There is no doubt that 2019 was packed with a plethora of strong rap releases – especially from some of the game’s most promising newcomers. Artists like DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion proved they could show up and show out all in the same 12 month window. And although there was enough substantial music to carry listeners well into this next decade, there are obviously some projects pending that fans a critics are craving in 2020.

In 2017 and 2018 the genre’s biggest stars dropped studio albums that frankly needed a few years to breathe, which means if these artists follow a natural release cycle, fans should be expecting a brand new album from some of these mega artists this very year. Often times in rap it’s a bright idea not to consistently flood the streets with copious amounts of music-in order to give fans a chance to miss them but there comes a point when new releases are just so anxiously anticipated.

Aside from a handful of seemingly concrete album announcements, there seem to be serious speculation revolving around the likes of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar dropping albums – which would singlehandedly, make 2020 a defining year for hip-hop. Not to mention the aforementioned group of hungry rookies looking to keep the momentum going and even some of the genre’s older statesman getting back on the mic in attempts to seal their own legacies.

That said, everyone knows firm release dates and rap music don’t necessarily go hand in hand. There is a long history of promised albums that took years to come or inevitably got shelved, never to see the light of day. So while there are definitely anticipated albums everyone and their mom would kill to hear, nothing in this game is every promised. Fingers crossed, though.

See below for XXL’s detailed look at this year’s most anticipated albums.