2022 has been a bittersweet year so far. We’ve had the tragic deaths of legends such as DJ Kay Slay but also had the untimely deaths of newer artists such as PnB Rock. and Lil Keed.
However, on a brighter note, we’ve also had some amazing music, and a number of artists have released fantastic albums. Already this year, we have had albums from Kanye West, Pusha T, The Game, Joey Bada$$ and more.
With so many albums released and so much music to choose from, below is a list of our favourite tracks of the year so far.
Five best hip-hop songs of 2022 so far:
5. ‘Diet Coke’ – Pusha T
‘Diet Coke’ was the lead single for the rapper’s most recent project, It’s Almost Dry. Produced by Kanye West and 88-Keys, ‘Diet Coke’ is sonically extremely old school. With its infectious piano melody and chopped, pitched-up vocals, the beat is reminiscent of old Kanye beats, similar to the type he used to make for Common and Talib Kweli.
With lyrics like “The crack era was a black era”, the song’s primary theme of crack cocaine is quite stereotypical with not much lyricism. However, with catchy flows, a soulful old-school beat and a simplistic greyscale video, Pusha definitely understands that sometimes less is more, and for ‘Diet Coke’ it works. The song did not chart but deserves a top five position.
4. ‘From The D 2 The LBC’ – Eminem ft Snoop Dogg
Earlier this year, the legendary Detroit rapper Eminem released his second greatest hits compilation Curtain Call 2 but that’s not to say that there was no new material on it. For the release of Curtain Call 2, the rapper (real name Marshall Mathers) linked up with Snoop Dogg and, together, they created ‘From The D 2 The LBC’.
The two artists only recently settled their ongoing feud after their mutual friend Dr Dre had a near-death aneurysm, with Eminem feeling they should present a united front in support of their extremely ill friend. Now we have this amazing track which was the second single for Curtain Call 2. Eminem and Snoop even made a music video for it you can watch and listen below.
3. ‘SOUTH MAN’ – Novelist
South London’s Novelist is a UK gem and always releases quality music, and the same can be said for his 2022 album 4 Tha Homiez. A G-funk-inspired project, the album features production from himself, Prem, SusTrapperazzi and other members of his crew, ‘Navy MG’.
‘SOUTH MAN’ has an undeniably catchy bop to it and is a beautifully executed fusion track. It marries the funk of LA hip hop with the raw and experimental production of grime. An amazing track, it is definitely deserving of a spot in this top five.
2. ‘The Heart Part 5’ – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is often considered the saviour of the new school. Among a generation of mumble rappers, Lamar has been consistent in releasing seriously good quality hip hop. Since his emergence on the Compton underground hip hop scene in the late early 2010s, Lamar has gone on to work with all the greats in the business and is known as a skilled lyricist.
And he has proved that again in his track ‘The Heart Part 5’, more of a freestyle, but still an official release nonetheless, this track was a surprise release for fans earlier this year and came straight with visuals. The visuals see Kendrick performing in front of a red wall before making several transformations into other famous Black figures using deep fake technology. In order of appearance, they are O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle. The song thematically is racially charged and highly political.
1. ‘Head High’ – Joey Bada$$
The lead single from his 2022 album 2000, ‘Head High’ is a smooth track with a beautiful electric piano progression that sends chills up one’s spine. The track touches on many different aspects of African-American culture and is extremely introspective. However, it also analyses society.
Lyrically Bada$$ explores religion, death, fatherhood, broken homes and the government issues facing America with lyrics such as “Wherе I’m from, the stories nevеr end with no happily ever afters (Uh) / Just broken families forced to start new chapters” and “we caught up in a rapture / Not to mention all the other factors / Government agendas against rappers /
They wanna see us either dead or captured” ‘Head High is a truly amazing song and deserves number one on this top five list.