10 Delayed Hip Hop Albums And If They Were Worth The Wait
It’s been a long time coming, but, Saigon‘s The Greatest Story Never Told finally saw the light of day. Years after burning up New York’s mixtape scene with songs like “Stocking Cap,” executing the power move of a lifetime with a role on HBO’s hit series Entourage playing himself, and getting a Jay-Z-assisted single, his Just Blaze-helmed debut album is finally out of Atlantic Records attics and into the hands of consumers. But Sai-giddy is only the latest in a long list of artists whose projects have been shelved for months or years before hitting stores. And with delays currently hindering releases by Young Jeezy, The Game and Nas, he won’t be the last. Look below for how the likes of Cam’ron, Big Boi, Royce Da 5’9” and others fared with album delays.
1.) Cam’ron, Purple Haze
Scheduled Release: November 2003
Cam’ron was on a roll at his new home of Roc-A-Fella Records. His label debut Come Home With Me went multiplatinum and had Grammy-nominated singles like “Hey Ma” and “Oh Boy,” and his Diplomats crew dropped a hood classic with the double-disc Diplomatic Immunity. Unfortunately, Purple Haze was pushed back several times until its final release date a year later.
Actual Release: December 7, 2004
Even though it didn’t have the sales of its predecessor, Purple Haze still reached Gold status from singles like the Kanye West-helmed banger “Down & Out” and Cam’s new steez of wearing pink. The album received generally positive reviews as well. But Cam requested his release papers from the Roc after being dissatisfied with the push the album got from the label, and he hasn’t achieved higher sales or accolades for any solo albums since then. Mixtapes like Public Enemy No. 1 and a few highlights from Killa Season and Crime Pays only provide a glimpse of the standards that the former Children of the Corn member built with albums like Purple Haze.
2.) Big Boi, Sir Luscious Left Food: The Son of Chico Dusty
Scheduled Release: 2008
To some record label execs, a track record only means so much. And despite Big Boi’s long, storied career selling millions of albums as half of the seminal rap duo Outkast, his solo debut Sir Luscious Left Foot was pushed back because of creative differences. In an interview with GQ last year, Big Boi famously stated that the label proposed he made his own version of Lil Wayne‘s hit single “Lollipop.” After having recorded the album since 2007, Jive Records finally allowed him to shop the album elsewhere and Big Boi signed a three-album deal with Def Jam in March 2010.
Actual Release: July 5, 2010
Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty was well worth the wait once it finally dropped last year. The album was critically praised across media outlets throughout the year, proving once and for all that Big Boi could hold his own as far as workload and creativity without the assistance from Outkast brethren Andre 3000. Commercially, the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, and the hit single “Shutterbug” was ubiquitous on radio, clubs, and video games. Still, Jive was right regarding the sales potential. As of September 2010, according to Wikipedia, the album had sold 175,000 copies—respectable in this day of digital downloading, but far from the same-year platinum certifications of powerhouses like Eminem, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, and even further from the perennial success of his albums with Outkast.
3.) Stat Quo, Statlanta
Scheduled Release: 2003
Stat Quo was hailed as Aftermath and Shady Records‘ golden child at one point. Known for his unique drawl and delivery, anticipation amongst hip-hop heads built for his debut album, Statlanta. Around the scheduled time of its release, the LP was being hailed as a near-classic by some critics. Unfortunately, Stat Quo fell victim to Dre‘s hoardish tendencies, staying in his contract for five years with no official releases until 2008, when he got out of his contract with the label.
Actual Release: July 13, 2010
After getting out of his contract, Stat Quo released several mixtapes to make up for lost time and build anticipation for his baby’s long-delayed release. The version of Statlanta that hit stores was much different from the one that was lauded years earlier though, and didn’t have any of the Dr. Dre beats or the Aftermath/Shady sound that listeners were likely waiting for. Despite having assists by the likes of Talib Kweli, Devin Tha Dude and Boi-1da, the album came and went so quickly that it almost wasn’t worth the hassle in the first place.
Not Worth It
4.) The Four Horsemen (Canibus, Ras Kass, Killa Priest, Kurupt)
Scheduled Release: 2000
Before Slaughterhouse, there was The Four Horsemen: the quartet of former major label spitters Canibus, Ras Kass, Killa Priest and Kurupt spewing unrelenting bars with no worries about dropping contrived major label singles. Chatter about the project rose in 2000, when the members began collaborating regularly on each others’ projects, speaking about the impending album in interviews, and adding members like Pharaohe Monch and Chino XL into the fold.
Actual Release: October 2003
Years later, Killah Priest and Dreddy Kruger independently released The Horsemen Project online. Even though each song featured at least two members, the nine-track album wasn’t the full collaboration that the group had been talking up for years. The project was scarcely covered, and remains hard to find to this day. The group reappeared this year on Ras Kass’ album A.D.I.D.A.S., and despite more chatter in interviews about the group reuniting, we aren’t holding our breath.
Not Worth It
5.) Royce Da 5’9″, Street Hop
Scheduled Release: 2006-2007
With previous collaborations like “Boom” and “Hip Hop,” the rap world was buzzing when Royce Da 5’9″ announced he would be recording an album executive produced by DJ Premier. And singles like the Primo-laced “Ding Ding” and “Hit Em” built anticipation even more. But Murphy’s Law and adaptation had different plans. Royce was sentenced to a year-long prison sentence from a DUI charge, and when his Bar Exam mixtape series began to rebuild excitement after his release, rough versions of album songs leaked online. And then, after the album was finally ready after re-working portions of the album and finding it a home, Royce pushed back the album a few extra months to invest time into his newly-formed group Slaughterhouse.
Actual Release: October 20, 2009
Other than lacking the original two singles, Street Hop lived up to expectations for most. Stellar lyrical performances by Royce, cohesive beats made and/or picked by DJ Premier, and solid cameos by the likes of Bun B, Busta Rhymes, and others made the album successful with critics and fan reception. And two years later, Slaughterhouse would sign to Shady Records, officially reuniting Royce with previous rhyme partner Eminem.