50 Best Albums of 2018 So Far

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

Janelle Monae, 'Dirty Computer'
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Janelle Monae, 'Dirty Computer'

We Say: Released in tandem with a film of the same name (like Purple Rain) and with music that engages with apocalyptic politics without undermining the party (like 1999), it's a pop-culture salvo that's rooted in the present while recognizing and building on the past. In its own way, its as artful, ambitious, determined, joyous and inspiring, as Lemonade or To Pimp a Butterfly. It's a sexy MF-ing masterpiece. W.H.