The 15 Best Rap Albums Of 2022

As 2022 winds down, it comes time to celebrate the best in Hip-Hop music. As is tradition, the Ambrosia For Heads team weighs in on our opinion of the year’s best albums. This list of 15 includes some comeback performances, significant sequel efforts, and collaborative tandems. The collection of LPs also shows careers that are ascending into legendary status.

For episode #97, AFH‘s What’s The Headline podcast team assembles to discuss these albums. But first, there is a discussion about how 2022 differed from other years. This year’s best efforts often came from artists who took time off between albums. Most of these records feature important themes. There is chatter about how this list is determined, why AFH does not rank things, and why we pay attention to what our readers and peers say. The “Best Rap Albums Of 2022” list is below, with time codes for each album (discussed in no particular order).

Ambrosia For Heads‘ Best Rap & Hip-Hop Albums Of 2022 (listed in the order they are discussed):

Danger Mouse & Black Thought – Cheat Codes (16:12)

Released: August 12, 2022
Label: BMG Rights Management
Guests: Raekwon, MF DOOM, Conway The Machine, Run The Jewels (El-P and Killer Mike), A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Russ, Kid Sister, Michael Kiwanuka, Dylan Cartridge
Producers: self

Joey Bada$$ – 2000 (20:36)

Released: September 2, 2022
Label: Cinematic Music Group/Pro Era/Columbia/Sony Records
Guests: Diddy, Larry June, Westside Gunn, JID, Chris Brown, Capella Grey
Producers: Statik Selektah, Chuck Strangers, BBearded, Cardiak, DopeBoyzMuzic, Dreamlife Beats, Erick the Architect, Kirk Knight, Mark Borino, MarzHeavy, MellowMarvinoBeats, McClenney, Mike WiLL Made It, Rahki, Sal Dali, Sean C & LV

Lupe Fiasco – DRILL MUSIC IN ZION (26:55)

Released: June 24, 2022
Label: 1st & 15th Too/Thirty Tigers
Guests: Nayirah
Producers: self, Soundtrakk

Black Star – No Fear Of Time (32:28)

(Available to stream exclusively at Luminary)

Released: May 3, 2022
Label: n/a
Guests: Black Thought, Yummy Bingham
Producers: Madlib

Ab-Soul – HERBERT  (39:14)

Released: December 16, 2022
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment
Guests: Joey Bada$$, Big Sean, Russ, Punch, Fre$h, Jhene Aiko, SiR, Lance Skiiiwalker, Zacari, Ambré, Alemeda
Producers: DJ Premier, Super Miles, Beach Noise, Juju, Luca Starz & Ноль (Nol), Tae Beast, Rascal, Pilgrim, Kal Banx, Crooklin, poptart, Jamal Smith, Boi-1da, SMPLGTWY, OJ Finessey, Eddie Priest, Sounwave, Python P, Andrew Boyd, DJ Dahi, Kurtis McKenzie, Nick Hakim, Axl Follie, Dylan Graham, Jahaan Sweet, Jacob Rochester, Amaire Johnson, Hit-Boy, James Blake, Devin Malik, Russ

Roc Marciano & Alchemist – The Elephant Man’s Bones  (46:32)

Released: August 26, 2022
Label: ALC/Marci Enterprises/EMPIRE
Guests: Ice-T, Action Bronson, Boldy James, Knowledge The Pirate
Producers: self

Open Mike Eagle – A Tape Called Component System With Auto Reverse  (50:05)

Released: October 7, 2022
Label: Auto Reverse
Guests: Aesop Rock, Diamond D, Armand Hammer (Billy Woods & Elucid), R.A.P. FERREIRA, Video Dave, Still Rift
Producers: Diamond D, Illingsworth, Child Actor, Madlib, Quelle Chris, Kuest1

JID – The Forever Story  (55:50)

Released: August 26, 2022
Label: Dreamville/Interscope Records
Guests: Yasiin Bey, Lil Wayne, Lil Durk, EarthGang (Olu and WowGr8), Kenny Mason, 21 Savage, Ari Lennox, Johnta Austin, Eryn Allen Kane, Ravyn Lenae, Baby Tate
Producers:  A.J. Hall, Aviad, BadBadNotGood, Bass Charity, Benji, Cardiak, Christo, DJ Khalil, DJ Scheme, E. Jones, EliteGroove, Hero the Band, Hollywood Cole, James Blake, JD Beck, Kaytranada, Khrysis, Latrell James, Matuê, Monte Booker, Nami, Nurі, Tane Runo, TBHits, Thundercat, Yuli

Elzhi & Georgia Anne Muldrow – Zhigeist  (1:00:47)

Released: March 11, 2022
Label: Nature Sounds Records
Guests: Dudley Perkins
Producers: self

Apollo Brown & Philmore Greene – Cost Of Living (1:05:16)

Released: November 15, 2022
Label: Mello Music Group
Guests: Evidence, Rashid Hadee
Producers: self

Nas & Hit-Boy – King’s Disease III   (1:08:02)

Released: November 11, 2022
Label: Mass Appeal Records
Guests: n/a
Producers: self, Jansport J, Chauncey Hollis III

Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future  (1:12:44)

Released: March 25, 2022
Label: PH Recordings/Loma Vista/Concord Records
Guests: JID, Robert Glasper, T-Pain, Saul Williams, Karriem Riggins, Rico Nasty, 454, slowthai, Powers Pleasant, 6LACK, Jasiah, Kitty Ca$h, Bridget Perez, Buzzy Lee
Producers: Cardo, Clutch George. Darko, DJ Khalil, Dot da Genius, Drtwrk, Elijah Fox, FnZ, HWLS, JGramm, Jonnywood, JPEGMafia, Kal Banx, Karriem Riggins, Kenny Beats, Mickey de Grand IV, Mike Hector, Naz, Noah Goldstein, Powers Pleasant, Robert Glasper, Thundercat

Cormega – The Realness II  (1:16:53)

Released: October 7, 2022
Label: Cormega under license to Viper Records
Guests: Nas, Havoc, Lloyd Banks
Producers: self, Alchemist, Large Professor, Havoc, Domingo, Harry Fraud, Sha Money XL, Pops, Big Ty, Streetrunner, Tarik Azzouz, Cam

Pusha-T – It’s Almost Dry   (1:21:26)

Released: April 22, 2022
Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Records
Guests: JAY-Z, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Kid Cudi, Nigo, Lil Uzi Vert, Don Toliver, No Malice, Clipse, Labrith
Producers: Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, 88-Keys, BoogzDaBeast, FnZ, Labrinth, Luca Starz, Ojivolta, ThaMyind

Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers  (1:25:32)

Released: May 13, 2022
Label: pgLang/Aftermath/Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope Records
Guests: Ghostface Killah, Kodak Black, Summer Walker, Blxst, Sampha, Amanda Reifer, Taylour Paige, Baby Keem, Sam Dew, Tanna Leone, Beth Gibbons
Producers:  Alchemist, Baby Keem, Beach Noise, Bekon, Boi-1da, Cardo, Craig Balmoris, DJ Dahi, DJ Khalil, The Donuts, Duval Timothy, Frano, Grandmaster Vic, Jahaan Sweet, J. Lbs, Oklama, Pharrell Williams, Sounwave, Tae Beast

In addition to year-end lists since 2020, AFH readers can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline. The podcast also features interviews with Rapper Big Pooh, Cormega, Meyhem Lauren & Daringer, Diamond D, Joell Ortiz, AZ, Blu & Mickey Factz, Kurupt, Evidence, Skyzoo, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don Newkirk, Statik Selektah, Lyric Jones, The LOX, MC Eiht, Havoc, Duckwrth, photographer T. Eric Monroe, and Lord Finesse.

#BonusBeat: Enjoy the current best in Hip-Hop on the official AFH playlist: