No major names this week, but a few things that certainly pique my interest, as well as a couple of “will they actually buy that?” bizarre releases. Let’s skip the small talk and get started, eh?

I’m not gonna lie-I’ve missed the Robert Glasper train up until now. How I missed the train? Not really sure. However, friends and music aficionados that I trust have talked the pianist up a lot lately, and I was fortunate enough to hear most of his new album, Black Radio, a couple of weeks ago. I was suitably impressed. Really, all it took was hearing Lalah Hathaway croon Sade’s “Cherish The Day” and I was in there like swimwear. The rest of the R&B and hip-hop music community is on board as well, considering the guests that appear on Black Radio. In addition to Miss Hathaway, Erykah Badu and Lupe Fiasco make appearances. This is definitely the R&B album to watch so far in 2012.

Also on the R&B tip, you might want to check for Estelle’s new album, All of Me. Unfortunately, this album has been delayed a million times and probably won’t reach it’s full potential here in the States-a shame because she’s extremely talented. She sings well, she raps well, and she’ll probably go down as a one-hit wonder thanks to the Grammy-winning single “American Boy.” Those of you on the fence about this album (probably outnumbered by the number of people who didn’t even know this album was coming out) might do well to pick it up and check it out. The lady’s got skills.

I don’t know much about Chiddy Bang. I think their name is God-awful. I know they’re from Philly, and I know that their gimmick of sorts is to rhyme over alternative and indie rock samples. Breakfast is the name of their debut studio album. We’ll see if all the blog love they’ve gotten over the last year or so will translate into record sales. I’m certainly interested.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are certainly a novelty. They’re a folky/bluegrass-y kinda band, but they’re black and they have a beatboxer. They’ve opened for Bob Dylan, they recorded a novelty remake of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ’em Up Style,” and their new album, Leaving Eden, hits stores today. They are joined on record store shelves by a motley crew of artists, including the reformed Cranberries. Dolores O’Riordan and company are back with their first album in eleven years entitled Roses. They are joined by fellow ’90s favorites Lyle Lovett (whose new album Release Me features a guest shot from k.d.lang) and Indigo Girl Amy Ray, whose latest solo effort is entitled Lung of Love.

If you read our Metal Monday column yesterday, you’re probably well aware that San Diego metal band Medius is releasing their debut album, Burns Going Down, today. They will be joined on store shelves by Nigerian singer Nneka, and, in the WTF? department, a new album by Ja Rule. Remember ten years ago, when Ja was on the radio every 10 seconds. Well, that was ten years ago. Now, the diminutive rapper is incarcerated, no one gives half a shit about him, and his new album Pain Is Love 2 has not one star-level guest artist to speak of. Lesson to learn? Times change very quickly. I’d make a joke here about 50 Cent killing his career, but Fiddy’s career ain’t looking too good these days, either.

As usual, get a full list of this week’s releases from the good folks at Pause and Play. Happy Tuesday!

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