New This Week: Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Linkin Park, and More

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Faith-Evans and The Notorious B.I.G:

Searching for something to listen to this weekend? Yahoo Music has you covered with a rundown of some of this week’s biggest and buzzing releases, including Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Linkin Park, and more. Check back every Friday for a fresh list of albums to help fuel your weekend playlists.

Faith Evans and The Notorious B.I.G.: The King & I (Rhino). This year marks two full decades since Biggie Smalls’s death, and his widow Evans found a unique way to pay homage to his legacy and their love affair. This album features her dueting with unreleased vocals from her late husband, allowing fans a glimpse at the pair’s emotional bond. Guests on the record include Lil Cease, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Styles P, 112, and a first-time collaboration with Lil Kim.

Linkin Park: One More Light (Warner). Fans of the hard-rocking band will be surprised (either pleasantly or unpleasantly) by their seventh album, which showcases a new, milder, pop sound. The set is packed with pleasant, hooky tracks that are a complete 180 from the band’s signature howls. It’s clear they want to evolve in some fashion — the question is, will fans accept this direction?

Snoop Dogg: Neva Left (Doggy Style Records/Empire). The rapper is all about nostalgia on his 15th studio release, starting with the cover, which features a throwback pic of himself at a much younger age. Musically, he sticks to all the things he does best–walking the fine line between thug and life of the party, throwing in a few songs about weed, and assembling a fine guest list including KRS- One, Redman, Charlie Wilson, Method Man, Wiz Khalifa and up-and-comer October London.

Rascal Flatts: Back to Us (Big Machine). The country trio knows its way well around an infectious melody, and on its 10th release they don’t disappoint. The set is nearly all self-produced (with bassist Jay DeMarcus in charge), and features quality songwriting from such A-list peers as the mighty Chris Stapleton. Lauren Alaina lends her sweet vocals to one song, as well.

!!!: Shake the Shudder (Warp). The latest from !!! (pronounced, of course, Chk Chk Chk) adds an electronic angle to its hard-edged base sound. As usual, there are a variety of talented guest vocalists, with this set including Meah Pace, Nicole Fayu, Cameron Mesirow, Molly Schnick, and Lea Lea.

Matisyahu: Undercurrent (Fallen Sparks/Thirty Tigers). Few artists have evolved into so many different sides as Matisyahu: The singer-songwriter has always allowed fans into his personal journeys via his introspective music, and on his 10th album, he chooses a thematic structure to deliver his latest thought process.

Papa Roach: Crooked Teeth (Eleven Seven Music). Where contemporaries Linkin Park decided to go pop this week, Papa Roach decided instead to continue in their classic nu-metal vein but simply in a slightly more alt-rock direction. Several of the tracks on here are purely Papa Roach, which is to say they seethe without dilution.

Little Steven: Soulfire (Wicked Cool/UMe). Steven Van Zandt is of course best-known musically as the longtime guitarist of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. This is his first solo release in two decades — his boss The Boss lends a hand as a co-writer on the tune “Love on the Wrong Side of Town.”