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2012 was an exceptional year in the world of black music. Hip-hop boasted strong work from veterans like Nas, hitmakers like Rick Ross and rising stars like Kendrick Lamar.

Meanwhile, Elle Varner, Frank Ocean and Miguel provided hope that R&B music was far from moribund.

As the year comes to a close and the industry gears up for the upcoming Grammy Awards, take a trip down memory lane with us as we countdown the 10 best albums of the year.

Click through the slideshow above to see our picks and if your favorite music from 2012 made the cut.