20 Best R&B Albums of 2016

Frank Ocean, Solange, Alicia Keys and more

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Anderson Paak, 'Malibu'

9. Anderson Paak, 'Malibu'

For anyone who first heard Anderson Paak during his star-making appearance on Dr. Dre's valedictory album Compton, discovering his breakthrough solo album Malibu must be like finding a Jacob Lawrence painting at a Compton swap meet. But those who have followed the Oxnard musician since his first nationally distributed project, 2014's underrated Venice, this drumming, rapping and singing dynamo has simply evolved from a Low End Theory outlier to a multi-talented composer for the New West Coast. He coos seductively on "Heart Don't Stand a Chance": "I know in the morning/The sunlight covers your wounds/But I'm hoping I look the same as the way you always knew/Baby, of course I flew." He portrays himself as a free bird that shouldn't be caged, whether he's shifting from juke-joint funk ("Come Down"), deep house ("Am I Wrong") or stealing hearts with a winning vocal performance. M.R.

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