The Weeknd, Fiona Apple, Run the Jewels and more: Yahoo Entertainment staff picks for best albums of 2020

·21 min read

It’s that most wonderful time of a not-so-wonderful year, when we make our lists and check them twice — our year-end best albums lists, that is. With concerts on hold for most of 2020, we all had to get our music fixes safely at home, but thankfully, many talented artists across genres provided the perfect lockdown soundtracks. Taylor Swift even surprise-dropped a pair of critically acclaimed isolation LPs, one of which made it all the way to No. 2 on our staff’s overall ranking.

But as for the No. 1 spot, the Grammy committee may have gotten it very wrong with the nominations this year, but Yahoo got it very right, voting to make the Weeknd’s After Hours our top pick. (Spoiler alert: Run the Jewels, whose RTJ4 was also bizarrely snubbed by the Recording Academy, also makes a strong showing on our countdown.) The Weeknd, a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye, made his boldest artistic statement yet with his dark and dystopian fourth studio album, which ran the gamut from the ‘70s adult-contemporary of "Scared to Live" and “In Your Eyes” to the John Hughes-soundtrack-style ‘80s soft pop of “Save Your Tears” to the hard-hitting ‘90s techno of "Hardest to Love” and "Too Late.” And in the process, he made a timeless album for 2020 that redefined what pop music could be.

Scroll down to check out wide-ranging individual lists of the albums that helped our writers, editors, and staffers power through a very difficult year, plus listen to a playlist of Yahoo Entertainment’s carefully tallied overall top 10.

Yahoo Entertainment’s overall top 10

1. The Weeknd – After Hours

2. Taylor Swift – Folklore

3. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

4. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

5. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

6. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

7. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

8. Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

9. HAIM – Women in Music Pt. III

10. X – Alphabetland /Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Reunions (tie)

Lyndsey Parker, Yahoo Entertainment music editor

1. Cub Sport – Like Nirvana

2. Kylie Minogue – Disco

3. Butch Walker – American Love Story

4. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately

5. The Weeknd – After Hours

6. A Certain Ratio – ACR Loco

7. X – Alphabetland

8. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

9. Troye Sivan – In a Dream EP

10. Billy Nomates – Billy Nomates

The heady and kaleidoscopic fourth studio album — and fourth chapter in the coming-of-age love story between childhood friends, bandmates, husbands, and soulmates Tim Nelson and Sam Netterfield — saved my life and kept me believing in true love in a hopeless year. The gorgeous, goosebump-raising record by Australia’s self-described “transdimensional genrequeer pop” band can also be described as the sound of falling in love, and every track hit me in every single one of my feels, from the unhinged, stream-of-consciousness, big-mood-setting opener “Confessions,” to the seven-minute dreamscape “Break Me Down,” to the aching and vulnerable power ballad “Be Your Man.” —LP

Ethan Alter, Yahoo Entertainment senior writer

1. Various artists – Lovers Rock soundtrack

2. Mondo Boys – She Dies Tomorrow soundtrack

3. Various artists – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga soundtrack

4. Bruno Coulais and Kila – WolfWalkers soundtrack

5. Jay Wadley – I’m Thinking of Ending Things soundtrack

6. Various artists – On the Rocks soundtrack

7. Branford Marsalis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom soundtrack

8. Various artists – Bill and Ted Face the Music soundtrack

9. Ludwig Göransson – The Mandalorian soundtrack

10. Various artists – The Forty Year-Old-Version soundtrack

Due respect to Kid ’N Play, but Steve McQueen stages the ultimate house party in Lovers Rock, the second installment of his Small Axe anthology. Set in London’s vibrant West Caribbean community circa 1980, the film puts you at the center of the dance floor as the house DJ spins one tubthumping tune after another, from “Kung Fu Fighting” to “Dreadlocks in Moonlight.” Just try not to raise your voice in song during the showstopping playback of Janet Kay’s “Silly Games.” —EA

Shawn Amos, writer

1. Jyoti – Mama, You Can Bet!

2. Fantastic Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

3. Paul Weller – On Sunset

4. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

5. Robert Cray – That’s What I Heard

6. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

7. Paul McCartney – McCartney III

8. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Reunions

9. The Neighbourhood – Chip Chrome & the Monotones

10. The Reverend Shawn Amos & the Brotherhood – Blue Sky

I struggle how to rank anything in 2020. In a year that drew us inward and pulled us apart, only one set of questions matter. What was the music that provided comfort, healed the wound and brought us closer — to ourselves and each other? These albums did the job. At the top of the list is the latest in Jyoti’s ongoing spiritual journey. Mama, You Can Bet! is vital lifeline to all of those essential things we are on the verge of losing: our ability to self-reflect, revel in stillness, and celebrate the sublime beauty of our singularity. Yes, there is still much to celebrate in each other and ourselves. —SA

Steve Baltin, Forbes senior contributor/LiveXLive editorial director/veteran Yahoo writer

1. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters

2. Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You

3. Noah Cyrus – The End of Everything

4. Chris Cornell – No One Sings Like You Anymore

5. Cam – The Otherside

6. The Chicks – Gaslighter

7. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

8. Phoebe Bridgers — Punisher

9. Taylor Swift – Folklore

10. Toots and the Maytals – Got to Be Tough

Innovative, smart, daring, literate, and musical, Apple's first album in eight years was the undisputed best album of 2020. Do not be surprised when 10 years from now, it shows back up on best-of-the-decade lists. —SB

Robert Burke, writer

1. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

2. Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension

3. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

4. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

5. Bob Dylan c Rough and Rowdy Ways

6. Motorpsycho – The All Is One

7. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit — Reunions

8. Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron

9. Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better

10. The Smashing Pumpkins – Cyr

Fiona Apple has always made good music. Sometimes great music. But her artistry has delivered a career high on Fetch the Bolt Cutters. It was recorded in her California home where her surrounding environment was used to its full effect, and you feel like you're in the room with her as she stomps on the floor and bangs on walls. The lo-fi approach does not distract, but accentuates the well-crafted, cathartic songs. Fetch the Bolt Cutters captures Apple’s quirkiness and talent like no other record. —RB

Dave DiMartino, writer

1. Momus – Vivid

2. The Apartments – In and Out of the Light

3. Phil Parfitt – Mental Home Recordings

4. Brothertiger – Paradise Lost

5. Bibio – Sleep on the Wing

6. Christian Kjellvander – About Love & Loving Again

7. Yumi Zouma – Truth or Consequences

8. Smokescreens – A Strange Dream

9. Mike Westbrook – Love & Understanding: Citadel / Room 315 Sweden 74

10. Nubya Garcia – Source

Momus’s Vivid is one of the singer-songwriter’s best albums ever. It’s about life in the times of COVID-19, and written after his recovery from the virus in March. Intense, clever, and often very moving. You should hear it. —DD

Marcus Errico, Yahoo Entertainment & Life editor-in-chief

1. Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

2. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

3. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

4. Tom Petty– Wildflowers and All the Rest

5. HAIM – Women in Music, Part III

6. The Weeknd – After Hours

7. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

8. Taylor Swift – Folklore

9. The Strokes – The New Abnormal

10. Fleet Foxes – Shore

Pushing 80, Bob Dylan is relevant as ever. Take a listen to "I Contain Multitudes" and tell me otherwise. This Nobel laureate just keeps on keepin' on. —ME

Jim Farber, writer

1. Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter

2. Idles – Ultra Mono

3. Fontaines D.C. – A Hero's Death

4. Suuns – FICTION

5. Bettye Lavette – Blackbirds

6. Fleet Foxes – Shore

7. Black Pumas – Black Pumas Deluxe

8. Autechre – Plus

9. Nick Cave – Idiot Prayer

10. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Reunions

In a time defined by distances — both physical and political — Laura Marling's seventh studio album offered unconditional intimacy. Everything about the latest work from this prolific British folk singer felt close. Listen and you can hear each intake of her breath and every touch of a finger on strings, a clarity enhanced by the spare arrangements and pristine production. The approach might have sounded brittle or indulgent were it not for the certitude of Marling's tunes, which rank among the most sturdy not just of her career but of her generation. They provide the perfect launching pad her leap-in-the-dark vocals. I'm fighting the urge to say this, but I will: Daughter has a depth and bravery seldom heard since Joni Mitchell's Blue. —JF

Laura Ferreiro, writer

1. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

2. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure

3. Perfume Genius – Set My Heart on Fire Immediately

4. JARV IS... – Beyond the Pale

5. Moses Sumney – Grae

6. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

7. The Streets – None of Us Are Getting Out of This Life Alive

8. U.S. Girls – Heavy Light

9. Everything Everything – RE-ANIMATOR

10. Grimes – Miss Anthropocene

While artists like Dua Lipa and Jessie Ware provided welcome respite from the dumpster fire that was 2020 with their disco-tinged tunes designed for dancing cares away, Phoebe Bridgers’s poignant, reflective songwriting offered solace in an even more edifying way. With beautifully crafted songs that invite us to crawl inside and inhabit their worlds, Punisher's tales of loss and isolation as well as random life observations seem so specific that they end up feeling universal. On her masterful, self-produced second album, Bridgers confronts, examines, and ultimately embraces darkness, something many of us can relate to in these challenging times. —LF

Magdalena Guillen, Yahoo frontpage editor

1. Bad Bunny – EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO

2. The Weeknd – After Hours

3. Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG

4. Margo Price – That's How Rumors Get Started

5. Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun EP

6. S.G. Goodman – Old Time Feeling

7. Best Coast – Always Tomorrow

8. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

9. Samantha Crain – A Small Death

10. Buscabuella – Regresa

El Conejo Malo has done it again. Actually, he did it three times. Bad Bunny managed to release three records during a year that has changed and forever left a mark on our lives. I originally had his first release, YHLQMDLG, as my No. 1 pick, but his newest, EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO, tops it, not because it's the best, but because it's my favorite. On this record, he experiments with rock en español, hip-hop, punk, and emo-rap, all laid over his signature Latin trap beats. Bad Bunny is always unapologetically himself, from the way he dresses, to his allyship to those disenfranchised, to his lifestyle. He's genuine and authentic — a refreshing concept in 2020. —MG

Joel Huerto, Yahoo frontpage editorial manager

1. BTS – BE

2. The Weeknd – After Hours

3. Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

4. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

5. Justin Bieber – Changes

6. BLACKPINK – The Album

7. DaBaby – Blame It on Baby

8. Taylor Swift – Folklore

9. Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake

10. Various artists – Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga soundtrack

K-pop juggernaut BTS recorded its latest album during the pandemic, and the catchy, disco-influenced single "Dynamite" — the band's first song performed entirely in English — was the uplifting beat we badly needed and deserved in 2020. It brought us back to the days when we could go outside and buy a caramel frap without having to wear a face-covering. —JH

Billy Johnson Jr., writer

1. Teyana Taylor – The Album

2. Big Sean – Detroit 2

3. Jhene Aiko – Chilombo

4. Free Nationals – Free Nationals

5. Lil Baby – My Turn

6. Nas –King’s Disease

7. D Smoke – Black Habits

8. Summer Walker – Life on Earth

9. Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

10. Chika – Industry Games

Teyana Taylor’s The Album captures and holds your attention — from the suspenseful and emotional “Intro” with her husband’s 911 call for help as she gave birth to their daughter in their home, to the closing track “We Got Love,” which features consoling life advice from Lauryn Hill. It’s uninhibited and sensual hip-hop soul, complete with a string of unexpected 1990s interpolations that will make you smile. —BJ

Devon Kelley, Yahoo commerce editor

1. Lil Peep – Hellboy

2. Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake

3. Yves Tumor – Heaven to a Tortured Mind

4. Idles – Ultra Mono

5. Thundercat – It Is What It Is

6. Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

7. Arca – KiCk i

8. Kahiem Rivera – Bummer Boy

9. Porridge Radio – Every Bad

10. Yung Lean – Starz

Lil Peep’s Hellboy indulges my enduring preteen angst, which is everything I needed in 2020. It’s a modern nod to 2000s emo that will speak to every Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance lover who’s still harboring a little darkness — or just appreciates a moment of intensely honest nostalgia. Stacked with samples from eclectic artists like Aphex Twin, Underoath, Toe, and Avenged Sevenfold, Hellboy reimagines an entire generation of music across several genres. Originally released on SoundCloud in 2016, this posthumous official release on all the major streaming platforms was long-awaited by diehard Peep fans and contains many of the emotionally loaded tracks that solidified the late artist’s position as the foremost pioneer in the post-emo space. —DK

Jen Kucsak, Yahoo Entertainment senior producer

1. Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

2. Lady Gaga – Chromatica

3. Taylor Swift – Folklore

4. Justin Bieber – Changes

5. Selena Gomez – Rare

6. Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts

7. The Weeknd – After Hours

8. BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

9. The Strokes – The New Abnormal

10. Ariana Grande – Positions

Capitalizing on the ‘70s/‘80s disco craze, Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia is the best pop album I've heard in quite a while, and it dropped at just the right time as the pandemic hit back in March. I listened to “Levitating” and “Don't Stop Now” on repeat; it made me hit the dance floor in my very own living room, and made me happy during the darkest of days. —JK

Lina Lecaro, writer

1. The Rolling Stones – Goats Head Soup reissue

2. Beyoncé – Black Is King

3. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

4. Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez

5. Alice Bag – Sister Dynamite

6. Deftones – Ohms

7. Oliver Tree – Ugly Is Beautiful

8. Poppy – I Disagree

9. Lamb of God – Lamb of God

10. X – Alphabetland

2020 was rough, and a lot of us sought the comfort of old favorites — myself no exception. I dipped my toes into some new music (usually from women) and heavier soundscapes, but it was the excitement of hearing fresh stuff from an old favorite that brought me the most joy this year. The Stones' never-before-heard collab with Jimmy Page, “Scarlet,” was vintage rock splendor that fit in nicely with the Goats Head Soup reissue's alternate song mixes, which also brought the band into the now via remixes by the Killers and the War on Drugs. —LL

Tristram Lozaw, writer

1. Urlaub In Polen – All

2. Chris P. Thomson – True Stories & Rational Numbers

3. The Apartments - In and Out of the Light

4. Thundercat – It Is What It Is

5. Meredith Monk w/ Bang on a Can All-Stars - Memory Game

6. Public Enemy – What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?

7. Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez

8. Kaki King - Modern Yesterday

9. Dennis Davison – The Book of Strongman

10. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

On All, this German rock-electronica-noise duo celebrates the autobahn throttle of krautrock themes, Kraftwerkian fascinations, space melodies, and even echoes of Avalon-era Roxy Music while merging unruly/dreamy soundscapes and hard-ass beats of their own. As the 7-year-old son of a friend implored, “Can we hear that epic album again?” —TL

Lori Majewski, SiriusXM host/veteran Yahoo writer

1. Taylor Swift – Folklore

2. Fiona Apple – Fetch The Bolt Cutters

3. Roger O’Donnell – 2 Ravens

4. Alanis Morrissette – Such Pretty Forks in the Road

5. JARV IS... – Beyond the Pale

6. Taylor Swift – Evermore

7. Little Big Town — Nightfall

8. Margo Price – That’s How Rumors Get Started

9. Low Cut Connie – Private Lives

10. The Weeknd – After Hours

Taylor Swift is both the biggest pop star on Earth and the greatest songwriter of the millennium. Rarely is an artist both at the same time, but with the quiet masterpiece Folklore — and without $$$ music videos, vengeful clapback tracks, or a sold-out stadium tour — Swift demonstrates she may actually be more talented than she is famous. Let that sink in… and then remember she released a second stellar album months later for good measure. —LM

Kelly Matousek, Yahoo Life/Makers video producer

1. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

2. Whitney – Candid

3. Beyoncé – The Lion King: The Gift

4. Tobe Nwigwe – THE PANDEMIC PROJECT

5. Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud

6. Aminé – Limbo

7. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

8. Diana Gordon – Wasted Youth

9. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – Temple

10. Caribou – Suddenly

2020 brought another exceptional album from Killer Mike and El-P, but it also brought another Grammy snub. End to end, RTJ4 is flawless. As always, the duo's socially conscious lyrics and an un-replicable flow continue to raise the bar; RTJ4 wasn't just a bunch of singles; it was assembled to take you on a ride and make you think while you're there. It's no wonder that Zack de la Rocha and Rage Against the Machine will be touring with Run the Jewels once this pandemic is over. —KM

Lindsay Meeks, AOL/Yahoo video curation manager

1. Taylor Swift – Folklore

2. Kylie Minogue – Disco

3. The Weeknd – After Hours

4. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot

5. La Roux – Supervision

6. Lori McKenna – Balladeer

7. Lisa Loeb – A Simple Trick to Happiness

8. Little Big Town – Nightfall

9. Lucinda Williams – Good Souls Better Angels

10. The Chicks – Gaslighter

The calming, melodic music of Taylor Swift’s Folklore was a much-needed diversion from the chaos of this year’s COVID world. Swift’s coffeehouse sound on the album feels much more appropriate to 2020 than her previous poppy music on her 2019 album, Lover. —LM

Nick Paschal, Yahoo Entertainment senior producer

1. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

2. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

3. The Weeknd – After Hours

4. Eminem – Music to Be Murdered By

5. Taylor Swift – Folklore

6. Childish Gambino – 3.15.20

7. Nathaniel Rateliff – And It’s Still Alright

8. Megan Thee Stallion –Good News

9. Pearl Jam – Gigaton

10. Halsey – Manic

To be honest, I did not expect Fiona Apple to deliver my favorite album of the year — but here we are, and it’s one of the few pleasant surprises of 2020. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is raw, beautiful, and brutally honest. On her fifth studio album, the 43-year-old singer-songwriter perfectly captured the mood of 2020, before the year had even derailed. —NP

Kevin Polowy, Yahoo Entertainment senior correspondent

1. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof

2. Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter

3. CJ Fly – Rudebwoy

4. K.A.A.N. – Vivid Canvas

5. Open Mike Eagle – Anime, Trauma and Divorce

6. Blimes and Gab – Talk About It

7. Namir Blade – Aphelion’s Traveling Circus

8. Felt (Slug & Murs) – Felt 4U

9. Marlowe – Marlowe 2

10. Che Noir & Apollo Brown – …As God Intended

When it came to the record label and hip-hop collective Griselda, I wasn’t sure if I was being biased in building up my fellow Buffalo kids. But the larger rap community has clearly taken notice (see deals with Jay-Z and Eminem), and Griselda’s reputation as the new street rap gods was solidified in 2020. That became undeniable on the Benny’s masterful Burden of Proof, where, with assists from Hit-Boy on the boards, he not only enters a new stratosphere but beams through like Jay in his prime. (Tell me there’s a beat that landed harder this year than “Burden of Proof.”) There were too many great rap albums this year, so I’ll cheat and let this pick also stand in for Griselda’s 750 other neck-snappers (Westside Gunn’s Pray for Paris and Who Made the Sunshine, Conway’s From A King to a God and No One Mourns the Wicked, and Armani Caesar’s The Liz). —KP

Craig Rosen, Premiere Networks/TIDAL/AARP/veteran Yahoo writer

1. Luke Haines & Peter Buck – Beat Poetry for Survivalists

2. The Psychedelic Furs – Made of Rain

3. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

4. EOB – Earth

5. Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas

6. Pearl Jam – Gigaton

7. HAIM – Women in Music Pt. III

8. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

9. X – Alphabetland

10. Swamp Dogg – Sorry You Couldn't Make It

It's the end of the world as we know it, and Beat Poetry for Survivalists, a prophetic collection by former Auteurs frontman Haines and ex-R.E.M. guitarist Buck, made me feel fine with quirky songs about Big Foot hunters, Andy Warhol, and a French glam band. It features Haines's half-sung, half-spoken vocals, Buck's fuzzed-out guitars, and the ace rhythm section of Scott McCaughey and Linda Pitmon. Dig it. —CR

Gabrielle Sorto, Yahoo frontpage editor

1. Khruangbin – Mordechai

2. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

3. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

4. Soccer Mommy – Color Theory

5. HAIM – Women in Music Pt. III

6. Pinegrove – Marigold

7. Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters

8. The Weeknd – After Hours

9. John Legend – Bigger Love

10. Taylor Swift – Folklore

In 2018, the first message my now-boyfriend sent me on Tinder asked if he had just seen me leave the bathroom at a Khruangbin show in Atlanta. It wasn’t me he saw, but it must have been my doppelgänger. I hadn’t heard of the band at the time, but since then the Houston trio has quickly become one of my favorite artists. Their newest album added the perfect psychedelic vibe to an otherwise depressing year. It’s been my soundtrack to working, biking, and road trips in 2020… which is basically everything I've done in 2020. I can’t wait to see them play the album live, whenever that can happen again. —GS

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News senior editor

1. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

2. Soccer Mommy – Color Theory

3. Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

4. Washed Out – Purple Noon

5. Monster Rally – Castaways Vol. 1

6. The Budos Band – Long in the Tooth

7. Molly Sarlé – Karaoke Angel

8. Caroline Rose – Superstar

9. Jeff Parker – Suite for Max Brown

10. Sharon Jones – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In)

Tame Impala's The Slow Rush would have been the soundtrack of the summer — if there had actually been a summer in 2020. Instead, the pandemic robbed us of one. Otherwise, you would've been hearing Kevin Parker's synth-laden psych-rock masterpiece at rooftop parties and backyard barbecues from Maine to Malibu. Oh well, as Parker sings on the album's opener, there's always “one more year.” —DS

Brennan Williams, Yahoo + AOL senior programmer

1. Nas – King’s Disease

2. The Weeknd – After Hours

3. Thundercat – It Is What It Is

4. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Brand – Letter to You

5. SAULT – Untitled

6. Childish Gambino – 3.15.20

7. Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo

8. Cleo Sol – Rose in the Dark

9. Curren$y – The Tonite Show With Curren$y

10. Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony

Music royalty got a hero’s welcome in 2020 with the release of Nas’s 13th studio album, King’s Disease. The hip-hop icon’s latest body of work showcased some of his most strongest efforts to date, with tracks about empowerment and pride (“Ultra Black”), personal growth/mending relationships (“Full Circle”), and just pure celebration (“Spicy”) during one of the most troublesome years in American history. Backed by music produced by Hit Boy, the unexpected release is primed to land the New York native’s first Grammy win in January 2021. —BW

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