The Most Anticipated Albums Of 2021
By: Natalia Finnis-Smart
Fans may not have to wait any longer. Several of music’s biggest names are seemingly expected to release projects before the year’s end, with some leaving breadcrumb hints along the way. The artists on this list have been known for surprise releases and continued success within the musical landscape that grows each year. We hope these predictions become a reality, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
It’s been five years since this music icon turned mogul released a full-length studio album. Her last project Anti, released in January 2016, has left her fanbase the Navy and those who are music hungry, begging for more. Oftentimes, fans bombard Rihanna’s Instagram comment section about R9 in hopes of a response. Despite these pleas, it is evident that the Barbadian musician’s focus ventures beyond the recording studio.
The international success of her partnership cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty (and Fenty Skin), with French luxury conglomerate LVMH along with another partnership for her lingerie line, Savage X Fenty, propelled her to the top spot as The World’s Richest Female Musician. Though the hitmaker is occupied running a business empire, fans may not have to wait for new music. In March, Rihanna made a celebratory Instagram post thanking her “die-hard supporters” and team for the success of Anti’s era. When a fan proposed a new song to continue its anniversary this year, the singer somewhat agreed:
Rihanna trends on Twitter after saying she might release a new song soon:— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 25, 2021
“I think I should 🔜 …. just 1 tho lol” pic.twitter.com/8jm3vvwv8R
Could this long-awaited droplet single usher in the start of the R9 era? We hope so!
The British vocalist’s absence from the airwaves amongst new material hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her last album 25, topped the Billboard 200, selling 3.38 million copies during its first week. The lead single Hello also debuted at No.1 with 1.11 million U.S. Downloads, the only song in music history to reach this feat and remain at the top spot for ten consecutive weeks. The music video also broke the twenty-four-hour Vevo record with over 27.7 million views, an achievement previously held by Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. Since then, it seems the singer’s disappearance into obscurity (by choice) doesn’t mean she’s forgotten. As an SNL guest host in October 2020, Adele confessed the incompletion of her fourth studio album. Her manager Jonathan Dickins also verified the album’s pushback “into the following year” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now “the following year,” and no new information has been revealed. For now, fans can replay her greatest hits until the time arrives.
Due to a knee injury that required surgery, Drake’s sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy, was postponed. Fans’ probable disappointment because of the project’s delay, initially slated for January, hasn’t phased Champagne Papi. He proclaimed his dedication to a full recovery before the album’s rollout and official release on an Instagram Stories post. Laugh Now Cry Later, featuring rapper Lil Durk, released in August 2020, served as the upcoming album’s lead single. On March 5th, to surprise his fans, Scary Hours 2, an EP continuation of the original Scary Hours, made its way to download and streaming services. The “three-pack” with features from rappers Lil Baby and Rick Ross debuted at the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100. Like the other artists included on this list, there is no doubt about more record-breaking hits.
Houston Native Travis Scott announced the name of his upcoming album Utopia during an interview with i-D magazine in February with confirmation that it is indeed “coming soon.” His 2018 album Astroworld, which debuted with over half a million equivalent album units within its first week, showcased his fans’ unwavering support. The album spawned the No.1, RIAA Diamond Certified single Sicko Mode, featuring Drake. Recent social media posts about his upcoming Astroworld Festival this November (now sold out) may align with the release of a new project.
Barcelonan singer Rosalía who won three Latin Grammy’s in 2019 for her singles with Reggaetón artist Ozuna and rapper Travis Scott, hasn’t stopped working. Though debuting on Vogue and Elle U.S. covers within one year of each other, MAC Viva Glam and Nike campaigns, along with a feature on The Weeknd’s smash hit Blinding Lights (to name a few), she’s still made time for her music. During her Vogue interview, she confirmed the near completion of a new album. She also cites her happiness with the recording’s outcomes and the overall process. Her last album, El Mal Querer (November 2018), can indicate a future release, possibly around a similar date.
After a nearly five-month hiatus, Nicki Minaj returned to social media to announce the re-release of her April 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty. The twelve-year-old project (now available on streaming services) includes notable hits from her early days like Itty Bitty Piggy, Envy, Best I Ever Had ft. Drake, and Go Hard ft. Lil Wayne also incorporates three additional tracks:
- Solo song Fractions
- A remix to Jamaican artist Skillibeng’s Crocodile Teeth
- Seeing Green, a collaboration with Drake and Lil Wayne
The mixtape debuted at No.2 on the Billboard 200 with 80,000 units sold within its first week of release, making the project become the highest-charting re-released mixtape from a rapper in history. Minaj took to Instagram to thank her fans for its success, stating, “I can’t wait to share my album with you real soon.”
Her fanbase “the Barbz” and music-lovers alike may not have to wait any longer for another studio album, her last one being Queen from 2018. Yesterday, she posted a brief selfie video in full glam with a cryptic message stating she has something “VERY VERY VERY important” to share while revealing she’ll be doing an Instagram live on July 8th at 10:30 pm EST.
🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨There’s something I URGENTLY need to share w|you guys.🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨I’ll go LIVE on IG THURSDAY @ 10:30PM EST⏰⏰⏰ No, I won’t be late. In fact, I’ll be early. This is VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT. Love you guys so much. 🦄🎀🤍✨ pic.twitter.com/f86mejmNOP— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) July 6, 2021
NM5 may finally be here.
Though a more private celebrity who’s opened up about taking social media breaks for his mental health, Post Malone never leaves fans entirely in the dark. His 2019 album Hollywood’s Bleeding (the best-selling album of that year), a blend of hip-hop, and pop/rock with subtle indie influences was met with generally favorable reviews from critics and praise from fans. The genre-bender shows no signs of an actual hiatus. During an interview with Wall Street Journal Magazine (July 2020), “Posty” revealed he is working on his next album. His creative motivations stem from wanting to “give people hope and hopefully uplift people’s spirits” during these “dark times.”
Things may be looking up for those awaiting his musical return. Post’s manager Dre London made an Instagram post with a cryptic message in April, implying that Malone could release two albums this year. Since this subtle declaration, it seems fans may be guaranteed at least one project before 2021’s end. He announced his new song Motley Crew, which will be released this Friday, July 9th, with an accompanying music video. Another indication this track may be a part of an upcoming album as the lead single.
With the success of her newly released R&B-infused album Positions, pop superstar Ariana Grande is no stranger to surprise releases (hence her most recent No.1 singles Rain on Me with Lady Gaga and Stuck With You alongside Justin Bieber). Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered projects and the industry overall, a continuation album is still possible. Her fourth and fifth studio albums and No.1 debuts Sweetener and Thank U, Next, released within one year of each other, showed how artists could unionize eras despite sonic differences. As concerts slowly begin their re-emergence into 2022, “Arianators” can anticipate another similar to the Sweetener World Tour.
At the start of this year, in an interview with Cosmopolitan, R&B sensation Sza confirmed the release of her sophomore album. In 2020, to keep fans somewhat at bay, she debuted two singles, Good Days and Hit Different, featuring rapper Ty Dolla $ign, which peaked at No.29 and No.9, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. Both accompanied music videos showcased the melodious soloist in her uniquely aesthetic element. Another surprise came when artist Doja Cat announced their collaboration Kiss Me More, which has peaked at No.3 on the Billboard Hot 100 so far. It is clear Sza’s been occupied in the studio to deliver more effortless hits.