Every year, it feels like music accelerates. 2016 saw major releases from nearly every marquee artist under the sun, signaling that 2017 might be something of an off-year. A year for discovery, maybe, instead of established statements from major artists. Somehow, it was both. 2017 saw full-length releases from rappers we know to be at the peak of their powers—Future (twice), Kendrick, and Drake all made a run at an album of the year—and proof from veterans, Jay-Z in particular, that he's still at the height of his. And, as always, a new crop of artists arrived on the scene. 2017 heralded the major label debuts from a new class of SoundCloud rappers like Lil Yachty, Lil Pump, and Lil Uzi Vert—to varying degrees of success.
There were far, far more than 50 great albums this year. These, though, are our picks for the 50 best.