Over the past year, many artists have delayed dropping their albums due to the coronavirus pandemic. Artists like Kehlani, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith and many others feared that a release during the pandemic would result in a weaker response. You would think that in a digital era, the music industry would be the least hit of all industries during the crisis, but that has not been the case. Tens of thousands of songs are uploaded to streaming platforms daily. In order for artists to stand apart from the crowd they need television appearances, videos to publish, radio station visits, tour dates, etc. A digital release is just one small piece to a greater puzzle. This year, with the world slowly returning to normalcy, the music industry is primed to release several highly anticipated albums.
Arguably, the most anticipated album release of the year is set to come from none other than Drake. The Toronto-based rapper planned on dropping his album “Certified Lover Boy” in January, but while he is recovering from knee surgery, his team has delayed the release. In the meantime, Drake released a three-song EP called “Scary Hours 2” that features Lil Baby and Rick Ross.
Up next, Cardi B has been teasing her fans with a release for a few years now. Back in 2019, Cardi posted a video freestyling to her Instagram with the caption, “It’s just a little something till I finish up the album.” After a few months of silence, Cardi B took the world by storm with her song “WAP” that went viral with her trend on TikTok. After spending several weeks on the Billboard’s Hot 100, Cardi B decided not to submit “WAP” to be considered for a Grammy, as she wanted to wait to release her full album this year for the awards next year.
“The Fall Off”, an album to be released by J. Cole, is one that has a chance to rival numbers by “Certified Lover Boy” from Drake. J. Cole began working on this album pre-2018 before he changed course and released “KOD”. J. Cole started the campaign “Vote for The Fall Off 2020,” and fans were all but promised the release last year, but for reasons undisclosed, the release fell through. Recently, the Dreamworld Leader released the songs “Lion King on Ice” and “The Climb Back,” which he states are songs to lead off this highly anticipated album. To add more to the anticipation, J. Cole posted a cryptic message to his Instagram followers that hints that this will be his retirement album. J. Cole was the first rapper in over 20 years to go double platinum with no features, making “The Fall Off” a must-listen in mid-late 2021.
While rap surely dominates the primetime, many others are gearing up for releases of their own. In a pop update, there is big news for “Beliebers” as Mr. Bieber plans to drop his sixth studio album “Justice” March 19. On April 9, Taylor Swift plans to drop a rerecording of her early album “Fearless” that’s set to include six never-before-released songs. Finally, in a country update, Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett and Dan + Shay are rumored to be releasing albums in the summer or fall of this year.
No matter your taste in music, 2021 appears to be a year full of releases suited for all tastes.
By Anthony Wilson