The Most Anticipated Music of 2013

Surprise Beyhive! Christmas comes early

2012 was a breath of fresh air for R&B and hip-hop music. The year included diverse notable music from old and new artists including Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Robert Glasper, Bobby Womack, Nas, Saul Williams, Azealia Banks and more. 2013 is here, and with it comes the usual list of top-of-the-year, highly anticipated albums. From industry newcomers like Bridget Kelly to veterans such as D'Angelo and Beyoncé, music lovers can’t wait to hear what the New Year has to offer.

BEYONCÉ

No one doubts that 2013 will mark the return of Queen B. Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Miguel, Pharrell, Ryan Tedder and The-Dream have already confirmed their collaborations for Beyoncé’s upcoming studio project. The singer is prepping for her impending February 3 Super Bowl appearance, and still-untitled HBO documentary (which she also happens to be directing). Parts of the February 16 HBO special will reportedly focus on her recording the upcoming album.

D’ANGELO

Better late than never, right? D’Angelo’s long-awaited release could contain tracks like such as “Ain’t That Easy,” “In Another Life,” “1000 Deaths,” and the irresistible dance number, “Sugah Daddy.” (Most are featured on YouTube, live performances from the neo-soul pioneer’s 2012 European tour.) The Roots’ Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson has stated that roughly 30 tracks have been recorded over the last few years for D’s third album, and that’s it’s “pretty much 97% done.” Slated for sometime this year (we hope), the upcoming album will also give fans a chance to hear a new side of the singer: as a blazing electric guitarist.

NICKI MINAJ

According to the Young Money star, she’ll be following up her commercially disappointing The Re-Up release with a new album in 2013. Rumored to be titled Pink Friday: The Pinkprint, the album is sure to feature her patented combination of hip-pop collaborations.

MARIAH CAREY

Mariah Carey will release her 14th—yes, 14th—studio album this spring. Despite the fact that her first teaser single, last summer’s “Triumphant (Get ’Em),” hasn’t built much of a momentum (it pretty much fizzled and died), Mariah lovers will still be excited for Mimi’s new music in the new year.

LADY GAGA

The pop megastar has hinted at big plans for her fourth album, ARTPOP, due to be released this year. The multimedia release, most likely a double-album, will be made available as a mobile and computer app. Gaga has also revealed that she’s written more than 50 songs for the album. ARTPOP debuts this spring.

Nicki Minaj, D'Angelo, Beyoncé, 50 Cent... music lovers can’t wait to hear what the New Year has to offer.

50 CENT

It wouldn’t be a new year without 50 Cent making some kind of headlines in the news. His highly anticipated fifth album, Street King Immortal, will hit stores on February 26 and is set to be a star-studded affair. (Think Eminem, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy and more.) In habitual 50 fashion, expect some industry “beef” to accompany the new album as well.

AZEALIA BANKS

The wait is finally over. The Harlem rapper will release a follow up to one of 2012’s most interesting mixtapes, Fantasea, with her first full-length studio album, Broke With Expensive Taste. The foulmouthed MC announced that the first single from her debut long-player is entitled “Miss Amor.” The record is due on February 12.

BIG SEAN

The G.O.O.D. music rapper, who dropped his debut Finally Famous last June, is set to release his upcoming sophomore album, Hall of Fame, in early 2013. The first single, “Guap,” has seized the airwaves and can already be added to his list of hit singles (“My Last,” “Dance” and “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay”).

BRIDGET KELLY

Roc Nation’s own BeeKay recently debuted her first single, “Special Delivery,” from her 2013 upcoming album. Bridget Kelly’s critically acclaimed Every Girl EP was released in the fall of 2011, and showcased the 26-year-old’s vocal and songwriting talents.

RITA ORA

While Rita Ora has propelled herself into the public eye this year for one or two controversies, she’s also been making moves behind the scenes. 2013 will mark the US debut for the UK singer, and it’s safe to say her buzz has been built with live shows and her lead single, “How We Do (Party).” If it's anything like her UK debut, Ora, expect the record to feature some heavy-hitter appearances from Roc Nation label mates on the album as well.

ASHANTI

Ashanti’s “comeback” (we hope) album Braveheart will be her first album released in over five years, since The Declaration in 2008. (The record has already been delayed three times, from April 2012 to June to August… then finally early 2013.) The leadoff single, “The Woman You Love,” features Busta Rhymes.