The Best Rap Albums of 2022


This year has been a great year for rap music as many popular artists released projects that garnered much anticipation from fans. Although some albums disappointed, many exceptional releases made 2022 a year for rap fans to look back on fondly. Several albums could be mentioned among the best of the year, but here are some must-listen albums for fans of the hip-hop genre.

Regarded by many as the most-anticipated album of the year, Kendrick Lamar returned from a five-year hiatus with “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers,”  an experimental album different from much of his former work. Lamar’s versatility comes through in full display throughout the project which drastically differs from his past releases.  With Lamar’s last release being “DAMN” in 2017, fans awaited this new project for over five years. Upbeat tracks like “Silent Hill” with Kodak Black and “Die Hard” featuring Blxst and Amanda Reifer received commercial success and radio play, but the highlights of the project come from lesser-known tracks. Lamar dives deep into his personal struggles on songs like “Father Time” with Samba, where he reflects on his stern and unforgiving upbringing at the hands of his father. The track “We Cry Together” features actress Taylour Paige, with the song in the form of a brutally realistic argument between a couple struggling to overcome problems. Lamar continues to push boundaries with his 2022 release, and this project is a worthy listen for all hip-hop fans. 

An icon of the rap industry for over two decades, Pusha T’s 2022 release “It’s Almost Dry” continues his streak of quality projects. Just over 35 minutes in length, the 12-track album leaves no room for boredom. Filled to the brim with clever wordplay and complex rhyme schemes, Pusha’s lyrical prowess is on full display in this project. Tracks like “Diet Coke” and “Dreaming of the Past” with Kanye West are highlights of the album, with heavy use of samples giving the tracks an old-school vibe. Such a concise and high-quality project is an easy yet extremely enjoyable listen for hip-hop fans. Big-name features like Jay-Z, Pharrell, and Kid Cudi perform great on their respective songs and add variety to the album. A veteran of the industry, 45 year old Pusha shows no signs of slowing down with this 2022 project. 

Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$ released the album “2000” on July 22nd, the follow-up to his critically-acclaimed 2012 album “1999”. Prominent tracks such as “Brand New 911” and “Cruise Control” start the album off strong with interesting production and great flows from Bada$$. Two outstanding tracks on “2000” are “Show Me” and “Survivor’s Guilt”. “Show Me” samples a popular indie track for a great beat where Bada$$ raps effortlessly. “Survivor’s Guilt” is a heartfelt track about the late rapper and best friend of Bada$$, Capital Steez; the difficulty of coping with his death and unwavering guilt Bada$$ feels on full display. Already garnering more praise than much of his previous work, “2000” is a worthwhile listen for casual and die-hard fans of rap alike. With several artists like Drake, 21 Savage, and Travis Scott planning to drop soon; 2022 has been a year filled with big-name artists releasing projects.