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)