Originally published in full here, via REVOLT TV.
My picks for the most anticipated albums of 2018, below.
GOOD Music, Cruel Winter (TBD)
It's almost cruel—don't @ me—we're still speculating about this one… but maybe 2018 will fiiinally bless us. Back in 2012, fans were treated to the release of Cruel Summer, the debut compilation album from G.O.O.D. Music that featured the likes of Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, JAY-Z, Kid Cudi, CyHi The Prynce, John Legend, Travis Scott and Teyana Taylor, among others. The project instantly sparked rumors of a sequel, as Q-Tip, who infamously was not involved with the first collection, innocently posed the question during an interview at the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards, asking, "If there's a Cruel Summer then there's got to be a Cruel Winter, right?" From there, the timeline has gone on to span five years, with hiccups of rumors causing a ripple in the tides ever since. After Common and Pusha T asserted the project wasn't happening, with Travis Scott and Big Sean later re-stirring the pot, 'Ye eventually came clean to say he goes "back and forth" about it. However, the first official single "Champions" arrived in 2016, creating yet another beacon of hope. The epic posse cut featured West, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Gucci Mane, Quavo and the label's latest signee Desiigner, with the single marking the first sign that maybe the seemingly long-lost album would soon tangibly see the light of day. With CyHi The Prynce recently getting our hopes up once again and the G.O.O.D. Music website featuring a time ticker, perhaps 2018 will be a G.O.O.D. year after all.—KC Orcutt
Lil Xan, Total Xanarchy (March 17)
We all have those friends that surprise us, especially when it comes to their music recommendations. When one of my most trustworthy colleagues in the music industry casually mentioned that he felt Lil Xan was going to surprise us all in 2018, I had to take note immediately and put a pin in any preconceived notion I may have had stemming from the fact his name is derived from the prescription drug Xanax, a substance that has since sparked a national dialogue following the November 2017 passing of Lil Peep—and actually listen to his music and learn his story. The 21-year-old emerging artist has instead tactfully used the platform he's gained through his viral breakout single, 2017's "Betrayed," to urge fans to stop using the drug altogether, often speaking about his own battles with addiction and how he was able to quit the drug after two years. With Lil Xan's sound signified by whimsical production and an equally laid-back rapping style, it's going to be interesting to see what he does next now that he's catapulted into the spotlight via viral fame. Total Xanarchy will definitely speak to his staying power in the era of SoundCloud rappers, and I'm all ears.—KO
Remy Ma, 7 Winters & 6 Summers
Remy Ma had a 2017 for the memory books, with many focusing their attention on the reignited beef between the Bronx icon and her longtime nemesis-turned-frenemy Nicki Minaj. After experiencing residual success from her and Fat Joe's 2016 global anthem "All The Way Up," Remy started 2017 with a bang, unleashing "ShETHER", the lethal diss track aimed at Minaj, back in February. The saga that soon followed was sprinkled with plenty of W's and L's on both sides, but once the smoke cleared, it became clear that Remy had emerged to a new level in her career, one that she has put in blood, sweat, tears and time to rightfully earn. With 7 Winters & 6 Summers slated for an early 2018 release, Remy is poised to finally claim what's rightfully hers, all while reminding fans she has nothing left to prove either. She's been there, done that. What remains is the creative freedom to create the body of work that Remy alone wants to make and, with her own bar set impressively high, it's without a doubt that 7 Winters & 6 Summers is going to deliver as one of the culture's most eyeballed releases of 2018.—KO