Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Part II (Return of the Ankh) (Universal Motown)
Release Date: Feb. 23, 2010
Expected Production: An eclectic lineup that includes 9th Wonder, Sa-Ra, James Poyser, Madlib, Karriem Riggins, the late J. Dilla and Ms. Badu herself.
Expected Collaborations: Roots band leader/drummer ?uestlove offers his masterful hands. But the Lil Wayne-featured track “Jump in the Air” (one of 10 versions of a two-fisted, rap-funk sound clash that will feature 10 MC’s) is floating around the web via leaked download.
Why the Buzz? The usually forward-thinking Badu gives a sincere nod to her jazzy torch song style that first made her a neo-soul superstar with 1997’s Baduizm, making it one of her most accessible projects to date. Still, there’s plenty of the left field brilliance of 2008’s critically acclaimed standout New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War.
T.I., TBD (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
Expected Release: TBD
Possible Production: Tip should have plenty of options. Expect him to pull from the likes of Just Blaze, DJ Toomp, Swizz Beatz and Kanye West.
Possible Collaborations: In the past, T.I.’s worked with everyone from Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes to Justin Timberlake and Rihanna, so we expect more high-caliber cameos. An Alfa Mega sighting––not so much.
Why the Buzz? T.I.’s only halfway out of jail, but reportedly already all the way back in the studio. For roughly six months, the king’s been absent from his throne. Gucci Mane (now imprisoned) and a host of other Southern style MCs have emerged during his leave. We’re anxious to see if he’ll put them back in their place.