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The 10 Best R&B Albums Of 2017

Courtesy of the artist

As a genre, R&B music blessed us with some of the most poignant, adventurous and enlightening albums of 2017. While two of the top 10 albums on NPR Music's 50 Best Albums of 2017 were R&B, there were plenty of other gems that dropped this year that deserve a spotlight.

After years of Internet incubation, women like Kehlani, Kelela and BOSCOblossomed with debut albums. Jorja Smith experimented with garage, Hiatus Kaiyote's Nai Palm struck out on her own and Maroon 5's PJ Morton got back to his NOLA roots. But throughout the year's crop of stellar R&B releases and collaborators, the following 10 projects hit it out of the park and made up the soundtrack to an emotional year.

A group of NPR Music staffers who pride themselves as R&B stans got together to make some bold choices about the best in this year's genre. Here, in no particular order, are NPR Music's picks for the top 10 R&B albums of 2017.

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Ann Powers
Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music podcasts.
Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden is a reporter and editor for NPR Music. As someone who always gravitated towards the artforms of music, prose and dance to communicate, Madden entered the world of music journalism as a means to authentically marry her passions and platform marginalized voices who do the same.
Steffanee Wang
Bobby Carter
Bobby Carter is a leader on the Tiny Desk Concerts team for NPR Music. He's brought an ever growing roster of big names and emerging artists through NPR's HQ to squeeze behind the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and record standout performances, including Usher, Mac Miller, Noname, Anderson.Paak and H.E.R.
Rodney Carmichael
Rodney Carmichael is NPR Music's hip-hop staff writer. An Atlanta-bred cultural critic, he helped document the city's rise as rap's reigning capital for a decade while serving on staff as music editor, culture writer and senior writer for the defunct alt-weekly Creative Loafing.