New Releases: Ashanti, Tupac Shakur, Xzibit, Joss Stone, Afroman, Merle Haggard & More

Only a handful of major artists release albums this week.

Now that every A-lister from Eminem to Gwen has dropped their album in time for the holiday shopping rush, things are slowing down, with only a handful of major artists releasing albums this week.

Ashanti's Concrete Rose, which arrives on the heels of the single "Only U," follows 2003's Chapter II. For her third studio album, Ashanti worked with 7 Aurelius, who produced the majority of her self-titled debut in 2002 as well as the Ja Rule tracks on which she collaborated, "Always on Time" and "Down 4 U."

On his newest album, which was pushed back one week from its original release date of December 7, Xzibit takes belated aim at President Bush on the track "State of the Union" and in the title, Weapons of Mass Destruction. The follow-up to 2002's Man Vs. Machine finds the rapper collaborating with Busta Rhymes and such producers as Rick Rock, Battlecat and Hi-Tek.

Another posthumous Tupac album hits stores this week. Loyal to the Game finds hip-hop producers including Eminem putting beats to some of Tupac's previously unreleased rhymes. Loyal to the Game, hitting stores eight years after the rapper's death, is also his seventh album to be released posthumously.

Out Tuesday, December 13:

December 21:

  • Mannie Fresh - Mind of Mannie Fresh (Cash Money)

December 28:

  • John Legend - Get Lifted (Sony)