The world continues to shift at a rapid pace with so many major global events happening that it’s hard to know exactly how think about time. The only thing that’s been consistent throughout the past few years has been the good music dropping that we’re able to use as timestamps. We’re more than halfway through 2022 and there has been no shortage of dope rap songs. Fans have received music from up-and-coming staples of rap to bona fide legends.  In July, fans received unlikely collaborations like Cardi B, Kanye West and Lil Durk, a surprise drop from Lil Uzi Vert, the return of Joey Bada$$ and the unstoppable force that is Glorilla. Here are the best bars of the year so far.

Check back at the beginning of every month for updates and check out our other lists and our playlist below, which includes all of the songs mentioned in this article and more:

For some of the best albums of 2022, check out our other lists below:

For more of the best songs of 2022, we have you covered with these lists:

Looking for some up and coming rappers and underground gems? We’ve done the work for you and highlighted the short EPs, mixtapes and projects to check out if you’re tired of the mainstream album cycle.

Editor’s note: Songs from this list were released between December 2, 2021 – July 29, 2022.

“Menace” – Lloyd Banks f. Conway the Machine

“Hot Shit” – Cardi B, Kanye West, Lil Durk

Cardi B is a celebrity second and a gangsta bitch first. Beyond the duets with Bruno Mars and Lizzo, behind the curtains of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Cardi is a ferocious rapper in the old school, stick-em-up style, the kind who still might slide on an opp and can’t wait to put a brand new chopper to good use. “Hot Shit,” co-starring Lil Durk and Kanye West, takes that energy and turns it to 11: “One thing I never gotta call a bitch for is a truce,” Cardi raps with fangs bared. While Cardi handles her business as usual, remaining the best rapper on the track, she does something that no rapper has been able to do in years — get Kanye to rap well. Building on Cardi’s “take no shit, talk your shit” attitude, Ye drops jaws with his tightest verse of 2022. “Pinky swear you ain’t scared when you heard Ye appeared/I’ma hop up out the bushes me and Pusha kill your man.” It’s a relief to hear Kanye actually rapping again, rather than sketching out skeletal songs that resemble voice memos. He’s once again splurging out at Louie Vuitton, bringing his masseuse on the plane, practically screaming with glee: “Cardi where your sister at? I need Henny NOW!” Anyone who misses the old Kanye should be smiling ear to ear, maybe he just needed Cardi to put the dog back in him – Vivian Medithi

“Persuasive” – Doechii F. SZA

“Glock In My Purse” – Lil Uzi Vert

“Hollon” – SEVENSEVENSEVEN, YEAT & YUNG KAYO

Yeat’s meteoric rise in 2022 belies the fact that his music is a little… odd. When the garbled language of the tiny yellow Minions is only slightly less intelligible than your average vocal take, casual listeners would be forgiven for glossing over the knotty mess of self-coined lingo and the disconcerting desire for self-medication. But “Hollon” uses Yeat’s strengths as a springboard for the more energetic and straightforward Yung Kayo. Produced by longtime Yung Kayo collaborator sevensevenseven, paired with Kayo, the duo craft one of their most accessible collaborations to date. They’ve developed their chemistry over time, featuring on each others albums back in February and touring together. “Hollon” splits the stylistic difference between Yeat’s nihilistic sedation and Kayo’s adrenaline-induced rage, the beat noisy and swarming with synths, the vocal takes svelte and smooth. The overall effect is similar to drinking an espresso tonic, rich and foamy on first blush, cold and buzzing as it settles in. Yeat handles the hook, mumbling and humming and singing as the song steadily builds. But “Hollon” is Kayo’s show, spitting a verse that’s surprisingly concise compared to the Autotune-warped vocal acrobatics of his debut album. “DHL deal it come with an odor/cheese come from Paris in the Rover,” he shrugs, with the casual air of someone who’s become a little too used to the money coming in faster than they can spend it. Pockets are swollen, filled up with the racks; Benjamins get stuffed inside the bag. And if it’s fashion week, expect to find Yeat and Kayo out in France. – Vivian Medithi

“The Root of All” –  DJ Premier f. Slick Rick & Lil Wayne

“Houston Girls” – Rob 49

“New Money” – Calvin Harris F. 21 Savage

“Survivors Guilt” – Joey Bada$$

On “Survivor’s Guilt” Joey Bada$$ open up about the tragic loss of his friend, collaborator and Pro Era legend Capital STEEZ. The emotional tribute sees Joey grappling with loss, friendship and the guilt that comes with seeing success while his friend is unable to physically experience it alongside him. On the more than five-minute song, Joey addresses things that longtime fans have been wondering about like STEEZ’s family and online conspiracy theories about Steelo’s passing. It seems like there are things Joey himself is still coming to terms with, but it’s clear that STEEZ’s spirit has never left his thoughts. The instrumental and tone are reminiscent of Kendrick’s “Sing About Me” as Joey also addresses his late cousin on verse 2. Overall, this song is a standout from 2000 and will definitely hit home for Pro Era fans. – Jeremy Hecht

“Ms.Mural” – Lupe Fiasco

“Cash in Cash Out” – Pharrell F. Tyler, The Creator & 21 Savage

Coming in near the top for 2022’s Song of the Summer is Pharrell’s “Cash In Cash Out” with Tyler, The Creator and Atlanta’s 21 Savage. The Virginia artist’s latest, a mantric anthem driven by punchy drums, a wailing, distorted sample and three of rap’s most thrilling MCs. Tyler, who is still touring and promoting his 2021 masterpiece CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, dives into a grizzly and textured verse, a fitting balance to 21’s restrained, deadpan delivery and Pharrell’s more melodic approach. – David Brake

“Late To Da Party” – Lil Nas X F. YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Lil Nas X knows how to grab and hold your attention. His latest single “Late To Da Party” starts by taking a few shots at BET after being snubbed for its awards show. Though it begins with some slander it quickly evolves into a radio-ready pop song, adding insult to injury by making sure the track will worm its way into TikTok virality and play all summer. Produced by Take a Daytrip, the production duo responsible for some of his biggest songs to date, “Late To Da Party” brings King of YouTube YoungBoy Never Broke Again on board for some harmonies and a ravenous verse. Over his career so many have labeled Lil Nas X as a one-hit-wonder, an artist who will burn brightly and fade even quicker: “Late To Da Party” is yet another reminder that the young icon has plenty of staying power. – David Brake

“Denial” – Rae Sremmurd

“TURN IT UP” – Cochise

“Count Me Out” – Kendrick Lamar

The word “breakthrough” perfectly describes everything about Kendrick Lamar’s “Count Me Out.” From the opening harmonies about hoes to the angelic backing vocals that make you feel like you’re floating into musical clouds, the entire sonic landscape is a perfect backing for Kendrick’s vulnerable lyrical journey into self love and acceptance. Kendrick seems to be coming to terms with his flaws and mistakes, even forgiving himself “a hundred times” in order to breakthrough to his highest potential. This project proves that whether it be two weeks or five more years before we hear new music from Mr. Lamar again, the one thing we should never do as fans is count him out. – Jeremy Hecht

“DMB” – A$AP Rocky

“No Reason” – Lil Gnar F. Lil Keed

“Wraith” – Chance The Rapper F. Vic Mensa

“I’m On One” – Future F. Drake

“Whaddup (Remix)” – PGF Nuk F. Polo G

“Shake It” – Kay Flock F. Cardi B, Dougie B & Bory300

“God Hour” – A$AP ANT F. A$AP ROCKY

The Marino Infantry popup show in Los Angeles brought out throngs of fans eager to pay $80 for a t-shirt. At the center of it all was A$AP Ant, ensconced in security, palling around with Casey Veggies and Shoreline Mafia’s OhGeesy. The highest profile guest was none other than Rihanna baby daddy A$AP Rocky, and the two took a moment to preview a new collaboration outside the popup, as the Marino Infantry Skate Team fluttered down Fairfax Ave like four-wheeled doves on grip tape. Waiting for an official release over the past year has been nothing short of excruciating, but “God Hour” proves anticipation breeds results. Rocky takes his time reminding listeners he might be a “gentle guy/but no i’m not feminine,” over ascending strings and a squeaky little synth line. Producers Mannyvelli and Spizzledoe provide a lush, melodic foundation for Ant & Rocky to rap about the travails of chasing money, although Ant remains unbothered: ”I’m on the beach, I got sand on my feet.” “God Hour” is a showcase of the brilliance of A$AP Ant, one of AWGE’s most prolific members; his ongoing work with Marino Infantry remains one of the coziest corners of underground rap. – Vivian Medithi

“London” – BIA F. J. Cole

“Lemonade” – Vince Staples

“Vaderz” – Rico Nasty F. Bktharula

When “Vaderz” careens into eardrums with its squealing guitars, it’s obvious listeners are in for an aggro treat. Rico Nasty and Bktherula are two of the hardest female MCs in the game right now, and they take the Ben10k/Dirty Dave beat to task with cult-like fervor. “It’s a constant commotion everywhere I been,” Rico snarls. Uniting with Bktherula foregrounds Rico’s most aggressive bars; the two MCs nonchalantly yelp about finessing men out of brand new whips, shooters armed with MAC-11s and twin glocks that keep their haters in check (“this shit could get dark/Marilyn Manson”). Rico and Bk aren’t just rapping like they want to make a great song, they’re rapping like they want listeners to remember this song weeks, months later. – Vivian Medithi

“Gas Station” – Tia Corine

“Kant Relax” – Yeat

“Blick Blick” – Coi Leray F. Nicki Minaj

“Punch Bowl” – Clipse & Nigo

“X-Wing” – Denzel Curry

Denzel Curry is a messianic figure for the nerd community, crafting references to Star Wars, the WWE and the Christopher Nolan Batman movies on top of a choice beat. The violin sample would bring a tear to a statue’s eye, the floating keys in the background inspires visions of an enchanted waterfall and the expertly mixed bass tones create a weightless environment to experience some of the strongest bars on his new project, Melt My Eyez See Your Future. Beyond beats and bars, Curry shows wisdom and range in his vocals, including a chorus that puts the unbridled power of intelligent Auto-Tune on full display. “X-Wing” is busy, and would be cluttered if it were not so expertly conducted by a man whose artistry apparently knows no bounds.- Ben Brutocao

“Sunshine” – Latto f. Lil Wayne & Childish Gambino

“WiFi” – DaBaby & YoungBoy

“WiFi” is an undeniably potent proof of concept for Youngboy and DaBaby’s partnership. The overpowering aggression dripping from the keys and deep bass is accentuated by the most effortless chemistry found on BETTER THAN YOU. The song serves as a PSA for internet trolls that their digital antagonism can have real and potentially fatal consequences. Seeing as this is a group which has plagued both Youngboy and DaBaby for their entire careers, the anger strewn throughout is authentic and compelling. The undeniable highlight of the track is Youngboy’s verse at the start of the second half, which is spit with enough fury so as to rally a nun to march off to war. – Ben Brutocao

“Free The Shiners” – 42 Dugg & EST GEE

“Starlight” – Dave

“Whole Lotta” – Marr Grey

Baltimore’s Marr Grey, with his soulful autotuned hybrid of rap and R&B music, has been striving for stardom ever since Drake was seen on video taking a midnight jog to his song “Safe House.” An obvious student of both Drizzy and Young Thug, the crooner has been toying with his formula since at least 2018, but seeing that video supercharged him and has since changed everything. On “Whole Lotta,” the opener off his latest effort Double Cup Love, Marr Grey seems to have finally mastered this hybrid. Warbling over a sleek molasses-thick concoction of steel drums and explosive 808s, the rapper’s sing-song approach is fully realized as he bobs back and forth about whether success is in his future. “You might not get success, you might be tone deaf, I might be wrong about you, but I haven’t been wrong yet,” he raps, taking a moment of pause to let it sink in. If “Whole Lotta’s” playful nuances are any indication, Marr Grey might get what he’s looking for. – Mackenzie Cummings-Grady

“Switching Sides” – Midwxst

“Diet Coke” – Pusha T


As the wait continues for Pusha T’s forthcoming album produced by The Neptunes and Kanye West, fans were blessed with “Diet Coke.” Kingpin rap isn’t new to the G.O.O.D. Music rapper, yet his brick-talk on “Diet Coke” sounds as energized as ever. Rapping over soulful production from Ye and 88-Keys, Push details the journey he underwent, from pushing weight to pushing records — and all the spoils that came with the success. – David Brake

“God Don’t Make Mistakes” – Conway The Machine

“Nail Tech” – Jack Harlow

“Glock 19” – NGEEYL

“Don’t Play That” – King Von & 21 Savage

On first listen, the warm production from Kid Hazel wouldn’t appear to be suitable for the raps of Atlanta-based rap star 21 Savage and the late King Von. But once Von’s bouncing, stutter-step chorus rings through, all doubts dissipate. Von, who tragically passed in November 2020, was a promising rapper with an innate gift for storytelling. While his contribution to “Don’t Play That” strays from his usual affinity or narratives, it’s nice to hear him on such a lighthearted track. – David Brake

“Elon Musk ” – DDG F. Gunna

“Sl*t Him Out” – Baby Tate

2022 HipHopDX Rising Star Baby Tate knows how to go viral. Months before the release of “Sl*t Him Out,” the sound was already trending heavily on TikTok. Now officially unveiled, fans are able to enjoy the full braggadocious and sensual shit-talking of one of Atlanta’s best. Tate still hasn’t cooled from the enormous highs of her 2021, but it seems like the ascent has only just begun. – David Brake

“Banking On Me”- Gunna

“Banking On Me” is a tender song, an 808-enhanced serenade for women who mix the Bottega Veneta with archival Phoebe Philo Celine and get freaky behind closed doors. Gunna has always had a taste for the finer things, but here the brand names and narcotics fall away. Reveling in romantic bliss, he paints the scene impressionistically. Is he moving the drapes to let the sun into his penthouse or the Maybach? Does it matter? Geography loses all meaning when it comes to the ocean views, a shared moment of pure blue serenity: this is love. “Banking On Me” is ostensibly about current paramour Chloe Bailey, even if she’s quick to deflect — though not deny — any rumors about her love life. But whoever this song is for, it’s clear Gunna cherishes every moment with her, past, present and future: “I really like it, I wan’ stay excited, don’t wanna get tired of you.” – Vivian Medithi

“Johnny P’s Caddy” – Benny The Butcher f. J. Cole

“P Power” – Gunna f. Drake

The Weeknd has more Spotify listeners than Justin Bieber, but he doesn’t have more first-week sales than Gunna. Drip Season 4 ever narrowly pulled ahead, largely due to a well-timed OVO stimulus just before the reporting week closed. The Metro-Boomin produced “P Power” sounds approximately as slick and sexy as Beyoncé’s “Partition” video. Meanwhile, Drake is finally back after Astroworld, feeding women psychedelic research chemicals and firing off enough Kanye subluminals to warrant a J. Prince intervention. Gunna sounds totally assured and for three minutes, sounds more than charming enough to be the biggest artist in the world. — Vivian Medithi

“Surround Sound” – JID f. Baby Tate & 21 Savage

“Gangsta” – YoungBoy Never Broke Again f. Quando Rondo

“It’s Yours Pt. 2” – The Cool Kids

Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks — collectively known as The Cool Kids — announced their first full length project since 2017’s Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe and first triple album in Hip Hop history on Friday (January 28). The inaugural installment is titled Before Shit Got Weird, which will feature both members of the group. The last two entries will be solo albums from Mikey and Mr. Inglish. Ahead of its March 3 arrival, the innovative Chicago duo has dropped another single from the album called “It’s Yours Part 2.” Part Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere” and 100 percent Cool Kids, the track features deep, rolling bass and ominous synths peppered with their effortless rhymes skating across the top. — Kyle Eustice 

“Walkin” – Denzel Curry

Like Denzel Curry tends to do in January every year, the Carol City star has unexpectedly returned. On “Walkin,” Curry is back in full force. His signature intensity comes through and transforms the angelic sample into something menacing and enthralling. At almost five minutes long, the extended run time gives his lyrics some breathing room, as well as providing space for a long, head-bumping chorus that incorporates the cynicism and braggadocio fans expect and love. And, as the drums switch around at the halfway point and the hi-hats begin to fire at double speed, Curry speeds up to a furious, machine gun pace that carries the second half weightlessly. – Ben Brutocao

“Survivor’s Guilt – Saba f. G Herbo

“Million Dollars Worth Of Game” – 2 Chainz f. 42 Dugg

“Burn” – Juice WRLD

It can be really tough to keep track of all the great music from 2021. Luckily we’ve narrowed down the list to only the essentials!

Editor’s Note: Songs from this list were released between July 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021.

“We Set The Trends” – Jim Jones f. Migos

“Tabula Rasa” – Earl Sweatshirt f. Armand Hammer

Earl Sweatshirt has returned from his recluse state first with the masterful wordplay of “2010″ and now, with “Tabula Rasa” featuring underdog MVPs of 2021 Armand Hammer. Produced by 2021 HipHopDX Producer of the Year Alchemist, “Tabula Rasa” is an introspective journey into the minds of some of Hip Hop’s greatest thinkers. — David Brake

“Wave Gods” – Nas f. A$AP Rocky

“Blessings” – Cousin Stizz

Massachusetts experienced a landmark year in 2021, with acts such as BIA, Van Buren Records and Cousin Stizz taking the scene to new heights. On “Blessings,” Stizz reflects on his upbringing, finding gratitude for the past experiences which crafted the man he is today. — David Brake

“2010” – Earl Sweatshirt

“Life of The Party” – Kanye West f. Andre 3000

Kanye West finally released the deluxe version of Donda on Sunday (November 14) much to the surprise of his ever-loyal fans. Although the tracklist was slightly rearranged, the updated version of the Billboard 200 chart-topping album contained the André 3000 collaboration, “Life Of The Party,” which Drake leaked in September in an attempt to outsmart his contemporary. The song features the Outkast legend opening up about the loss of his mother, which fit the theme of Donda, the name of Kanye’s late mother who died in 2008. Many are already calling it “verse of the year.”

“Black Illuminati” – Freddie Gibbs f. Jadakiss

“Murder Music” – Snoop Dogg f. Benny The Butcher, Jadakiss & Busta Rhymes

“Who Want Smoke (Remix)” – Nardo Wick f. 21 Savage, Lil Durk & G Herbo

“Miracle Baby” – Alchemist f. MAVI

Alchemist and North Carolina rapper MAVI sound like they were made for each other. Spitting through the swirling textures of Alchemist’s soulful production, MAVI raps with a sense of glory and pride, his bars splintering into topics including metaphysics, the state of the nation and the success he’s experienced over the past few years. Deeply impassioned, “Miracle Baby” is not only the best track from This Thing Of Ours 2, it’s one of MAVI’s best offerings of the year.

“Faces” – Young Thug

“Silly Achilles” – TisaKorean

mr.siLLyfLow, the most recent album from Houston MC TisaKorean is ripe with the absurd raps which first brought him attention in 2019 with “Dip (#thewoah),” but “Silly Achilles” stands apart from the pack. Taking influence from the sounds of Crunk, Bounce and Plugg music, Tisa’s music has the benchmarks of Texas rap, but it’s tweaked with his unflinching humor and captivating, exuberant voice.

“Long Night In Knightsbridge” – Headie One

“Barcade” – Atmosphere f. MF DOOM & Aesop Rock

“Barcade” is the underground rap hallmark of October. Combining the forces of Atmosphere, Aesop Rock and the late MF DOOM, “Barcade” provides a nostalgic feel without sounding stale. As a thick wind blows through Ant’s production, Aesop Rock, MF Doom and Slug drop esoteric bars tackling the realities of living in a dystopian world.

Yeah – Mac Miller

“Range Brothers” – Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar

The alleged familial bonds between Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar produced the most electrifying five minutes in Rap this year. Capitalizing off the momentum from their lead single “family ties,” the duo ratchet up the energy and the absurdity with every word on “range brothers.” There’s a jarring switch from elite rapping backed by cinematic overtures to the unhinged last minute of the track. The finale’s captivating back and forth is stuffed with quotables and ad-libs that rattle in your head for weeks, leaving you muttering “rollie gang” like a madman.

“Intro (Hate On Me)” – Meek Mill

“Wyd” – Tony Seltzer f. Mavi

Brooklyn producer Tony Seltzer acts more like a luxury tailor than producer, precisely molding the production of his tracks to match the tone and energy of his collaborators. “Wyd” features a high-pitched droning that provides a perfect foil to MAVI’s laid-back, low-octave delivery. His rambles conversely feel measured and controlled, with every one of his melancholic words coming through clear as day.

“Off The Grid” – Kanye West f. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign

Kanye West‘s DONDA was met with mixed reception, but none can deny the intoxicating energy of “Off The Grid.” Including vintage Yeezus-esque production and some of Ye’s best bars of the album, “Off The Grid” also features arguably the greatest verse in Fivio Foreign’s career and punchy bars from Playboi Carti. Kanye, who also executive produced Carti’s WHOLE LOTTA RED, clearly holds a lot of respect for the Atlanta rapper, as “Off The Grid” sounds like Yeezy’s take on Carti’s frenetic post-SoundCloud sonics.

“family ties” – Baby Keem f. Kendrick Lamar

Baby Keem has had one helluva month. He claimed the best verse on Kanye West’s long-awaited Donda album and has a hit with cousin Kendrick Lamar on “family ties.” The song was released after Kendrick announced his forthcoming album will be his last with Top Dawg Entertainment. It’s too soon to say what the future has in store for the iconic Compton rapper, but if Kendrick’s new album sounds anything like the turbulent hellfire of his verse on “family ties,” fans should be excited.

“Corvette Corvette” – RX Papi

“Nobody” – Nas f. Lauryn Hill

Social media entered a frenzy when people noticed Lauryn Hill was featured on the tracklist to Nas’ King’s Disease II. Ms. Hill’s return to rhyming was met with excitement and a healthy dose of uncertainty as nearly 25 years have passed since the two bards of Hip Hop first joined forces on It Was Written‘s lead single “If I Ruled The World.” Luckily, both legendary MCs have plenty of fuel left in the tank. Nas’ head-nodding flow on “Nobody” exhibits the same dexterous flow he forged in his youth, but it’s Ms. Hill’s explosive verse that truly steals the show.

Contributing writers: David Brake, Trent Clark, Kyle Eustice, Jeremy Hecht, Devon Jefferson, Dana Scott, Ben Brutocao, Anthony Malone, Kia Turner, Matthew Ritchie & Josh Svetz.

OTHER FAVORITE HIP HOP SONGS FROM FROM NOVEMBER 2021

  • “Channel 5” – Key Glock
  • “RISK SUM” – Tony Shhnow & 10kDunkin

OTHER FAVORITE HIP HOP SONGS FROM FROM OCTOBER 2021

  • “Silly Rabbit” – TisaKorean
  • “SANTANNY” – BKtherula

OTHER FAVORITE HIP HOP SONGS FROM FROM SEPTEMBER 2021

  • “Rocc Climbing” – Remble f. Lil Yachty
  • “Bread Head” – SahBabii

OTHER FAVORITE HIP HOP SONGS FROM FROM AUGUST 2021

  • “Walk The Beat” – Tierra Whack
  • “In My Blood” – Mo3 f. Morray
  • “Matt Hardy 999” – Trippie Redd f. Juice WRLD

OTHER FAVORITE HIP HOP SONGS FROM FROM JULY 2021

  • “edamame” – bbno$ f. Rich Brian
  • “Steve Jobs: SLR 3 ½” – Lupe Fiasco
  • “Rock N Roll” – Ken Car$on