In 2011, R&B was severely slacking. In fact, there were only about 4-5 major releases from R&B artist that we were even kind of excited about, and even those albums sort of just fizzled out. However, 2012 looks incredibly promising for the genre. Those who took a break in 2011 to work on their new albums will be dropping, those who were E. Honda arm-thrusted out of 2011 with push backs, will see their dreams realized in 2012. It’s a solid bunch, so check it out in full.

Alicia Keys – TBA

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: N/A
Label: RCA Records
Songs: “A Place Of My Own.”

For much of 2011 for Alicia Keys was focused on two things: saving the world and being a mother. Now the diva, who celebrated 10 years since her debut album was released in the summer of 2011, will step back behind the piano to make some more classic hits for us on her fifth studio album due in 2012. She already debuted the piano driven uplifting ballad “A Place Of My Own” at the iHeartMusicFestival late last year, and if that’s any indication of where the album’s headed – it might just be her strongest yet.

 

Ameriie – Cymatika Vol. 1

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Fenix Rising / Def Jam
Songs: “Outside Your Body”

It’s been three years since Ameriie’s last album, and since then – she has dropped an extra ‘i’ in her name, and got married to her long time music partner, Lennie Nicholson. However, what she’s got cooked up for this album may catch your ear as she experiments with different sounds and strays away from the more typical R&B concepts. Exploring electronica, house, New Wave, and dubstep – Ameriie’s new album may be one of the most compelling LP’s of the year.

 

Ashanti – TBA

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Written  Entertainment
Songs: “The Woman You Love” featuring Busta Rhymes

The returns keep pouring in, and now Ms. Ashanti is up to bat as she preps her new album. Her last album was  2008 with The Declaration,  which was a solid but safe album from the R&B Diva. While not much has been spilled about the album other than it will be produced her her own label Written Entertainment, her new single “The Woman You Love” boasts a much more aggressive Ashanti, which may be exactly what she needs to keep her head afloat in this game.

 

Brandy – TBA

Album Number: 6th
Release Date: TBA
Label: RCA
Songs:
N/A

In the 90s, you couldn’t tell Brandy anything. Top 10 singles, multi-platinum albums, popular television show – Brandy was all that AND a bag of chips. But since the release of her 2004 album Afrodisiac, her sales and notoriety as one of the premier R&B females has dropped considerably. Her last album Human was her worst performing to date, and now she feels like she’s got one more chance left to make an impression. With everything going against her, she’s been in the studio looking for the right sound, meshing with the right songwriters, and hopes to possibly turn her career around with this 2012 release. She’s been in the studio with Frank Ocean, Monica, Rico Love, Danja, Stargate, Ne-Yo, and more – hoping to find the perfect sound.

 

Chris Brown – Fortune

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: Spring 2012
Label: RCA Records
Songs: “Strip” featuring Kevin McCall ; “Open Road (I Love Her)”; “Treading Waters”

His full fledged return was solidified with the album F.A.M.E, which shot to #1 and spawned 3 #1 single in the form of “Deuces”, “Look At Me Now”, and “Beautiful People”. Now he plans to release the follow up, and moreso the continuation to that cut called, Fortune – which is scheduled for a mid 2012 release. The album will be lead by the song “Strip” featuring Kevin McCall and “Biggest Fan” – which will follow shortly after. Chris Brown dominated much of 2011, can he continue the reign into 2012?

 

Ciara – TBA

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Epic Records
Songs: N/A

Since the release of her 2009 album Fantasy Ride, Ciara’s career has been on a downward spiral – culminating with only 37,000 copies sold with her last album Basic Instinct and a full release from Jive. But when one door closes, another one opens – and according to her new boss, her new album is set to be Epic. L.A. Reid has signed her to his new Epic Records, and hopes to revitalize what has become of her career thus far and hopefully thrust her back to the top spot.

 

Dawn Richard – GoldenHeart

Album Number: 1st
Release Date: TBA
Label: Bad Boy Records
Songs: “Save Me From U (SMFU)”

Since the demise of Danity Kane, fans of the once popular girl group have been anticipating what the lone member would have in store for her eventual solo effort. Demos have leaked, mixtapes have been dropped, and she was even part of the trio Diddy – Dirty Money which released their project Last Train To Paris in late 2010. In 2012, she finally plans to release the first part of her music triology, GoldenHeart and the world will get a taste of Dawn in her own element.

 

Elle Varner – Perfectly Imperfect

Album Number: 1st
Release Date: TBA
Label: MBK Entertainment / RCA Records
Songs: “Only Wanna Give It To You” featuring J. Cole; “Refill”; “Soundproof Room”

Bubbly. Fashionable. Soulful. Those three words describe the newest singer to break out on the scene, Elle Varner – who has captured our hearts with her debut single “Only Wanna Give It To You” featuring J. Cole. Topping 106 & Park and VH1 Soul countdowns, she has firmly cemented herself as an artist to look out for in 2012 and we’re very much looking forward to her debut Perfectly Imperfect. Songs like “Refill”, “Soundproof Room”, and “So Fly” all showcase that this girl has so much to offer.

 

Estelle – All Of Me

Album Number: 3rd
Release Date: TBA
Label: Atlantic Records
Songs: “Break My Heart” featuring Rick Ross; “Fall In Love” featuring Nas; “Thank You”

With the import of successful british acts recently like Adele and Jessie J, Estelle may have kicked off the trend with her smash single “American Boy” back in 2008. However, since her amazing album Shine – she has been in the studio with producers such as Jerry Wonda, David Guetta, Don Cannon, DJ Frank E, and more for her follow up set to drop in early 2012.

 

Frank Ocean – TBA

Album Number: 1st
Release Date: TBA
Label: Def Jam Records
Songs: “Super Rich Kids”

Nostalgia, Ultra was one of the best R&B albums of 2011 that never was. It’ll never be nominated for a Grammy, it’ll never chart on the Billboard Top 200 – but more-so than that, Frank Ocean has begun the opening stages of cementing his legacy. The critically acclaimed Nostalgia, Ultra propelled him to new plateaus, writing for Beyoncé on her album as well as 2 credited appearances on one of the biggest hip hop records of 2011, Watch The Throne. He’s more than captured the attention of the world, and set all eyes on his 2012 record. Always writing, always conceptualizing, one has to think it he might have an album of the year candidate on his hands.

 

Janelle Monae – TBA

Album Number: 2nd
Release Date: TBA
Label:  Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records
Songs: N/A

How do you top The ArchAndroid? Recieving nearly flawless reviews, Janelle Monae created an album that got her worldwide attention on reputation alone. With people hearing what she has to offer, she now has the power in her hands. She now has people wanting more of her, loving the way she creates. She plans on releasing two new albums in 2012, which more than likely be the continuation to her conceptual storyline.

 

Keyshia Cole – Woman To Woman

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Geffen
Songs: N/A

With her last album Calling all Hearts, it became painfully obvious that while fans loved to see Keyshia Cole happy with her new son and husband – they’re not feeling those records such as much. The results showed with lackluster sales and singles and the immediate scrap of any promotion for the album, which lead to Keyshia changing up a ton of things in her life. That change will be explored in her new album Woman To Woman which will feature a slew of producers such as Boi-1da, Bangladesh, JUSTICE League and more. She’s also reached out to Brandy, Monica, and Trey Songz for the album.  Not only that, but the album will be preceeded by the reality TV show Family First, which is scheduled to be played simultaneously with the release of the album.

 

Monica – New Life

Album Number: 7th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Atlantic Records
Songs: “Anything” featuring Rick Ross ; “Until It’s Gone”

Originally scheduled to come out in late 2011, but with label troubles, and her singles not as strong as the ones that were on her previous effort Still Standing – she found her album pushed back for the right unveiling. As with Still Standing, Monica looks to deliver quality R&B to the masses again, hoping to deliver another solid effort for her fans to enjoy.

 

Ne-Yo – The Cracks In Mr. Perfect

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Compound / Def Jam
Songs: “The Way You Move” featuring Trey Songz and T-Pain

Libra Scale was Ne-Yo’s last album, and while it did provide quite a few solid cuts – it didn’t really catch on. Ne-Yo cites that as possibly going over people’s head with the idea of a concept album based around him having superpowers and such. However, with his latest album that’s scheduled to drop in 2012 – he plans on going back to basics with his latest album The Cracks In Mr. Perfect. Thus far, the first cut released “The Way You Move” has definitely shown that he’s making a return to solid R&B cuts. I’m anticipating it.

 

R. Kelly – Black Panties

Album Number: 12th
Release Date: Spring 2012
Label: RCA Records
Songs: N/A

So what do you do when you’re one of the most respected R&B artists of all time and you almost lose the ability to sing? Well, if you’re R. Kelly – you get back in the studio and sing like you’ve never sang before. R. Kelly’s brief throwback to motown with the R&B sound in late 2010 proved to the world he still got it, after a failed 12 Play sequel and Trey Songz running the game. With that, he plans to return to making bedroom bangers with the ultra sexy album, Black Panties.

 

Ryan Leslie – Les Is More

Album Number: 3rd
Release Date: TBA
Label: Next Selection
Songs: “Joan Of Arc”, “Beautiful Lie”, “Good Girl”

After his self-titled debut album Ryan Leslie and Transition, you’re ready for a new Ryan Leslie album – right? Well he’s dropping his new album Les Is More in 2012. But the catch is, he’s going to be rapping the entire album. Rather than channel emotions of heartbreak, love, or further flaunt his lavish lifestyle through singing – he’s going to be spitting bars. However, the songs themselves don’t sound bad at all as he hasn’t lost his sound sonically, can he win us over with a rap album like he did on his first two albums?

 

Tank – Savior

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Atlantic Records
Songs: “Compliments” featuring Kris Stephens ; “Next Breath”

There’s no one more solid in the game than Tank. His pen game is strong, his vocal game is solid, and he has yet to come out with a bad album by any means. His last effort Now Or Never being looked over so much was an absolute travesty, but he seems content being more known for his craft and what he’s contributed to R&B. With songs like “Compliments” and “Next Breath”, he hopes his album Savior will save women all around the world.

 

The-Dream – Love IV: Diary Of A Madman

Album Number: 4th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Radio Killa Records / Def Jam
Songs: “ROC”

Finally, the story continues. Personally, his last album Love King left a bad taste in his mouth – but he looks to be back in top form with what he’s dropped lately. If 1977 was any indication of what he’s got in store for us, he might be able to pull off one of my favorite releases of the year.

 

Trey Songz – Chapter 5

Album Number: 5th
Release Date: TBA
Label: Atlantic Records
Songs: N/A

In the past few years, Trey Songz has catapulted from a virtually unknown R&B artist to a sex symbol and R&B phenomenom. Scoring hit after hit with his last few projects, he’s taken a break to work on his next LP which wille explore much more storytelling. He’s also assured that we’re going to get the best album he’s ever done to date. It’s going to be hard to top his breakout album Ready.

Usher – TBA

Album Number: 7th
Release Date: TBA
Label: RCA Records
Songs: N/A

Usher rarely disappoints if any. While he hasn’t made anything that has topped his album Confessions since, the man’s talent, vocal ability, and ability to make hits is absolutely unquestioned. It seems like everytime Usher takes a break, we say “Damn, I need a new Usher new album..” and at that exact time he drops something new and takes the world by storm. Usher’s on the road to legendary, and with his sound slowly changing and evolving – we might just have the most compelling Usher album since Confessions.

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