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Most Anticipated Hip Hop Albums of 2012

2011 is behind us and it’s time to anticipate the future. Since the first quarter (January – March) is normally very quiet for music releases, there hasn’t been too many albums that have officially been announced for release and those that have be announced are more than likely to have their release dates pushed back (it’s the nature of the game). So, based off artists’ self promotion, label announcements, and very good rumors, here are the albums we are most anticipating for this year. If there are any that we may have missed, feel free to let us know in the comments. And please don’t say Detox!

Brother Ali & Jake One – Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color

Brother Ali plans to follow up his 2009 album Us with a full project produced by the incredible Jake One. We first heard Brother Ali over some Jake One goodness on “The Truth” off Jake’s White Van Music album in 2009. The chemistry is undeniable, but it’ll be interesting to hear a Brother Ali album without the sounds of Ant, who has always handled the majority of Ali’s production. The first single off the new album is “Writer’s Block”. Look for Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color March 5, 2012 on Rhymesayers Entertainment!

Toki Wright – Channels

Another Rhymesayers project makes our top list, as Toki Wright prepares the release of his sophomore album, Channels due sometime in 2012. His 2009 debut album A Different Mirror and 2010 followup EP BlackMale show that Toki is capable of delivering consistency so expect nothing less than quality Hip Hop from Channels. Toki released the new single “Reel Live” back in August. Not sure if it’ll make it on the new LP, but it’s one more piece of evidence that Toki will deliver.

Fashawn & Exile – The Ecology

Anytime you hear Exile is producing an album, it’s time to get excited. This year Fashawn and Exile will team up to reprise the chemistry displayed on Fashawn’s 2009 debut, Boy Meets World. Major props to Fashawn for sticking with a formula that has proven to work, unlike Blu who hasn’t released anything I’ve cared for since Below The Heavens (also produced by Exile). Though no release date has been set, you can be sure that this will be one of the better albums released in 2012.

Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Conscious /
Black Star - Untitled

Originally scheduled for release back in November, Prisoner of Conscious should give Talib Kweli fans exactly what they want. The album apparently was recorded prior to latest year’s Gutter Rainbows and will feature guest verses from Jean Grae, Mos Def, Nelly, Kendrick Lamar, and Curren$y. Production is being handled by Hi Tek, E. Jones, Terrace Martin, Rahki, Symbolic 1, Oh No, Madlib and more. The first single, “Distractions” produced by Oh No, was released last month. Also due out this year is the long awaited follow-up to 1998′s Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star. The duo began making appearances together early last year and then dropped the new track “Fix Up” (prod by Madlib) on us in November with confirmation that a new album was in the works. Who knows which of these albums will drop first, but if Talib decides to throw in Liberation 2 with Madlib as well I won’t be mad!

Slaughterhouse – Untitled

Slaughterhouse‘s currently untitled sophomore album is scheduled for release this April on Shady Records. Though not much is known about the album at this time, it’s Slaughterhouse; how can it not be good! The Hip Hop supergroup comprised of Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9, Crooked I and Joel Ortiz released their debut album in 2009 on E1 Music. Since the group is now signed to Eminem’s label, you can probably expect the new album to be a bit different. You decide if it’ll be for the better or worse.

Apollo Brown & O.C. – Trophies

Announced just last week, the artist who will be blessed next with the golden production of Apollo Brown is D.I.T.C. alum O.C. with the March 27th release of Trophies on Mello Music Group. With great projects such as Daily Bread with Hassan Mackey, The Brown Study with Boog Brown and Gas Mask with his group The Left, Apollo Brown hasn’t struck out yet. This will be O.C.’s first release since his his 2009 album Oasis with AG. It will be interesting to O.C. backed by Apollo’s production… interesting in a good way!

Kenn Starr – Two Track Mind

Another project that is sure to put Mello Music Group on top for 2012, is the long awaited follow-up to Kenn Starr‘s 2006 debut album Starr Status. The album has been in production since at least 2009 when Kenn mentioned it in promotion for his mixtape It’s Still Real. Back then, it was slated as a double EP produced by Black Milk, with remixes by Kev Brown, M-Phazes, Mr. Porter and DaveNotti. Though Mello Music Group has confirmed that the album will be released this year, who knows what the make up of the project will ultimately look like. Starr Status is one of my personal favorite Hip Hop albums, so as long as Kenn doesn’t stray too far from the formula, it’ll be a winner in my book.

Heavenly Cartel (Heaven Razah & Tokyo Cigar) – Spiritual Kung Fu

This album holds a special place for us Nottinghammers, as resident producer and long time Wu head Tokyo Cigar recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Heaven Razah (aka Hell Razah) for a whole album entitled Spiritual Kung Fu. Razah has been busy in the lab since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2010 and has announced several albums due in the near future, including Heaven Razah 2,the second album with Shabazz the Disciple as T.H.U.G. Angelz (produced by Ayatollah and 4th Disciple),Razah’s Ladder 2 produced by Blue Sky Black Death,an album produced by St. Peter called The N.A.U.,a gospel/rock album produced by Krohme called KrohmeRazahs,an album with Shyheim called The Verrazanoand the sequel to Freedom of Speech called Write to Bare Arms produced by 4th Disciple. No release date has been set for any of these projects. The first single off Spiritual Kung Fu is “Boombox Saints”.

Nas – Life Is Good

Nas plans to make his return to Hip Hop this year with the release of his new album Life Is Good. It will be his first album since 2008′s Untitled.  Often criticized for not being about to pick decent beats, Nas has mentioned that the album may contain production from the likes of Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Dr. Dre, Kanye West and RZA. Statik Selektah has also said he has a few tracks on the album and Pete Rock and Large Professor has stated that they’ve sent in some tracks as well.  The first single to the album, “Nasty”, dropped last year. If this is any indication to what we can expect, this could be Nas’ first good album since…. Illmatic.

Gangrene (The Alchemist & Oh No) – Vodka & Ayahuasca

Producers Oh No and The Alchemist formed the group Gangrene a couple of years ago and released the acclaimed album Gutter Water in 2010. Hoping to continue the same formula, the duo will release the follow-up Vodka & Ayahuasca January 24th on Decon Records.  The album will feature production from both Alchemist & Oh No, whom trade verses over each self-crafted beat. Guests on the album include Kool G Rap, Prodigy, Evidence, and Greneberg EP collaborator Roc Marciano. Vodka & Ayahuasca‘s self-titled lead single can be heard here.

Other releases our staff are anticipating:

  • 1982 (Statik Selektah & Termanology) – 2012 (TBD)
  • ADaD – P.S. I’m Next (February)
  • Amiri – Vinyl Ritchie (TBD)
  • Bodega Brovas – Loaded Guns 7 Alcohol (TBD)
  • Big Boi: Daddy Fat Sax..Soul Funk Crusader (TBD)
  • Big K.R.I.T. – Live From The Underground (TBD)
  • Bumpy Knuckles & DJ Premier - The Kolexion (March)
  • Co$$ & Numonics – Genesis (April/May)
  • Curren$y – The Stoned Immaculate (March)
  • Diamond District – March On Washington (TBD)
  • Dynas x Numonics – Commercial Music (February)
  • El Da Sensei & DJ Puerto-Roc – The Long Journey (TBD)
  • G.O.O.D. Music compilation album (Spring)
  • Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele Presents…. Blue & Cream: The Wally Era (TBD)
  • Goodie Mob – We Sell Drugs Too (TBD)
  • GZA – Untitled (TBD)
  • Jay Electronica: Act III: Patients of Nobility (TBA)
  • Jus Allah – Meanest Man Alive (TBD)
  • Jermiside & Danny Diggs – Middle Classic 2 (TBD)
  • Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid In A Mad City (TBD)
  • Kenautis Smith & Black Spade – The Motivational Tool (TBD)
  • Killah Priest – The Psychic World Of Walter Reed (TBD)
  • Ludacris – Ludaversal (TBD)
  • Lyric Jones – Jones St. (2/7)
  • Mystikal – Cash Money debut album (TBD)
  • Nas and Common- Nas.Com (TBD)
  • Raven Sorvino – Paper Girl (1/26)
  • Reks & Numonics – REBELutionary (March)
  • Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t (TBD)
  • Sean Born – Behind The Scale (1/24)
  • Show & A.G – Mugshot Music (TBD)
  • T.I. – Trouble Man (TBD)
  • Vinnie Paz – God of the Serengeti (TBD)
  • Yonas – Untitled Remixes Project (Spring)
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About Kevin

Owner - Kevin is the owner and founder of Originally from Virginia Beach, VA he now resides in South Florida. In addition to this site he runs HiPNOTT Records, a small independent Hip Hop label and is an Executive Producer of the documentary film DEMOS: An Independent Artist's Guide To Success. Other than music, he is a techie by trade and holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology.
  • Anonymous

    Apollo/O.C. most def.  Will be copping Gangrene and Sean Born at the end of this month.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Wu head, but I’ll believe GZA’s album when I see the promo run.  He takes FOREVER to record.

    Extremely proud of my brother Tokyo Cigar.  The album with Heaven Razah is a HUGE look.

  • Arasia Magnetic

    That Fashawn and Exile sounds like heaven. Excited about Black Star, Jay Elect, although I won’t hold my breath on that one, Nas and Common, Nas, Vinnie, Kendrick, and ADaD.

  • Arasia Magnetic

    Big Boi too.

  • Mugz101

    Wow, 2012 looks really good. Apollo Brown & O.C. + Showbiz & AG most anticipated for me. Would definately also add: Reks and Statik Selektah – Straight, No Chaser, The Godfathers (Necro & Kool G Rap), Saigon – WS3 One foot in the grave.

    And what happened to Jeru the Damaja, Artifacts reunion, Premier vs Pete Rock, Smiley the Ghetto Child Antidote pt. 2, 9th Wonder & Buckshot – The Solution, Obie Trice, Freeway and DMX? Are we going to hear from them in 2012 then?

  • Haha

    first good album since Illmatic??

    shock value!! 

  • Kevin Holloway

    Been waiting on that Kenn Star my whole life! Starr Status is one of my favorite albums ever! Here’s hoping for another epic year for hip-hop. The last few have been spectacular.

  • Marcus Speed

    reks straight no chaser 

  • Arasia Magnetic

    I don’t agree with saying Nas hasn’t had a good album since Illmatic. That’s kind of reckless. That was his best album but he’s definitely had some dope ones along the way. I fucks with It Was Written, Untitled, Stillmatic, God Son, and The Lost Tapes. If he can pick some better beats, he will be all good.

  • Kevin Nottingham

    That’s my opinion on Nas… always has been.

  • Kevin Nottingham


  • Robert Brown

    That’s some Skip Bayless type stuff Kev. lol. 

  • Tokyo cigar

    Damn. The homie Nanigan hit me up to tell me that Heavenly Cartel made the list. I had to jet to the closet comp and when i seen it i was like WOW!!! Thanks fam for real.

  • MelloMusicGroup

    update on that Kenn Starr album – the artwork is done, all but 1 track is done, and.  instead of a double ep, it’s a full length album featuring production from all the original plus a few more.  Working title is #SquareOne  Should be out soon!  We also have a new track from Kenn on the MMG “Self Sacrifice” album coming top of March.

  • MelloMusicGroup

    And I hope people are ready to hear Oddisee rhyme this year! His solo is wrapping up and he’s got a few others on the way  including a collab between him and yU.

  • Kevin Nottingham

    Great news… thanks for the update!

  • Thomas

    Where is the album with Finale? Wasn’t that album suppose to come out in May of 2010?

  • The Human Spider

    2012 is shaping up to be a big year for entertainment in general, but wow…another Fashawn & Exile album, another Black Star album, another Gangrene effort, Nas coming out, GZA and Ghost…dang.

    But, yeah, Kev, I’m of the majority that know and realize that Illmatic is the greatest Hip-Hop album, but to say his FIRST good album since that…It Was Written would like a word with you.

  • Kevin Holloway

    ^^lol at the Skip Bayless comment. Spot on! Illmatic was the best, but the only good one? Dunno bout that.

  • Robertkolbeisgreat

    !ntell!gent Des!gn – Ceremonious Masterization – MN Hip Hop – Release Party This Saturday

  • Thomas

    Kev isn’t he biggest Nasir fan. IWW has stood he test of time, but was slammed when it came out. Trackmasters’ production was on point. I would take god son, stillmatic, after those.

  • Thomas

    Yep…..had to ut it on the lis. Holds so much significance for the site.

  • Thomas

    *had to put it on the list*. Correction.

  • Rapbeast

    Dope line up for 2012… but dont forget Chief Kamachi “Rise and Rhyme V1″ check out his new single “Get Righteous or Die Tryin” Str8 Banger!! Dropping Jan. 30th 2012.. just pre ordered it!!  Mach and Priest on the same day… Beautiful Minds 2. 

  • Humpasaur Jones

    If Ayahuasca catches on as a hip hop trend status drug, 2012 is going to be the Best Year Ever.

  • Morgan Gonzales

    No love for Gift of Gab??

  • niok

    “could be Nas’ first good album since…. Illmatic.”
    how in the holy watershell could you say that? isn’t this discrediting anything he ever did apart Illmatic? isn’t this saying Nas is one-album artist?

  • Thomas_76

    A year later still waiting on Jay Elec to release his supposedly finished album. Hopefully Ken Starr, Diamond District, GFK, and Fashawn drop albums in 2013.

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