Words: Dylan Murphy
A round up of the releases we’re excited for in the next 12 months from the likes of Maverick Sabre, Saba, NewDad, CMAT and more.
Last year, shows resumed at full capacity for the first time since before the pandemic. With the prospect of ticket sales and the return of the in person connection we’d been craving so much, acts who held their cards close to their chest for much of the year shared an avalanche of new music. Though uncertainty still looms over the music industry in 2022, if the first two weeks are anything to go by it looks like it’ll be another busy 12 months. With The Weeknd, Earl Sweatshirt, Cordae, FKA Twigs and more already sharing new projects, they’ve set the bar high for acts itching to get back to some semblance of normality.
We’ve looked ahead at the rumoured projects and overdue albums from acts without release dates as well as the new records that are set in stone.
We’ll get this one out of the way early doors. There’s still no exact date for Kung Fu Kenny’s follow up to 2017’s DAMN. However, having moved in near complete silence since curating the Black Panther soundtrack, the Compton MC broke his silence on August 20 last year with a post on Instagram. Directing readers to Oklama.com, the PgLang co-founder confirmed that his next album would be his last on TDE. Moreover, signing off his message with the name ‘oklama’ inevitably led to speculation about potential characters and album titles. Having been confirmed as a headliner for the later cancelled 2020 edition of Glastonbury and later stepping out of the shadows on Baby Keem’s new album, all signs are pointing towards a finished body of work. Here’s hoping it lands this year.
It’s nearly been five years since SZA released CTRL and in that time the Top Dawg Entertainment singer’s career has become synonymous with continued ambiguity around new releases. In 2020, she described her relationship with head of TDE Punch as “Hostile” when asked about when her album would release on Twitter. Since then she’s dropped four songs on Soundcloud leading to speculation that more music was being withheld by her label. Though ‘I Hate You’ drummed up organic hype on TikTok and was later officially released on streaming services, we’re still no clearer as to when an LP will drop. Out of all the inclusions, this is the most speculative, but also the one we pin the most hope on.
Fresh signees to Partisan Records, Just Mustard joined the likes of Idles, Fontaines DC and Cigarettes After Sex on the label in 2021. The Dundalk five piece kicked off the next step of their journey with the release of ‘I Am You’ at the tail end of 2021 and while they’ve remained coy about any information surrounding the follow up to 2018’s Wednesday, if the single is anything to go by we’re in for something special.
When he was 30, Danny Brown completed his seminal album XXX, now he’s 40, it’s only right he produces the follow up. In an interview with Anthony Fantano last year, Danny confirmed the album was finished and that it was named Quaranta – which means 40 in Italian.
Speaking on Twitch he said, “It’s done. Ali, you know he did Atrocity Exhibition, from TDE is mixing it right now… We’re just waiting on the right timing. But it’s not called 40, it’s called Quaranta. You know what I’m saying, it’s a — [laughs]. I don’t wanna give away too much why, but y’all will figure it out.”
It comes after 2019’s uknowhatimsayin¿ and a feature on Brockhampton’s ‘Buzzcut’.
Since his GRAMMY nod, it feels as though Freddie Gibbs is starting to get the long-overdue recognition he deserves. Alfredo cut through the brain fog of 2020 with refined bars and cultured production from The Alchemist and Gangster Gibbs revealed that Al’s production will feature on his forthcoming record SSS (Soul Sold Separately) alongside the likes of Kaytranada, Madlib, Pharrell and more. There’s no date as of yet, but with the level of producers onboard and collaborations with ScHoolboy Q and Jadakiss he released last year, it looks set to be a blockbuster record.
A keen-eyed user on TikTok noticed that on a 2022 goals list shared on Anderson .Paak’s Instagram story is to release another NxWorries album. It’s been six (yes, six) years since the release of Knxwledge and .Paak’s collaborative record Yes Lawd! and though the Oxnard drummer and singer used 2021 to launch his double act with Bruno Mars on An Evening With Silk Sonic, it looks like he could be returning to his roots this year.
With the number of projects under his belt, status in the rap world and influence across the genre, it’s hard to believe Denzel Curry is only 26. The Florida spitter, Soundcloud rap pioneer and martial arts enthusiast is set to follow UNLOCKED, his 2020 collaborative project with Kenny Beats with a new record named Melt My Eyez. If the Western-inspired trailer is anything to go by, he’s swapping the virtual world of UNLOCKED for something more tangiable and like Gibbs, he’s inviting a host of high profile collaborators including but not limited to T-Pain, Thundercat, Rico Nasty, 6lack, J.I.D, slowthai and Robert Glasper.
Maverick Sabre makes music to soundtrack the quiet introspection we’ve become so accustomed to the past couple of years. With three LPs under his belt and the kind of voice that brings all those uncomfortable emotions to the surface, he’s primed with the necessary experience and arsenal to get us in our feels all over again with his fourth LP Don’t Forget To Look Up.
Having lent vocals to tracks with Swindle and Kojaque last year, he’s ready to share his own record in 2022 and follow up the success of 2019’s When I Wake Up.
Chicago wordsmith Saba heads into 2022 with his third studio album firmly in his crosshairs. Few Good Things follows his critically acclaimed 2018 album CARE FOR ME that mourned the murder of his cousin John Walt.
NewDad were prolific in 2021. They shared a slew of singles, dropped their debut EP Waves and left footprints documenting their evolution in ‘Ladybird’ back in October. January’s ‘Say It’ hinted towards a more accessible sound in the works and ahead of their sophomore EP Banshee it’s further proof the Galway four piece are keeping their foot on the gas this year.
Baltimore duo Beach House are doing things a little differently with their latest release. Once Twice Melody features 18 tracks and is being released in four chapters over the course of four months. Chapter one and two are already available, while chapter three and four drop on January 19 and February 18 respectively.
With a MOBO award, BBC Sound of nomination and a slew of hits, Central Cee made 2021 his own. The West London rapper wasted no time in releasing new music in 2022, keeping his momentum going with ‘Retail Therapy‘ and the announcement of his forthcoming mixtape 23. The follow up to last year’s Wild West lands on February 25 and looks set to cement his spot as one of the UK scene’s totemic figures.
There’s few artists that hold the same kind of inter-generational respect as Robert Glasper. The four time GRAMMY and Emmy-winning artist, composer and producer made history with Black Radio with it being the first album to debut in the top 10 of 4 different genre charts simultaneously: Hip Hop, R&B, Urban Contemporary, Jazz and Contemporary Jazz, as did the follow-up album Black Radio 2. He’s celebrating the ten year anniversary of the first record with the release of the trilogy’s final instalment. Black Radio III sees Glasper team up with black music trailblazers Q-Tip, Jennifer Hudson, Killer Mike, H.E.R and more.
Stories about crying at KFC, sequences inspired by Nesquik adverts and lots of other iconic behaviour – how could you not be excited for Ireland’s global pop sensation’s debut album?
Elements of Jungle are finding a home on TikTok with listeners embracing a full scale revival of the sound. Alongside acts like PinkPantheress, Nia Archives is fronting a new wave with one eye on the rear view as they create the future. march sees Nia share her second project in as many years.
Is it even a Brent Faiyaz release if it’s not cryptic as hell? While it’s not iron-clad, after singles with Tyler, The Creator, Drake and features on Tems’ and Baby Keem’s albums respectively, we’re taking Faiyaz’s mysterious Instagram post as an album announcement.
Charli XCX’s How I’m Feeling Now was one of lockdown numero uno’s definitive albums. Whether it’s a desirable title or not is up for debate, but what’s clear is, it managed to cut through the noise and connect in a time where people desperately sought reassurance. Her follow up, Crash comes with high-profile collaborations in A. G. Cook, Rina Sawayama, Oneohtrix Point Never and more and promises a more polished sound.