,” glimpsed toward rap’s boundaries while barely pushing any of them. Don’t think that these guys — and their respective labels — didn’t notice. As rappers, Drake, Yelawolf and Wale couldn’t be more different, but I worry that all three are ready to smooth out their innovative edges if it promises more sales. That leaves us with Rick Ross, a guy who was never about innovation. He sounds so comfortable in his lane these days, it might actually be a challenge for him to drop a disappointing album.
Allison Stewart: I have high hopes for the Wale disc. Now that these other releases are bumped, he’ll have a clear playing field, hopefully. He seems to want it so badly, you kinda want it for him. And I bet that Kid Cudi collaboration is great.
David Malitz: I can see the casting now. Rick Ross as Santa Claus. Yelawolf as his elf. Drake as the perfect child — complete with seasonally appropriate sweater — who gets every Christmas present on his list. (Even though he's Jewish!) And Wale, the petulant brother who always gets a lump of coal. This batch of releases has lots of promise, but I’m skeptical that any will be all that fulfilling. Yelawolf is almost peerless in terms of rapping ability but the repeated delays of “Radioactive” portend bad things. (When we interviewed him in July, he told us the album was due on “Sept. 27... If something happens it ain’t my fault!” That means other people are getting involved.) Rick Ross seems ready to launch into a full-on Lil Wayne circa 2008 takeover, but his gimmick feels one too many levels of meta at this point. Wale could surprise us, but it would definitely be a surprise to me. So that leaves Drake. Whose album will probably be the best of the bunch... if, you know, you dig Drake. So in conclusion, I will hope for the best with Yelawolf, but jot a note to Santa asking him to deliver the infinitely-delayed Young Jeezy album.
(Whose album are you most looking forward to? Share your nominations in the comments.)