Best R&B/Pop Album of 2011

Reader's Pick


Drake "Take Care"

How do you follow up a debut as monumental as Thank Me Later? You do the damn thing again, but bigger and better. Take Care showcases a streamlined, subtly upgraded version of Aubrey “Drake” Graham's signature, Noah '40' Shebib-produced style. Oriented toward hazy, introspective R&B burners (see heartbreaking smash-hit single Marvin's Room) but featuring its share of more muscular rap records (like the Ricky Rozay-assisted “Lord Knows”), the Billboard chart-topping sophomore set is a worthy sequel to its (also Best of the Booth-winning) predecessor.

Staff Pick

Marsha Ambrosius

Marsha Ambrosius "Late Nights & Early Mornings"

It may not have received the fanfare of some of 2011's other albums, but the best albums don't always slap you in the face and demand your attention. Sometimes they slowly but surely wind their way into your life as you play them again, and again, and again. These are the albums you end up playing for years and decades later. Simply put, Marsha Ambrosius' Late Nights & Early Mornings, an album that simultaneously reaches back to R&B's past while pushing into its future, is one of those albums.

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