The title of this list is somewhat of a misnomer. These are not so much artists that should embark on whatever “everyone loves a good comeback” type of quest that the title might imply and LL Cool J told us a long time ago not to call it that, but rather these are artists whom we expect and hope will reestablish themselves in the year ahead. Some are examples of wishful thinking, others spent 2012 understandably earning that tour money, or fathering their first child and bringing a pro basketball franchise to their hometown. Regardless of their reasons and the likelihood that these guys will release music in the coming year that lives up to their lofty expectations, these are the top artists we hope to see more of in 2013.
Obviously, Jay never has to make another album in his life if he doesn’t want to. With the aforementioned side projects and the laundry list of business, social, and even political ventures on his plate, it wasn’t surprising that Jay-Z didn’t drop an album in 2012. After Watch the Throne, and with the ensuing tour holding down 2011, Jay certainly made his contribution and removed most doubts that he’d fallen off lyrically. However, Watch the Throne had Kanye’s imprint all over it more than anything else, and I refuse to forget how much The Blueprint 3 failed to live up to its predecessors. These circumstances combined with the fact that Jay-Z has a new fatherly perspective and subject matter to divulge to fans through his music place Jay on this list.
Its hard to justify Eminem’s placement on this list by criticizing Recovery because it did so well commercially, and still featured Eminem outshining every rapper on the planet. Understandably, Eminem had a long journey back from the depths of addiction and he certainly needed to tell that story on Recovery. However, it wasn’t the classic we’ve come to expect from Eminem and its pop oriented sound, along with the lack of musical output since then, leave us wanting a comeback from the comeback when it comes to Em. If everything goes according to plan, the release of an album in 2013 will reposition Eminem at the head of the Rap table as an artist, not just an executive.
When relatively new, albeit talented, artists like Schoolboy Q start questioning whether you’re “eatin” or not in petty twitter spats, its usually a sign that there is work to be done. Blu is one of my favorite artists, and after classics like 2007‘s Below the Heavens, I’ve always thought he had the potential to go down as one of the greatest to do it. While the material he’s put out recently is undeniably dope and unquestionably artful, including UCLA with Madlib and Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, we can’t help but hope one of these days he drops another project that resonates with Hip-Hop fans, rather than just the ones who appreciate the slightly avant garde niche that he’s sculpted for himself.
#2: Jay Electronica
Jay Electronica comes in at the number 2 spot simply because its about damn time for Act II: The Patents of Nobility to come out. We know its incredible based on the responses of those who have been lucky enough to hear it, and we wanted it a year ago. Where it at?
#1: Andre 3000
At this point, the idea of Andre 3000 coming out with a rap album in the next year is enough to make any fan shake with anticipation. His solo work has become the stuff of mythical legend as he teases fans with high profile guest verses.
His contributions to Rick Ross’ ‘Sixteen’, and T.I.’s ‘Sorry’, not to mention Frank Ocean’s ‘Pink Matter’ are all exceptional and feature 3 Stacks as personal and reflective as we’ve seen him since his verses on ‘What a Job’ and ‘Hollywood Divorce’. If and when he does drop a solo album it will indubitably cement his bid as one of Rap’s greatest, a category he’s already earned the distinction of, but never quite fully embraced. If nothing else its Andre’s sheer brilliance, creativity and knack for leaving the audience wanting more that places him at #1.
Method Man, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler The Creator, Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock, Lil Wayne, and Mos Def (Yasiin Bey).