June is already revving up to be a hot month, musically that is (though, if the weather last weekend was any indication, the mercury plans to match the Top 40 charts). The hip-hop airwaves have already been hit with a string of album releases from big names this month — including French Montana, Lil Wayne and Eve — all of which have been have been received favorably. MTV.com reported that New York rapper French Montana’s highly anticipated “Excuse My French” debuted at #4 slot on the Billboard charts, while both Weezy and Eve have found comfortable slots in the Top 50.
And it seems that we can expect the buzzy releases to continue to rise with the temperatures. A wave of big names in hip-hop (Yeezy, anyone?) are also dropping albums this month. What’s more, many of the releases are hitting stores mere weeks apart, with some artists releasing their new records on the same day. It seems safe to say that hip-hop fans are going to be very busy this summer.
Hip-Hop vets Fabolous and Kanye West kick it all off, releasing “Loso’s Way 2: Rise to Power” and “Yeezus,” respectively, on June 18. On the same day, up-and-coming rapper J. Cole is set to release “Born Sinner” and kid wonder Mac Miller’s “Watching Movies With the Sound Off” hits stores. DC emcee Wale (who seems to remind us of his new album on Instagram and Twitter hourly) is close behind, dropping his third album “The Gifted” on June 25.
New York rapper Fabolous (‘Loso for short) — with 5 studio albums already under his belt — has been around long enough to have built a solid fan base. After releasing his third studio album “Real Talk,” in 2004, he took a three-year hiatus, coming back strong with 2007’s “From Nothin’ to Somethin’” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and #2 on the Billboard 200.
Kanye, set to release his seventh album from what seems like a well-oiled commercial rap machine, is boosting his buzz by making daily headlines with pregnant girlfriend Kim Kardashian and ever-more sensational rumors of their breakup. Love him or hate him, you have to recognize that the man still manages to remind us that he’s all about putting his music first — check his performance of “Black Skinhead” on Saturday Night Live last week. (The video already has over 900,000 views.)
And while the new kids on the scene might not carry the same name recognition or brand power of Yeezy or Fabolous, most of them are more than holding their own. Wale and J. Cole have amassed their own fan bases with signature styles that command respect. Wale’s poetic verses and hard-hitting punch lines have earned him several major collabos (Rick Ross, Ravaughn and Kid Ink, to name a few).
Meanwhile, J. Cole — the new prodigy of Jay Z’s Roc Nation — has kept the buzz for his new album high, releasing two mixtapes “Yours truly” and “Yours Truly 2” to build up hype for his official album release.
Who will take this summer’s crown, an old head or a young buck on the rise? Only time — and album sales — will tell, but we’re pumped to find out. In the meantime, we’ve rated the artists’ new singles, in anticipation of what their full albums might have in store.
Wale: "Bad" (Feat. Tiara Thomas): B+
J. Cole: "Power Trip" (Feat. Miguel): A-
Lil’ Wayne: "Rich As F***" (Feat. 2 chains): C+
Fabolous: "Ready" (Feat. Chris Brown): A++
Kanye West: "Black Skinhead": A