If 2013 taught us anything, it was that the internet could turn gimmick into gold (or Versace), and that Miley Cyrus was either the second coming of Madonna, or Satan reincarnate. Expecting the unexpected was simply the norm last year, but 2014 may be of a different breed.
There are more than enough major projects on the docket this year, but only a few can truly be seen as "important," and here are the five I find to be the most important.
1. OutKast is back... kinda sorta. Andre 3000 and Big Boi gave everyone a huge, early Christmas present at the end of 2013 by saying they would definitely reunite for a set of shows in the new year. The first date revealed was Coachella, which sold out in approximately 18 seconds. A few days ago, the duo announced that they have booked 40 FESTIVAL DATES ACROSS THE GLOBE in 2014, though only a handful have been confirmed.
The biggest, and somewhat overshadowed, bit of awesome that could come from the reunion, is the faint thought that this could berth a new album, something the world hasn't gotten from them in nearly eight years.
2. Black Hippy/Top Dawg Entertainment might just take over hip-hop. We know for sure that Schoolboy Q's Oxymoron is finally going to drop in Q1 (pun not intended) of this year. What we don't know for sure is if the man that made the brand big, Kendrick Lamar, will follow suit, or if he's even working on something. Ab-Soul and Jay Rock have been all over the place putting verses on tracks and helping get TDE more of a deep recognition, and newcomer, Isaiah Rashad, is making his way.
If all of this comes together, the label could see five hit records in one calendar year from a stable that is young, incredibly versatile, and even more scarily talented. Just imagine if they come out with a mob record. The A$AP crew may have a lot on its hands this year.
3. Chris Brown vs. Frank Ocean, Round 2. Yes, this is a real thing. 2014 could see the ushering in of an R&B beef for the ages. Both Brown and Ocean are supposedly working on albums, Brown's even has a name (X) and could be out as soon as this spring. Frank Ocean, on the other hand, is seemingly a mystery. He has said that he will not release anything until this summer, but that could effectively mean that he won't even record until then. Or, it could mean that he's waiting on a date to be put on Chris Brown's album, so that he can beat him again, possibly literally and figuratively.
4. Kanye and Jay want you to re-Watch the Throne. There will be a Watch the Throne 2 at some point in time, maybe this year, who knows? I stopped asking questions about Kanye a long time ago. Both he and Jay have families to raise (not that it stopped them from doing Yeezus and MCHG, or the tours that go with them) and really shouldn't be spending time in whichever monstrous, million dollar studio they may have in France, or some mountain-side in Bhutan, or wherever.
Would I be upset if they released another installment? Absolutely not. Kanye has even dropped hints at a Cruel Winter being made, which will no doubt be another swag-rap orgy, courtesy of the guys of GOOD Music. Regardless of any not-so-confirmed details, 2014 should prove to be another candid year for Kanye West.
5. Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett together on one album. Yes, this is also a real thing. Apparently this project is just about done, all it needs is that terrible clingwrap they make impossible to get off of CDs (yes, I still buy CDs) and it will be on shelves by the end of the year. It was supposed to drop on New Year's Day, but there were some hiccups, probably on GaGa's marketing side, and it won't be out until who knows when.
I have to say, I'm actually looking forward to it. Their first (and only other) collaboration was actually pretty damn good. And if the reports are right about them doing the old jazz standards for the entire course of the record are true, I'll probably buy it. I'd even spend the money on the already overpriced ticket to go see the not-yet-existent tour.
Other albums/projects/etc. that I'm looking forward to in 2014:
Foo Fighters, TBA
Pusha T/Clipse, King Push and/or As God As My Witness
Dr. Dre, Detox (lolololol jk)
Jay Electronica, Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn) (lolololololololol jk, Pt. 2)
Chance the Rapper, anything he puts out... literally anything
Killer Mike and El-P, Run the Jewels 2
Flying Lotus, TBA
Modest Mouse, TBA
TV On the Radio, TBA
Wu-Tang Clan, TBA (reportedly the final project they'll ever do together, other than each other's albums)
My Morning Jacket, TBA (I would follow Jim James to the end of the earth)
The Roots, &ThenYouShootYourCousin (I would follow Questlove to the end of the earth first, sorry Jim)