The most anticipated albums this week come from artists from all ends of the spectrum.
Jennifer Hudson and Luke James' respective projects got hit with numerous delays, but the day has finally arrived when both unveil some of their most personal work for the masses to hear. Perhaps the biggest deal about these two albums is that they argue that a more traditional take on R&B is still viable in today's musical landscape.
While veteran JHud and rising star Luke James have R&B covered, hip-hop fans will be satisfied with Bishop Nehru and DOOM's collaboration, 'NehruvianDOOM.' Unlike 'Madvillainy 2,' this project actually exists.
These albums from Jennifer Hudson, Luke James and Bishop Nehru are what you should be listening to next. And we're giving you five reasons why you need to pay attention to each.
It's funny how what happened 10 years ago doesn't seem like that big of a deal now. That was when Jennifer Hudson got voted out from the Top 7 on 'American Idol,' a crime so unjustifiable and outrageous that it led Elton John to cry racism. The joke is on America, because she's one of the most famous contestants to arise from the show. In fact, she's now more relevant than the reality singing competition as she releases her third studio album. 'JHUD' is a throwback to the brassy sounds of '60s and '70s era R&B. The songstress just isn't bowing at the altar of the genre's queens, though. Her charisma and powerful vocals make those links to Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin far clearer than instrumental similarities can.
5 Reasons to Listen to Jennifer Hudson's 'JHUD'
1. Three years have passed since she released her last album, 'I Remember Me.'
2. This project represents all things JHud. "It’s different expressions of me as an artist, a girl, a music lover,” Hudson revealed.
3. The singer was hit with rumors of her Illuminati affiliation in the months leading up to this album. Of course, she slammed them saying that she was a Christian woman.
4. 'JHUD' is her only LP without a Hot 100 hit before its release. That's not to say the singles aren't high quality, though. Listen to find out.
5. 'Moan,' a song featured on the album, is in memory of her mother. She was tragically shot to death in a double murder in 2008.
Listen to Jennifer Hudson's 'It's Your World' Feat. R. Kelly 2
Luke James got some shine when he opened for Beyonce during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour but the crooner is shining solo here. He proves that with his past releases -- James is talented enough to make his own path. Like Jhene Aiko with her debut LP, he's going to try to hold together the project by himself with help from Rick Ross on one track.
5 Reasons to Listen to Luke James' Self-Titled Album
1. The singer is convincing when it comes to the emotion he puts forth in his lyrics. That's could very well be due to his skills. He made his feature film debut before debuting this album, starring in three prior films, including last year's 'Black Nativity.'
2. Although this is his first album, Luke James has actually been in the game for quite some time. He was once part of an R&B duo named Luke & Q. They disbanded after not gaining much recognition.
3. Producers like Saalam Remi, the Alliance and Danja assist with their production talents.
4. If you like 2011's 'I Want You,' a cut off James' mixtape, '#Luke,' then this is the project for you. He spoke to The BoomBox about what inspired the track: "I was a dirtbag and I had an epiphany and I realized that this girl that I had been treating bad or just not giving her what she needed, I realized I really wanted to give her what she needs and love her and want to be with her."
5. Although he doesn't have a credit on 'X,' James has had success songwriting for Chris Brown. One example is 2011's 'Crawl.'
Watch Luke James' 'Options' Video Feat. Rick Ross 3
Bishop Nehru has received props from the likes of Nas and Kendrick Lamar and a co-sign from the notoriously reclusive DOOM. So what is it about the rapper that compelled DOOM to work with him? To put it simply, Bishop Nehru has the style and talent hip-hop classicists love. The announcement of 'NehruvianDOOM' came with a tinge of worry though. 'Madvilliany 2' still hasn't dropped despite claims that it's almost done, so there was a chance this collaboration would end up in constant limbo, too. But 'NehruvianDOOM' is here, and what's a reemergence for one rhymer is a huge career leap for the other.
5 Reasons to Listen to Bishop Nehru's 'NehruvianDoom'
1. Bishop Nehru and DOOM met up when the former was in the U.K. for a Wu-Tang concert.
2. Despite the difference in experience, Bishop Nehru described the creative process as "synchronicity."
3. 'The Boondocks,' one of Bishop Nehru's favorite shows, was partly responsible for exposing him to DOOM's music. 'Strange Ways' was featured in one episode.
4. The New York native was weeks away from turning 17 when 'NehruvianDOOM' was announced. DOOM was 17 when KMD, his first rap group, formed.
5. The two MCs derive their names off fictional characters. "Bishop" comes after Tupac Shakur's character on 'Juice,' while "DOOM" is inspired by the Fantastic Four's masked arch-nemesis.
Listen to Bishop Nehru & Doom's 'Caskets'