Ten anticipated albums for 2009

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Here is a speculative list of ten 2009 hip-hop albums. All of these titles are scheduled to drop sometime during the next 12 months. I omitted some perennial “coming soon” titles (Madvillainy 2, 9th Wonder’s The Wonder Years, Ghost & Doom’s Swift and Changeable, Big Boi’s Sir Luscious Left Foot and others). Not to say that they’ll never come out, but we’re moving on now.

Hudson Mohawke’s debut album (Warp): This may be the most hotly-anticipated of the electronic/hip-hop crossovers. Warp has a good track record of signing underground sensations who go on to record their best material for the label, with Autechre, Prefuse 73, Boards of Canada and Antipop Consortium being among the many examples. (tentative release date: Spring ’09)

Zion-I, The Takeover (Gold Dust Media): I’ve heard this album, and I can safely say that it’s Zion-I’s best to date, maybe as good as those cassette EPs they used to release back in the day. But will fans and critics give them their due recognition? People who don’t live on the West Coast tend to sleep on/underrate them. (release date: January 27)

Willie Isz, Georgiavania (Lex Records): Khujo and Jneiro Jarel have been leaking tracks from their forthcoming collaboration for the past several months. Some have sounded impressively soulful and reflective (“In The Red”), while others have sounded tinny and strange (“Gwan Jet”). It seems as if all the leaks — many which you can hear on Willie Isz’s MySpace page — are meant to get listeners comfortable with their unusual sound before the full-length drops. At the least, it should be an adventure.  (tentative release date: late February/March)

Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek as Reflection Eternal (Warner Bros.): There’s some speculation whether this will come out now because Kweli’s Blacksmith management has split with Warner Bros. But I think that Warner Bros. still wants him on the label — it just didn’t feel like pushing Blacksmith’s underground slate (Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady) to the mainstream. Kweli’s last album (2007’s Eardrum) was pretty good, and Hi-Tek is long overdue for a breakout year. Keep your fingers crossed that Warner Bros. doesn’t let this one rot on the shelf. (tentative release date: TBA)

Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Nuclear Evolution: The Age of Love (Ubiquity): Sa-Ra’s 2007 debut was a patchwork of old singles and leaked tracks, detritus from their stillborn deal with G.O.O.D. Music/Sony. It sounded like leftovers. This upcoming affair should be much more fresh and cohesive, provided that blogs don’t leak the whole thing first. (tentative release date: spring ’09)

Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon (Fool’s Gold/Downtown): I wasn’t feeling this song at first, but lately it has resonated with me. Kid Cudi (pictured above) seems to have found a way around the auto-tune nightmare that has ruined rappers’ impulse to harmonize; it’s not exactly Cold Crush Brothers, but memorable nonetheless. An openness to electronic styles like soulful house could make this an intriguing debut. (tentative release date: TBA)

Dam-Funk, Toeachizown (Stones Throw): Dam-Funk is another dude who has leaked MySpace joints for many months now. He’s already released a few 12-inches, as well as an edition for Stones Throw’s Rhythm Trax series. But I expect Toeachizown to be a head-scratcher on par with James Pants’ Welcome. When I first heard that album, I disparaged James Pants for making a good demo tape. It was faint praise. Almost twelve months later, I still can’t stop thinking about that album. (tentative release date: Spring ’09)

Antipop Consortium, Flourescent Black: It’s been over a year since the four members of Antipop announced they were reuniting, and still no word of when the album will come out, or even which label will release it. (However, they’ve performed several NYC shows.) I imagine something will drop before the next edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties takes place in September; APC are scheduled to make a key appearance there. (tentative release date: TBA)

Charles Hamilton debut album (Interscope): Sonic the Hamilton’s album will most likely be a highly commercial mix of styles meant to entice hipsters, backpackers and teenyboppers alike. The question is, will he get the formula right? (tentative release date: TBA)

Mos Def, The Ecstatic (Downtown): Since his classic 1999 solo debut Black On Both Sides, Mos Def has concentrated most of his energy on his acting career, with fantastic results. Though not yet a lead actor, Mos has scored meaty supporting roles in critically acclaimed films and box office hits. Unfortunately, he’s subsequently used his music to indulge his artistic whims, making for meandering and unfocused albums like 2004’s The New Danger. At the beginning of 2008, he announced that he was teaming up with Kanye West (who also made beats for The New Danger), perhaps a sign that he wasn’t going to fuck around this time. Whatever The Ecstatic turns out to be — another classic or another mess — it should be interesting. (tentative release date: Spring ’09)

Other releases to watch for: MF Doom (Lex), Mr. Lif, I Heard It Today (Definitive Jux, April 13), Thavius Beck, Dialogue (Mush?), J. Medeiros, Friends Enemies Apples Apples (Quannum), Nosaj Thing (Alpha Pup), new Themselves album (Anticon), The Cool Kids, When Fish Ride Bicycles (Chocolate Industries), Evidence, Cats & Dogs (label TBD), Finale, A Pipe, A Dream & A Promise (Interdependent Media), Danny! (Definitive Jux)

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4 Responses to Ten anticipated albums for 2009

  1. Pingback: Rap Talk » Toeachizown: From Stones Throw

  2. Pingback: LiveBars Music Biography Blog » Download Anti Pop Consortium

  3. tj says:

    is there a danny! def jux album coming

  4. plugoneboss says:

    Yes. Look for the second installment of my Danny! interview very soon.

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