Here Are 26 of the Best Albums of 2022
Since 2022 is nearing its end, it's that time of the year to look back on the best things that happened in music over the past twelve months. It was legit a year full of good music. There were countless new songs that dominated radio airwaves, appeared on a bunch of playlists and soundtracked Tikok trends. It wasn’t just a great year for new songs, however. There were also many standout albums that had replay value. Some of the best albums of 2022 topped the charts, while also becoming cultural phenomena.
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The year was off to an amazing start musically, with the January release of new albums from Gunna (free the Slatts!) and Weeknd. That momentum continued throughout the year. Long awaited projects from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and others lived up to expectations and were definitely worth the wait. Bad Bunny simply dominated with his latest effort. Future reigned supreme with one of the biggest albums of his career. We even got two projects from Drake (even though many of us have still been riding out to last year’s Certified Lover Boy).
It felt like 2022 had something for every type of music fan. Contenders for best albums of 2022 came from every genre. Pop music-lovers were gifted with blockbuster projects from Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, while hardcore hip-hop head’s were treated to a variety of heat from the likes of Pusha T, JID, Benny The Butcher and others. Emerging artists from Destroy Lonely to Flo Milli also popped out with buzzworthy projects.
It's hard to believe that we're already at the end of the year, but at least that means we can reflect on the best albums of 2022. Without any further ado, here are 26 of the best albums of 2022. Remember, this list is in no particular order. Also, if an album or mixtape or project didn’t make this list, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the best albums of 2022. That just means that so much quality music dropped this year.
26. Real Boston Richey - 'Public Housing'
Our list starts off with Real Boston Richey's Public Housing album, which dropped back in August of 2022. This project was his debut studio album, and was an incredible statement to make to prospective fans. Featuring Future, MoneyBagg Yo, Kodak Black, Lil Crix, and Lil Durk on a freshman project, you'd think that the features would likely carry it, but you couldn't be more wrong. Real Boston Richey set the tone, bringing out the best from every single feature, and spazzing on his solo tracks. You can sense the genuine interest and energy backing every single song on this 17-song debut. Some favorites include "Navy Seals," "Keep Dissing 2," and "Bullseye 2." Remember: this list is in no particular order, and if you ask me, this is a top 5 contender for 2022.
25. Wizkid - 'More Love, Less Ego'
Starboy Entertainment / RCA Records
Wizkid has had a notably major year in 2022, and More Love, Less Ego is the perfect indication of that holding true. The thirteen song album features the likes of Ayra Starr, Skillibeng, Shenseea, Skepta, Naira Marley, and Don Toliver. In a nutshell, this project embodies down-to-earth growth.
24. Drake - 'Honestly, Nevermind'
While many disputed over the quality of this album, it surely made waves and was timed impeccably. Drake took a journey to different genres with Honestly, Nevermind, and gave fans an early look at what was to come with 21 Savage on "Jimmy Cooks."
23. Vince Staples - 'Ramona Park Broke My Heart'
Blacksmith / Motown / UMG
Does Vince Staples ever miss? Between his raw rap ability and his wit, humor, and trustworthy vision, there's a lot to love when it comes to Vince Staples and his music. This album showed fans a lot about his ability and the human behind it all.
22. Steve Lacy - 'Gemini Rights'
L-M / RCA Records / Sony Music Entertainment
Steve Lacy has also had a very major year, and despite his quarrels with his TikTok-specific fanbase, he seems to be making the absolute most of it. Gemini Rights was a huge step forward for him, and it's so easy to appreciate.
21. Kendrick Lamar - 'Mr. Morale And The Big Steppers'
pgLang / TDE / Aftermath / Interscope /
Back in August, we held a Discord event to discuss this album in its entirety, and what a challenge that was at the time. Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers is so jam-packed with incredible music, it is no walk in the park to understand it all upon first listen. One thing made apparent by that Discord conversation was just how many ways there are to digest the album. Sampha was an incredible choice for a feature on "Father Time," and Kodak brought a trademark energy to the album as well.
20. Pusha T - 'It's Almost Dry'
Getting Out Our Dreams / Def Jam
This album and 2022 go together like Pusha T and cocaine. Really, it was so on brand for the VA native, while having a necessary contemporary edge to it. Featuring Kanye West, Jay-Z, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, Uzi, Don Toliver, Nigo, Labrinth, and MALICE, this album has all the makings of something very memorable.
19. Harry Styles - 'Harry's House'
Erskine Records / Columbia Records / Sony Music Entertainment
Harry Styles has been absolutely dominating this year, and this album was the perfect medium for it. He hit number one on the Billboard 200, with all of his songs charting individually on the Hot 100. Did we mention it sold more than half-a-million copies first week?
18. ROSALÍA - 'MOTOMAMI'
Columbia Records / Sony Music Entertainment
ROSALÍA's third studio album, MOTOMAMI, did not fail to impress. It charted at number one on Billboard's Latin Pop charts, and the sixteen songs were a perfect indication of exactly where the talent is at in her career.
17. Taylor Swift - 'Midnights'
Taylor Swift has been absolutely killing it this year, and the best part of it all? She owns all of her new music. That's right, all of the past quarrels with industry big-shots paid off in the long run. If you look closely at the bottom of the album on Spotify, you'll notice the label behind Midnights: Taylor Swift. Did we mention she made history on the Billboard charts? She occupied all of the top ten spots on the Billboard Hot 100 - a feat that had never been accomplished before by any artist in the company's 64-year history.
16. Bad Bunny - 'Un Verano Sin Ti'
Bad Bunny is on a multi-year roll at this point in his career, and Un Verano Sin Ti is a great demonstration of his sonic maturity. It's a 23-song album that seems to be racking in record-breaking streams across all songs. How many artists do you know who can put out a 23-song album and actually have the fans who'll listen to all of it?
15. Beyoncé - 'RENAISSANCE'
Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records / Sony Music Entertainment
I think based on fan reactions, it's safe to say that Beyoncé did what Drake did this year with Honestly, Nevermind, but took it to a whole new level. One that felt authentic, and not rushed, not to mention having a level of undisputed love from fans over it. The project debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, while each and every of the sixteen songs found their way onto the Hot 100, which is no easy feat by any means.
14. The Weeknd - 'Dawn FM'
The Weeknd XO / Republic / UMG
At this point in time, it's safe to say that every single project from The Weeknd has been iconic in its own right. Dawn FM proved to be no exception to that rule. It landed on most of the relevant Billboard charts, most notably hitting number one on the Top Album Sales and the Hip-Hop and R&B charts, respectively. What's not to love about this album and its wisely chosen two features, Tyler, the Creator, and Lil Wayne?
13. Brent Faiyaz - 'WASTELAND'
Lost Kids / Venice / Stem
Brent Faiyaz really stepped into 2022 properly with this album. WASTELAND was really no joke. This was a major milestone for him, especially being that it was his first album to land at number one on the Billboard Hip-Hop and R&B chart. Honestly, my favorite moment from this album was watching Gillie and Wallo sing "Jackie Brown" during their intro for the episode with Brent on Million Dollaz Worth of Game.
12. Ari Lennox - 'age/sex/location'
Dreamville never misses, on any front. Perhaps that's a testament to their wise choice of artists which they've signed, including Ari Lennox. This 12-song project featuring the likes of Lucky Daye, Chlöe, and Summer Walker is a big statement for the beautiful voice of Ari Lennox. The hit single "Pressure" was a statement in itself, as well, hitting number one on Billboard's adult R&B chart.
11. Quavo & Takeoff - 'Only Built For Infinity Links'
First thing's first, RIP to Takeoff. This album made it even more difficult of a pill to swallow, as it showed off just how much he's had to offer all this time. His duo with Quavo was the perfect medium to show off his full capabilities, not to mention the growth he's endured over the storied career he's had as a member of the Migos. This album is a classic and will be held dearly by fans in the long-term.
10. Flo Milli - 'You Still Here, Ho?'
RCA Records / Sony Music Entertainment
Flo Milli is another artist who's been enjoying somewhat of a breakout year, largely thanks to her creative brainchild, You Still Here, Ho? The album is a wonderful display of her ability, and tastefully features two artists over the course of 16 songs: Babyface Ray and Rico Nasty. It peaked at number 78 on the Billboard 200, which was an exciting step forward for the young talent.
9. Future - 'I Never Liked You'
Freebandz / Epic Records / Sony Music Entertainment
When it comes to Future albums, what can you say? He has never missed in his career. While the albums can surely vary in just how quality they are, one can't argue a single project of his not having any appeal to it. All 16 of the songs charted on the Hot 100, and it became his eighth album to hit number one on the Billboard 200 list.
8. Gunna - 'DS4EVER'
Even though it's been a tough year for Gunna and his YSL associates, he still managed to shine brightly in true Gunna fashion. DS4EVER was a masterful display, featuring Young Thug, Drake, Kodak Black, Lil Baby, G Herbo, Nechie, Yung Bleu, Future, and Roddy Ricch. It became his second album to hit the number one spot on the Billboard 200.
7. JID - 'The Forever Story'
J.I.D. was a star from the moment he came onto the scene on the initial Dreamville collaborative album, which was his formal introduction into J. Cole's now-star-studded cast of characters on his Interscope imprint. The Forever Story takes listeners on a vivid journey, which is what his fans have now come to expect at this juncture in his career. It debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200, and features Kenny Mason (twice), EARTHGANG, 21 Savage, Baby Tate, Lil Durk, Ari Lennox, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), Lil Wayne, Johnta Austin, Rayn Lenae, and Eryn Allen Kane.
6. Benny The Butcher - 'Tana Talk 4'
Griselda Records / EMPIRE
Benny the Butcher graduated to a whole new level with this album. It solidified what his core fanbase already knew to be true: that he and his Griselda teammates are taking over in classic style. Tana Talk 4 is one of his most memorable albums to date, and features J. Cole, Stove God Cooks, Boldy James, Diddy, Conway the Machine, 38 Spesh, and Westside Gunn. His song with J. Cole, "Johnny P's Caddy" was an appropriate entrance to the album, and scored Benny his first-ever Billboard Hot 100 entry.
5. Conway The Machine - 'God Don't Make Mistakes'
Shady Records / Interscope
God Don't Make Mistakes is yet another classic album from a Griselda member. Conway the Machine spoke from the heart throughout the whole album. If you listen closely to the lyrics, there's so much to learn about not only the artist himself, but life. It's incredibly enlightening, and is such a clear step forward for this timeless artist. In his second solo studio album, he made his second appearance on the Billboard 200, debuting at 176 first week.
4. Lil Baby - 'It's Only Me'
While Lil Baby has made it look easy at this point, it's no walk in the park making a quality album like It's Only Me, let alone any sturdy 23-song album. It features Nardo Wick, Young Thug, Fridayy, Future, Rylo Rodriguez, Jeremih, EST Gee, and Pooh Shiesty. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 200, which was his second number one entry of the decade.
3. Drake & 21 Savage - 'Her Loss'
Drake and 21 Savage really dominated the internet with one of the best albums of 2022. To this day, if you open TikTok, you'll still likely come across one of the "21 can you do somethin' for me" videos, or another bearing a different song from the album Her Loss. This collab project is memorable in all of the right ways, not to mention the pure domination it's having numbers-wise. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, while all 16 songs found their way onto the Hot 100 chart.
2. Destroy Lonely - 'NO STYLIST'
Destroy Lonely has been tearing it up this year. Seriously, his come-up is no joke. Thanks to his official signing to Opium, Playboi Carti's label, his celeb status has been solidified from that very moment. The numbers do the talking for this hip-hop young-gun: just about every song is over a million streams, if not several times that (just on Spotify). In its first week, NO STYLIST debuted at number 91 on the Billboard 200, which is no easy feat, especially when you consider how young he is.
1. Ken Carson - 'X'
Another Opium signee who's had quite a big year is Ken Carson. His X album was a massive step in the right direction, and just like Destroy Lonely's NO STYLIST project, just about every song is in the millions on Spotify alone, if not several times that. Opium is making artist development look easy at this point. In its first week, it debuted at number 115 on the Billboard 200.
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