The quality of albums being released in 2017 so far has proven that the music industry is thriving with an impressively diverse and ambitious group of albums being released, from ground-breaking debuts to much-awaited sophomore records. With awards season fast approaching and the Recording Academy gearing up to announce the nominees for the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, let’s take a look at five of the year’s best releases in with a shot at Album of the Year.

Kendrick Lamar - 'DAMN'

Kendrick Lamar’s latest offering was one of the most provocative, socially charged releases of recent years, coupling Lamar’s furiously impressive lyrical flow with themes and imagery that you could sit down and delve into for hours on end.

"DAMN" has so many layers and intricacies throughout it that its depth and power is sure to make it a nominee and potential winner of Album of the Year - an accolade he missed out on when he was beaten by Daft Punk and Taylor Swift in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Lorde - 'Melodrama'

New Zealand born Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, shrugged off all pressures surrounding the follow up to her acclaimed debut "Pure Heroine" and released an almost perfect modern pop record. "Melodrama" not only oozes stylish production and vocal power but it also has the substance to back it up. Lorde is one of those rare artists with a talent and emotional range beyond her years and with two world-class albums under her belt, she shows no signs of slowing down.

Sampha - 'Process'

Record producer and songwriter Sampha hails from South London and has worked alongside the likes of Drake, Beyonce, Solange, and SBTRKT to name just a few.

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With an impressive musical phonebook there was a lot of promise surrounding his debut album. "Process" is an incredibly moving and soulful piece of work, dealing with some pretty heavy-hitting topics in the most beautiful and elegant way, leading him to victory at the UK Mercury Prize awarded to the best British album of the year.

SZA - 'CTRL'

Another one of 2017’s best debut releases comes from Jersey R&B singer SZA, who, like Sampha, has an incredible ability to deal with intensely painful subjects with unparalleled beauty. Her voice is so soft and graceful it glides through track after track, until the album ends, albeit far too soon. "CTRL" spans a broad mix of genres beyond just traditional R&B, creating a brave album which stood out this year against a great number of competitors.

A Tribe Called Quest - 'We Got It From Here,' 'Thank You 4 Your Service'

Despite having been released in late 2016, the final album from hip-hop icons A Tribe Called Quest fits in to the eligibility period for the upcoming Grammy Awards, and is a strong contender for the prestigious accolade.

Following the shock death of band member Phife Dawg earlier in 2016, the rest of the band decided to complete the album and release it as their last. 'We Got It From Here...' was a triumphant return to the top for a group who are cited as an influence for huge artists like Andre 3000, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Their energy, clear bond as a group and continued relevance despite being in the game for well over 20 years, all contributed to one of the most well received hip-hop albums of recent times.