Toni Braxton

WE KNOW YOU WOULD rather be outside riding your bike or mountain climbing or swimming at the beach. But until that perfect 80-degree, zero humidity, slightly breezy, lazy day comes about, we have other ideas about how you could spend your time. We’ve taken all the guesswork out of what to do in the coming months and pulled together this best-of-summer guide. We promise, you will be entertained. You can thank us later.

It’s shaping up to be a good season for R&B  after several seasons of straight candy-pop hits. Perhaps this go-round, soul (or soul-drenched hip-hop) will top the charts. Between now and Labor Day, be on the lookout for new hits from Tank, Timbaland, Brandy, Dwele, Take 6, Dave Hollister, Bobby Valentino, Joe Budden, B.o.B., T.I., Prodigy, M.I.A., Tamela Mann (yes, she’s finally coming out with a gospel album, Best Days), Usher and Curren$y. Usher’s album is the best bet: Looking for Myself should debut around the beginning of the season.

Hankering for a concert? Wale, Ledisi, Lupe Fiasco, Melanie Fiona, Trey Songz and Toni Braxton will be on tour. You also can’t go wrong hearing the Count Basie Orchestra and Esperanza Spalding at the Montreal Jazz Festival (June 28—July 7; montrealjazzfest.com), an assortment of rappers at Lollapalooza in Chicago (August 3—5; lollapalooza.com) and an array of talent, including Common, at Milwaukee’s Summerfest (June 27—July 8; summerfest.com)

Read more in the June 2012 issue of EBONY Magazine on page 38.