For me, 2022 was a fantastic year for music. I’ve always enjoyed more than just hip-hop and hip-hop adjacent genres my entire life, but I never really branched out extensively until last year. In doing so, I discovered so much great music and new artists in such a short time and while this list is still very hip-hop and hip-hop adjacent heavy, there are artists and projects on here that past me would never even think of listening to. So many great projects came out last year and I know for a fact I didn’t listen to them all. One thing all 20 of these projects have in common is that for some amount of time last year, I was absolutely stuck on them. And with music being such a big part of who I am, I couldn’t be more grateful for these projects.

#20. Based On A Feeling – Sabrina Claudio

Spotify – Tracks: 11

Favorite Songs: Subtle Things, IOU, Better Version, Put On Repeat, Favorite Part, Protect Her

This just barely beat out a few of my honorable mentions for the last spot, but a few songs put it over the edge. Most notably, the phenomenal Better Version. It randomly played on Spotify and instantly I fell in love with it, which led me to listening to the album fully. Sabrina’s soft and sensual vocal performance throughout is so pleasant to the ears. I could throw this on anytime and just listen and relax.

#19. Wasteland – Brent Faiyaz

Spotify – Tracks: 19


Even though it felt like half the album was released as singles before it released (which I hate), those singles were great and so were the new songs. I love Brent’s voice and choice of instrumentals here. Though, sometimes I wish on some tracks he’d let his voice really take the main stage instead of the 50/50 or even more than that he does with instrumentals. Even still, I really enjoyed this.

#18. Crash – Charli XCX

Spotify – Tracks: 12

Favorite Songs: Crash, Good Ones, Move Me, Baby, Lightening, Used to Know Me

I heard the hype over this project when it dropped earlier in the year, but I didn’t actually give it a listen until December. It quickly became a favorite. If I had to pick just one word to describe it, it’d be fun. Pure, electric, pop fun. And that’s what I needed around that time, so this album was very welcome.

#17. Under the Sun – Lizzie Berchie

Spotify – Tracks: 5

Favorite Songs: Pass Time, Growth, Feeling, Trying, Nsala

One of my favorite streamers/Youtubers (Shawncee) pulled this project on stream around when it dropped and listened to a few songs and just like him, I really enjoyed what I heard. When I went on to listen on my own, almost every song blew me away. Lizzie’s voice is so rich and warm to the ear. I can’t wait to hear more from her.

#16. I Never Liked You – Future

Spotify – Tracks: 16


I’ve been a big Future fan for over a decade now, which is crazy to say. Since the Pluto days, this man has yet to disappoint me and once again he delivered with probably one of his best projects to me. There’s so many highs on here and really only one low (FOR A NUT is awful). Amazing album.

#15. Give or Take – Giveon

Spotify – Tracks: 15

Favorite Songs: Let Me Go, Scarred, dec 11th, This Will Do, Tryna Be, july 16th, For Tonight, Another Heartbreak, Remind Me, Unholy Matrimony

This is a weird one for me. Like a lot of people, I was introduced to Giveon with his feature on the phenomenal dark and chilly song Chicago Freestyle in which his vocals added so much to that vibe. I was listening to his prior project When It’s All Said and Done… Take Time heavy right before this one dropped. So maybe me loving that project so much led to some underwhelming on my first few listens to this. But man, when I went back at the end of the year and really looked and listened track by track. This album is really damn good. Maybe a bit too long, but really good nonetheless.

#14. Honestly, Nevermind – Drake

Spotify – Tracks: 14

Favorite Songs: Texts Go Green, A Keeper, Calling My Name, Sticky, Massive, Flight’s Booked, Overdrive, Down Hill, Tie the Binds, Liability, Jimmy Cooks.

You either love it or hate it. I love it. It’s a vibe, it was perfect for the time it released. I do have my gripes with it, like some of the awful transitions and Currents probably being my least favorite song of the year. But overall I can put this album on and just vibe and Jimmy Cooks is such a great song. One of the best to release last year and one of Drake’s best period.

#13. TW20 50 – Kaycyy

Spotify – Tracks: 3

Favorite Songs: The Sun, Love & Hate

Again, I was in a Shawncee stream and he was playing this short little EP and one of the songs caught my ear. Later that night, I listened to the EP, and it never stopped playing for hours. I wish Kaycyy had more songs like these outside of this EP but these three songs are so good, I won’t complain too much. Its only 3 songs, all three are good but two are just outstanding.

#12. CAPRISONGS – FKA twigs

Spotify – Tracks: 17

Favorite Songs: ride the dragon, honda,meta angel, tears in the club, oh my love, lightbeamers, papi bones, jealousy, careless

Ride the dragon was my introduction to what would quickly become one of my favorite artist ever. My early 2022 was defined by this mixtape and DAWN FM. Another purely fun project that has twigs’ angelic voice wrapped all around it.

#11. Dawn FM – The Weeknd

Spotify – Tracks: 16

Favorite Songs: Gasoline, How Do I Make You Love Me?, Take my Breath, Sacrifice, Out of Time, Best Friends, Is There Someone Else?, Starry Eyes, Don’t Break My Heart.

I can break my 2022 up into 3 different Weeknd phases and it all started off with DAWN FM early in the year. Again, I’ve been a fan for about a decade and it’s been a decade of no disappointment this album included. As the second part of this new trilogy, it’s not as strong as After Hours, but it holds its own and the transitions are immaculate. Abel’s voice is as good as it’s ever been and the production is top-notch. I can’t wait for the finale.

#10. Her Loss – Drake & 21 Savage

Spotify – Tracks: 16

Favorite Songs: Rich Flex, Major Distribution, On BS, Privileged Rappers, Treacherous Twins, Hours in Silence, Circo Loco, Pussy & Millions, Broke Boys, Middle of the Ocean

Three Drake projects in the span of 13 months. Some people may say he went 0/3 or 1/3. Personally, he went 3/3. I’m a fan of CLB (that cover sucks so bad though.), Honestly, Nevermind is a vibe, and Her Loss was exactly what I’d want from a Drake and 21 collab more or less. Definitely feels like Drake ft 21 more so than a true collab but they both pull their weight and bring the best out of each other.


Spotify – Tracks: 16

Favorite Songs: AYE!, Magic, When Sparks Fly, Player ways, Rose Street, The Blues

In 2021 Vince dropped his self-titled project and I loved that. I wasn’t expecting another one so soon, but I was happy, nonetheless. This project is definitely more low-key and a chiller vibe than his more recent outings and that’s very welcome. Vince is an artist that can do it all. He has a voice for rap and this album is another great one among his already loaded discography.

#8. Serpentine – BANKS

Spotify – Tracks 13

Favorite Songs: Misunderstood, Meteorite, Fuck Love, Deadend, Holding Back, Skinnydipped, Burn, Birds by the Sea, I Still Love You

I started listening to a lot more music outside of my realm of rap and RnB this year. This album was one of my writing albums when I was drafting the first draft of my book. There are almost no skips. The production is stellar and Banks brings this energy and life to her vocals that just elevates every track. Whether it’s the more aggressive and attitude driven misunderstood or the soft and dramatic Birds by the Sea. Her voice delivers heavy.

#7. HYPNOS – Ravyn Lenae

Spotify – Tracks: 16

Favorite Songs: Cameo, Venom, Inside Out, Skin Tight, Where I’m From, Light Me Up, Like You Do, Wish

Another stop on my expanding my taste journey. I knew I would fall in love with Ravyn Lenae’s music the first note I heard. Erykah Badu was my childhood crush and one of my favorite artist as a toddler, and Ravyn on this project channels her so much. This album is ethereal and will easily take you somewhere higher when you close your eyes and just listen. This is the first project I’ve ever heard from her and I’m a big fan.

#6. You Can’t Kill Me – 070 Shake

Spotify – Tracks: 14

Favorite Songs: Web, Invited, History, Medicine, Skin and Bones, Blue Velvet, Cocoon, Body,

After her initial hype during her Kanye bump in 2018, I never really checked on Shake. I’ve heard nothing but great things about her debut, but that type of music wasn’t on my radar at the time. Boy, when I tell you, the moment I heard the production and the beat drop on Cocoon, I was in love. The day this album dropped until my #1 album came out, this was my album of the year. The only reason it’s not higher now is I’m not a big fan of the second half. But man is the first half an experience. Not just music, an experience.

#5. Hold the Girl – Rina Sawayama

Spotify – Tracks: 13

Favorite Songs: Minor Feelings, Hold the Girl, This Hell, Forgiveness, Holy (Til You Let Me Go), Your Age, Imagining, Frankenstein, Phantom

My friend recommended me Rina not long before this album dropped. I listened to and loved her 2020 album (XS is so good) so I was hype for this and it did not disappoint at all. Every track on here is amazing. I love the fact that Rina seems to have perfected pop, but also always dabbles in other genres for a few songs. I haven’t specifically talked about certain runs yet on this list, but the three track runs from Your Age, Imagining, then Frankenstein is my favorite of the year. There’s just so much real relatable emotion all over every song. Amazing album.

#4. The Forever Story – JID

Spotify – Tracks: 16

Favorite Songs: Raydar, Crack Sandwich, Surround Sound, Kody Blu 31, Bruddanem, Sistanem, Stars, Just In Time, Better Days, Lauder Too, 2007.

Been a fan since the never story. JID has always constantly showcased his talent and is a standout on everything that he touches. This album feels like his “I’m really here” moment. The flows, the storytelling, the production. It’s all on point. I don’t really care to know about artist outside of their music. If I’m going to find out, I want to hear it in a song. Tell me a story, put me there. That’s what JID does over and over again throughout this album. I’m so happy that it got the widespread acclaim that it deserves this year.

#3. RENAISSANCE – Beyonce

Spotify – Tracks: 16


Drake made a chill dance album. Something to vibe to, but definitely more mellow. Beyonce went out and made a pure get yo ass on the floor and dance, dance album. A move your body dance album. A get up out the house, its summer dance album. A quit your job and get lit, even though my concert tickets months later are gonna cost a mortgage dance album. All jokes aside, from track one to track whatever. Just pure energy. This album feels like summer. It radiates fun and happiness, like a party where everyone is invited. It never fails to put me in a good mood. And the transitions?? Production went crazy. I absolutely love this album and this sound from her.

#2. SOS – SZA

Spotify – Tracks: 23

Favorite Songs: Kill Bill, Seek & Destroy, Love Language, Blind, Used, Snooze, Notice Me, Gone Girl, Ghost in the Machine, F2F, Nobody Gets Me, Conceited, Far, Shirt, Open Arms, I Hate U, Good Days, Forgiveless

I have a confession to make… I think I only listened to ctrl like one time years ago and it didn’t really click with me. Like I liked a few tracks, but overall it just didn’t hit me. But when an artist as prolific as SZA takes such a long break, it’s mandatory to tune it when she finally drops. And boy, did she drop what is so close to album of the year. 23 songs long with almost no skips is an incredible feat. The overarching storytelling of the emotional damage coming out of a relationship is too relatable. The ups and downs. Feeling great for a moment, then the next moment feeling like you’re nothing without them. The way she captured all of these feelings in 23 tracks while also making most of those tracks catchy as hell is an anomaly. Seriously, songs like Snooze, Shirt, Love Language, etc, etc. are so catchy without being annoying. This album is as close to perfect as you can get.

#1. Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar

Spotify – Tracks: 19

Favorite Songs: United in Grief, N95, Worldwide Steppers, Father Time, Rich Spirit, We Cry Together, Count Me Out, Savior – Interlude, Savior, Mr. Morale, Mother I Sober, The Heart Pt. 5

Another TDE artist. Another artist that took a long break before dropping again. I’ve been a Kendrick fan since I was 11. He dropped his last album when I was 16. I’m 22 now. I’ve grown up with Kendrick and it’s clear in his music and in this album specifically that he has grown up in that time as well. I will always love hearing his perspective on anything. The themes of this album run deep. His feelings of being propped up as not only a rap savior but also as a black icon when in reality he is still just a man. Different cycles of trauma, whether that be in a relationship or abuse. Mother, I Sober is one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. His deconstruction of the culture in which he’s been raised in, in which black people have been raised in, is beautiful and sad. The Heart Part 5 encapsulates that perfectly. This album is far from perfect. It was some glaring issues and is even tone-deaf in some areas. But as a whole, I believe this album will stand the test of time just like all his other albums. And personally, it means a lot to me. I have a tattoo of one of the lyrics from Count Me Out on my forearm. It means that much to me. Who knows if this is Kendrick’s last project or when he’ll drop again? As of now, this stands as something special and my favorite project from 2022.

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