Kanye West, TBD (G.O.O.D./Def Jam)
Expected Release: Summer 2010
Possible Production: As usual, West is expected to handle the majority of the album's melodies.
Possible Collaborations: Big brother Jay-Z will likely make an appearance along with Young Jeezy. Members of West’s G.O.O.D. team, Common, Mr. Hudson and Kid Cudi may also come aboard.
Why the Buzz? After taking three months off to get his clear his mind, it appears Mr. West has more to say than ever. And he's starting fresh; as 'Ye's blog tells it, he made his grand return to the studio on New Year's Day. 808s & Heartbreak, his eccentrically emo 2008 effort, featured the rapper singing his Auto-Tuned heart out. We're hoping ‘Ye’s next effort will be a hybrid of heart-on-sleeve croons and boisterous rhymes. Just look at all the cheers he received when he crashed Kid Cudi’s Nokia Theater stage last week. They’re ready. And it appears he is, too.
Drake, Thank Me Later (Universal)
Expected Release: March 2010
Expected Production: His longtime collaborators Omen, 40 and Boi-1Da (“Best I Ever Had”). He also has studio sessions with Kanye West scheduled this January.
Expected Collaborations: Confirmed guests include Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Bun B. And, last we heard, Drake was looking to nab Sade.
Why the Buzz? On top of a classic mixtape (that’s right, classic) and an Eminem collabo, the golden boy of 2009 has one of the most anticipated debuts since 50 Cent. In many eyes, Drizzy hasn’t spit a horrible verse or song yet (see: “Forever,” “Fear”), so the ball is his to drop. But with his sing-songy flow and witty stanzas, failure is unlikely.