April is fully upon us, which means it's time to preview some of 2012's most anticipated Spring Releases. Nicki Minaj's sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, is officially in stores and a ton of great projects (at least we hope they turn out great) are slated to drop between now and the end of May when summer officially begins.
AllHipHop.com's "2012 Spring Music Preview" contains some of the more high-profile releases, as well as some that may be flying under the radar, so we've done our best to compile a list that covers just about every corner of the genre and culture. Releases from B.o.B., Obie Trice, Chris Brown, Reks, Statik Selektah, Machine Gun Kelly, Future, Slaughterhouse, Juvenile, Chino XL, and many more are featured in this list.
Here are some of AllHipHop.com's most anticipated Hip-Hop and R&B releases for Spring 2012:
Obie Trice - Bottoms Up
Obie's third studio ode to alcohol features his former "boss" Eminem as well as MC Breed, Statik Selektah, and Dr. Dre, and production mostly from NoSpeakerz and K&Square. From the sound of the singles "Battle Cry" and "Spend the Day," it would appear that Obie hasn't missed a step despite stepping out the limelight for the past few years. But will the fans still show their support?
Date: April 3
Azealia Banks - 1991 EP
In between spending time in the studio with Kanye West and wanting to collaborate with buzzing singer Lana Del Rey, Azealia Banks will release her EP with a new songs like "1991" and "Grand Prix" in less than a week's time to help build the massive buzz she's been receiving from fans, tastemakers, and industry-insiders alike. After the EP, she'll begin putting the finishing touches on her debut album for release this fall, titled Broke With Expensive Taste.
Date: April 17
Future - Pluto
First, it was "Tony Montana," then came T.I.'s first post-prison, musical stint on Future's "Magic". And now, a week before his Pluto album's release, Future has dropped off a new single, "Parachute," featuring Mr. Trapped In the Closet himself, R. Kelly. Despite the magazine's overall backlash for its choices, Future claimed one of the spot's on this year's XXL Freshman Class cover which surely raised the Georgia native's status as a other-planetary star to watch (no pun intended).
Date: April 17
Ashanti - Braveheart
Grammy Award-winning singer Ashanti's fifth studio album is her first musical release in over four years. The album, which includes collaborations with artists and producers alike such as Busta Rhymes, R. Kelly, Keyshia Cole, Tank, Cool & Dre, and Rico Love, comes after her departure from her most famous home, Irv Gotti's The Inc. Records. The songstress will release Braveheart on EOne Music and her own label, Written Entertainment.
Date: April 24
Reks and Statik Selektah - Straight No Chaser
After teaming up for a few tracks back in the day and later having Statik executive-produce last year's R.E.K.S., which Hip-Hop pioneer DJ Premier hailed as one of his favorite LPs of the year, Reks and Statik have teamed up for a full-length album that is sure to provide 14-tracks of pure, raw, and uncut Hip-Hop. Showoff's Termanaology and Ea$y Money make appearances on Straight No Chaser as do Action Bronson, Wais P., and Slaine.
Date: April 24
B.o.B. - Strange Clouds
With a recently-revealed tracklist for Bobby Ray's sophomore album boasting appearances and collaborations with Morgan Freeman, Andre 3000, Taylor Swift, and T.I., it's very apparent that whatever stratosphere B.o.B. got launched to with the success of his debut, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, he's prepared to surpass the accolades he achieved and received with his major label debut two years ago. It doesn't hurt that Strange Clouds' first self-titled single featuring Lil Wayne has already been certified platinum.
Date: May 1
Juvenile - Rejuvenation
Before Juve the Great strikes back with his tenth, yes tenth, studio album, he will be releasing a new full-length mixtape, as well as headlining his first show in New York City in years. And yes, your good friends at AllHipHop.com are presenting it (a little self-promotion never hurt anybody). Rejuvenation promises new collaborations between Juvenile and the man behind most of Cash Money's hits in the '90s and early '00s, Mannie Fresh, as well as the inclusion of the recent single "Power" featuring Rick Ross. Welcome back, Juve!
Date: May 1
Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe
As a performer and musician whose music blends and blurs the lines of a number of genres, Santigold will be dropping her second album, which is said to be more electronic and new-wave than Hip-Hop. This is, of course, expected from the producer, singer, songwriter, and rapper. Despite having released three singles from the album in the past year, the only additional information released regarding Master Of My Make-Believe is that a collaboration with Yeah Yeah Yeah's singer Karen O will be present, as will some production handled by the illustrious Q-Tip. We're all in.
Date: May 1
Chino XL - RICANnstruction: The Black Rosary
MC turned bodybuilder turned actor turned battle rapper Chino XL is ready to deliver the goods once again! Although his new album will hit iTunes on April 13, the physical version of Chino's fifth studio release will arrive via retailers on the first of May. The album's current single "N.I.C.E.," while powerful, is just a sign of things to come on the album which also features a Who's-Who of Underground Hip-Hop legends like Immortal Technique, Tech N9ne, Ras Kass, Crooked I, and Bun B. Not like you really need another reason to want to grab this album when it drops, but RICANstruction is also rumored to include an unreleased collaboration with Big Pun!
Date: May 1
Chris Brown - Fortune
Fortune was originally intended to contain a number of songs that were left on the cutting-room floor from the F.A.M.E. studio sessions; however, it morphed into a full-length, new studio album from Chris Brown that has already produced the massive hit-single "Turn Up the Music". Hopping on former-lover Rihanna's "Birthday Cake" remix last month sure helped Breezy gain some of the fans he had lost from the couple's infamous altercation several years ago. Brown has already recorded songs with Asher Roth, Big Sean, Wiz Khalifa, Will.I.Am., David Guetta, The Runners, and a number of the other usual suspects in the process of creating a massively successful album. So, only time will tell if Brown's lost any of the ingredients that made him a star in the first place.
Date: May 8
Killer Mike and El-P - R.A.P. Music
Killer Mike's sixth studio album will feature production entirely from alternative Hip-Hop staple El-P and feature the likes of Bun B, T.I., Scar, Trouble, and Emily Panic. R.A.P. Music, which stands for "Rebellious African People Music", is the follow-up to Mike's critically-acclaimed album, PL3DGE, which received some of the highest praise of any Hip-Hop release last year. Let's see how Mike tops himself in 2012, 'cause we know he will!
Date: May 15
Lil Scrappy - The Grustle
For over three years, Lil Scrappy has been working on delivering The Grustle to his fans. Despite two independent releases between 2008 and 2010, The Grustle will serve as Scrappy's first official album since his 2006 debut, Bred 2 Die Born 2 Livehit stores. After parting ways with Luda's Disturbing Tha Peace imprint last year, Scrappy vowed to get the album out by any means necessary, and that is where his imprint, G's Up, came into play. Now Scrappy's fans worldwide can hear an album that's already packed with bangers like "Addicted to Money" and the 2 Chainz and Twista-assisted"Helicopter."
Date: May 15
G.O.O.D. Music Compilation
First came "Theraflu," then came "Mercy." You've got Kanye rapping, producing, and overseeing a compilation album from a battalion of greats, including Big Sean, Mr. Hudson, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, CyHi Da Prynce, Frank Ocean, Jay Electronica, Mannie Fresh, 2 Chainz, and a whole host of other Hip-Hop notables. What else do you really need to read or hear to get more excited about one of 2012's most anticipated albums? No seriously, what else do you need to hear?
1982 - 2012
2012 is the follow-up to the duo's first self-titled collaboration which dropped in 2010 and new, with a new presidential election barreling towards voters, Statik Selektah and Termanology have decided to capitalize on a politically-charged year with the release of their new "presidential" album. Anyone who's ever heard Statik's production or listened to Term rhyme knows exactly what to expect from this and for those that don't....get out from living under that rock and listen to some pure dopeness.
Date: May 22
Rick Ross - God Forgives, I Don't
Like he did with last year's Teflon Don, Rozay has followed the trend of seeing what songs work best on a mixtape first. And, despite releasing the hit-or-miss singles "You the Boss" which featured Nicki Minaj and "I Love My Bitches" earlier this year, it came as no surprise that Rozay's biggest hit of 2012 was the Rich Forever track "Stay Schemin" with French Montana and Drake. If this heavily-rotated record is a sign of things to come, prepare yourselves for another year dominated by Rick Ross and his Maybach Music Group stable of hit-makers.
Tyler, the Creator - Wolf
The Odd Future frontman has had great success in 2011 along with his OFWGKTA gang of pranksters, rappers, and all-around entertainers. But that's not stopping him from releasing his third solo album with features frm Pharrell, Game and Frank Ocean, despite just releasing the crew's O.F. Tape Vol. 2 at the end of last month. If we've learned anything from the O.F. guys and gals, it's that too much attention is never enough, so we're certainly curious to see how Tyler can top the success of last year's Goblin. Sidenote: did we mention these guys also have their own TV show? Yeah.
Machine Gun Kelly - Lace Up
After having just released his Half Naked and Almost Famous EP a mere two weeks ago, it's safe to say that we may not be getting Kells' Bad Boy Records debut this spring. However, just in case we do, we figured why not provide some details to our readers... like the fact that MGK's favorite rapper DMX will be featured on the album, as will 2 Chainz, Mystikal, and more, including his fellow Bad Boys French Montana and Red Cafe and Diddy's resident songstress/chick, Cassie. 2012 already has MGK on a record-breaking tour with Tech N9ne, and being one of the lucky 10 (depending on your stance) to grace the cover of XXL's Freshman Class cover, this kid really has nowhere else to go but up. We're down for taking the ride with him.
T.I. - Trouble Man
How do you follow up one of your best mixtapes in years? After another stint in prison? You release an album that makes the mixtape look like child's play. That's exactly what Tip is trying to do with his fifth studio album Trouble Man,and if his recent single "Love This Life" is any indication, he may not be too far off. Despite taking a little while to gain traction with singles like the Big K.R.I.T.-assisted "Flexin" and "Hear Ye, Hear Ye" with Pharrell and "Pyro," T.I. is ready to leave the acting behind and play the full-time role of rapper once again.
Be sure to check back in May for AllHipHop.com's Summer Music Preview, which is already shaping up with releases from Sean Price, Big K.R.I.T., Cam'ron, French Montana, Slaughterhouse, Aesop Rock, Curren$y, and many more!
Which Spring Releases are you most looking forward to?