The 5 Best Album Rollouts of 2018 & What to Expect For the Year Ahead

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Rick Ross

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.

2. Nas

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.

3. Solange

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.

Cardi B And Fashion Nova Release Collaborative Line

It comes with no surprise that the debutante Cardi B would eventually land a collab with retailer Fashion Nova.  The exclusive line launched today at midnight, and sold out soon after. The FN x Cardi line consists of 82 pieces that range from $12.99-$200.  As Cardi has previously expressed through various social media posts, she wanted to make the line have a luxury look, but at an affordable cost.

Cardi hosted a pre-launch event last night that had a guest list of other female rappers including City Girls, Saweetie, and Dream Doll. She took to her Instagram account to thank her fans for helping her break a record of quickest sold out items with  Fashion Nova.

You can see the collaboration line here.

Cardi B Collaborates With Reebok

On November 5th, Cardi B announced on her Instagram that she will now be the new face of Reebok!  

Cardi B and Reebok will be going into the archives to bring back the 90’s classic shoe, Aztrek. The shoe will run at a cost of $90.

Not much information has been released except that Cardi was the “ideal candidate” for this new partnership. 

We will keep you updated with more details. For now, check out the designs and apparel here

BET Hip-Hop Awards: Here’s What Mattered

Let’s face it. Some things on BET are just annoying, wrong or irrelevant. But, when the Hip Hop Awards come around we at least get some good to decent musical performances and some entertaining cyphers. Here’s what went down that’s worth talking about. 

Performances 

This year we got about 3 performances that were noteworthy. T.I and Yo Gotti performed together accompanied by some dancers in traditional Mexican attire. T.I. proved he could still hang despite his age and gave more energy than most of the younger artists.  We were also treated to a performance by Cardi B from Club Liv. It would appear she’s taking the Beyonce route and “sending in” performance footage instead of actually appearing. The performance was energetic however, featuring the rapper twerking on the ground which was quickly turned into a GIF by Black Twitter. We also got a performance by up and coming Brooklyn rapper Flipp Dinero in which he ran across the stage multiple times, giving some well needed energy to the stage. 

(Lil Pump, Gucci Mane, A$AP Rocky, Lil Baby, Gunna, Lil Duval, YG, Yella Beezy and Young M.A. also performed)

Cyphers 

The cyphers this year were a mixed bag to say the least. With most viewers anticipating what Vic Mensa said about the late XXXTentacion there was not much to hold us until that happened. Each cypher had clear standouts with the others being average or worse. Clear standouts were Sharaya J, Shawn Smith, Flawless Real Talk, Neelam Hakeem, Tobe Nwigwe and YBN Cordae. Each group rapped over various versions of the “Banned From TV” instrumental, which was introduced to many (younger) listeners by Lil Wayne using it on his No Ceilings  mixtape. We also got a fun freestyle from Erykah Badu herself at the end of the second cypher. 

The Actual Awards

In the two hour runtime of the show a total of FOUR Awards that were given were televised. Yep. Probably the most surprising would have to be EVERYTHING IS LOVE winning over KOD and others for album of the year. Lil Wayne was also presented with the I Am Hip Hop Award and gave an inspiring and heartfelt speech, accompanied on stage by his mother and daughter. 

Do you still think the BET Hip Hop Awards are relevant?  

Cardi B Shuts Down Fashion Week S/S 2019

Since 2017, Cardi B has been on an upward spiral. From breaking records to securing every bag, Cardi hasn’t been subtle about her success and we are completely here for it! Fashion Week season was no exception for the new mom. 

During this fashion week, you could catch Cardi sitting next to Anna Wintour or throwing her shoe; either way, she was making headlines. Now, don’t let the shoe throwing fool you, Cardi came to slay during fashion week. From her all animal print outfit to her red Dolce and Gabbana dress, Cardi was ready for every occasion. 

Though she had statement outfits on, Cardi’s hair gave us simple yet chic look with all of her fits. She kept it pretty simple with three colored wigs: black, blonde, & purple. She rocked her memorable long, blonde hair, a new short blonde, bob, and a wet and wavy purple hair.

After this year’s fashion week, we have a feeling we might be seeing more of Cardi in the fashion industry and we would be here for it. Continue reigning Cardi!