What We Know: The Roots are set to release their ninth studio album How I Got Over. The album title comes from a Mahalia Jackson gospel song of the same name. The band has described the new LP as upbeat, funky with political influences. The title track was first premiered on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in June 2009. According to ?uestlove, Phonte recorded three to five tracks for the album. Here’s hoping the live version of “How I Got Over” makes the final cut because it’s clearly superior to the studio version.
2. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part II (Return of the Ankh)
Tentative Release Date: March/2010
Producers/Collaborators: 9th Wonder, Madlib, J Dilla, James Poyser, Shafiq Husayn, Karieem Riggins,?uestlove (The Roots), Ta’Raach, Georgia Anne Muldrow
What We Know: Erykah’s last album New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) received critical acclaim for its political content. According to Badu, she describes the new album as a “spiritual and emotional” battle. She also views this album to be reminiscent of her debut Baduizm in that it’s less heavy: “this is just about beats and rhymes in a cipher.” According to an earlier report, a track on the LP named “Jump In the Air” is set to feature nine emcees. A radio version leaked with Lil Wayne last month.
What We Know: Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since their debut Train Of Thought was released. They’ve been releasing new music since last year with tracks such as “Back Again”, “Internet Connection” and their latest track “Just Begun”. The new joint features Mos Def along with newcomers Jay Electronica and J. Cole. Good timing or not, we’ll gladly take a reunion album if it resembles anything close to the excitement and magic from their debut LP.
What We Know: After releasing Desire after an eight-year hiatus, Pharoahe thankfully won’t make us wait that long for a follow up. Denaun Porter will be executive producing the new album W.A.R. (We Are Renegades). He produced two tracks on Desire and one that didn’t make the album due to sample clearances, “Never Walk Together”. They also worked on another track which was to be featured on a Denaun Porter solo LP, “Broken Heart”. There’s been some discussion of a possible Nas feature but we’ll wait and see on that one.
What We Know: After dropping the So Far Gone mixtape that gained national buzz along with numerous guest appearances in 2009, Drake will be dropping his much anticipated debut. A track with Jay-Z called “Light It Up” produced by the Tone Masons has been confirmed for the album. Drake mentioned previously that he wanted to get Andre 3000 and Sade on a record, we’ll chalk that up somewhere near a release date for the Detox album. The real question with Drake is: will we get an album full of “Best I Ever Had” type material or a bit more balance and lyricism like on the track “Fear”? Here’s hoping for the latter.
What We Know: For those thinking the album is an ambitious claim for best hip-hop album, that’s not the case. The album title refers to events that occurred in 2009 that according to Black Milk he’ll elaborate on throughout the new LP. Tronic was one of the best LP’s in 2008 so we’re definitely excited to see where Black Milk takes us with his follow up. In late December he released the song “Keep Going” featuring Daru Jones on the drums. The new song is like a rock version of “Give The Drummer Sum”.
What We Know: Flying Lotus is continuously pushing the boundaries of the electronic/experimental/hip-hop sub-genre along with Exile, Sa-Ra Creative Partners and SamiYam. His last album was definitely more of a minimalist approach over hip-hop drums all while experimenting with new things sonically. He’ll be hard pressed to top the critically acclaimed of Los Angeles (2008). Fortunately, he’s improved with each new release so the odds are in his favour for him to do it again with his third full-length Cosmogramma.
What We Know: After a 10-year hiatus, Sade is back with her follow-up to Lover’s Rock. She premiered the title track earlier this month. Her long time collaborators Mike Pela and Stuart Matthewman are attached to the new album, which can only signal good things when you consider how great her last album was. The video for “Soldier Of Love” premiered earlier this month.
9. Big Boi - Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Tentative Release Date: March/2010
Producers/Collaborators: Erick Sermon, Salaam Remi, DJ Toomp, Organized Noize, Andre 3000, Gucci Mane, Mary J. Blige, George Clinton, Too Short, T.I.
What We Know: Once Big Boi released the “Royal Flush” (Feat. Raekwon & Andre 3000) back in 2008 who didn’t want to hear the solo LP? Naturally, the label (Jive) dropped the ball. Big Boi released “Shine Blockas” (Feat. Gucci Mane) last October. It’s received good buzz in preparation for his new album. I’m never a fan of too many features on an album, but with no new OutKast album on the horizon and Andre 3000 linked to two guest features there’s still hope for this LP.
What We Know: After years of label issues, noteworthy guest appearances and a follow-up album Love For Sale that got shelved, Bilal will be finally returning with a new music this year. He signed with Plug Research in 2009 so he could make the creative soulful music he’s known without succumbing to the pressure of being major. According to Bilal, compared to Love For Sale: “This time I’ve taken that and mixed it with jazz and rock inflections. This record is about me discovering Steely Dan, John Lennon, and Bobby Womack.”
What We Know: Fresh off their Grammy nomination for “Daykeeper” (Feat. Muhsinah), we’re happy to report that Phonte and Nicolay will be releasing a new album this fall. Phonte was originally scheduled to release his solo LP in 2010, but with success of the group’s last album a new studio album is on the horizon. We expect long-time collaborators Zo!, Darien Brockington, Yahzarah and Carlitta Durand to be involved in some capacity.
What We Know: Lupe Fiasco’s third studio album was originally called: Lupe Fiasco’s LupE.N.D signaling his final album and possible retirement. He’s since renamed the album Lasers, an acronym for Love Always Shines Everytime Remember 2 Smile. Lupe has released two tracks confirmed for the new LP, “Shining Down” and the recent “I’m Beaming”. Both were leaked without approval which derailed some of the momentum he’d hoped for. Lyrically, he’s still got it but we’re hoping for more consistent production this time around.
What We Know: It’s been five years since the group released a full-length album. With Jay Dee passing away in 2006 and Baatin’s passing last year, T3 and Elzhi are the only two remaining members of the group. Fortunately, Baatin did record tracks for this LP before he passed away so he will part of this project even it is just in spirit. With the production line-up attached to the album Slum Village looks to deliver a worthy album we can all celebrate. The group released an EP of the same name with features by Marsha Ambrosius and Black Milk last December.
What We Know: After releasing his critically acclaimed debut The Dreamer in (2008) Jose James continued touring and collaborating with Jazzanova on their last LP Of All The Things. After two years off, he’s set to drop his follow up Blackmagic. Flying Lotus produced the title track and two others on the new LP. The album combines Jose’s soulful voice with acid jazz, broken-beat and hip-hop drums to create the vocal jazz he’s become known for.
What We Know: In 2008 they started recording a full album together after a number of tracks were leftover from previous albums by both artists that they initially hoped would make for an EP about Africa. After numerous delays from both of their labels, the album will see the light of day. The album’s themes will revolve around Africa, from ancestry and poverty as well as their social commentary of the United States and Africa.
What We Know: After the solo success of Wu-members Ghostface, Method Man & Raekwon in 2009, the trio hinted their desire come together for an album . I wonder if that’s a shot at Slaughterhouse? Kidding of course. Between Blackout! 2, Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City & Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II, last year was great year for the Wu-Tang Clan. With RZA on boards as well as Mathematics, the timing is definitely ideal for this type of project. All three have collaborated together previously on a number of albums so the chemistry shouldn’t be an issue for this new project. To date they’ve released “Meth vs. Chef Part II” and “Our Dreams”.
What We Know: After releasing numerous mixtapes and being named XXL’s Freshman Of The Year in 2008, B.o.B aka. Bobby Ray is finally set to drop his Grand Hustle debut. The best way to describe his sound is hip-hop/alternative because he’s like a southern version of K-Os. He’s just as lyrical as he is soulful on certain joints. He recently released “Nothin On You” (Feat. Bruno Mars), which is the lead single from the new album.
What We Know: With his last LP UMC: Universal Mind Control, Common wanted to make an album he could hear in the clubs. Critics and fans panned the album as a failure. His new album The Believer is described as a return to form for the Chicago emcee. We believe Common is a dope emcee. Hopefully, the lyrics on this record display that because outside of a few tracks from Finding Forever & the album Be, he’s been coasting. The collaboration with the Jonas Brothers last summer didn’t help his cause either.
What We Know: The inspirations behind A King’s Ballad are the early days of the Obama administration, the last days of the life of Michael Jackson and her newborn son. Georgia describes the sound on her new album as: “more mature, more sure, more relevant and definitely much mo’ funky!” Sonically, the album is an eclectic mix of different genres Muldrow is known for. Very interested to see where she takes us with the album.
What We Know: Fresh off their 2009 mixtape Church league Champions, Pac Div are finally dropping their Universal Motown debut album later this summer. The fun in their music is reminiscent of groups like Little Brother and Slum Village but with a West Coast vibe to it. They previewed a small snippet of “Broccoli” (produced by Pharrell) earlier this month in concert in Miami. It sounds like they might have a hit on their hands. Along with Blu, Exile and Fashawn, Pac Div are leading the resurgence of hip-hop on the left coast.
What We Know: Damon Albarn is set to release the third studio album by animated group The Gorillaz. Mos Def has collaborated on three songs and De La Soul have contributed to two songs as well. Albarn describes the new album as the “most pop record” he has ever made. The first single “Stylo” is sonically a mix between break-beats from the ’70s and ’80s pop.
What We Know: They debuted the first single “Too Many Rappers” (which features Nas) at the Bonnaroo Music festival last summer. Shortly after that, MCA became sick due to a cancerous tumor so the album and tour were pushed back. With the earlier health scare behind them, the trio can finally promote and tour the new LP. Sonically they’ve described the album as “…a combination of playing and sampling stuff as we’re playing, and also sampling pretty obscure records.” They’ve already completed the second installment (Pt. 2) so we should expect more music in the near future.
What We Know: Back in 2002 when Phrenology dropped, the actual songs that appeared on that LP were originally slated for a Black Thought solo LP. In 2006, Black Thought stated he was working on a collaborative album with Danger Mouse called Dangerous Thoughts. With the success of two Gnarls Barkley albums the project got pushed back. Three Roots albums later, we’re now in 2010. Black Thought recently confirmed the album is still a go for this year so it appears we might finally get to hear it.
What We Know: Random Axe is made up of Black Milk, Sean Price and Guilty Simpson. After a few years of speculation, Black Milk confirmed that the Random Axe album is dropping this year. The collective collaborated on the track “Monster Babies” back in summer of 2009. As long as Black Milk is on the boards for this trio, there’s hope for this project. We’re definitely excited to see what Black Milk will be cooking up for this album.
What We Know: Evidence signed with Rhymesayers after some reports stated that he signed with Talib Kweli’s BlackSmith label. Most of 2009 saw Evidence doing features with Alchemist under the moniker “Step Brothers” and touring to promote The Layover EP. The two artists have great chemistry musically so we definitely expect some collaborations on the new LP. After appearing on DOOM’s Born Like This, what are the chances we see a Slug or DOOM appearance on his new LP? Stay tuned.
Young Jeezy – Thug Motivation 103
Rhymesfest – El Che
Eminem – Relapse II
Zo! – SunStorm
Yahzarah – The Ballad Of Ms. Purple Saint James