There were many ways to make an album in 2018. Artists like Drake and Migos put together long, streaming-friendly projects that left little on the cutting room floor. Meanwhile, G.O.O.D. Music headed to Wyoming and experimented with a seven-song format that stripped each project down to its most necessary elements. Across the board, we heard stories about artists who tinkered with albums until the very last moment, turning in verses mere hours before files needed to be uploaded to streaming services.

No matter how the music was created, there sure was a lot of it. Somehow, the pace kept accelerating, and every Friday we were treated to more material than we knew what to do with. This was a memorable year for hungry newcomers and established veterans alike, and there were many more than 50 great releases. These are Complex’s picks for the best albums of 2018.