Friday, August 31, 2007

Where are the ATL superstars?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2007 at 9:19 PM

I've seen scores of release dates for new music this fall, and I've noticed that there are few local superstars on the list. Last year seemed full of chart-topping acts, from Ludacris and Young Jeezy to Ciara. But this year may be relatively quiet. Sure, the Black Lips and Shawty Lo are cool, but they aren't exactly top 10 material (except on critics' lists, maybe). Keyshia Cole, who recently moved here, gets love but doesn't really count.

No, I'm talking about the A-list superstars that run A-Town. Namely, what's up with Usher?

Despite a few teasing comments to MTV, Usher has yet to announce a release date for his first album since 2004's Confessions. The New York Times just leaked the news that he'll appear on the season premiere of "Ellen" (alongside Hillary Clinton, no less), which indicates that he's about to kick the promotional campaign into high gear. The episode broadcasts Monday, Sept. 3. But will it be for a Christmastime bonanza, or an early 2008 comeback?

Here are a few other local stars that may or may not drop albums before the year is out:

1. Big Boi: For much of the year, Big Boi talked about issuing his solo debut in 2007. But Rolling Stone just announced that it won't come out until February 2008 at the earliest. But he gets a pass for popping up on UGK's "International Players Anthem," one of the best singles of the year.

2. Ludacris: Luda is still telling people to wait for his next album, Theater of the Mind. But, in my opinion, that will probably depend on whether he can come up with a few hit singles to launch the album properly, and whether he can finish those songs in the next month or so. If not, he'll probably wait until next year.

3. Lil Jon: Crunk Rock has been in the works for nearly three years now. Last month, Lil Jon told Billboard that he has finished tracks with Kid Rock, Lil Wayne, Remy Ma, the Game, Gucci Mane, Fabo from D4L, P.O.D., Ciara, Ice Cube and R. Kelly. Lots of stars, sure, but when will the damn thing finally come out? He says it will arrive before the end of the year but, again, no release date.

4. Bow Wow: The artist formerly known as Lil Bow Wow hasn't moved major units in a minute. But with his devoted teen base and history of radio hits, he's still a threat to do so. He's teaming up with another teen idol, Omarion, for the collaborative album Face Off. It drops via Jive Records Dec. 4.

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