The Most Anticipated Hip Hop Albums Of 2012

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The staff at Gutta World highlights 10 releases this year that we are personally excited about. And no, we’re not counting on “Detox” either.

After so many colorful releases in 2011, Hip Hop fans have a lot to look forward to in 2012. No, we’re not actually basing our hopes on Dr. Dre’s Detox or Jay Electronica’s elusive debut, the mythical merger of Nas and DJ Premier or the long-delayed complete reunion of Goodie Mob. Like any fan, we would love if any or all of those released before we purchased new calendars, but there are a plethora of albums already underway that have a ton of promise in making this year musical.

Younger artists who had powerful impact in ’11 as well as some “golden era” alumni keeping the hardcore alive are slated to make bold statements with their music this year, and the Gutta World staff sat down and compiled 10 releases that we can count on, and why we think they’ll make 2012 all the more exciting.

The Ecology by Fashawn


Few debut albums in recent memory were as potent and honest as Fashawn’s 2009 debut Boy Meets World. The independent release, produced entirely by Exile, helped rush the forefront of a West Coast renaissance of music coming from young emcees with wisdom well beyond their years. Late this summer, when the Fresno DXnext alum announced that he was going to uphold the formula with Ex on the boards, the Gutta World staff rejoiced. Expect colorful sample-driven sounds and common-man themes as the Young Santiago helps expand his legacy as one of the more resonant voices of this time. As Common, Talib Kweli and Mos Def all began as independent artists in the ’90s before reaching mainstream stature, Fash is another poised to have that kind of impact.

Trouble Man by T.I.


2010′s No Mercy felt like a rushed T.I. album, as the Grand Hustle founder was quickly recording as a free man before serving for his latest (and hopefully last) felonious brush with the law. Given Tip’s track record for every-other-album being outstanding (see Paper Trail and King), the album sharing a name with the Marvin Gaye hit sounds audiobiographical and brutally honest before it even nears roll-out. Hopefully the man who made Atlantic Records relevant to Rap music can go in and delicately walk that line with a mainstream-friendly album that still carries plenty of trappings.

The Kolexion by Bumpy Knuckles & DJ Premier


Dating back to O.C.’s Jewelz, Bumpy Knuckles and DJ Premier share a musical chemistry that reflects their strong personal bonds. Two “kings of the underground sound,” these masons of the East Coast Hip Hop sound have teamed up for a March album that’s fully collaborative. Whereas 2000′s Industry Shakedown was a mosiac from the likes of Pete Rock, Diamond D and The Alchemist, The Kolexion is a project the fans have been asking for and brings Premier back to one of the fiercest emcees of the Gang Starr Foundation glory years. We anticipate a mosaic of wisdom and aggression.

Live From The Underground by Big K.R.I.T.


Few artists have the ability to appeal to the streets and the college campuses as well as Meridian, Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. With two mixtapes that easily could have been albums held in the highest regard, the Cinematic/Def Jam emcee, like J. Cole has the ability to make an album entirely by himself that could change the face of Hip Hop. Given K.R.I.T.’s history of working with icons that influenced him such as 8Ball & MJG, Devin The Dude and Ludacris, even if that’s not the case, the expectations for this are high. Plus, with Sha Money XL (who made classic albums with 50 Cent and Game as G-Unit Records’ former President) having a strong hand in the project, this is an album that could prove to be another Def Jam southern game-changer in the line of debuts from Ludacris, Young Jeezy and Rick Ross.

Good Kid In A Mad City by Kendrick Lamar


After making the “album of 2011″ (according to us, anyway), Compton, California’s Kendrick Lamar is expected to go right back and drop another one. Good Kid In A Mad City, as its known now anyway, finds Jay Rock’s lil’ homie dealing with rumors of an Aftermath deal, Tech N9ne, Game, and Drake working with him, as well as a whole different place than he was in just a year ago. We hope the supporting cast is as obscure as they were last time (GLC, RZA, J. Cole, Terrace Martin), but that one of the smartest 24 year-olds you’ll ever meet has more anthems that carry Hip Hop out of its stupor.


God Forgives, I Don’t by Rick Ross


Few superstars have the ear for beats that Ricky Rozay possesses. Just as Teflon Don was one of the best-produced albums in recent years, we expect a refreshed (hopefully healthier) Rawss to make another gem. With the Maybach Music Group compilation and Wale’s sophomore LP being winners of 2011, this seems in the cards to one of the biggest voices and personalities in Rap since the 1980s. Moreover, like Drake and Lil Wayne, Rick’s guest-lists usually pack surprises that change lives, just ask Styles P.

R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike & El-P


Ten years ago, this collaboration would have sounded like a clunky April Fool’s joke. However, Company Flow-meets-Dungeon Family next year, as Brooklyn-meets-Adamsville. Mike Bigga and El-Producto have been at work on this album for years, and two of the smartest guys in Hip Hop music are expected to make joints that sound informed as well as experimental. Hopefully it puts each talent in front of audiences previously not exposed to their greatness. El-P’s track record with producing others’ albums (see Cage’s Hell’s Winter and Cannibal Ox’s The Cold Vein) is of the highest level. We are trying to get subs back in the trunk before this rolls out.

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded by Nicki Minaj


The emcee with 2010′s “Verse of The Year” has proved herself to be one of Rap’s most animated lyricists since Busta Rhymes. While her debut, Pink Friday may have been guilty of trying to do too much, after strong appearances with Lil Wayne, Drake and Big Sean, Oneka is the one to watch in ’12. Mainstream Hip Hop fans should tune in to see this 2008 DXnext alum step in and give Lil Wayne a run for his millions as YMCM’s sharpest spitter.

The Make Believe Album by David Banner


2005 belonged to Houston. 2008 belonged to Detroit. 2012 may belong to Mississippi. The Magnolia State’s Hip Hop pioneer David Banner, along with K.R.I.T. may shake things up with brutal honesty over-top self-produced beats. After making ethery commentary on 2011′s “Swag” (an inclusion on The Make Believe Album), expect D.B. to come out vocally swinging. In late ’10, David brought out one of his strongest works to date in Death of A Pop Star. Now removed from the controls of SRC Records, this Rap veteran may do for ’12 what Killer Mike did for ’08.

Godfathers by Kool G. Rap & Necro


For years, Necro’s rhyme delivery has been compared to Kool G. Rap, and the Psycho Logical Records’ founder will proudly admit that the Juice Crew spitter is a deep influence. As not all G Rap works have sounded cohesive since Roots of Evil, hardcore Hip Hop fans can count on this merging of the musicians to sound grimier than New York in the 1970s. Meanwhile, this is a perfect vehicle for Necro to bring his brand of “Death Rap” and amazing sources for sounds back into the ears of common Hip Hop fans. As Riches, Royalty and Respect went under the radars of most, this is a perfect collaboration for two cult followed icons.

What albums are you most looking forward to in 2012?

Young Buck Is Selling His Name

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Young Buck faces an obstacle that most rappers never want to come across during their music career. The Tennessee native and former G-Unit signee may have to sell his rap moniker as a result of his current bankruptcy case.

The Tennessean newspaper reports that the trustee administering the 30-year-old rapper’s estate plans to sell his trademarked “Young Buck” name along with other assets. Buck filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and Judge George C. Paine II recently signed an order converting the case from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation.

“My name, Young Buck, has been with me since I was 12, 13 years old,” Buck stated. “At the end of the day, it’s ridiculous. My name wasn’t given to me by G-Unit Records. They didn’t name me Young Buck. My mother calls me Young Buck.”

The conversion of his case does little to help Young Buck, born David Darnell Brown, who was close to signing with Birdman’s Cash Money label. The deal would have helped move the ‘Straight Outta Cashville’ rhymer out of debt slowly, being able to pay back child support he owes as well as the more than $10 million he reportedly owes 50 Cent and G-Unit Records.

Buck has been locked in a bitter legal dispute with the record label since 2008, which prevents him from recording any new material.


Will Diddy And Jay-Z Be First Hip-Hop Billionaires? Not So, Says Birdman

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In the high stakes battle for Hip Hop superiority, it appears that the two top money earners in the rap game – ShawnJay-ZCarter and SeanDiddyCombs respectively – are in a quiet duel to become the first billionaires by way of their shared industry.

With various streams of revenue flowing for both savvy businessmen, some unrelated to music, the potential is vast for both men according to a recent analysis from Forbes magazine. However, another Hip Hop mogul believes he and his team will eclipse Jay-Z and Diddy in the money race all in due time.

CEO of Cash Money Records BrianBirdmanWilliams threw his and protégé Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint names into the billionaire sweepstakes pot, defiantly stating that the YMCMB machine is well on its way to the top. “I think Young Money Cash Money would be the first billion-dollar brand in hip-hop,” said Birdman plainly in an email to Forbes referencing his label ventures. “We strong and growing every day as a brand and fast. Within the next few years we will be billionaires.”


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According to Forbes numbers, Diddy is at the halfway mark with an estimated net worth of $500 million, much of that tied up in Diddy’s business ventures such as his Sean John and Enyce clothing lines along with his stake in Ciroc vodka. Jay-Z is right behind his rich pal with assets that include a lucrative $10 million dollar Live Nation deal, the 40/40 club chain, cosmetic company Carol’s Daughter and his partial ownership of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets amongst other deals. Continuing the dollar tally, only Dr. Dre and 50 Cent are within range for the coveted billionaire status.

Feds Offer Jimmy Henchman A Plea In Return For Missing $100K

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A key witness against former rap manager/mogul James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond is close to striking a plea deal with prosecutors, according to reports.

According to TheSmokingGun.com, Khalil Abdullah, one of Rosemond’s associates and top members in the collective known as the Rosemond organization, is close to making the deal, if he returns a missing $100,000 to the government.

Abdullah allegedly entrusted the $100,000 to an unnamed associate, whom he cannot locate.

In order to receive the plea deal with prosecutors, Abdullah must forfeit the $100,000, which Abdullah allegedly stole from the Rosemond organization, which helped trigger the current federal investigation.

According to an indictment, Abdullah’s thieving helped lead to a bigger investigation into the Rosemond organization’s trafficking conspiracy.

DEA agents claim that the organization used Federal Express and other overnight couriers to send millions of dollars worth of narcotics and proceeds from New York to the West Coast, and back.

Abdullah, who knew that he was in the process of being indicted for his role in the cocaine distribution conspiracy, was the original person to contact lead prosecutor Todd Kaminsky, with information on the conspiracy.

Abdullah allegedly faxed a letter to prosecutors from a Kinko’s on April 25th, where he told agents about of a shipment that was being sent to a recording studio in New York, in a “road case” for music equipment.

When agents seized the road case they found $790,000 in $20 bills, which helped lead Kaminsky to indict the investigation’s main target, James Rosemond.

Abdullah, who is facing at least 10 years in prison for his role in distributing the cocaine, is seeking to receive a lesser sentence by testifying.

James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond was apprehended by authorities in New York on June 20th, after being on the run for nearly 2 weeks.

The following day, he appeared in Brooklyn federal court, where he pleaded not guilty to intentionally conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.

Police are also investigating Rosemond involvement in a murder for hire plot that resulted in the death of an associate of 50 Cent named Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher, who was killed last year, for allegedly smacking Rosemond’s son during a dispute in March of 2007.

50 Cent Contemplates Leaving Interscope

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It is no surprise that 50 Cent has been unhappy with his current record label. 50 has made this clear via his official Twitter account over the past couple of weeks. The rapper is prepping his 5th and final album in his contract with Interscope Records and some wonder if it might be his last on the label.

In an interview with MTV, 50 said the following concerning if he would resign: “I don’t know, It will all be clear in the negotiations following me turning this actual album in. And, of course, the performance and how they actually treat the work will determine whether you still want to stay in that position or not.”

Last week, the G-Unit head honcho went on a Twitter rant and vented his frustration about his current situation. The Queens rapper took matters into his own hands when he released the first single, Outlaw, for his new album Black Magic.

“It’s not necessarily [Dr.] Dre or [chairman] Jimmy [Iovine]; it’s more the guys that they pass the responsibilities on to,” said 50. “It takes longer for people, because they’ll be like, ‘OK, we’re gonna do this and we’re gonna do that,’ and the building will start having those conversations, but they’re not actually moving at that point.”

50 has said that he wouldn’t mind staying at Interscope but he’s also not opposed to a change in scenery.

The story is sure to develop further in the next couple of weeks.

50 Cent Calls His Relationship With Jay-Z Strictly ‘Business’

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Last year around this time, the ever controversial machine known to the masses as 50 Cent was busy sending disrespectful rhymes in the direction pointed at fellow New York rap superstar Jay-Z. For the past months the Queens native had been baiting the god MC on wax with the assistance of former Roc-A-Fella artist Beanie Sigel.

Following Jay And Eminem’s opening night of their “Home And Home” tour at Detroit’s Comerica Park, Fif and Jay-Z deaded their beef backstage after the two ran into each other.

“We got a chance to kick it for a minute,” 50 told MTV News. “I know people were interested in what that conversation was like. But they can ask Jay-Z. I take people’s actions as if it’s genuinely how they feel. I can only use what I saw you do as if that’s what you meant. I can’t understand what your motivation was prior to that.”

As things appeared to have taken a more peaceful route following the union, the G-Unit general may have just re-opened that can of worms. In a recent interview with MTV UK, Fif calls his relationship with Jay-Z “business” and says he uses it as leverage for his own interests.

“We don’t have those kinds of relationships” 50 declared. “These people are people I associate with. We are in the same business. We are not necessarily friends. We don’t call each other for no reason.”

“It’s not like we have something against each other to make us enemies,” Fiddy continued. “Me and Jay[-Z] will use each other. Repeatedly. For energy.

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