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 almost done with 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. This year, we’ve received incredible bars from some of the biggest rappers in the game including JAY-Z, Lil Wayne, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Kendrick Lamar and so much more. This month fans got long awaited returns from Ab-Soul & Stormzy and an unlikely collab that squashed any perceived beef between 21 Savage & Nas.
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:
Struggling to find a list of the Hip Hop Albums that have been shifting the culture? Take a look at our lists for Hip Hop, Rap and R&B to get a complete survey of the projects that are dictating the conversation within Hip Hop.
Need some new songs to throw in the rotation but Spotify and user-created playlists are way too long? We kept it simple and added only the best of the best songs from each month to make sure you get the songs you need without a hassle. Peep the lists below.
Editor’s note: Songs from this list were released between December 2, 2021 – November 31, 2022.
“One Mic, One Gun” – 21 Savage & Nas
Shortly fter 21 Savage’s comments about Nas’ relevancy went viral, Hit Boy became the moderator and put the two respective parties on the same song. The result may surprise some fans. 21 and Nas seemlessly rap back and forth over the smooth soulful production and prove that any generational gap can be solves through the art form we all love.
“This Is What I Mean”- Stormzy
Stormzy’s triumphant return is encapsulated by emotional ballads and heartfelt storytelling bars about the ups and downs of relationships. But on the title track of his latest album, the UK spitter proves why he is still one of the best at his craft when it comes to the bars. His casually braggadocios flows over the menacing beat are a perfect reminder of Stormzy’s brilliance.
Mount Westmore (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40 & Too $hort) f. P-Lo — “Too Big”
When four massive superstars join forces for a group project, it’s an understatement to say that expectations are high. But Snoop, 40, Short and Cube did not disappoint when it comes to their latest release. The West Coast pioneers of Hip Hop prove that they can fit right in with the current sound without sacrificing their genuine craft.
“Closed Curtains” – CEO Trayle
“Do Better” – Ab-Soul f. Zacari
After years of waiting, TDE lyricist Ab-Soul has seemingly announced the follow-up to his 2016 album Do What Thou Wilt. With the help of vocalist Zacari, the Carson native ushers in his new sonic era with his commanding “Do Better” single.
“Legit” – Nas
“Scarface”- Jeezy & EST Gee
Jeezy returned in 2022 with the DJ Drama-assisted mixtape Snofall on which he continues to prove why he is one of the best to ever do it. The Snowman shows maturity without losing the feeling that he gave fans in the early 2000’s. Drama’s midas touch made the project a standout from the year, and EST Gee’s presence on “Scarface” created a multi-generational hit.
Pivot Gang — “Aang”
Boldy James — “Flag on the Play”
“All Night Long” – Lancey Foux
“Dark Hearted” – Freddie Gibbs
Two years after the release of his Grammy-Nominated Alfredo album, Freddie Gibbs has finally given his listeners a taste of his upcoming project $oul $old $eperately. On the heels of his Moneybagg Yo-anchored “Too Much” single, the Rabbit shares his Jame Blake-produced follow-up entitled “Dark Hearted.”
“90 Proof” – Smino f. J. Cole
Smino has his hands full. In addition to releasing solo albums such as NOIR and his 2017 debut blkswn, he’s also part of two collectives; Zoink Gang with JID, Guapdad 4000 and Buddy and Zero Fatigue with Ravyn Lenae, Monte Booker, Bari and Jay2.
Despite his busy schedule, the “Wild Irish Roses” artist still managed to find time to record “90 Roses” featuring Dreamville’s Head Honcho J. Cole. Though it’s not the first time they’ve worked together (Smino was featured on Dreamville’s “Sacrifices” alongside EARTHGANG and Saba), it’s the first time Cole has hopped on one of Smino’s own records.
“Stop Breathing” – Roddy Ricch
At this point it has become undeniable; Roddy Ricch is the future of mainstream Los Angeles Hip Hop. 2018’s Feed Tha Streets II set the tone for what Ricch was capable of: hard bars mixed with earworming melodies and hooks, but it was the following year’s Please Forgive Me for Being Antisocial and “The Box” which propelled him into true stardom.
LIVE LIFE FAST from 2021 felt insufficient at the time of its release, but looking back there are still a few records which stand out from the dredge of streaming era music. The Compton rapper is now back with “Stop Breathing,” his follow-up single to “Ghetto Superstar” with G Herbo and Doe Boy.
Quavo & Takeoff — “Nothing Changed”
Quavo and Takeoff’s latest single is titled “Nothing Changed,” but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s unclear what happened to the Migos, if they broke up or if they’ll continue to release music as a trio, but Quavo and Takeoff’s recent work together under the moniker Unc and Phew suggests that there may be some division in the Quality Control ranks.
Nevertheless, all three members of the group have continued to stay active. Offset has worked alongside Moneybagg Yo, Trippie Redd and SleazyWorld Go, and Quavo and Takeoff have continued to drop, most recently with “Nothing Changed.”
Moneybagg Yo — “Blow”
Kid Cudi f. Ty Dolla $ign — “Willing To Trust”
Despite the fact that Kid Cudi’s Entergalactic album mysteriously leaked online, tagged with fart sounds, two weeks earlier than it’s anticipated release alongside the Netflix series he created, it’s business as usual for the Cleveland MC.
With the assistance of Ty Dolla $ign, who also appears in the series which will be released on September 30, Cudi continues to build the hype of his three-years-in-the-making animated show with the release of his anthemic single “Willing To Trust.”
“Stars” – JID F. Yasiin Bey
“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
“God Did” – DJ Khaled F. JAY-Z
“Tomorrow” – Glorilla
“Tony Montana Flow” – Chief Keef F. Akachi
“Tony Montana Flow” proves two things: Keef’s Scarface accent is the best thing in rap this year and Akachi is quickly climbing the producing ranks. In their new collaboration, Akachi puts down a menacing trap beat with an evil synth in the forefront that could easily be interchangeable with the score from Halloween. It’s impossible to not envision Keef rapping with his lip curled and shoulders square, puffing a cigar between bars with how dedicated he is to maintaining the accent with his flow. This comes after the Chi-Town legend dropped 4NEM earlier this year, one of Keef’s most excellent projects. Both Keef and Akachi maintain momentum with “Tony Montana Flow,” and hopefully there’s more to come from these two. – Anthony Malone
“The Root of All” – DJ Premier f. Slick Rick & Lil Wayne
“Aquamarine” – Danger Mouse & Black Thought
If anyone had reservations that Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley and Danger Doom fame) might not be a fortuitous pairing for Black Thought, “Aquamarine” is an otherworldly shushing. Danger Mouse’s beat is a sonorous canvas that Black Though trips to shreds. “Haters and naysayers are buried in cake layers,” Thought barks, hitting his opps with a tombstone piledriver like he’s the Undertaker. On the technical side, his lyrics have so many internal rhymes that its meter chart would give a poetry PhD an aneurysm. The second verse continuously accelerates in pace of delivery and importance, and Black Thought barrels towards the thundering conclusion with the urgency of a general marching his troops off to battle. It’s a fantastic display of individual and collaborative talent that bodes well for their much-anticipated album Cheat Codes. – Ben Brutocao
“Horses on Sunset” – Westside Gunn
“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
“Breath Control” – Logic f. Wiz Khalifa
“Cash in Cash Out” – Pharrell F. Tyler, The Creator & 21 Savage
Seeing Pharrell and Tyler, The Creator on a song together is no shocker to fans who know Tyler’s affinity for N.E.R.D. The addition of 21 Savage may seem like an odd collab at first, but as soon as you press play and get past the repetitive hook, you realize that the chemistry is undeniable between the three. Tyler continues to prove why he is at the top of the rap game right now and 21 displays his usual mix of hilariously frightening bars over Pharrell’s usual bounce.
“Because” – Black Thought & Danger Mouse F. Joey Bada$$, Dylan Cartlidge & Russ
“Step 1” – Sleazy World Go F. Offset
Up-and-coming artist Sleazy World Go is already off to a blazing start this month following the release of his Lil Baby-assisted “Sleazy Flow,” which cracked the top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100 Chart on June 6. Building on the tidal wave of momentum he’s channeled thus far, the Midwest native connects with Offset for their “Step 1” collab, a track that sees Sleazy sliding on melancholic pianos and bumping 808s, a departure from his more up tempo tracks, but a welcome diversion. – Devon Jefferson
“The Highs & Lows” – Chance The Rapper & Joey Bada$$
“Ms.Mural” – Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco’s “Mural” is often regarded by rap fans as one of the most impressive lyrical performances of his career. With that in mind, the bar was high to live up to when it comes to creating a sequel. But Lupe did not disappoint when it comes to “Ms. Mural.” The Chicago MC paints a picture over a minimalist instrumental for five minutes straight displaying why he is still one of the most talented rappers to ever touch a mic.
“N95” – Kendrick Lamar F. Baby Keem
“AUTOBOTO” – Lupe Fiasco F. Nayirah
“No Gold Teeth” – Black Thought & Danger Mouse
“All The Way Out” – Boldy James
Boldy James can do a lot with a little, making his name by meshing deadpan raps with dark, minimalist beats. What he proves on “All The Way Out” is that he can also do a lot with a lot. Real Bad Man’s beat is a complex, deeply layered gem. It sounds dangerous, inlaid with the paranoid urgency present in just about every Boldy James song. But there’s also an undeniable bounce and levity gained through a train whistle and off-kilter drum patterns. All in all, it sounds like a beat that could have made the cut on Madvillain back in 2004.
Fortune chose well in pairing this beat with Boldy James, whose ephemeral street vignettes are rarely as vibrant and captivating as they are here. While the song seems at constant risk of being lost in the current of the beat, Boldy’s steadfast direction and inability to get lost in flights of fancy anchors the song to something menacingly fun.
“Bring Some Mo” – Lil Eazzyy F. NLE Choppa
“London” – BIA F. J. Cole
“Plan B” – Megan Thee Stallion
“Dreamin Of The Past” – Pusha T F. Kanye West
Pusha T is a great rapper but evolves to city-flattening God mode when paired with Kanye West. Fortunately, we’ve received quite a few of these collabs throughout the years. Even more fortunately, we recently got a new one. “Dreamin Of The Past” shows off Pusha T’s greatly improved melodicism, bolstering the elegantly flipped Donny Hathaway cover to John Lennon’s entrancing “Jealous Guy.” Infectious confidence radiates from every Hathaway note and Push bar. It is so remarkably compelling that even when Kanye West calls himself “Daddy” via what is evidently a voice memo he made on an airplane, the song isn’t ruined. – Ben Brutocao
“Whaddup (Remix)” – PGF Nuk F. Polo G
“Top Down” – Jayson Cash
“Rock N Roll” – Pusha T F. Kanye West & Kid Cudi
There are certain songs that feel like they are made to be anthems that play behind action scenes in a superhero movie. “Rock N Roll” is one of those songs…although, with Pusha T’s career, it would most likely be played during the plotting of a villainous scheme. The mixture of Kanye, Cudi and Pusha has the nostalgia of the G.O.O.D. old days when everyone got along. From the classic Ye sample chops to Pusha’s menacing flow capped off with what Cudi does best, if this is the last time Ye and Mr. Rager work together, they closed the curtain with a grand finale. – Jeremy Hecht
“Right On” – Lil Baby
“Papercuts” – Vince Staples
“Punch Bowl – Clipse & Nigo
“Free The Shiners” – 42 Dugg & EST GEE
“Telepathic” – Fly Anakin
Off a debut album that amalgamates a 1993 lyrical foundation with a murky playfulness, Fly Anakin’s “Telepathic” with frequent collaborator Big Kahuna OG finds both rappers at peak performance. The instrumental is reserved and muffled, but Anakin’s pithy rhymes cut through the fog, his terse voice demanding of anyone’s attention. “She said it’s a vibe I told her to shut up,” Anakin spits plainly. “When real collide with fake it’s fucked up.” Anakin’s penchant for plainspoken rhymes are elevated by Kahuna’s nonchalance on the hook, as he raps about his enemies “fake demons” and how he’s sitting in traffic with “Big Sharks.” “Telepathic” culminates to be the best track on the project because it all just sounds so effortless.
“Starlight” – Dave
“Diesel” – Alchemist & Kool G Rap
Anything legendary producer The Alchemist touches turns to gold. After winning the 2021 HipHopDX Producer of the Year award Alc has kept his foot on the gas. Over the past few years he’s helped artists achieved new heights, working with leaders of the next generation such as Earl Sweatshirt, Navy Blue and Pink Siifu as well as industry vets including Body James and Curren$y. But on his latest single “Diesel,” Alc linked with the iconic Kool G Rap for a somber bar-heavy track. It’s been fantastic watching the Los Angeles-based producer develop new acts, but there’s something special watching him spar with one of the genre’s OGs. As Kool G unleashes an infinitely rolling verse, Alc’s slow piano sample loops solemnly in the background. No bells or whistles, “Diesel” is proof of the power in simplicity.
“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 which came with the success.
“Nail Tech” – Jack Harlow
“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’s 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.
“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.
“Johnny P’s Caddy”- Benny The Butcher F. J. Cole
“Surround Sound” – JID F. Baby Tate & 21 Savage
WALKIN – Denzel Curry
Like he tends to do in January every year, Denzel Curry has returned unexpectedly. On “Walkin,” the Carol City Star is back in full force. His signature intensity comes through and transforms the angelic sample into something menacing and enthralling. At almost 5 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 we expect and love. And, as the drums switch around at the halfway point and the hi-hats begin to fire at double speed, Denzel speeds up to a furious, machine gun pace that carries the second half weightlessly.
“Survivor’s Guilt” – Saba F. G Herbo
“So Cool” – Big K.R.I.T
Big K.R.I.T is known for his intense southern drawl, as well as his unwavering aggression. While the former is present on his new single “So Cool” (and as prominent as ever), the latter is washed away entirely, replaced by forcefully serene vibes that suspend all feelings that aren’t related to chilling in a hammock on a tropical beach. In less than 2 minutes, Big K.R.I.T does a complete 180 from his previous work, leaving the listener scratching their head as to the direction of his next album while relaxing and grooving to the greatest extent possible.
“Million Dollars Worth Of Game” – 2 Chainz F. 42 Dugg
Contributing writers: David Brake, Trent Clark, Kyle Eustice, Jeremy Hecht, Devon Jefferson, Dana Scott, Ben Brutocao, Anthony Malone, Kia Turner, Matthew Ritchie & Josh Svetz.