The Top 25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2011

Admin February 18, 2011 0

What are the Top 25 most anticipated albumes of 2011? We’ll, needless to say, I can’t disagree with the list provided by PotholesInMyBlog.

1. Jay Electronica – Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn)

Tentative Release Date: TBA

Producers/Collaborators: Mike Chav, Just Blaze, Jay-Z, Mos Def

As elusive as Jay Electronica continues to be as an artist, we did actually get some music from him in 2010, if only a few songs. He went onto sign on with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and miraculously an album release is imminent. Considering the fact that most of us have been waiting for a mixtape or album since 2007 or earlier, it’ll be interesting to see whether he can deliver on a full length project. The “Shiny Suit Theory“ track, which features Jay-Z, is actually seven minutes long. We can expect the full version on Act II. I’m still not crazy about that Mountain Dew commercial, but I understand that he also needs to get the promotion machine happening.

2. Kanye West & Jay-Z – Watch the Throne

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Kanye West, Lex Luger, No I.D., Q-Tip

Fresh off the success of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye is prepping to release Watch The Throne, a collaborative album with Jay-Z. This album has all the makings of; “it looks good paper,” but will it work? I say that simply because if Kanye West is outsourcing production, like he did on the first single “H.A.M.”, produced by Lex Luger, we could be getting a compilation album instead of a Kanye West-produced album. The latter would be more interesting, in my opinion. Either way, with these two superstars tied to the project commercial success is inevitable. Replay value, however, is up for debate.

3. Dr. Dre – Detox

Tentative Release Date: Fall/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, DJ Khalil, Alex Da Kid, Scott Storch

After numerous leaks and proposed guest features over the past few years, Detox is finally set to be released this year. Over ten years and two singles (“Kush” and “I Need a Doctor”) in the making, it’s still hard to say what to expect from this album. An actual Dr. Dre-produced single would’ve been nice. Is that too much to ask? I’ll reserve judgment until I hear the album, but everything up until now has been questionable at best. I’m really hoping he enlists West Coast artists like he did on 2001 because that is what most people want to hear. After reading about all the big name collaborations, though, that’s up in the air like Detox’s release date.

4. J. Cole – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: No I.D., Pharrell Williams, Jim Jonsin, Salaam Remi, Elite

J. Cole had a successful 2010. After touring all over North America and releasing a solid mixtape with Friday Night Lights, his Roc Nation debut is getting closer to dropping. Lyrically J. Cole is definitely one of the most promising new emcees in the game, and he’s producing a majority of his debut album with no big name features. There is some talk that Jay-Z might be featured on it, but that remains to be seen. Outside of his need to write better hooks, I really don’t have much to complain about with J. Cole. I think he’s put himself in a really good position in anticipation of his debut.

5. Pharoahe Monch – W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Exile, Marco Polo, M-Phazes, Samiyam, Diamond D, Styles P, Phonte, Jill Scott, Jean Grae, Mela Machinko, Royce Da 5’9?

It’s hard to believe Pharoahe Monch’s last album Desiredropped back in 2007. W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) was supposed to drop last year, but it got pushed back. The first single “Shine,” produced by Diamond D, wasn’t bad, but new single “Clap (One Day)” is an undeniable anti-police brutality anthem. M-Phazes produced that song and a few more tracks on the album. I’m eager to see how the rest of the album shapes up because making all those guest features work is no small feat. Monch has described this new album as something of a ‘throwback’ album from the 90’s. I’m curious to hear what Exile and Samiyam contribute to the project. They’re both fantastic producers who should be getting more beat placements.

6. Raekwon – Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Scram Jones, Erick Sermon, Mathematics, Bronze Nazareth, Cilvaringz, DJ Khalil, Tommy Nova, BT, Selasi, Bluerocks, Alchemist, Sean C & LV, Havoc & Xtreme, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Rick Ross, Estelle, Lloyd Banks.

Fresh of the success of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… II in 2009, Raekwon returned less than a year later with Wu Massacre, the group effort with Method Man & Ghostface Killah. The album felt rushed and was met with mixed reviews. Fortunately, Raekwon stayed busy with music throughout 2010, most notably with collaborations on Kanye West’s album as well as Ghostface Killah’s Apollo Kids. Between album features and touring he managed to record a new solo album which is looking incredible on paper. Features include Black Thought, Busta Rhymes & Nas. As long as the production maintains the Wu-Tang vibe, I think Raekwon continues exactly where he left off with OB4CL II.

7. Q-Tip – The Last Zulu

Tentative Release Date: Winter/2011

Producers/Collaborators: TBA

Although Q-Tip is mostly getting attention for the on-going A Tribe Called Quest documentary fiasco, he did spill the beans on his new album last December during an interview with Shady 45. The new album is called The Last Zulu. He’s described it as a “concept album that combines world music and boom-bap to make a something that is probably going to be the hardest shit I ever did.” World music and hip-hop together literally makes me cringe. Remember that Nas & Damian Marley album? Uhm, yeah. I trust Q-Tip’s production because his track record speaks for itself. When I think of the word “Zulu”, the first thing that comes to mind is Afrika Bambaataa with “Planet Rock”. If Q-Tip is looking to incorporate music influences from that break-beat/electro-funk era, this could be very interesting.

8. Amy Winehouse – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: TBA

Producers/Collaborators: Salaam Remi, Mark Ronson, Cee-Lo

After two critically acclaimed albums and battles with alcohol, substance abuse and legal issues, Winehouse’s press for the last few years has been nothing but tabloid fodder. Five years after her breakthrough album Back to Black, she finally appears ready to drop a follow-up. She recently toured with Janelle Monaé and Mayer Hawthorne in Brazil. Long time collaborator Salaam Remi is slated to produce the majority of her follow-up, and there is a possibility of a Cee-Lo duet. There was an article last year discussing a possible album with her, Raphael Saadiq and Questlove (of the Roots). I won’t be pessimistic about the likelihood of that project; I’ll just its great that Amy is back in the studio.

9. Santigold – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: TBA

Producers/Collaborators: Diplo, Q-Tip

It’s been about three years since Santigold released her debut. The success of that album has lead to collaborations with N*E*R*D, Jay-Z, Kanye West and David Byrne, just to name a few. In addition to her previous collaborator Diplo, Q-Tip is slated to produce on her follow-up. I’m curious to see what comes of their collaboration. She was already a good songwriter and producer on the debut so I don’t expect a letdown on the sophomore effort. I’m looking forward to another good summer album from her.

10. Common The Dreamer, The Believer

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Kanye West, No I.D.

Is anyone still playing Common’s Universal Mind Control album from 2008? Don’t answer that. It’s still hard for me to fathom that Common has regressed on his last two albums. He recently performed “Believe” in Hawaii which is a new song off his upcoming album. It definitely sounds reminiscent to the intro from the Be. The talent and ability are never in question with Common lyrically, but the last album was an utter disappointment. I’m looking for him to bounce back with a good album this time around.

11. James Blake – James Blake

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: TBA

I can’t think of any new artist that has the collective interest of the writers on this blog like James Blake. He’s a talented electronic artist from the UK whose music incorporates dubstep and ambient sounds along with stripped down vocals. Sonically, he kind of reminds me of the Jamie Lidell off Multiply with a more minimalist approach. I’m certain we’ll be discussing his album more as the year goes on.

12. Big K.R.I.T. – Return of 4eva

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: TBA

Big K.R.I.T., released one of the best mixtapes of 2010 withK.R.I.T. Wuz Here. It was so good that his label actually re-packaged as it a full album release on iTunes. The Southern emcee writes and produces his music, which ranges from street to introspective and bluesy. His potential is unlimited, and it’s easy to understand why he’s been a permanent fixture on our blog for the past year or so. Now he is signed to Def Jam, so the promotion is questionable, but if his music remains consistent, the people are sure to follow.

13. Little Dragon Ritual Union

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011


Swedish electronic group Little Dragon has quietly been making a name for themselves since 2007. After releasing two very good albums and touring across North America with The Gorillaz and N*E*R*D they’re set to drop their third full-length album this spring. For those unfamiliar with Little Dragon, they blend electronic, funk/soul and synth-pop to create one the best live shows. I’ve been a fan since 2008, and Yukimi Nagano continues to get better as a vocalist. It’ll be interesting to see if they seek out any collaboration for the new album.

14. My Morning Jacket – Wholesome

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Tucker Martine

We finally get a follow-up to 2008’s Evil Urges. The band describes the new album as a throwback to the first three albums. Evil Urges had a more soulful vibe in comparison to their earlier work, which was more laid back indie rock. You may remember front-man Jim James from The Root’s “Dear God 2.0”off How I Got Over. After pursuing side projects for the past few years, all five group members are back together and set to drop a promising new album. I wonder how many people became fans of the group after their appearance on the animated series “American Dad” in 2009?

15. Kaki King – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: Winter/2011


Kaki King’s new album will be the female guitarist follow up to last year’s album Junior. After spending the past few years touring the world, collaborating with artists like Timbaland (onShock Value II) and scoring movies (Into The Wild), she’s ready to release new music. The Atlanta-based artist’s new album will probably be more acoustic, using several different guitars. She’ll be touring this spring. The album is slated for a winter release.

16. Arctic Monkeys – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: Winter/2011

Producers/Collaborators: TBA

The Arctic Monkeys’ 2009 album Humbug didn’t really interest me in the least bit. It sounded more emo/melancholy in some respects, like something by Death Cab for Cutie. It certainly wasn’t the infectious and fun record that Favourite Worst Nightmare was. It’s hard to gauge what to expect from the new project since the group keeps it close to the vest with album info. Every artist has the one artistic, slightly left-field album, and I’m hoping they’ve made that album so we can get back to some good indie rock.

17. Phonte – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: Fall/2011

Producers/Collaborators: TBA

I had mixed feelings on the last Little Brother album Leftback. It did, however, provide one of my favorite tracks of 2010 in “Tigallo For Dolo”. I think for all the naysayers that proclaim Phonte doesn’t rhyme anymore that song really summed it up well. The good news is he dropping a solo album this year. The new album is expected to “be more hip-hop this go-around, with some singing mixed in.” Phonte has really grown from being a good emcee to an even better songwriter. It’ll be great to see how he fuses the strengths from Little Brother and The Foreign Exchange albums for his solo debut. As long as Khrysis is involved in some capacity I’m good.

18. Jose James – Untitled

Tentative Release Date:

Producers/Collaborators: TBA

Brownswood Recordings artist Jose James delivered one of the best albums of 2010 with Blackmagic. He released second album with friend and collaborator Jef Neve for their jazz album For All We Know. In the process of touring in support of both projects he somehow found time to start recording a follow-up toBlackmagic, which is set to be released before the end of the year. Flying Lotus seems to be the obvious choice in terms of collaborators based on their track record.

19. The Strokes – Angles

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Joe Chicarelli

The band started recording for Angles back in 2009 but due to disagreements on what songs should be on final pressing they’ve had to delay the release a number of times. The first single is titled “Under Cover of Darkness”. I had mixed feelings about their last album, 2006?s First Impressions of Earth. It had good songs but overall low replay value. I’m hoping they get it together because coming back five years later off an underwhelming album doesn’t cut it. Hopefully they can recapture some of the magic from their earlier albums.

20. Ben Westbeech – There’s More to Life Than This

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Soul Clap, Lovebirds aka Sebastian Döring and Sonar Kollektiv, Georg Levin,

Ben’s last album Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life was one of my personal favorites in from 2007. It spawned numerous remixes to his single “So Good Today”. Four years later he’s ready to release the follow up which includes his catchy first single “Slowly”. Ben has always managed to fuse electronic, soul, funk and down-tempo into his music, and it’ll be interesting to see whether he expands on that sonically or opts for a more polished pop sound on his sophomore effort.

21. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

Tentative Release Date: Spring/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Bjorn Yttling

If you’re into quality indie pop rock with electronic influences then Lykke Li is for you. This Swedish vocalist has been hard at work promoting her last album Youth Novels, and secretly planning out her new album. She’s just recently premiered a new video for “Follow Rivers”, which is decent, even if it’s not as funky as the first single “Get Some”. I’m convinced there’s something in the water in Sweden. So many funky groups are from there: Lykke Li, Little Dragon, Peter Bjorn and John, and Miike Snow, just to name a few.

22. Oddisee – People Hear What They See

Tentative Release Date: Summer/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Oddisee,Tranqill, Olivier Daysoul

Oddisee continues to be one of the most talented and consistent producers in the game. Between producing for Olivier Daysoul, Finale and recording a Diamond District follow-up, he’s set to release his first solo album, People Hear What They See. Oddisee’s music has been a mainstay in my collection since hisOddisee 101 mixtape from 2007. I think he’s an underrated emcee mainly because he’s been behind boards producing for so long. I’m definitely interested to see what comes of this album because the production on Diamond District was incredible. You have to figure he kept his best beats for his solo album.

23. Mike Bigga & EL-P – R.A.P. Music (Rebellious African People Music)

Tentative Release Date: Summer/2011

Producers/Collaborators: EL-P

Mike Bigga (formerly Killer Mike) & EL-P are definitely a musical pairing I didn’t expect, but when you consider the Flying Lotus track “Swimming” that Mike Bigga covered, it may not be too crazy after all. Mike Bigga and El-P both have range in terms of the music they’ve released in their respective careers. Based on the snippet I’ve heard the music is clearly unlike anything else that’s out. R.A.P. Music is set to be released through Adult Swim sometime this summer.

24. Pusha T – Untitled

Tentative Release Date: Winter/2011

Producers/Collaborators: Kanye West

Most of us are still waiting on the Fear of God mixtape to drop. It initially got pushed back because Pusha T was featured on “Runaway” and “So Appalled” off Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With Pusha T signing on with Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label, his solo debut is easily of one of the years most anticipated albums. He’s already put in production sessions with Bangladesh, Swizz Beatz and, of course, Kanye West. Ultimately, as long as Kanye doesn’t water down Pusha T’s music I’m good.

25. Waajeed & Invincible – Detroit Summer

Tentative Release Date: TBA

Producers/Collaborators: Wajeed

Last summer Waajeed & Invincible dropped Detroit Summer, which is in preparation for a collaboration album by the same name. These two first worked together on “Detroit Winter” off Platinum Pied Pipers’s Triple P back in 2005. Invincible combines strong lyricism with social and political narratives, while Wajeed continues to push the boundaries of hip-hop, funk and soul on production. Outside of a new album from Elzhi or Random Axe, I can’t think of any other album I’m anticipating more coming out of Detroit.

Honorable list

Roc Marciano – Marcberg
Jean Grae – Cake or Death
Random Axe – Untitled
Talib Kweli – Prisoner Of Consciousness
Evidence – Cats & Dogs
Lupe Fiasco – L.A.S.E.R.S.
Blu – Godlee Barnes
Atmosphere – The Family Sign
The Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2
Mike Bigga – I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind 3
Elzhi – Elmatic
Diamond District – March On Washington
Black Thought – The Talented Mr. Trotter EP
Maxwell – Untitled
Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some

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