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Due to the holidays, December is a notoriously competitive month for artists and their albums. Here are a few albums set to release this month, as well as a look back on 2023 as a year for hip-hop with this year’s final edition of Music Radar.
by Emery Brown
Nicki Minaj is one of the most popular rappers, not to mention female rappers. On December 8, she released the long-awaited sequel to her debut album with Pink Friday 2. Featuring acts from big names such as J Cole, Drake, Lil Wayne, and Lil Uzi Vert, the album has already reached immense success, gaining over 28 million streams within the first day of its release, breaking the record for the most opening day for a female rapper. It received positive reviews from fans and critics alike and cemented itself within Nicki Minaj’s discography as a success.
Once again, rumors have returned claiming that Chief Keef’s Almighty So 2 will come out in the coming weeks. As stated in October’s edition of Music Radar, the album has already been teased and delayed numerous times. There is truly no telling when it will released, though it is worth mentioning.
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has a collaborative album with Ty Dolla $ign slated for release on the fifteenth. The hype for this album is palpable, with West reaching his highest monthly listeners on Spotify of all time within the past few weeks. Information on the album had been scarce until the title track “Vultures” dropped on November 22, featuring Lil Durk and Bump J. The tracklist was revealed on December 8 via Ty’s Instagram account. On December 10, West previewed the album for fans at a Florida restaurant, also holding a listening party two days later. These two events revealed several features, the title Vultures, the album cover (Pictured below), and a release date for Friday, December 15.
Expectations are high with this album. Kanye West is undoubtedly a controversial figure, with many events within the past year or two having him blacklisted in the industry. The last time this happened, he dodged the public eye, secluded himself, and created the album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which is said to be one of the greatest albums of all time. There’s lots of pressure on Ye and Ty Dolla $ign to recreate this success. Otherwise, this may be the end of Kanye West.
The year 2023 has been quite the year for hip-hop and rap, with debates on whether or not the genre is dying spurring up left and right. Regardless, numerous good albums from talented artists have come out. Travis Scott’s UTOPIA, Lil Uzi Vert’s Pink Tape, Drake’s For All the Dogs, Yeat’s AftërLyfe, and Doja Cat’s Scarlet were among the albums that made serious waves online, all being extremely popular.
Interestingly, this year featured a few great genre switches from rappers such as Lil Yachty’s Let’s Start Here and Andre 3000’s New Blue Sun. Movie soundtracks were also a popular outlet for MCs to channel their creativity, with examples including J Cole’s Dreamville Records creating the soundtrack for Creed III, Metro Boomin’ masterminding the songs behind Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and numerous names such as Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj creating the hits for Barbie.
As the curtains begin to fall on 2023, one question remains: Which one of these many albums was the best? With so many incredible options, it can be impossible to decide. All one can do is form their own opinions and wait for the numerous award shows early in the new year of 2024.
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