“It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you/Without a strong rhyme to step to” – Rakim
The god Rakim’s classic line on the 1987 track “I Know You Got Soul” hits different when it’s your favorite artist who hasn’t put out an album in years. While some rappers pump out LPs like Krispy Kreme donuts when the red light is on, other artists take more time to plan, plot and strategize. Unfortunately, for supporters of the latter, patience must sometimes be a virtue. The last few years, the void has been obvious as several big name MCs have refrained from dropping albums including Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Travis Scott and more.
Some of the album hiatuses can be partially blamed on COVID-19. The worldwide pandemic put a dent in the music industry and halted touring for over a year, leaving bigger artists with little motivation to drop an album they can’t make millions of dollars off of on the concert circuit. Some artists have dropped EPs and “projects” to hold fans over, but it’s not the same.
Other artists have different motives as to why they’ve held up on releasing an official album in recent years, whether it be Nicki Minaj spending time with her newborn baby and husband or Jay-Z‘s seeming quest to become the richest Black man in America.
Either way, fans are feeling the impact. The lack of Kendrick’s uplifting presence—especially as the world has seemingly been in chaos with an ongoing pandemic and ongoing racial injustice issues—has been tangible, even to someone as big as LeBron James. The NBA superstar tweeted about wanting K. Dot’s return on April 24. “Man I miss @kendricklamar!” he posted. “In dying need of his gifts/presence right now.”
With the country slowly currently opening back up giving more big artists incentive to drop official studio albums, there may be hope in the near future that some of these projects come out of the oven and are consumed by the masses. In the meantime, we wait.
Check out the gallery below to see how long its been since some of your favorite rappers have dropped an official LP.