2017 was another busy year in the music industry and hopefully in 2018 we see more of the same. Some artists are primed to end long periods of silence, while new names yet to be discovered lie in wait to push new sounds. Here’s a shortlist of established artists we hope to hear from this year.
Steve Lacy made his name as a solo artist in 2017. The teenage prodigy has been the lead guitarist for Odd Future act The Internet since he was 14 years old, and recently, produced “Pride” off of Kendrick Lamar’s sensational album “Damn.” “Steve Lacy’s Demo,” his first solo endeavour released in February of last year, showcased his songwriting prowess centered around gorgeous fuzzy guitar tones. His unique style fuses elements of R&B and indie rock, and at 19 it wouldn’t be a stretch to surmise that he has an album coming out in 2018.
On January 4, Kevin Parker took to Twitter to post a link to a poster for the Mad Cool festival in Madrid, Spain. On top of that, a slew of tweets announcing a “Currents” collector’s edition and articles bloviating rumors of a collaboration between 2016 breakout star SZA, no one has heard from the Australian one-man band in recent memory. 2017 brought the re-release of “Currents” with b-sides and remixes, but not since the 2015 album’s release has Parker put out fresh material. Hopefully the closing of this chapter in his musical anthology and his Mad Cool announcement are signs preluding a new Tame Impala release.
The last track of A$AP Mob’s “Cozy Tapes, Vol 2: Too Cozy” features Principal Daryl Chode (voiced by John C. Reilly) of Yamborghini High listing a group of artists who will be “moving on to other endeavors” and “participating in a full summer school schedule.” Rocky is the first name on the list. In a fantastic GQ cover feature this past October, Rocky explained that he had been working on a new album in London that is “really about testing new sounds.” When asked about about a potential release date, he responded, “ASAP, no pun intended.”
Q was also named on the short list of the A$AP Mob tape, and could be primed for a release as well. 2016’s “Blank Face” showcased Q reaching new heights and landed the LA rapper two Grammy nods. Late in 2016 he took to Instagram to say in a now-deleted post, “New album 2017 f–k a break I’m already ready,” and in an interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe in February he claimed his album was “halfway done.” With a lot of talk coming from the bodacious west coast rapper, a 2018 release seems all but inevitable, especially considering that ill-fated Instagram announcement.
Top Dawg Entertainment’s first signee made his return last week with the single “King’s Dead” off of the “Black Panther” soundtrack being curated by Kendrick Lamar. The Mike Will Made-It produced track is an uptempo but ominous track that features Future, Kendrick Lamar and Jay Rock at their absolute best. Jay Rock has been relatively quiet since the release of “90059” in 2015 and as the usual rotation of releases for TDE artists goes, he should be next, if not close to it.
The eclectic indie pop band Vampire Weekend have been on hiatus since 2013’s “Modern Vampires in the City,” but its members have kept busy between then and now. Ezra Koenig has been producing and hosting his show on Beats 1, and even made an endeavour into directing with the Netflix anime series “Neo Yokio.” Ezra announced 2017 that the group had begun a new project that was “80% done.” However, Rostam Batmanglij whom released a solo project in 2016, and produced all three of the band’s previous albums, announced last year he has left Vampire Weekend, meaning we might hear a very different sound from the band this time around.
Kali Uchis is one of the most seductive and eccentric songstresses on the rise right now. Her 2015 album “Por Vida” firmly established her fan base of R&B faithfuls, while her work alongside artists like Tyler the Creator, Miguel, Daniel Caesar and Vince Staples have made her name recognizable amongst hip-hop heads as well. She’s been busy this past week too, touring and dropping singles including “Tyrant” featuring Jorja Smith and the recently released “After the Storm” featuring Tyler the Creator and Bootsy Collins. The latter is a sultry funk anthem that resides somewhere in the mid ‘70s, and is an early contender for best track of the year. With nearly three years separating her from her last release, Kali Uchis could have a breakout year.
The ever-enigmatic Frank Ocean made a triumphant return since the double release of “Endless” and “Blonde” in 2016. Those releases and the numerous singles released in 2017 formally established his position as one of the greatest songwriters alive, and his steady stretch of releases does not look to be ending any time soon. He’s still up to his old tricks on tumblr, leaving fans with cryptic posts that may or may not be signaling another project on the way in 2018. “‘WELL I MADE THE ALBUM BEFORE 30. I JUST AINT PUT THAT BITCH OUT!’ -QUOTES FROM AN INTERVIEW I HAVEN’T GIVEN HAHA,” a post from November 2016 read. The singer then took to Tumblr again with a picture of a man in Times Square wearing a hat that reads “If you liked 2017, you’ll love 2018,” with a caption reading “New 18-99.” Decide for yourself what this means, but keep in mind all of his internet shenanigans during the year and a half leading to the release of the two 2016 projects that misled us in a thousand different directions.
It looks to be an exciting the year to say the very least, but there is something listeners should definitely keep in mind: Although artists may often say one thing and do another, it takes a great deal of effort to make a great album. There’s a great deal of sleepless nights, honing in on certain sounds and emotional toil to make a cohesive project. In the age of instant gratification where we’re so used to having everything on demand, it is easy to forget this, so let’s make one of our resolutions as listeners to be patient, let the artists work and learn to appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that go into curating an album.