Janet Jackson, Shawty Lo, Joe Budden, Erykah Badu Lead An R&B Revival, In New Releases

Also due Tuesday: Rocket From the Crypt, Afters, Dirtbombs, Earth, Ghostland Observatory, Tift Merritt, Goldfrapp.

Fans of rap, R&B and soul have been shafted so far this year. Beyond the release of Jim JonesHarlem’s American Gangster last week, so far there really hasn’t been much with which to get your groove on in 2008. But that’s all about to change this week, as the urban floodgates open wide and usher in new tuneage from the likes of Janet Jackson, Shawty Lo, Joe Budden and more. Here’s a look at what’ll be shaking in the streets and banging in the clubs quicker than you can get your booty on the dance floor:

Discipline-ary Action: After peaking at #2 on the sales chart with her past two albums, Janet Jackson is hurting for her first #1 LP since 2001’s All for You. While 2006’s 20 Y.O. and 2004’s Damita Jo dropped during busier months, her latest release faces very light competition, so she stands a good chance of nabbing the crown. Plus she’s now part of Island Def Jam’s powerhouse family and has producers like Ne-Yo, The-Dream, Missy Elliott, Rodney Jerkins and Jermaine Dupri on her side. “I want [fans] to forget about their worries, if any, for the 50 minutes and just dance and feel certain emotions that hopefully I’ll take them through, and reminisce and just have a good time with it,” Jackson told MTV News earlier this month about her 10th studio effort. Said fans should take note of the Discipline deluxe edition, which includes a bonus DVD loaded with videos, making-of footage, rehearsal clips and more.

Amerykahn Revolution: Janet faces some friendly competition this week from Erykah Badu, who barrels back into stores with her first outing in five years, New Amerykah Part One (4th World War). The timing of the new release is perfect, actually — the neo-soul trailblazer turns 37 on Tuesday (February 26), and the lead single, “Honey,” is climbing on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Many of the blistering beats, including those on “Honey,” come courtesy 9th Wonder, while Madlib and Bilal also lent Badu their skills.

Cheri on Top: Finishing up this week’s batch of R&B releases is the debut disc from Bad Boy newcomer Cheri Dennis, In and Out of Love. Released exclusively on iTunes late last year, the album is finally hitting terrestrial stores this week — with guest spots from Jim Jones, Gorilla Zoe and Yung Joc, as well as production contributions from Rodney Jerkins and Ryan Leslie still intact. The 28-year-old singer broke out “I Love You” as the album’s first single a looong time ago — we’re talking late 2005 here — but the Diddy darling is crossing her fingers that “All I Wanna Do” and “Portrait of Love” make sure the forever-delayed In and Out of Love comes out on top.

Shawty Riding High: Speaking of debuts, one of the three big MCs who are cranking out releases this week is another rookie, Shawty Lo. The ATL freshman got some help from a fleet of other rising rappers, with Gucci Mane being the only big name among them, although Lo’s D4L pals, Fabo and Stuntman, also provide some aid. But will that be enough to take Shawty Lo to great heights? Only time will tell …

Tangled Webbie: Tangled among a slew of guest stars, that is! For his new one, Savage Life 2, the Trill Entertainment/ Asylum/ Atlantic spitter gets a boost from Bun B, Young Dro, Birdman, Mannie Fresh and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, not to mention label comrades like Lil Boosie and Foxx. With his single “Independent” totally on fire right now — it was MTV Jams’ first “Jam of the Week” pick this year, and has been in heavy rotation on BET — Webbie’s hoping the follow-up track, “Missing You,” will mean even more good things for this disc.

Ear Bud: Capping off this week’s crew of rap talent is none other than Joe Budden, the Grammy-nominated rapper who has been awfully quiet on the studio-albums front since his eponymous debut dropped in 2003. Budden — who is in limbo with Def Jam — has been keeping busy on the mixtape circuit, though, and this week the third installment in his Mood Muzik series materializes courtesy new digital-retail store Amalgam Digital. “I think eventually … you’ll only be able to get music digitally,” the New York native recently told Mixtape Monday. “I’d like to jump on that bandwagon. Since my hiatus, I’ve been big online, so this album is going online.” Early birds interested in the release got a worm in the form of two exclusive bonus cuts, “Last Real N—a Left” and “My Life,” but the standard release is littered with guest spots by Fabolous, Joell Ortiz and others.

Song Title of the Week:

“Love Me Dead” from Ludo’s You’re Awful, I Love You

Album Cover of the Week:

Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah

Other Notables:

Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree
Almost a decade into their career, the London synth-pop duo are putting out their fourth studio disc, which was written and produced entirely by centrifugal forces Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory. Recorded at their own studio in the English countryside, the album follows 2005’s Supernature — 1 million copies of which were sold worldwide — and is already getting strong buzz thanks to “A&E,” a single that has been charting high across the pond. The special edition carries a bonus DVD with a documentary, interviews and more, while iTunes has a pair of extras: a live performance of “You Never Know” and “Clowns,” an instrumental tune.

Rocket From the Crypt’s R.I.P.
The always-creative punk-rockers went out in style when they called it quits — the band threw a 2005 Halloween shindig in its San Diego hometown and dressed up in voodoo gear to mark the end of its career. “After 18 years of massive rock hard success we felt we needed to take a stand and fight for the future of our children and our children’s children’s friends,” ever-wry frontman John Reis joked in a statement. The set enshrining the band’s last show also comes with a DVD, giving a little extra meaning to the set-closing song, “Come See Come Saw.” But RFTC fans shouldn’t lament too much — Reis is bouncing back with a like-minded project, the Night Marchers, and their See You in Magic debut drops April 22.

Son Lux’s At War With Walls and Mazes
Ryan Lott is making quite the entrance with his project’s debut — his name has already been tossed around thanks to remixes of Beirut and Castanets songs, and he got a financial boost when he won the Cleveland Arts Prize’s Emerging Artist Award. The Indiana University grad, who is almost 30 years old, ties together everything from organs and violins to pianos and drums on his electro-chamber release, which has 11 one-word songs, including “Tell,” “War,” “Prologue” and — you guessed it — “Epilogue.”

New Releases:

· A Whisper in the Noise – Dry Land (Exile on Mainstream)
· Afters – Never Going Back to OK (Columbia)
· Algebra – Purpose (Kedar)
· Avalon – Another Time, Another Place: Timeless Christian Classics (enhanced; Sparrow)
· Erykah Badu – New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War) (Motown) [Buy Now]
· Laura Barrett – Earth Sciences EP (Paper Bag)
· Beach House – Devotion (Carpark)
· Sir Richard Bishop – God Damn Religion (Locust)
· The Bridal Shop – From Seas (Magic Marker)
· Children 18:3 – Children 18:3 (Tooth & Nail)
· Cowboy Junkies – Trinity Revisited (with DVD; Zoë)
· Death Angel – Killing Season (two CDs; Nuclear Blast America)
· Cheri Dennis – In and Out of Love (Bad Boy/ Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Toumani Diabaté – The Mandé Variations (World Circuit/ Nonesuch)
· Dirtbombs – We Have You Surrounded (In the Red)
· Earth – Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull (Southern Lord)
· Michael English – The Prodigal Comes Home (Curb)
· The Exit Stratgy – City of Microphones (One Percent)
· Experimental Aircraft – Third Transmission (Graveface)
· Fink – Distance and Time (Ninja Tune)
· Melody Gardot – Worrisome Heart (Verve)
· Ghostland Observatory – Robotique Majestique (Trashy Moped)
· Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree (special edition comes with DVD; Mute) [Buy Now]
· Tommy Guerrero – Return of the Bastard (Galaxia)
· Chris Hicks – Dog Eat Dog World (Shout! Factory)
· Missy Higgins – On a Clear Night (Reprise)
· High Kings – The High Kings (Manhattan)
· Honeyhoney – Loose Boots (EP; Ironworks)
· Janet Jackson – Discipline (deluxe edition comes with DVD; Island) [Buy Now]
Read: “Janet Jackson Shows Off Sense Of Discipline With New Album”
· Richard Julian – Sunday Morning in Saturday’s Shoes (Manhattan)
· La Scala – The Harlequin EP (Highwheel)
· Danny Lerman – Meow Baby (Sugar Whiskey)
· Ludo – You’re Awful, I Love You (Island)
· Sara Melson – Dirty Mind (Nettwerk)
· Tift Merritt – Another Country (Fantasy)
· Nine Pound Hammer – Sex, Drugs and Bill Monroe (Acetate)
· Dolly Parton – Backwoods Barbie (Dolly)
· Pegasuses-XL – The Antiphon (Ernest Jenning)
· Pillar – For the Love of the Game (Flicker)
· Power Pill Fist – Kogmaivog (Graveface)
· Psycho & the Birds – We’ve Moved (Happy Jack Rock)
· Punch Brothers – Punch (Nonesuch)
· Rocket From the Crypt – R.I.P. (with DVD; Vagrant) [Buy Now]
· Kurt Rosenwinkel – The Remedy: Live at the Village Vanguard (artistShare)
· Diane Schuur – Some Other Time (Concord)
· Shawty Lo – Units in the City (Asylum)
· Son Lux – At War With Walls and Mazes (Anticon)
· Spires That in the Sunset Rise – Curse the Traced Bird (Secret Eye)
· Suishou No Fune – Prayer for Chibi (two CDs; Holy Mountain)
· Sunny Day Sets Fire – Stranger/Remix EP (I Am Sound)
· Takeovers – Little Green Onion Man (EP; limited edition; Off)
· Tarja – My Winter Storm (deluxe edition comes with DVD; Fontana International)
· To-Mera – Delusions (Candlelight)
· Torae – Daily Conversation (Internal Affairs/ Select-O-Hits)
· Webbie – Savage Life 2 (Trill Entertainment/ Asylum/ Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Trent Willmon – Broken In (Compadre)
· Lizz Wright – The Orchard (Verve Forecast)
· Raya Yarbrough – Raya Yarbrough (Telarc)
· David Yazbek – Evil Monkey Man (Ghostlight)
· Various artists – “Semi-Pro” soundtrack (Mew Line)

Notable Reissues and Archival Material:

· The Apples in Stereo – Discovery of a World Inside the Moon; Fun Trick Noisemaker; and Her Wallpaper Reverie (One Little Indian)
· Ashford & Simpson – Hits, Remixes & Rarities: The Warner Bros. Years (two CDs; Rhino)
· Patti Austin – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Patti Austin – The Singles (1969-1986) (Rhino)
· Bloodstone – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Bloodstone (Rhino)
· Boston – X2 (Boston/ Don’t Look Back; Legacy)
· Mariah Carey – X2 (Daydream/ Music Box; Legacy)
· Johnny Cash – X2 (At San Quentin [The Complete 1969 Concert]/ Orange Blossom Special; Legacy)
· David Cassidy – Dance Party Remix (180 Music)
· Change – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Change (Rhino)
· Harry Chapin – “Cat’s in the Cradle” and Other Hits (Rhino)
· Kenny Chesney – X2 (I Will Stand/ Me and You; Legacy)
· Guy Clark – Old No. 1 and Texas Cookin’ (DBK Works)
· Bing Crosby – When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (Varése Vintage)
· Celine Dion – X2 (Let’s Talk About Love/ Celine Dion (Legacy)
· Earth, Wind & Fire – X2 (Gratitude/ That’s the Way of the World: Alive in ’75; Legacy)
· Aretha Franklin – The Very Best of Aretha Franklin: The ’70s (Rhino)
· Hellhammer – Demon Entrails (two CDs; Century Media)
· The Highwaymen – Water of Life: A Celtic Collection (Varése Vintage)
· The Impressions – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of the Impressions (Rhino)
· Michael Jackson – X2 (Off the Wall/ Invincible; Legacy)
· Jefferson Starship – Timeless Classics Live (Rainman/ Shout! Factory)
· Billy Joel – X2 (Piano Man/ The Stranger; Legacy)
· Journey – X2 (Escape/Evolution; Legacy)
· Kleer – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Kleer (Rhino)
· Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (Rhino)
· Barry Manilow – X2 (This One’s for You/ If I Should Love Again; Legacy)
· Willie Nelson – X2 (Red Headed Stranger/ To Lefty From Willie; Legacy)
· Roy Orbison – X2 (Crying/ In Dreams; Legacy)
· Dolly Parton – X2 (Jolene/ Coat of Many Colors; Legacy)
· Sam & Dave – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Sam & Dave (Rhino)
· Santana – X2 (Santana/ Santana III; Legacy)
· Joe Tex – Greatest Hits: The Very Best of Joe Tex (Rhino)
· Randy Travis – Storms of Life (Rhino)
· Conway Twitty – It’s Only Make Believe: The MGM Years (Mercury Nashville/ UMe)
· Luther Vandross – X2 (Never Too Much/ Songs; Legacy)
· Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – X2 (Texas Flood/ In the Beginning; Legacy)
· Bobby Womack – The Best of Bobby Womack (Capitol/EMI)
· Various artists – Bedtime Beats: The Secret to Sleep (two CDs; Rhino)
· Various artists – Club Anthems (Water)
· Various artists – Dance Factory: Ultimate Dance Radio Hits Volume 1 (Toucan Cove)
· Various artists – Little Steven’s Underground Garage Presents: The Coolest Songs in the World! Vol. 4 (Wicked Cool)
· Various artists – The Local Anesthetic (Smooch)
· Various artists – Stax Does the Beatles (Stax)

Music DVDs:

· High Kings – “Live in Dublin” (Manhattan)
· Paul McCartney – “Ecce Cor Meum” (EMI Classics)
· John McCormack – “The People’s Tenor” (Kultur)
· Various artists – “Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz” (Euroarts)

Digital Releases:

· Joe Budden – Mood Muzik 3 (Amalgam Digital)
Read: Mixtape Monday: Lupe Fiasco Plans His Cool Viral Video; Joe Budden Compares Jay-Z To A ’Bully’

Coming Attractions:

March 4:
· Black Crowes – Warpaint (Silver Arrow/ Megaforce/ Sony)
· Flogging Molly – Float (Side One Dummy)
· Stephen Malkmus & Jicks – Real Emotional Trash (Matador)

March 11:
· Fat Joe – The Elephant in the Room (Virgin)
Read: “Fat Joe Nixes Planned Eddie Murphy Cover, Salutes ’Hood Spartans On ’300’ “
· Meshuggah – obZen (Nuclear Blast America)
· Rick Ross – Trilla (Def Jam)
Read: “Rick Ross Recruits Jay-Z, T-Pain, Lil Wayne To Help Him Thrill On Trilla

March 18:
· Flo Rida – Mail on Sunday (Atlantic)
· Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (Cash Money/ Universal)
Read: ” Lil Wayne Wrapping Up LP, Writing For Dr. Dre — But He’s Got Mariah Carey On The Brain”
· Danity Kane – Welcome to the Dollhouse (Bad Boy)