2023 was a monumental milestone for Hip Hop, with the culture celebrating its 50th year. However, for some artists and industry-adjacent figures, this past year proved to be largely disastrous.
In some instances, this meant releasing forgettable projects or, perhaps, albums that diverged so drastically from their core fan base that fans were left confused. For others, it entailed grappling with crippling legal issues and controversies.
Some are teasing albums nobody asked for, while others are teasing projects featuring fabricated posthumous verses. In any case, these individuals may want to consider pumping the brakes or refocusing their energy this upcoming year.
Below, HipHopDX has put together a list of 10 people who shouldn’t put out a rap album in 2024.
Allegations being made against Sean “Diddy” Combs is nothing new. Whether it’s the alleged mistreatment of artists (business-wise) or allegedly hiring a group of gang members to murder 2Pac, he’s weathered many storms throughout his lengthy career.
However, 2023 saw the Bad Boy mogul face an onslaught of trouble as multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced, including one with Cassie that was settled out of court. These allegations began to erode his bottom line, leading to his departure from REVOLT and costing him a planned reality show and several lucrative business partnerships.
Producer Stevie J stoked anticipation for a sequel to 1997’s No Way Out, and The Love Album: Off the Grid was a respectable look at how well Diddy’s curation game has aged, but, given his current situation, he should probably stay Off the Grid in 2024 and focus on repairing the glaring cracks in his legacy’s facade.
Following the unsuccessful release of his LP TattleTales, hyped with relentless trolling that failed to boost sales, 6ix9ine recalibrated his approach. The former gang member cosplayer and one-time state informant relocated to the Dominican Republic like nothing ever happened and pivoted to Latin music with the release of Leyenda Viva this past summer, a fully Spanish album he dropped out of nowhere.
His recent legal troubles, including the alleged assault on a music producer and potentially being forced to liquidate assets, are potential fodder for controversy-fueled record sales. Yet, considering the circumstances, and frankly, given all the antics we’ve already endured from this man, it might be best for Tekashi to sit out this round and spare us any “sorpresas.”
André 3000 has raised a bar for himself that is so high, it overwhelmed him into a two-decade stagnation. He still makes occasional appearances though, like his notable feature on Killer Mike’s latest LP, which garnered him a nomination in HipHopDX‘s Verse of the Year category. However, for those who read only the headline about a new André 3000 album, the flute-focused New Blue Sun was a jarring experience.
Even though he clarified that he wasn’t intending to troll fans, many couldn’t shake off the feeling of… well, being trolled. The vibes are appreciated, but if 2024 has any new releases from 3 Stacks, fans (us included) would prefer some bars, considering he obviously still has plenty up his sleeve.
Pardison Fontaine‘s pen game is undeniable, having earned writing credits for hits like Cardi B and Megan The Stallion‘s “WAP” and Cardi B’s 2x Platinum single “UP.” However, as a solo artist, he hasn’t been able to recreate the magic of his 2018 “Backin’ It Up” off of Under8ed. He is currently on a mission to get things back on track with his latest release, SEXT8PE, however, it’s his exhaustive press tour that makes a case for him to switch up his angle this upcoming year.
The public saga involving Meg and Tory Lanez was overwhelming and given the press fatigue, hearing Fontaine gossip about their failed relationship in interviews — he even released a diss track, “THEE PERSON” — feels like a misstep.
We’ll never truly know who cheated on who, but if this is going to be a continued focus for him, or if he has plans to dedicate more tracks to her, he may want to keep it to himself — or face the relentless ire of her fan base.
Young Thug is, without question, one of the more important artists within the current generation of Hip Hop; however, when one foot remains planted in dealings that could be considered “bad for business,” it’s not uncommon for things to go left. For Thugger and his YSL crew, things went about as left as possible when he and his affiliates were nabbed as part of a sprawling RICO case.
It was during this tumultuous time that Thugger dropped a surprise album, Business Is Business. More so than anything else, the release was a testament to the production of Metro Boomin; overall though, the project was a hodge-podge mixed bag that did little to push the needle outside of a few gems.
While the show must go on because, well, business is business, for Thug, his focus would be best spent concentrating on his ongoing legal situation and sparing his fans any more half-baked releases.
Joe Budden is a retired rapper if you haven’t heard. He’s said it many times. However, he recently teased the possibility of dipping his toes back in the water, even going as far as telling his co-hosts on The Joe Budden Podcast that he had hit up acclaimed producer Just Blaze for beats, in hopes of possibly creating an EP. The question is, seven years removed from his eighth and final release Rage & The Machine, is he too far gone?
Hip Hop is a competitive sport. For a lyricist of Joe’s calibre, watching acts with vastly inferior pens receive more acclaim than him at his (musical) apex has to be difficult. Not to mention, hearing the leaked Slaughterhouse tracks had to be difficult knowing he was a huge part of their dissolution. But nobody seems to be clamouring for a project from one of the loudest voices in Hip Hop podcasting. Perhaps he should test the waters with a few loosies before quitting his day job.
Over 25 years after 2Pac‘s murder, the arrest of Keefe D as a suspect was not surprising to many, given his many previous statements. This is largely because he’s been telling anyone willing to point a camera at him that he was in the car with the real killer the night of the legendary rapper’s murder for the better part of the past decade. However, it appears that he’s now getting the attention he ordered, and with plenty of great quotes to pull from it seems like it could be a slam-dunk case.
While he hasn’t specifically expressed any interest in dropping an album, it certainly wouldn’t surprise if he did; in a 33 bail application filed by his legal team, he now claims that his accounts have essentially all been cap. We strongly suggest he embrace his right to remain silent from now on, but if he does decide to dabble in music, we have a great suggestion for an album name: Rapp Snitch Knishes.
Understandably, fans have found Kodak Black‘s downward spiral in 2023 distressing, particularly his troubling appearance on Drink Champs. The rapper is ending the year in federal custody for probation violation. He was arrested on December 7, 2023, for attempting to ingest 4.1 grams of cocaine as a police officer approached his vehicle, which was blocking a roadway. Following the arrest, he publicly denied trying to swallow the cocaine but admitted to abusing other drugs, like Lean and Percocet.
This comes just over 10 months after he was sent to drug rehab for 30 days after testing positive for fentanyl while awaiting trial on a drug trafficking charge.
2023 saw the rapper drop his fifth and sixth studio LPs and frankly, that is more than enough to hold us over for 2024. For his sake and ours, we hope he spends the next year focusing his energy on getting the help he needs.
With technology reaching new, and sometimes scary heights daily, debates on the ethical ramifications of its use online continue to rage on. Within Hip Hop, there have been some solid cases for the use of AI. For example, legendary rapper and N.W.A. ghostwriter D.O.C. is using technology to recreate the voice he lost during a near-fatal car crash in 1989; Beanie Sigel is also contemplating using it for a similar reason.
However, this advancement has also raised many concerns about artist rights. Take, for instance, Young Guru, legendary JAY-Z engineer — along with Jigga collaborators DJ Clark Kent and 9th Wonder — who had strong reactions to how easily the billionaire MC’s vocals could be digitally recreated. DMX fans were also recently outraged after new music allegedly made with AI was released by the late rapper’s record label.
Although the idea of a full-length project featuring AI versions of Biggie and 2Pac is intriguing, it opens a Pandora’s box that could quickly spiral out of control. With tracks like the nearly Grammy-nominated “Heart On My Sleeve” featuring vocals by AI-generated versions of The Weeknd and Drake eliciting such positive responses from fans, it’s evident that more safeguards are needed. These should be implemented to protect not just artists, but everyone before we delve further down this rabbit hole.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard any new music from one-time No Limit Soldier Mystikal. In fact, the last full-length album he dropped was 2001’s Tarantula. However, while he undoubtedly has some fire in the vault, like his long-prophesized Fish Grease mixtape and post-jail comeback album that Mannie Fresh was finishing up over 12 years ago, the New Orleans rapper has found himself in a lot of hot water over the years — culminating in his current fight for his life (literally).
He was arrested in July 2022 and charged with, among other crimes, first-degree rape. If convicted, the rapper will spend the rest of his natural life in prison. Given the severity here, we hope the rapper refrains from any lazy prison releases or outdated vault compilations in an attempt to save his legacy. The MC once bragged if you saw him fighting a grizzly bear in the forest, you should help the bear. In this instance, it looks like he may have lost the fight.
Check out our previous 10 Rappers Who Shouldn’t Drop An Album lists below:
You can also check out the winners and nominees for the HipHopDX Awards 2023 here.
Artwork and Graphic Design by JR Martinez.