50 Best Albums of 2018 So Far

Including Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, the 'Black Panther' soundtrack and more

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J  Balvin, 'Vibras'

J Balvin, 'Vibras'

We Say: Balvin is leading a new breed of Latin stars who can cross over without watering down their roots – an interesting development in this ostensibly wall-building era. The video for last year's "Mi Gente" – a mighty club jam that shares its title (meaning "My People") with the signature song of salsa legend/Balvin hero Hector Lavoe – has racked up 1.8 billion YouTube views at last count, and even scored a remix cameo from Beyoncé, who invited Balvin up for her epic Coachella set last month. Produced by Parisian producer/featured co-singer Willy Williams with co-writes by French radio VIP DJ Assad and Swedish-Congolese pop journeyman Mohombi, "Mi Gente" kicks off Vibras, and its dubby, chilled-out, internationalist take on reggaetón is a template for the entire set. W.H.

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