Three weeks into January, it already became apparent this could be Lizzo's year.

Performing at 89.3 the Current's birthday bash with her group the Chalice, the sharp-tongued, Houston-bred rapper/singer debuted "Batches & Cookies," a playful, devious romp that at once echoed classic, boombox-blasting hip-hop and modern mainstream rap such as 2 Chainz.

As the year progressed, she debuted more new songs at South by Southwest in March, Soundset in May, the Summit Backyard Bash in July, the State Fair grandstand in August, the Hip-Hop Harambee festival in September (the lady doth get around). By the time she returned to First Ave in September for a full preview of her album, still a few weeks before its release, the crowd already knew a lot of the tracks and seemed to recognize that another local hip-hop star had been born — one not at all like the others.

No surprise, then, that at year's end, the critics who covered the local music scene recognized Lizzo's "Lizzobangers" as the standout album of 2013.

She's the first act since P.O.S. to top our Twin Cities Critics Tally with her debut release, and the first woman to land at No. 1 in the poll's 12 years.

She's hardly alone representing female artists this year, though. Women star on half of the top 10 albums, counting Low, Poliça, Caroline Smith and Dessa, each of whom has fared well in past polls.

This year's TCCT was compiled from the top 10 lists of 27 participating local music writers and/or locally focused radio pundits, the most ever. There's a lot to be covered in the Minnesota music scene nowadays, which makes this would-be consensus poll all the more necessary and handy.


How TCCT works: Voters choose their top 10 local albums, which are then weighted through a point system. Ranked lists go from 20 points for the No. 1 album to 2 points for No. 10, or unranked lists are 10 points per album. Best songs and live-act categories are top-five lists, with ranked lists ranging from 10 points to 2, or 5 apiece for unranked lists.