While 2012 promises to be an incredible year for music, there's enough high-profile activity in the Hip-Hop world to warrant quite a bit of excitement on its own. Below is our list of the most anticipated Hip-Hop releases of 2012 – you'll notice a conspicuous absence of Dr. Dre's Detox album, because frankly, we've been Axl Rose'd enough for one century. Now that he's "taking time away" from the studio, Dre's eternally delayed and endlessly hyped new album will undoubtedly be the chupacabra of the music world for the foreseeable future.
G.O.O.D. Music: Untitled
The entire G.O.O.D. Music crew is pooling their talents under the grand orchestration of Kanye West, for a collaborative album that's bound to be the talk of the town in 2012. Kanye's label imprint and management company, which stands for "Getting Out Our Dreams," will join the ranks with Young Money and Maybach Music Group with a new group album that is said to include Kanye, Common, John Legend, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Malik Yusef, Mr Hudson, Cyhi Da Prynce, Mos Def, Pusha T, D'banj and Teyana Taylor. In other words, we're going to have a beast on our hands when this one arrives.
Pusha T confirmed that he had already recorded multiple tracks for the album, telling MTV News, “The beats are there and they’re laid out but the finished product still has to go through the Kanye West wizardry wall. I’ve recorded four songs for the G.O.O.D. Music album, and hopefully there will be a couple more. I know me and [Big] Sean should definitely be on two songs together, if not more.”
Watch The Throne 2 / Kanye West / Jay-Z
It appears as if the most gluttonously decadent album of 2011 is getting a sequel – that is, if Jay-Z's enthusiasm becomes kinetically active. While deep in the paces of his Watch The Thone tour with Kanye, Jay-Z said: “It depends on how this thing finishes up,” He added: “We — I say ‘we’ because I’m in Throne mode — we’re in a great place creatively. You might see a Jay, then Kanye and a Throne album next year. You know, we’re really in a great place creatively. We really found our zone.”
Needless to say, we're all over this one.
Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
Release: February 14
Young Money's pink-wigged & thick-assed queen Nicki Minaj has announced plans release her sophomore album Pink Friday:Roman Reloaded on February 14, and with the stabby little taste "Stupid Hoe," it's clear that we're in for some deep sonic lunacy.
The LP, which apparently will be a continuation of her male alter ego 'Roman Zolansk,' has some serious shoes to fill after her platinum-selling debut Pink Friday a year ago. Pink Friday features production styles crossing the genres of pop, hip-hop and R&B, with production from a wide range of producers including J.R. Rotem, Bangladesh, Swizz Beatz, T-Minus and Will.i.am.
T.I.: Trouble Man
T.I. didn't waste a moment upon his release from prison in September, diving right into work crafting his eighth solo album, Trouble Man, which he plans to debut early in 2012. The project is reportedly inspired by a 1972 Marvin Gaye song of the same name, which T felt was an accurate description for the body of work. "The name of the album is Trouble Man, and every song on here is about things that can get me in trouble," he explained. "I'm reminiscing on the days when I used to run wild and do my thing the way I used to do it. I've got records that are just totally intellectually ignorant."
The Atlanta rapper told MTV News that he had 50 new songs recorded for the album, and they're largely autobiographical: "My life inspires my lyrics at all times, so at that moment in time, when I first came home, I have about 15 songs just totally focusing on that," T.I. said. "Out of those 15, I probably picked the two or three most significant, most compelling, impactful ones, and after I've been out for a minute, then I've got records totally focusing on speaking to people who can only focus on that and telling them I'm ready to move on."
Rick Ross: God Forgives, I Don’t
Riding high off Maybach Music Group’s Self Made Vol. 1, Officer Ross is prepping for the release of his fifth studio album God Forgives, I Don’t. Health issues caused delays that will likely see the album arriving later than sooner – he suffered from two seizures in October and has been on the recovery since then. All the same, the Miami rapper continues to work on the album and its release is expected to be preceded by a new mixtape.
Lil Kim: Untitled
It's possible that the world's first concept album aimed specifically at beefing with one person is on its way. The Queen B, aka Lil Kim, dropped a photo on Christmas of herself in a fluffy all-black leotard and matching feathery heels, only mentioning “Lil Kim” and “2012.” This, we expect, indicates that we'll see a new album from the once-feared MC femme in the new year, and she's even reportedly working with 50 Cent. And given that for the past year she's been embroiled in a bitter lyrical battle with her younger (and much less surgically deformed) counterpart, Nicki Minaj, it's pretty safe to say that we'll be hearing some fiery takedowns if and when the project drops.
E-40: The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil
Release: Feb. 28
E-40 has announced plans to release three full length LPs in 2012, under the title The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil. 40 Water explained that the trio of LPs will all drop on the same day – February 28 – with a special edition triple pack following later in the year. The man is truly a one-man moneymaking army, as he's now an independent artist without any label or liaison responsibilities. No middleman means centralized power, which means we've got some fire to look forward to. The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil series is set to feature Brotha Lynch Hung, YG, T-Pain, Raheem DeVaughn, 2 Chainz, Snoop Dogg, Nipsey Hussle and the Hieroglyphics crew.
Brother Ali: Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color
I spoke with Rhymesayers' inimitable not-so-secret weapon Brother Ali roughly a year ago about the music he’s been recording lately with Jake One, as a potential follow-up to his incredible 2009 release Us. He had the following to say on the issue then:
“I’ve known Jake One for a long time, since 2000 or 2001 or something, and we’ve been talking about doing stuff together for a long time. Me and Jake have made probably like 15 songs, and I think I really like maybe 4 or 5 of them. I’m not mad at any of ‘em, but there’s like 4 or 5 that I think are really good. So hopefully I’ll have some time where I can really focus on making an album and try to figure out what it’s going to shape up like. Maybe go hang out in Seattle for a couple weeks (where Jake lives).”
Progress has indeed been made, and Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color is not far from seeing the light of day. As he outlines in the new, Jake One-producer burner, Ali isn't "trying to be one of them fools that makes hundreds of new songs but none of them are good."
Tyler, the Creator: Wolf
Release: May 2012
The misogynistic, violent Odd Future leader and notorious lyrical provocateur Tyler, The Creator recently explained to Spin Magazine that his signature hateful and sordid subject matter — like rape and dismemberment — "just doesn't interest me anymore." In other words, that shit doesn't sell as many records as he'd have hoped, and it's on to the next craze.
Tyler explained that his new album will be "hippie music for people to get high to." Stones Throw electro-psych ensemble The Stepkids are involved, and the idea of a live band has been tossed around as well. If Tyler's your thing, 2012 will likely be your year.
Frank Ocean: Untitled
As far as Odd Future goes, we're far more fascinated with the undeniable talents of Frank Ocean, and his upcoming sophomore solo project. Speaking to BBC 1xtra back in November, Ocean dropped a bit of info on the project – and explained why he passed on an offered Kanye West collaboration.
"The record is written, we're just trying to tie up all the production. Get everything sonically pleasing to me," Ocean told BBC's Zane Lowe of his album. "When I started writing this record that was one of the things I said. I wanted to be able to perform well, for it to transition to stage well… It feels good, they work out well."
As for Kanye, Frank explained: "I said, 'As much as I want to work with you… I kind of want to do this without you. I kind of want this to be done without you. I kind of want to do it on my own.'"
Slaughterhouse: Welcome To OUR HOUSE
Release: May 15
Royce, Joell, Crooked Eye, Joe Budden – the collective known as Slaughterhouse – has signed to Eminem’s Shady Records, and the excitement is palpable around the unit's sophomore release. Budden explained to MTV: "We picking beats in unison. We all going in different rooms, different beats, different verses, different zones so the process is the same but like Joell said we have more time and we have more money allocated to be able to do something. So now we just sit in a session and say ~Hey, maybe Nicki Minaj would sound good on that. I think it's safe to say each one of us are approaching it like it's the most important album of any one of our careers."
Color us excited.
During the New York show Pusha revealed that he and Malice will release the follow-up to Til The Casket Drops in the near future, their fourth major label album. Additionally, Pusha Ton is working on the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation, as well as a solo album (with Kanye West working the knobs) and a new Re-Up Gang record. Busy man!
Black Star — Black Star Aretha
Mos Def and Talib Kweli are finally in the booth, hard at work on a new album inspired by Aretha Franklin, according to reports. Apparently Madlib is on production duties throughout, which excites us greatly.
Big K.R.I.T: Live from the Underground
Mississippi'z Big K.R.I.T. has struck gold with mixtape success in the past couple years, and while details are still short on his scheduled Def Jam debut, one can tell a bit about the quality caliber by his working associations: he recently produced T.I.'s single "Flexin' " and contributed a verse to "Make My" off the Roots' upcoming album Undun.
Until his debut solo project is released, K.R.I.T. plans to hold fans over with a new mixtape. "I'm gonna drop another free project before [the album] and we're gearing up for that right now," he said. "It's all gonna be produced by me again."
Outkast / Andre 3000 / Big Boi
While we've been hearing about a new Outkast album for years now, it seems as if things may be beginning to materialize in the studio. Andre 3000 is reportedly rapping once more, and is currently putting the finishing touches on his next solo project. Big Boi’s next album, which is going to be called Daddy Fat Sax, is already in the works, and a reunion doesn't seem out of the question. All the same, we're not holding our breath any longer – our faces are already blue from the past several years.
B.o.B.: Strange Clouds
Release: March 13
While he's been working on The Man & The Martian with T.I., B.o.B has also been tinkering on his sophomore album, which he recently announced is on the way. Details are still scant, but we'll keep you posted as updates develop.
Big Sean: Untitled
Sean recently announced that in addition to prepping the collaborative G.O.O.D. Music album, he's getting his own album ready for a Summer drop.
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