Rap / Pop / R&B
Lil Wayne: Rebirth
The rapper's attempt at a rock album has been delayed repeatedly: once planned for an April 2009 street date, it has been pushed back until early 2010. Although there are a few rap tracks on the disc, Lil Wayne plays guitar throughout the album, and he's joined by Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravitz, and Travis Barker. The new February release date is probably firm, since Wayne may be headed to jail on a weapons charge at that time.
Sade: Soldier of Love
Sade Adu's first album in a decade (yes, Lover's Rock 78 came out in way back in 2000) will unleash its quiet storm in February.
Usher: Raymond v. Raymond
The superstar singer's sixth studio set -- said to be a deeply personal album that touches upon his recent divorce -- includes the single "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)."
Erykah Badu: New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh
The singer-musician's more analog and personal sequel to her acclaimed 2008 release will feature contributions from ?uestlove, Lil Wayne, 9th Wonder and Madlib.
The Houston rapper's long-delayed third major LP features an array of guests ranging from Ludacris to Good Charlotte.
The Game: The R.E.D. Album
Kanye West, Timbaland and Pharrell are among the producers on the L.A. rapper's Interscope debut, which follows 2008's LAX 65. Guests include Akon, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke.
Three 6 Mafia: Laws of Power
The Academy Award-winning Memphis rappers return with a tenth release that finds them working with outside producers (including DJ Tiesto) for just the second time.
Christina Aguilera: Bionic
(TBA - Spring)
2010 is shaping up to be a breakout year for the 29-year-old singer. Aguilera is set to star in her first feature film, a musical titled Burlesque that will be released in November. But, first, her "futuristic" new album Bionic might just win her some new fans. The disc, expected to arrive in April, finds Aguilera working with an intriguing array of producers and collaborators from outside of the pop world, including Sia, M.I.A., Goldfrapp, Ladytron, Santigold, and Le Tigre.
Andre 3000 [solo] / Big Boi [solo] / OutKast
Yes, we've heard the claims before: new solo albums from OutKast's Andre 3000 and Big Boi, and even a new OutKast album proper. While it didn't happen in 2007 -- or 2008, or 2009 -- 2010 could finally be the year that all three long-gestating projects reach fans. (If not, well, we'll just cut and paste this entry in next year's preview.) Out of the three, Big Boi's disc is the closest to certain; reportedly, his Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty could hit store shelves within months.
Drake: Thank Me Later
(TBA - Spring)
The Grammy-nominated singer/rapper (who, as a child actor, starred on Canada's "Degrassi: The Next Generation") has yet to release a full-length album, but that could change as early as March. The much-buzzed-about Thank Me Later includes contributions from The-Dream, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne.
The-Dream: Love King
(TBA - Spring)
The R&B singer-songwriter's third release was rumored to be his final album, although he has recently indicated a change of heart. The follow-up to the acclaimed Love vs. Money 83 is expected to arrive in May.
Missy Elliott: Block Party
The acclaimed rapper's seventh studio album -- expected in the first half of the year -- has been recorded twice, with many of the songs from the original 2007 sessions scrapped in favor of new tracks recorded last year. As always, Timbaland provides some of the production, and he's joined by fellow producers Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz and T-Pain and guests like Amy Winehouse and Lil Wayne.
Eminem: Relapse 2
The rapper's 2009 comeback album Relapse 59 didn't go over well with critics, but that didn't stop Em from recording a sequel. In addition to Dr. Dre, producers on the second Relapse (originally intended as another 2009 release put pushed back until sometime in 2010) are likely to include Just Blaze and Denaun Porter.
Lupe Fiasco: Lasers
The Grammy-winning rapper's long-awaited third album has gone through many names and permutations, but Lasers is finally expected to arrive later this year.
Kelis: Flesh Tone
(TBA - Spring)
The singer's fifth studio album will be her first release in four years, if it arrives as anticipated this April. The potential eight-song set -- her debut for new label Interscope -- includes production work by will.i.am, Boys Noize, and Diplo & Switch.
The Roots: How I Got Over
The socially conscious Philly hip-hop crew managed to find some time away from their day (night?) jobs as the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to record their ninth studio album. While the tracklist isn't yet set, the disc could include covers of both Frank Zappa and Cody Chesnutt.
Little is known about the rapper's next album (possibly entitled Good Ass Job), but he has recently been in the studio recording new tracks, and a 2010 release is likely.
Young Jeezy: Thug Motivation 103
The Southern rapper will play professor one more time when he drops his follow-up to The Recession 72 later this year, although Thug Motivation 103 was expected last year, too.
What do you think?
What albums are you most looking forward to this year? What did we leave out? Let us know in the comments section below.