2022 has been an interesting year for hip-hop, with new albums dropping faster than we could've imagined. To keep track of the best hip-hop albums, we put together a list for all the dedicated fans. But, this isn't the final call. We have a feeling we'll be updating this regularly, so make sure to check back soon.
Gunna – DS4EVER
Sergio Giovanni Kitchens, better known as Gunna, has had a career in music that most would aspire to have. With major hits like Drip or Drown and WUNNA, most would think that his signature style of finding the balance between melodies and rap couldn’t grow further. But DS4EVER brings in the story of his evolution as a person and an artist, and that’s why this album shines. The collaborations with other artists add to the shots fired by the tracks. With DS4EVER, Gunna masters a formula that speaks to everyone out there, with a deeper understanding of storytelling and humanity.
redveil – learn 2 swim
Redveil is quite a good writer, for someone who is only 17 years old. But with learn 2 swim, the artist showcases his dynamic soundscape, with unique usage of instruments that further amplify the potential of his voice. Tracks like PG Baby and Mars will remain in your mind and your lips long into the future. What makes this album a true masterpiece is that Redveil has used it to push his own boundaries further, to deliver melodies that would seem quite out-of-place from other artists of the genre. There is also a dive into his introspective side, and we think it’s one of the best albums to come out this year.
Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
Steve Lacy is an icon to follow for all the right reasons. With his message to focus on the assets you have instead of what you don’t, he’s found a place on our minds, and he’s here to stay. Gemini Rights builds on his experiences after breaking up with a boyfriend, about his swaying moods between longing, regret and resentment. A song you definitely must listen to is Static, where he goes, “If you had to stunt your shining for your lover, dump that fucker”. With artful music that speaks straight to the heart, Gemini Rights is the truest version of Steve Lacy out in the bare.
Drake – Honestly, Nevermind
Drakeisms – the profound, funny elements in music from Drake play a huge role in this latest album – Honestly, Nevermind. With a light and breezy manner to his songs, we see his various takes on lost love and heartbreaks. Drake’s music manages to call to us as friends would to each other – there is a familiarity that transfers through the lyrics. His collaborations with artists like Carnage and Black Coffee add to the versatility of the music on this album. Some songs we think you should check out include “Calling My Name”, “Down Hill” and “Massive”.
Earl Sweatshirt – Sick!
10 tracks that talk about how his life has changed post becoming a father – that’s a gist of what the Sick! Album from Earl Sweatshirt. But this doesn’t make him complacent, he knows this world is changing amidst the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and riots. But despite the dire surroundings that play an influencing role, the album is quite optimistic in its tone. What does all this leave us with? The best album from Earl Sweatshirt to date, as it reminds us of the responsibilities one must face, even if you are at the top of the rap world.
Saba – Few Good Things
Few Good Things by Saba is a complete masterpiece, filled with only good things. More of a confessional than a professionally written set of tracks, it manages to hit us with its raw originality. Saba takes us through different lenses – him enjoying his new million-dollar purchases and then through the neighborhood of his origin. There is a power in his lyrics when he admits that he is scared of his own success and how life has turned 180 degrees for him. We've heard very few albums that could convey this kind of emotion, so it is well worth the applause it continues to receive.
Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart
Vince Staples can come off as a hard man – on screen and through his lyrics. Ramona Park broke My Heart is a tribute to a childhood he never got but wishes he did. But the real attraction to this album lies in the introspective lyrics that ooze nostalgia – a nostalgia that speaks proudly about his hometown and the people who influenced his life. “When Sparks Fly” is the single most important track of our times, one we must out in front of us even if we have subconsciously been putting it away.
Kodak Black – Back For Everything
Power struggle – it is the hidden strings playing with the lives of every living being. It is no different for Kodak Black, who uses Back For Everything to rap about this ongoing battle inside him. The “Super Gremlin” rapper uses songs like “Grinding All Season” to highlight his success-above-all mentality. The album also features instrumentals that bring a new element to his typical album delivery. Other songs find him trying to make amends with past lovers and trying to fix his mistakes. There are elements to each song that will make you hit Save to Playlist, and that’s the real recognition for an artist.
Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future
Denzel Curry is the 27-year-old South Florida artist who is necessary for the rap world to truly thrive. Melt My Eyez See Your Future is his fifth album, and quite surprisingly, his quietest and most introspective one. The 45-minute-long album brings out the artist from under the costumes and disguises and exposes him to the world. The tracks maintain his signature balance of beats and lyric delivery. When you are done with the album in one sitting, you realize that this album is a marking point in the growth of this widely-accepted artist.
Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
Five years after the album DAMN dropped (it is still a vividly remembered album), Kendrick Lamar is back with an album that explores who he is – with the help of his family and his closest friends. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers begins with the artist telling us “I been goin’ through something” and his time away from the spotlight. He goes on to reveal closed incidents in his life, bringing bare the soul of a man at the top of what he does. This 75-minute double-sided album will go down as a historical moment in his career.