Posted by David Porter Callanan on 02/08 at 06:06 PM
In 2011, it seemed that nearly everyone in the hip-hop game released a noteworthy project. Debut albums, long awaited releases, collaborative projects and promotional mixtapes made 2011 a year to remember in hip-hop. This year should be no different. Before kicking off my list of the most anticipated albums for 2012, let me clarify some things. This list will not be including any albums which have not been confirmed by artists or record labels (including Dr. Dre’s long awaited Detox) and no albums that are considered pop albums (Nicki Minaj’s Roman Reloaded.) Also the list will be in no particular order because it unfair to rank albums that have not been released or even leaked.
Big K.R.I.T.-Live From The Underground
Mississippi MC Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered in Time) has spent the last two years touring and dropping critically acclaimed mixtapes without an album to his name. In that time he has worked with everyone from southern heavyweights David Banner, Ludacris and Yelawolf to cult favorite’s like Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y. While many believed K.R.I.T’s 2011 release Return of 4eva was good enough to be his debut album the Def Jam signee chose to work a little longer on his first major release. The album has been twice delayed because of sample clearances and that has given the 2011 XXL freshman time to work on a mixtape entitled 4evanNaDay. The tape will drop on February 28th and will give fan’s something to hold them over until Live From the Underground later this year. The first single off the tape “Boobie Miles” was released the other day.
Slaugtherhouse- Welcome To: Our house
The rap game’s hardest spitting foursome will drop it’s first major-label release this May. Over the past three years the group that consists of MC’s from Long Beach (Crooked I) Detroit (Royce Da 5’9) Brooklyn (Joel Ortiz) and Jersey City (Joe Budden) have been very busy. Since leaving their old label E1 they have all released solo projects, signed to Shady-Aftermath records, graced the covers of XXL beside label-mates Eminem and Yelawolf and tore down the BET awards cypher (especially Joe Budden). Their first album received favorable reviews and seemed to be a lyrical competition on every track. Their debut moved 44,000 plus copies despite being signed to an independent label and being under-shipped to stores around the country. Welcome To: Our House will be largely produced by Shady CEO Eminem and will drop May 15th.
Since his last album “untitled” in 2008, Queens MC Nas has managed to stay relevant by dropping ”Distant Relatives” with reggae artist Damien Marley, featuring tracks with Lil Wayne, Common and Mobb Deep, and also dropped a track of his own entitled “Nasty.” The 18 year veteran has already confirmed the album will house production from Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Kanye West and RZA. The only features that have been confirmed are from Odd Future members Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator and Hodgy Beats. The album will be his last released via Def Jam and is expected to be released later this year.
Kendrick Lamar- Good Kid in a Mad City
After dropping two impressive and well received mixtapes, Compton MC Kendrick Lamar has completed his debut album entitled Good Kid in a Mad City. Just like K.R.I.T., Lamar released a promotional mixtape through iTunes that many felt could have been his first major release in Section.80. Since the release of Section.80, Lamar has been building his fan base by touring with Canadian Superstar Drake and Harlem Spitter A.S.A.P. Rocky. His debut is expected to have production from Dr. Dre and Just Blaze who Kendrick claims to be of two of his favorite producers. Although no collaborations have been confirmed, it is almost certain to feature Black Hippy label-mates Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul. The album is expected to drop late this spring and may have Lamar in the discussion for project of the year once again.
G.O.O.D Music- TBD
Last year MMG became the first major label to release a collaborative album in several years. Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music followed in the foot steps of Rick Ross‘s label when they announced the release of their upcoming album this spring. G.O.O.D. consists of rappers West, Common, Pusha T, Big Sean, Cyhi Da Prince, singers John Legend and Mr. Hudson and in house producer No I.D. The majority of the album is going to be produced by West and No I.D., but no features have been announced. West, Big Sean, Cyhi and Pusha T all have solo albums that are expected to drop which could make 2012 a very good year for G.O.O.D. music.
While these are not the only hip-hop albums being released this year they certainly are the standouts. Others that deserve an honorable mention include Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon 3, Rick Ross’ God Forgives, I Don’t, 50 cent’s fifth studio album, XV’s kid in the green back pack, and J. Cole’s sophomore release. They were not included on this list because of the artist’s history of delays and speculation around the release dates. Either way you should also keep your eye on them. As a fan of hip-hop I can only hope that 2012 is just as good as 2011.
Author: David Porter Callanan
Bio: David Porter Callanan is currently a senior studying print journalism and English at Penn State. In his free time he enjoys eating peanut butter, watching premium television shows, listening to rad music and being tortured by his beloved Philadelphia sporting teams. He listens to a wide range of music but his favorite genres are grunge rock and hip hop. Some of his favorite artists include Pearl Jam, Kanye West and J. Cole. Following graduation, his dream job is to write for the hip hop magazine XXL.
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