9) Chris Brown – F.A.M.E.: Whether or not you’re a fan of this pop star’s off-stage antics, the success of this comeback record was undeniable. R&B now has a new reigning bad boy. Apologies to R. Kelly.
8) Childish Gambino – Camp: After several well received mixtapes, Gambino (a.k.a. actor Donald Glover) finally dropped his official release — and it didn’t disappoint. Geek rap reaches new heights on this blistering record.
7) Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra: With this impressive mixtape debut, Odd Future member Frank Ocean established himself as one of the most exciting new R&B artists out there. And he’s only 24!
5) The Weeknd – House of Balloons: Another auspscious R&B debut mixtape (one of two this year, followed by equally stellar Thursday). Moody and mysterious, this album will certainly set the mood.
4) Drake – Take Care: Drizzy silenced a lot of his haters with this stellar (and some say far superior) update to his hit Thank Me Later album. Great guest stars, flow and production — you’re welcome.
3) J Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story: Arguably the most lyrically sound and impressive rap album of the year, J Cole was yet another mixtape master who lived up all his hype this year The Rihanna rumors didn’t hurt either.
2) Adele – 21: The biggest album of the year with the biggest single (“Rolling in the Deep”), Adele’s 21 proved there’s still an audience for classic soul music. Expect Adele to clean up at the Grammys too.
1) Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne: The most polarizing AND the most popular rap album of the year. You can’t not have an opinion about Jay-Z and Kanye West’s epic. And in our opinion it was great.
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Here are theGrio’s picks for the top 10 albums of 2011. This year Adele dominated the charts, Chris Brown came back (seemingly) for good and Kanye and Jay-Z had us all watching the throne. Check out our slideshow to see if your favorite music from this past year made out list.