Hip hop is never an uneventful genre, but 2022 blew expectations away. Multiple long awaited releases, as well as some surprises, we saw so many artists drop what may be their opus. An year as packed as this is not easy to list out for the best of the best, but as usual we return with another top ten.
Here are our second author’s favorites; let us know what you think and share your own lists!
#10: Meechy Darko – Gothic Luxury
Taking you down the dark paths of his drug-fueled lifestyle, Meechy Darko delivers an album fans have been waiting years for. Against some of the lushest yet twisted backdrops imaginable, Meechy lays his life in full on the album. Touching base on everything from his youth to familial relationships to racism, he speaks his perspective without holding back.
#9: Tony Shhnow – Reflexions
While it was a fairly busy year for Tony Shhnow, none of his albums felt as monumental as Reflexions. Mixing all his styles together, from plugg to older Altanta Trap influenced instrumentals, this album felt like the complete package. Being the connective tissue to the old school & new school, bringing artists such as OJ Da Juiceman & Bear1Boss to the same playing field, Tony vibrantly speaks his hustle mentality to the world.
#8: OG Bobby Billions – Holy Goat 2
OG Bobby Billions takes Texas rap to another level with his album Holy Goat 2. Incorporating operatic choruses, he speaks on the struggles of being broke to finding success in spectacular fashion. As well as utilizing his skills as a singer himself, every track feels like a fully satisfying listen.
#7: Sauce Gohan – Last Laugh
Being a year after his shooting, Sauce Gohan seemingly had leveled up from his previous album. While his previous effort had highlights such as “Life Story” that showed off his storytelling abilities, this one had more than ever before. While he gets to show this side of himself off, he never shies from the hits like he does on “Okay Drip.” Sauce Gohan had many albums for the year, but throughout this album, he raps like he’ll never get to again.
#6: Kojey Radical – Reason to Smile
An album that brings such a broad range of influences to the table, anything from hip hop to funk to soul, its easily the best produced album on the listen. Besides this though, Kojey Radical wears his heart on his sleeve, bringing multiple struggles he’s overcame to light. With the broad range of topics & issues discussed throughout the album, he tries to let everyone know that despite their struggle, they’re not alone.
#5: Ab-Soul – HERBERT
One of the best features of Ab-Soul is when he gets personal. Throughout his career, he always displayed his prowess as a lyricist, but there was always a closed-off feeling. Finally on HERBERT, he tears down those barriers & fully opens up to all his struggles. This personal journey gets put on full display, which you get to hear in his raw energy on multiple tracks. An album full of struggles, but ultimately letting the listener know that he’s finally in a positive space mentally.
#4: Kodak Black – Back for Everything
Kodak’s album was full of hits, but beyond the hits, you got a look into his mindset. Despite finding success in music, he struggles to separate from the streets. Using his music as his outlet, he unleashes everything on his mind all on this album.
#3: Babyface Ray – FACE
While Detroit Rap feels focused on the hits, Babyface Ray knows how to toe the line. Ray never shies from the hits, but knows when he needs to drop some knowledge on those trying to escape the street life. Filled with superstar performances while never leaving the genre, Ray gave one of his most personal albums yet.
#2: Lucki – Flawless Like Me
A long time coming, Lucki’s long-awaited debut album was a success. Callbacks to his influences & getting to work with those that inspired him, the album was a true labor of love. A drug-fueled love letter, the album keeps you on the edge of your seat with every track.
#1: $ilkmoney – I Don’t Give a Fuck About This Rap Shit, Imma Just Drop Until I Don’t Feel Like It Anymore
No stranger to the political raps he explored on his previous release, this album dives even deeper into black thoughts. Increasingly making his lyrics more complex, yet more accessible than his previous release, he finds the perfect balance on this album. Finding teachings from the drugs, the dystopian futurism provided by the algorithms & the powers that be, the album is a whirlwind of paranoia but not without reason.