We wrapped up 2011 with a list of our favorite releases from the year, and now it’s time to turn our focus to 2012 and give you a list of albums that we are looking forward to.
As you probably know as well as we do, a tweet about someone working in the studio with someone else, a comment in an interview or even the announcement of an album release, is by no means a guarantee that the project will ever hit retail shelves or iTunes’ servers. So to avoid getting your hopes up we advise you take everything on this list with a grain of salt until you actually have the album in your possession, that being said here is a list of stuff, in no particular order, that we think you should keep on your radar this year.
- J Dilla – Rebirth of Detroit
Ma Dukes posted a video back in April last year announcing a new J Dilla project titled The Rebirth of Detroit featuring the best Detroit has to offer over what we presume are unreleased Dilla beats. The album never surfaced and we can only hope that it is delayed rather than shelved (like the MCA album).
- Black Star – (TBD)
The very long awaited and highly anticipated follow-up to the 1998 Mos Def & Talib Kweli album is closer than ever to release. The duo appeared together for some live performances last year and then dropped the new track Fix Up produced by Madlib in November along with confirmation that a new album was in the works.
- Eric Lau – The Mission EP
British producer Eric Lau started 2012 off with a bang with the soulful joint Yesterday which features Guilty Simpson, Fatima and Olivier Daysoul. The song is off his upcoming Mission EP which drops on February 3rd.
- Apollo Brown & O.C. – Trophies
Just a few weeks ago, Mello Music Group producer extraordinaire Apollo Brown and D.I.T.C veteran O.C. announced they would be dropping a collaboration album called Trophies on March 27th. If you are a regular reader here you will know how much we love the music coming out of the MMG studios and we expect this album to be up there with the best of them.
- Diamond District – March On Washington
In a couple interviews Diamond District member yU has indicted the Mello Music group will put out Diamond District’s second album March On Washington in 2012 – we don’t know much more than that, but considering on how much we love their debut, that is enough to get us excited.
- Robert Glasper – Black Radio
The Robert Glasper Experiment manages to seamlessly blend jazz, hip hop, R&B and rock, and with the help of an unbelievable lineup of supporting artists including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild, and Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), there is no doubt that Black Radio is going to be one of the most interesting and impressive albums of 2012.
- Kenn Starr – Two Track Mind
Since his very solid solo album from 2006: Starr Status, Kenn Starr has been growing as an emcee and featuring all over Mello Music Group releases for the last couple years. This year it’s his turn with the expected release of Two Track Mind. Originally rumored to be an EP produced by Black Milk, things have probably changed since his signing to MMG but whatever form the album takes – it’s going to be well worth watching out for.
- Brother Ali & Jake One – Mourning In America and Dreaming In Color
Jake One is simply one of my favorite producers of all time, his resume of productions credits is ridiculous. Brother Ali and Jake One first teamed up for a couple tracks on White Van Music, and the result was good. I guess they thought so too, and have teamed up or a whole album due out March 5th on Rhymesayers Entertainment.
- Fashawn & Exile – The Ecology
Fashawn and Exile‘s first collaboration effort Boy Meets World in 2009 was a good example of a producer and emcee having good chemistry and working together to make a solid album. It’s good to see the pair returning to the studio to pick up where they left off (if only Blu & Exile would do the same).
- Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Conscious
In the last days of 2011 we posted the new Kweli single Distractions off Prisoner of Conscious which was initially supposed to drop in November, but will now be released this year. Recorded before the slightly disappointing Gutter Rainbows we are hoping for a return to form for the Brooklyn legend.
- Nas – Life Is Good
We heard Nas’ new single Nasty in the middle of last year and it got us hyped for a new hip hop album for Nas. With reports that he has been working with beats by DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, RZA, Pete Rock, and Large Pro, maybe he is finally listening to his legion of fans who have been saying that he hasn’t been working with the right producers in a long time.
- Jose James – No Beginning, No End
Jose James‘ sophomore release Blackmagic was a great album where Jose took his Jazz background and pushed it to new territory collaborating with experimental artists such as Flying Lotus. He has been back in the studio recording with a whole host of renowned Jazz, R&B and Soul artists, which bodes well for another great album.
- Oddisee – People Hear What They See
Oddisee is quite simply one of the best producers doing it right now – any album coming out with his name on it is a must-buy. Enough said.
- Georgia Anne Muldrow & Madlib – Seeds
Georgia Anne Muldrow is a damn good producer in her own right but news that she has hooked up with Madlib for an EP titled Seeds is welcome news indeed. If the first track is anything to go by then this will be a great project – dropping on Valentines day.
- D’Angelo – (TBD)
I almost didn’t want to mention this but the prospect is just too good to ignore. 2012 might just be the year we finally get a follow up to one of the greatest albums of all time – Voodoo. Reports from ?uestlove, amongst others, that he has been back in the studio, as well as the fact he is kicking off a 10 date European tour this month might be the best indication in a decade that we might hear some new music from D’Angelo this year.
So that is what we are looking forward to hearing this year, if there is anything that you are looking forward to coping this year that we have left off our list make sure you let us know in the comments section below. Just don’t mention Detox…