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Top 10 Rap Albums - February 2012

Dive in for February's hottest new rap albums


2012 is off to a sluggish start. I skipped January -- as I've done for six years now -- because it's typically the weakest month of the year. There's no bigger insult than trying to convince a music lover to buy a bunch of middling projects by Z-grade emcees. That said, February isn't allout flames, either. But it offers the first real spark of the year, led by Big K.R.I.T.'s latest project, 4eva N a Day. Also out this month: new albums from Too $hort, Copywrite, and 40 Glocc. Peep game.

10. 40 Glocc - 'Big Bad 4-0: New World Agenda'

© ZooLife

Is there room for a tough-talking G-Unit rapper named after a semi-automatic pistol? 40 Glocc is willing to find out. His first proper LP has suffered more pushbacks than John Legend's hairline. This month, 40 will try again and he'll need all the luck money can buy.
Guests: Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Prodigy, Cee Lo, Twista, Yo Gotti
Release Date: February 28, 2012

9. Too $hort - 'No Trespassing'

© Dangerous Music
This is album #19 (if you exclude collaborative projects, EPs, etc.). Number Eighteen was light on guests. This time, Short Dogg brought some famous friends, notably Fif and Snoop. And yes, that silly thing to the left of your screen is the official artwork. Only a rapper of Too $hort's caliber could get away with a circa 90s, No Limit-esque cover in 2012.
Guests: 50 Cent, E-40, Kokane, Snoop Dogg
Release Date: February 28, 2012

8. Knowledge Medina & Numonics - 'Never Enough'


Numonics is the producer. Knowledge Medina is the MC. Together, they map the sound of hopelessness with depth and attitude. Numonics conceived the EP's mood in a hospital bed, while recovering from a heart attack. Their tale of triumph over tribulation fuels much of Never Enough.

Guests: Reks, Co$$, J NiCS, Jon The Barber
Release Date: February 7, 2012

7. Madlib - 'Medicine Show 13: Black Tape'

© Madlib Invazion

Still drunk on Madlib's 12-album Medicine Show series? How about a hangover treat? The revered beatmaker has summoned a 13th release as a bonus tape to round out the series. It's sixty minutes of Madlib stomping all over the playground.
Release Date: February 28, 2012

6. Tyga - 'Careless World:Rise of the Last King'


No introduction needed for this Compton rapper with T.I. swagger. Just a disc full of hip-hop party anthems. Careless World is Tyga's second album and his first as a Young Money artist. He's joined on the album by mostly YMCMB cohorts. Beats by 40, Jess Jackson and others. For fans of Big Sean.

Guests: Pharrell, Soulja Boy, J. Cole, Big Sean, and every member of Young Money/Cash Money
Release Date: February 21, 2012

5. Ski Beatz 24 Hour Karate School Presents: Twilght Zone

Producer Ski Beatz reloads his 24 Hour Karate School series with an 11-track album, his third in two years. The slick keys and thick drums on Twilght Zone will likely up your love for Ski.
Guests: Curren$y, Mac Miller, Murs, Tabi Bonney, and Olamide Faison
Release Date: February 14, 2012

4. Ja Rule - 'Pain Is Love 2'

The Prince of Rap & B returns with the sequel to his multi-platinum album. Part Two reunites Ja with 7 Aurelius who helped mold his sound in the early oughts. Seven produced PIL 2 in its entirety and calls it Ja's “most provocative and his most personal album to date.”

Guests: Kalenna Harper (of Diddy-Dirty Money), Leah Sigel, and Anita Louise
Release Date: February 28, 2012

3. Planet Asia - 'The Black Belt Theater'

Here it is, Planet Asia's long anticipated kung-fu album. Many rappers are quick to describe their albums as movie-on-wax, but Asia is one of the few with the chops to deliver. "I wanted to make the album like a movie, something you would see in a theater," he says. "That's why it has so many features. All the guests feel like different characters in the movie." That guest list is a mixbag of usual suspects (Strong Arm Steady, Talib Kweli), newbies (Fashawn, Torae), and plain weird surprises (Paul Wall). The album is produced almost exclusively by little known boardsman Dirtydiggs, with Oh No and Khrysis chipping in here and there.
Guests: Raekwon, Ras Kass, Camp Lo, Strong Arm Steady, Fashawn, Willie The Kid, Torae, Nio Tha Gift
Release Date: February 28, 2012

2. Copywrite - 'God Save the King'

© Man Bites Dog

Walking human controversy Copywrite is back with a new batch of songs. This one has all the ingredients of a Copy album: ambitious concepts, fresh metaphors, multi-syllabic flows, robust production, etcetera etcetera. There's also an undercurrent of spirituality running through God Save the King. Yet, as is always the case with anything Copywrite these days, it's non-music stuff that's dominating the conversation. “I don’t want my new Christian audience to buy this album," he tells Allhiphop.com. "I don’t want people to think you can live on both sides of the fence. I’m even putting a disclaimer in the album. I’m not playing around with this."
Guests: Heltah Skeltah, RjD2, Roc Marciano, Evidence, Torae
Release Date: February 28, 2012

1. Big K.R.I.T. - '4eva N a Day'

Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. is wrapping up work on his Def Jam debut, Live from the Underground. That one is set for June (delayed because K.R.I.T. went sample crazy and the label needs time to scale the paperwork hurdle). Meanwhile, he's prepped yet another mixtape to keep fans busy. K.R.I.T. says 4eva N a Day is about the diverse group of people he's met throughout his music journey. "You meet a lot of people and learn about their stories and their lives, what touched them," he says. "I really wanna touch on that."
Release Date: February 20, 2012

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