We’re approaching the midway point of 2019, which means it’s time to pause and reflect on everything that’s happened in the world of music so far this year. Honestly, it’s been a strange one. The year has been dominated by a country rap song from 2018, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” which was propelled to No. 1 by a Billboard chart controversy, viral TikTok videos, and lots of memes. Meanwhile, following a wild run of major hip-hop releases to close out 2018, it’s been a somewhat slow year for high-profile rap albums (although it looks like we might be in for a busy summer). Fortunately, pop and R&B artists like Ariana Grande, Solange, Billie Eilish, and Toro y Moi have picked up the slack and delivered some of the best projects of the past five months. We took a moment to rank the strongest projects that have been released since January. These are Complex’s picks for the best albums of 2019 (so far).
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