Menu Search
list Nov 1 2022 Written by

Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2022 – The Honorable Mentions

Elsewhere on this site, you can find a list of what we think are the best Hip Hop albums of 2022. This Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2022 – The Honorable Mentions list is a selection of Hip Hop albums released in 2022 that (in some cases just barely) missed the cut. All kinds of Hip Hop styles on this list: some of these 2022 honorable mentions are traditional boom-bap, some neo-boom-bap/rap-noir, some alternative/experimental, some more mainstream-sounding – whatever category label you can stick on any particular project, all albums here deserve attention for some reason.

Because our list with the best Hip Hop albums of 2022 and this list with the year’s honorable mentions are both works in progress, some of these honorable mentions might yet make the ‘best of’ list. In any case, all the albums listed here are well worth checking out – peruse this list at your leisure, and no doubt you will discover a couple of Hip Hop projects JUST for you, albums you otherwise might have missed out on.

So here it is, in release date order: the best Hip Hop albums of 2022 – the honorable mentions.

Last updated: November 1

Also read: The Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2022 

Swamp Thing - Noise Machine

Toronto’s three-headed rap monster, Swamp Thing (Timbuktu, Chokeules, & Savilion), has a ritual of delivering dark, b-movie-inspired, heavy-duty thunderclaps every Halloween. Noise Machine marks the eleventh consecutive year of Halloween releases, and it’s as excellent as the previous albums. Noise Machine = perfectly executed 90-centric boom-bap Hip Hop.

Release date: October 31, 2022.

Big Judas – Big Judas

Jugga Da Beast’s self-titled debut solo Big Judas is a dope presentation of atmospheric and moody underground Hip Hop, produced by Stranger Danger of Audio Crack Records. Look for features by Kool Keith and Killah Priest!

Release date: October 31, 2022.

Silas Zephania - 22 Chapters Beyond The Origin

22 Chapters Beyond the Origin is a compilation of songs constructed by the minds of Silas Zephnia and Enoredrum. Zeph is the lyricist and Eno is the producer. Enoredrum is a producer who will remind you that Hip Hop beats are musical classics; his production is a mental film. Silas holds the microphone with linguistically cultural sentimentality. The duo has successfully put together a body of work that will inspire Hip Hop purists. Enjoy the expansive poetry and the beat variety as you are transported back to the era of beats – loaded with layered wordplay. The topics are multifarious and the moods are both militant and melodic.”

This Bandcamp blurb perfectly describes what to expect from 22 Chapters Beyond the Origin. While 2021 was a spectacular year for UK Hip Hop, 2022 never came close. This atmospheric album from London-based duo Silas Zephnia and Enoredrum is excellent though, the best British Hip Hop had to offer this year.

Release date: October 28, 2022.

Daddy-O - First Team

First Team is the third album in three years by legendary Stetsasonic frontman Daddy-O. Like the two that came before this one, First Team is solid but also kind of lightweight at the same time. We’re happy to see Daddy-O still active and take this album as a placeholder for that Stetsasonic group album we are so eagerly anticipating.

Release date: October 28, 2022.

Frukwan & Shaka Amazulu The 7th - Nightmare In B-Minor

Frukwan (Gravediggaz / Stetsasonic) & Shaka Amazulu The 7th teamed up for Nightmare In B-Minor, with Ruste Juxx, Shabazz The Disciple, The Holocaust, Killah Priest, Rubbabandz, and General Jihad showing up for extra flavor. Dark and moody, and surprisingly enjoyable.

Release date: October 28, 2022.

Konflik - Head Of A Snake, Thumbs Of A Thief

Head Of A Snake, Thumbs Of A Thief is a solid album from Boston-based veteran rapper Konflik. The beats on Head Of A Snake, Thumbs Of A Thief range from melodic to dark and murky, and serve as a dope backdrop for Konflik’s bars and that of guests like Termanology and El Da Sensei.

Release date: October 28, 2022.

MAC - Son Of The City

Former No Limit Records rapper MAC was convicted of manslaughter in 2001 and sentenced to 30 years in prison. MAC, who always maintained his innocence, was released on parole on June 22, 2021, after serving 20 years of his sentence. Son Of The City is his first album in 23 years, a short but solid set of songs that deserves a listen.

Release date: October 28, 2022.

Infinito 2017 - Disciplined Rainwater Endless Awareness Mathematical Model

Molemen affiliate Infinito 2017 is a prolific artist from Chicago, and his Disciplined Rainwater Endless Awareness Mathematical Model is as quirky as the title suggests. But despite (or maybe thanks to) its quirkiness, this 22-track album is totally captivating from start to finish. The jazzy instrumentals on this project are kind of experimental but reminiscent of iconic acts like A Tribe A Called Quest and Digable Planets at the same time, and Infinito’s bars intrigue while his flows entertain. Disciplined Rainwater Endless Awareness Mathematical Model is one of October 2022’s nicest surprises.

Release date: October 26, 2022.

Cities Aviv - Working Title For The Album Secret Waters

Memphis-based artist Cities Aviv’s work has always been firmly left-field, ever since he transitioned from hardcore punk to Hip Hop in the early 2010s. So of course, Working Title For The Album Secret Waters is abstract and experimental – but it’s pretty accessible at the same time. No doubt Cities Aviv is an artist for a niche audience, but people who slept on him up to now just might be in for a nice surprise if and when they give Working Title For The Album Secret Waters a chance.

Release date: October 25, 2022.

Taiyamo Denku - Articles Of Mind

It’s hard to keep up with Milwaukee-based emcee Taiyamo Denku’s release schedule, Articles Of Mind is one of many projects he dropped in recent years. The beats on this one are not as strong as on some of his other recent projects (his collaborations with German producer BoFaatBeatz come to mind), but Denku is a true lyricist who is always worth listening to.

Release date: October 25, 2022.

Killy Shoot & Onaje Jordan - Knowledge Born

Killy Shoot and Onaje Jordan from the Hometeam collective paired up again for another collaborative effort, following 2020’s Heavy Math. Killy Shoot comes with hard street rhymes, over cinematic instrumentals crafted by Onaje Jordan. Knowledge Born is one of the many underground projects with the same brand of street rhymes and dark, minimalistic production we hear so much these days, but this is one of the better albums of its kind. Onaje Jordan’s beats hit the spot and Killy Shoot is an above-average emcee, plus contributions from General Back Pain, Chuck Chan, Supreme Cerebral, G Fam Black, J Dolla$, and New Villain add extra flavor. Good stuff.

Release date: October 23, 2022.

K.A.A.N. - The High Before You Fall

It’s hard to keep up with K.A.A.N.’s release schedule, his prolificness is no doubt one of the reasons so much of his work flies way below the radar of lots of Hip Hop listeners. The High Before You Fall is an album to take note of though, it is one of the Maryland-born / Los Angeles-based artist’s best recent releases in any case.

Release date: October 21, 2022.

Rockness Monsta & Ron Browz - Ether Rocks

Boot Camp Cliq member and former Sean Price partner Rock a.k.a. Rockness Monsta teamed up with producer Ron Browz (he produced Nas’ classic “Ether” among others) for Ether Rocks, a solid 90-s centric boom-bap affair with dope rhymes and flows from Rock and guests such as Method Man, Steele (Smif-N-Wessun), and Ruste Juxx (among others).

Release date: October 21, 2022. 

Wiki & Subjxct 5 - Cold Cuts

NYC-based emcee Wiki had a top 20 album last year with the Navy Blue-produced Half God, and this year’s Cold Cuts – produced by New Jersey producer Subjxct 5 – is dope as f too. Cold Cuts sees 18 tracks of hard-hitting Hip Hop that pays homage to the free-form mixtape era, with loud DJ ad-libs over underground classics, and a focus on lyrical ability, style, and flow. Not as good as Half God, but solid enough.

Release date: October 21, 2022.

Armani Caesar - The Liz 2

Armani Caesar’s The Liz 2 is a full-length sequel to her The Liz tape (2020). Armani Ceasar is one of the most interesting Griselda affiliates, and this slightly experimental project is pretty solid. We could have done without Kodak Black on this record, but guest spots from Westside Gunn, Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, and Stove God Cooks (among others) hit the spot. Camoflauge Monk is responsible for most of the instrumentals on The Liz 2 – some of which are edgy and dope as f, while others are more mainstream-oriented and kind of boring, truthfully. Also, Armani Ceasar doesn’t use her full potential on all tracks, with at times tired subject matter getting in the way of her dope flows. The Liz 2 has plenty of highs, but a couple of lows make it somewhat of a mixed bag that could have been a front-to-end banger with less of poppy beats and more focused writing.

Release date: October 21, 2022.

Body Bag Ben & JR Swiftz - Tha Pantheon

Oxnard’s Body Bag Ben is best known for his production work, but here he rips the mic (with some assistance from the likes of NapsNdreds, Supreme Cerebral, and Milano Constantine on “Open Casket”) over JR Swiftz’s thick drums laces with sharp scratches. Murky boom-bap beats and hard bars – The Pantheon is one of the finest underground albums of the year.

Release date: October 21, 2022.

Mighty Theodore - Set Out In The Dark

Set Out In The Dark is Mighty Theodore’s latest and final album – a heartfelt meditation on trauma, survival, and redemption inspired by the spirit of Hip Hop’s earliest years and littered with allusions to the NYC blackouts of 1977 as well as films like “80 Blocks From Tiffany’s” and “The Warriors”. With outstanding performances from a stacked cast of guests: Fly Anakin, Sean Born, J Scienide, Tesla’s Ghost, Brainorchestra, YL, SonnyJim, Hassaan Mackey, Anwar HighSign, Cavalier, Set Out In The Dark shines with soul and insight.

Release date: October 18, 2022. 

Joshua Virtue - RAMA

Chicago-based artist Joshua Virtue crafted something special with RAMA, his third album. The self-produced RAMA attempts to encapsulate the maelstrom of emotion experienced while navigating an imperfect, evolving, and damaged self and simultaneously navigating the decline of the American empire. This is not an easy or casual listen, with its deep semi-abstract bars, at times erratic flows, and experimental beats – all of it blending into an intense listening experience that demands full attention. In a Hip Hop landscape where so much music sounds exactly the same, an original album like RAMA needs to be applauded and listened to.

Release date: October 17, 2022

MAVI - Laughing So Hard, It Hurts

Laughing So Hard, It Hurts is the sophomore full-length album from Charlotte-based rapper MAVI, following the acclaimed Let The Sun Talk (2019). Although Laughing So Hard, It Hurts kind of misses the extraordinariness of Let The Sun Talk, we really like this second MAVI effort too. Not for everybody, but those who like to listen to unconventional Hip Hop will appreciate the dense lyricism, the slick flows, and the experimental but smooth instrumentals of Laughing So Hard, It Hurts. 

Release date: October 14, 2022.

The Last Emperor, Haak Filmore & Illprodc – The Wizard The Witch And The Wolfman

In our book, Philadelphia’s The Last Emperor is one of the greatest emcees of all time. It’s kind of a shame, that a release from The Last Emperor always goes virtually unnoticed. The Wizard The Witch And The Wolfman is a pretty good project, one that certainly deserves more attention than it will get. The album is creative and cinematic, with dope beats, and The Last Emperor’s creative storytelling and superior flow as icing on the cake.

Release date: October 12, 2022.

Happy Tooth - Done Suffering

Columbus-based artist Happy Tooth had one of our favorite left-field Hip Hop albums of 2021 with his The Laughter’s Rehearsed, and Done Suffering is just as good, if not better. Produced in its entirety by up-and-coming producer Fisk, Done Suffering explores the thesis that an artist has to suffer to create great art – is it true or not? Fisk’s sound is quite unique as is Happy Tooth’s distinctive flows – their synergy is palpable, the instrumentals providing a perfect backdrop for the intriguing lyrics. Done Suffering offers a well-rounded blend of musical and vocal styles, and like its predecessor, the album earns a place among this year’s best left-field Hip Hop projects.

Release date: October 8, 2022.

Sleep Sinatra & Ohbliv - Shadow Self

Sleep Sinatra teamed up with producer Ohbliv for what is one of his best projects yet. Plenty of quality among Sleep Sinatra’s previous projects, but Shadow Self feels like the next step for the Nebraska native. Sleep Sinatra’s content is listen-worthy and Ohbliv’s minimalistic, slightly left-field instrumentals are a perfect fit for his bars and flows. Shadow Self is a must-listen.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon & Twit One - Dis Tew Much

Dis Tew Much is our favorite Jah-Monte Ogbon favorite project to date – because the North Caroline-based rapper’s content and flows are dope as f, and because the beautiful, mainly drumless, musical backdrops crafted by German producer Twit One are smooth and hypnotic. Great music.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

UFO Fev & Finn - Blood On The Bills

Harlem’s UFO Fev’s work has been hit-or-miss for us in the past, this collaboration with Canadian producer Finn is one of his better projects as far as we are concerned. Finn rarely misses with is atmospheric and dusty boom-bap production, and his beats here provide great backdrops for UFO Fev’s bars. Blood On The Bills is short but sweet.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

Flee Lord - Ladies & Gentlemen

Queens emcee Flee Lord is one of those artists who drop one EP after the other, Ladies & Gentlemen is a project (even at a mere 34 minutes) that can be counted as one of his few proper full-lengths. Solid beats, hard-ass street raps, and appearances from Rome Streetz, Vic Spencer, and Che Noir (among others) make for an enjoyable underground presentation, just a little bit too unremarkable to count it among the best of the subgenre.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

El Gant - O.S.L.O (Our Sun The Last Original)

“Following several tragedies in his personal life, New York rapper El Gant had a decision to make—face those losses head-on or bury them deep within. Luckily for us, he chose the former. The result is O.S.L.O., the emcee’s most gripping and personal project yet. It’s also his most relatable because it shows what we’re all capable of when we’re equipped with the right tools to cope and, in El Gant’s case, transform that tragedy into something powerful.

The album arrives nearly a decade after his previous solo effort, 2014’s great Beast Academy, and after several years spent touring and recording with his group, Jamo Gang, with Ras Kass and J57. Despite the highs associated with that time, El Gant also experienced major personal losses. In particular, he lost three close friends—The Last Original, Bones, and Jim Misa—all of whom had a major impact on his life and career. In fact, the album’s title, O.S.L.O., references the Last Original, because it’s an acronym for ‘Our Sun the Last Original.’”

Appearances by Ras Kass, Planet Asia, Killah Priest, King Magnetic, Bobby J From Rockaway, and DJ Grazzhoppa, (among others), and banging beats crafted by DJ Premier, Marco Polo, and J57 (among others) help round out what is a dope 90s-centric boom-bap project.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

Reckonize Real - Subterranean Obscura

“Queens-based producer Reckonize Real has been busy making a name for himself in the underground Hip Hop scene over the last decade with a list of impressive production accolades that boast appearances by Guilty Simpson, Moka Only, Blu, Benny The Butcher, Rasheed Chappell, and more. Subterranean Obscura is the talented beatsmith’s third producer compilation,  a 16-track effort that plays like a bone-chilling movie score. His production style lives somewhere between soulful and the unknown, while keeping his signature sound intact abound with chops and loops. To boot, Real is joined by an impressive supporting cast that cover’s the gamut of the underground Hip Hop scene, such as Freeway, Guilty Simpson, The Musalini, Big Twins, Supreme Cerebral, John Robinson, Rasheed Chappell, XP the Marxman, Copywrite, MED and many more.”

If atmospheric 90s-centric boom-bap, with nothing but strong bars and beats, is your kind of Hip Hop – be sure not to miss out on Subterranean Obscura.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

Cormega - The Realness II

Over 20 years after the release of The Realness (2001), Queensbridge’s Cormega returns with a sequel to his iconic debut. Sequels are tricky to pull off and disappoint more often than not, but The Realness II delivers (for the most part). The production team (The Alchemist, Large Professor, Havoc, Harry Fraud, and Godfather Don were involved, among a bunch of others) has hit the mark and Cormega proves that at 52 he can still write and spit with the best of them – arguably best evidenced on the Alchemist-produced “Glorious”, a collaboration with fellow Queensbridge legend Nas, and the standout track of the album. Besides Nas’s feature, appearances from Lloyd Banks, Havoc, Prodigy, and Tragedy Khadafi add extra weight to The Realness II. At 34 minutes the album is too short as far as we are concerned, but that’s the biggest knock against it. While The True Meaning (2002) remains our favorite Cormega project, The Realness II is a worthy addition to Mega’s catalog.

Release date: October 7, 2022.

Black Earth - Intensive Care Unit

Intensive Care Unit is the sophomore LP from the group Maryland-based BLACK EARTH (Kaimbr X Howard B Knoxz). Solid underground Hip Hop.

Release date: October 4, 2022.

Jay NiCE & Machacha - Heightened Senses

Atmospheric low- to mid-tempo modern-day boom-bap beats crafted by Machacha, and solid rhymes and flows from Delaware rapper Jay Nice, much like the duo’s previous collaboration – last year’s Stream of Consciousness. There’s little to distinguish Heightened Senses from the slew of similar-sounding projects out these days, but it’s definitely worth a listen nevertheless.

Release date: October 3, 2022.

Boldy James & Nicholas Craven - Fair Exchange No Robbery

Boldy James is one of the most prolific and consistent rappers active today, most of his recent output is good to excellent. This collaboration with Canadian producer Nicholas Craven is no exception – Craven’s production consisting of mostly drumless loops laced with dope samples complements Boldy James’s monotonous flow extremely well. Fair Exchange No Robbery is a pleasant listen, just a little too drumless, maybe.

Release date: September 30, 2022.

Prodigy - The Hegelian Dialectic 2: The Book Of Heroine

Mobb Deep’s Prodigy passed away on June 20, 2017, at just 42. The legendary Queensbridge rapper released five solo albums during his lifetime, this is his first posthumous release, following The Hegelian Dialectic (The Book Of Revelation) which was released in 2017 shortly before his passing. Posthumous albums are a tricky thing to pull off successfully, often the heart and soul of the artist are literally absent – it is impossible to gauge if the artist would be content with the product that the people who were left behind release on their names. The Hegelian Dialectic 2: The Book Of Heroine is a bitter-sweet album that left us with mixed feelings. It sure is good to hear Prodigy one more time, but there is something missing here too – despite the involvement of big names such as DJ Premier, Faith Evans, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Scratch, Remy Ma, and Big Noyd. Some of the instrumentals feel uninspired as do some of Prodigy’s bars, unfortunately. All in all, The Hegelian Dialectic 2: The Book Of Heroine is a kind of forgettable posthumous album. To remember Prodigy, we prefer to return to his second, third, and fourth Mobb Deep albums, or his first couple of solo projects. R.I.P. Bandana P.

Release date: September 30, 2022.

Sol Messiah - GOD CMPLX

On his new album, GOD CMPLX, Sol Messiah connects with some of the finest MCs in the game to create an impressive collection of Hip Hop that’s both innovative and inspiring. Featuring guest performances from KXNG Crooked, Evidence, Locksmith, Sa-Roc, Slug (Atmosphere), Aesop Rock, Murs, Baba Zumbi (Zion I), Che Noir, Lyric Jones, and many more, GOD CMPLX is a powerful and engaging project that serves as a testament to Sol Messiah’s skills as a producer.

Release date: September 30, 2022.

Smellington Piff & Illinformed - Roma Supreme

Rapper Smellington Piff and producer Illinformed are well-known names in UK Hip Hop, and their collaborative album Roma Supreme delivers exactly what their reputation promises: pure underground boom-bap Hip Hop with entertaining and often humourous bars (Smellington Piff’s bars and flows are reminiscent of Eminem at times here), also by guests such as Bizarre, The Four Owls, Datkid, Jack Jetson, and others. Well worth checking out.

Release date: September 30, 2022.

Body Bag Ben & Planet Asia - Heist The Crown

Too short at barely 30 minutes, but pretty great despite its brevity. Oxnard-based producer Body Bag Ben is one of the most interesting beatsmiths active in the underground, and Fresno’s Planet Asia has nothing left to prove – he is one of the most prolific emcees of the last 25 years, a master of the craft.

Release date: September 30, 2022.

Bronze Nazareth - If You're Worried, You Should Be

Detroit-based Wu-Tang affiliate Bronze Nazareth drops another boom-bap solid project with his If You’re Worried, You Should Be. Killah Priest, Recognize Ali, Ty Farris, Illah Dayz, Hus Kingpin, and Kurupt (among others) show up to add their bars to Bronze Nazareth’s lyrics and his self-produced beats (with some additional production done by Apollo Brown).

Release date: September 30, 2022.

SmooVth & Fredro Starr - Project Near You

In the coke rap subgenre, there’s so much content on offer, it’s hard to stand out. Project Near You is too forgettable to make a real impression, it even feels long at barely half an hour. SmooVth has done better in the past. That said, it is still worth giving it at least one listen, if only because of the involvement of Fredro Starr on the production side.

Release date: September 23, 2022.

Mista Midwest - Missed Opportunities

Matthew Freeman a.k.a. Mista Midwest is a Hip Hop artist from Michigan. Missed Opportunities is one of the many Hip Hop albums that will fly under most people’s radars, but we mention it here because it deserves an audience – this is Hip Hop well done. Go check it out, you might be in for a nice surprise.

Release date: September 19, 2022.

Trizz - Baseline Cavi

Trizz is a rapper from Los Angeles, and his Baseline Cavi is one of the finest West Coast albums of the year. With versatile production from former Strange Music in-house producer 7, Trizz dropped what is his best project to date.

Release date: September 16, 2022. 

KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz - Harbor City Season One

KXNG Crooked and Joell Ortiz are top-tier emcees, and their storytelling abilities make Harbor City Season One a cinematic experience that should appeal to a wide range of Hip Hop audiences. We’ve never been the biggest fans of Heatmakerz type of production though, that’s why we feel kind of indifferent to this long album.

Release date: September 16, 2022. 

Pink Siifu & Real Bad Man - Real Bad Flights

Both Pink Siifu and Real Bad Man have had better projects, but this collaboration is pretty good too. Real Bad Man’s psychedelic beats mesh well with PInk Siifu’s idiosyncracies and appearances from the likes of Boldy James, Armand Hammer, Kari Faux, Chuck Strangers, Lojii, and others add extra value. Real Bad Flights is jazzy, and soul-vibed abstract Hip Hop – slow and smooth, and totally enjoyable. Best track: “Tokyo Blunts”

Release date: September 16, 2022.

Milano Constantine & Big Ghost Ltd. - Pay The Ghost

Milano Constantine is an underrated emcee out of the DITC camp, and Big Ghost Ltd is one of the finest producers in the underground. It’s no surprise Pay The Ghost is a strong collaboration. Great bars and flows, and atmospheric beats – this is a dope album.

Release date: September 20, 2022.

Eddie Kaine & K-Sluggah - Chosen

Brooklyn emcee Eddie Kaine has had a couple of dope projects recently (his 2021 collabo with Big Ghost Ltd A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is dope as f), and this collaboration with K-Sluggah is great too. Moody instrumentals and razor-sharp bars – this is one to add to your library and keep on rotation.

Release date: September 16, 2022.

BoFaatBeatz - Deadly Duos

German producer can always be relied upon to come up with banging boom-bap beats, and for Deadly Duos, he recruited a host of dope emcees to provide bars to complement his beats. Edo. G, Craig G, Krumbsnatcha, Fashawn, Recognize Ali, and Frukwan are just a few names included here.

Release date: September 16, 2022. 

Maze Overlay & Farma Beats - Aztecaz

For Aztecaz rapper Maze Overlay got up with British producer Farma Beats. Aztecaz is one of the many grimy underground boom-bap projects out right now, but it’s one of the better ones so definitely worth listening to.

Release date: September 13, 2022.

Cappadonna & Stu Bangas - 3rd Chamber Grail Bars

Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna has a bunch of mediocre solo projects on his name, especially his recent output is pretty bad (with often hilariously terrible cover art). 3rd Chamber Grail Bars is one of his better albums, not in the last place thanks to the work of Stu Bangas on the boards – he knows how to do dark, grim-sounding boom-bap right. Celph Titled, Planet Asia, Sick Jacken, and Ill Bill add extra flavor on the lyrical front – this is a Cappodonna album worth listening too.

Release date: September 9, 2022.

Rob Cave & Small Professor - Respect Wildlife

Produced entirely by Philly’s Small Professor and narrated by New York legend Dallas Penn, Respect Wildlife is hoodie and boots music. Brooklyn-based emcee Rob Cave is a joy to listen to – he has a strong baritone, with his flow, delivery, and cadence coming off like a great blend of The Last Emperor and Common. Soulful boom-bap beats and clever rhymes focused on the complexities of existence make for an entertaining album that deserves to escape this day and age’s short hype cycles – Respect Wildlife is a keeper.

Release date: September 9, 2022.

Melly-Mel & DJ Views - Supreme

SUPREME is a collaborative album, with South Africa’s Melly-Mel on vocals and DJ Views from Australia on production. Ruste Juxx, Sadat X, Wordsworth, A-F-R-O, Termanology, Thirstin Howl III, Akrobatik, and The Assembly ZA contribute guest bars, and Jabbathakut and Tone Spliff add their turntable skills to that from DJ Views himself for the crisp cuts & scratches on the album. Pure, uncut Hip Hop – SUPREME is a dope project.

Release date: September 4, 2022.

Psalm One & Custom Made - Bigg Perrm

“After making several bangers over a number of EPs, Psalm One and Custom Made have finally collaborated on a full-length project, inspired partly by Madam C.J. Walker. Together they deliver a razor-sharp message that serves as a beacon of light to those on a mission to be the best version of themselves. Confronting themes of Black support, Black entrepreneurship, queer acceptance, good mental health, and patriarchal independence, Psalm poetically deconstructs these issues while building up her ever-evolving humanity. Custom Made provides a rich, thumping, and finely-crafted backdrop to Psalm’s musings. Sometimes the journey may reveal the ugliness of human nature, but the eventual triumph is beautiful. This is the soundtrack to such a journey. Bigg Perrm.”

Big Perrm is a layered and at times dense listen, challenging but ultimately rewarding.

Release date: September 2, 2022. 

LMD & Madlib - Flying High

LMD is a trio consisting of LMNO, MED, and Declaime. For Flying High, they recruited long-time collaborator Madlib to provide some hazy stoner beats and the combination of bars and beats is great. J Rocc adds extra flavor with sharp cuts & scratches to what is a fun little project.

Release date: September 2, 2022.

K-Rino - Tele-k-nesis

K-Rino is a Houston legend who has been dropping at least one album almost every year since the release of his debut album Stories From The Black Book in 1993. What almost all of his albums have in common is that they are long (usually around the hour mark), that they have pretty bad cover art, and that the beats are mostly dope but also kind of forgettable. Most importantly though, what all of K-Rino’s albums share is his top-tier lyricism. This man’s got BARS. Always. Tele-k-nesis is no different – not K-Rino’s best, not his worst, just a solid addition to his gigantic catalog.

Release date: September 1, 2022.

Meechy Darko - Gothic Luxury

Gothic Luxury is Flatbush Zombies member Meechy Darko’s debut solo album. Meechy Darko is a master of dark and emotive content, his expressive bars are given extra potency through his gruff, DMX-like flow and delivery. The bombastic beats are kind of generic but solid enough, and there are features from Freddie Gibbs, Black Thought, Denzel Curry, Busta Rhymes, and Kirk Knight (among others) to add extra flavor. Gothic Luxury is a strong project.

Release date: August 26, 2022.

Termanology - Determination

40+ projects, 20 years in the game – determination is the theme of Termanology’s Determination. Termanology is an emcee’s emcee and his bars are supported here by laidback boom-bap production (from Statik Selektah, Conductor Williams, Evidence, and DJ Lethal, among others), and by featured artists including the likes of Fredro Starr, Kool G Rap, Fashawn, Tragedy Khadafi, and the late DJ Kay Slay. Termanology rarely disappoints, and Determination is another solid addition to his catalog.

Release date: August 26, 2022.

Substance810 - The Monolithic Era

The Monolithic Era is Michigan-based emcee Substance810’s second full-length of the year, following on Desolate Lands, a collaboration with Home Team collective producer Chuck Chan. Solid beats and cutthroat bars – Substance810 can always be relied upon to come up with some dope underground sh.

Release date: August 26, 2022.

Bloodmoney Perez - Curses

Bloodmoney Perez’s Second Hand Accounts is our favorite album released in January of this year, and this follow-up is excellent too. It’s built on unfinished cuts at the time of the recording of Second Hand Accounts, songs that clearly were too good to keep unfinished and shelved. Baltimore producer Messiah Musik once again took care of most of the production duties, and AJ Suede, Sleep Sinatra, and Blu show up for “Dante’s Inferno” – one of the best posse cuts you’ll hear this year.  Curses is a concise but well-rounded project, a must-have for those who also liked Second Hand Accounts. 

Release date: August 26, 2022.

Tragedy Khadafi & BP - Immortal Titans Vol. 2

Tragedy Khadafi and producer BP follow up their 2018 and 2020 collaborations with this next Immortal Titans chapter. Raw, 90s-centric underground boom-bap – well-worth checking out.

Release date: August 26, 2022.

The Silversmiths - The Beat Shall Inherit The Verse

The Silversmiths are a duo composed of regular collaborators JON?DOE and Sankofa. The two worked with producer Agent Orange for The Beat Shall Inherit The Verse, who reemerged from an extended absence to help finish this album years in the making. It’s a good thing this project wasn’t lost because it is a fun and infectious listen. Fresh, slightly left-field boom-bap beats and energetic back-and-forth wordplay – The Beat Shall Inherit The Verse is a great album, uncomplicated and unpretentious but entertaining and enjoyable to the max.

Release date: August 25, 2022.

BeermoneyUnltd - Scumbag Beer Club

BeermoneyUNLTD is a three-man crew from Orlando, Florida, consisting of Shinobi Satlin, Wordchemist & Marzmello. Scumbag Beer Club is a project you would have never heard of if you hadn’t read about it here – go listen to it here, and you’ll be in for a nice surprise.

Release date: August 20, 2022.

Diamond D - The Rear View

Diamond D is one the greatest producers in Hip Hop history, his debut album Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop (1992) is one of the iconic early 1990s classics. On The Rear View, he shares production duties with Focus, Nottz, D.R.U.G.S. Beats, and Brady Beats, but he takes care of most of the rhyming on this album himself – with additional vocals by Posdnuos (De La Soul), Fat Joe, Westside Gunn, Ashtin Martin, Dre, Stacy Epps, and KP. The Rear View = grown-men Hip Hop at its finest, with 46 minutes of smooth instrumentals and entertaining bars.

Release date: August 19, 2022.

Larry June - Spaceships On The Blade

Larry June is one of the masters of contemporary West Coast Hip Hop. The San Francisco-based rapper comes with smooth flows over quality production. Not a lot of substance to Spaceships On The Blade, but it doesn’t matter – this 90s-centric project is straight-up dope.

Release date: August 19, 2022.

STS & RJD2 - Escape From Sweet Auburn

Escape From Sweet Auburn is the follow-up album to the critically acclaimed debut collaboration between STS and RJD2 (STS x RJD2, 2015). RJD2’s production skills have never been in question (his solo album Deadringer (2002) still is one of the best instrumental Hip Hop albums ever), and his pairing with Philly rapper STS is a golden one – these two have great chemistry together, RJD2’s fresh drums and cuts & scratches perfect backdrops for STS’s engaging wordplay and dope flows. Looking for a dose of fun and unpretentious Hip Hop? Look no further than Escape From Sweet Auburn

Release date: August 19, 2022.

Azizi Gibson - You Reap What You Sew

Azizi Gibson is an independent artist who was born in Frankfurt, Germany, raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and is currently based in Los Angeles, California. You Reap What You Sew is a strong project, an album with a lot of ‘mainstream tendencies’ in its instrumentals and flows, but that is pretty enjoyable nevertheless.

Release date: August 19, 2022.

Ty Farris & Sebb Bash - Fluorescent Mud

For his sixth full-length project, Detroit underground spitter teamed up with Switzerland-based producer Sebb Bash. The atmospheric boom-bap beats on Fluorescent Mud are top-notch, and Ty Farris is on point with his bars and flows too.

Release date: August 19, 2022.

Krohme - The Ceremony Of Innocence

The Ceremony Of Innocence is a producer’s album, Krohme’s first release in a decade. For this project, recruited a host of emcees – including the likes of Sleep Sinatra, Chino XL, Lord Goat, Thirstin Howl III, Hell Razah, Shyheim, Kwamé, Bobby J From Rockaway, Guilty Simpson, Ty Farris, Hus Kingpin, Rahiem Supreme, and Cesar Comanche. Krohme’s beats are dope as f and the emcees deliver for the most part. The Ceremony Of Innocence is a slice of top-tier underground Hip Hop. 

Release date: August 19, 2022.

Supreme Cerebral x Yoga Flame Kane - The Bad Guy

Los Angeles-based emcee Supreme Cerebral can always be relied upon to come with hard-as-nails bars and powerful flows – and The Bad Guy is no different from his other releases in that regard. The beats could have been better here and there (we wish DJ TMB was on more tracks than just four out of the twelve), but overall this is a dope project that will especially appeal to fans of that raw underground boom-bap.

Release date: August 18, 2022.

Chayna Ashley & IM’PERETIV - The Precedent

Canadian producer IM’PERETIV is a beatsmith we’ve had our eyes on for a while now, and NYC-based Chayna Ashley is a renowned battle rapper and a lyrical powerhouse.  Their collaborative project The Precedent has to be great right? Right. IM’PERETIV’s stylish boom-bap beats are hard and smooth at the same time, perfectly suited for Chayna Ashley’s bars. She has a strong voice and her pen game is on point too. At ten tracks and barely over 30 minutes, The Precedent is on the short side – but what’s here is pretty dope.

Release date: August 12, 2022.

The Game - Drillmatic: Heart vs. Mind

Drillmatic: Heart vs. Mind is The Game’s tenth studio album. It starts out strong enough with “One Time” (incorporating Ice T’s classic 1988 “Colors” song), and “Eazy”. Still, it quickly becomes kind of a slog that’s much too long for its own good – with plenty of decent tracks, but with way too much mediocrity (also among the extensive feature roster) to keep the listener interested. The 10-minute Eminem diss track “The Black Slim Shady” has some funny lines, but it’s hard to escape the feeling it was created primarily for the controversy and the clicks – hoping for an Eminem response maybe? Ultimately “The Black Slim Shady” is as tragic as it sounds, really. There’s a solid album in here, but at two hours and 30 tracks, Drillmatic: Heart vs. Mind is a bloated mixed bag that will quickly fade from attention.

Release date: August 12, 2022.

Alsace Carcione - Luto

Alsace Carcione is an artist from Dallas, Texas, and Luto (the Portuguese word for ‘mourning’) is her first full-length release since 2015’s Cryptic Conundrum. That’s a long time between projects, but in this case, the wait was worth it. Luto is an outstanding piece of music, with a 14-song tracklist composed of nothing but captivating instrumentals and thoughtful, emotionally-charged lyrical content. In Alsace Carcione’s own words: “This project was a process to create because it dwelt with confronting massive levels of pain and hurt. After experiencing some of the darkest days imaginable, I went through a period of grief and intense mourning. Luto, the perfect word to describe my state of mind, that is a constant battle to acknowledge but not to dwell in. I claim victory over loss, this is that story.” Don’t sleep on Alsace Carcione and her Luto, this is one of the best albums released in August. Release date: August 12, 2022.

M.I.C. Murphy - The Second Descension

Montreal-based emcee M.I.C. Murphy’s The Second Descension is a solid underground project, with dark production and entertaining wordplay.

Release date: August 7, 2022.

J.Lately - Breakfast

Breakfast is an album by Bay Area emcee J.Lately. The three producers of Breakfast (West Coast Trey, Space Cadet, and DJ Okeefe) create a sonic landscape based around a boom-bap foundation that is constantly slipping in and out of more modern and melodic progressions. J.Lately delivers his poignant lines in such a relaxed way that you feel right at the table with him.

Release date: August 5, 2022.

AJ Suede - Oil On Canvas

Oil On Canvas is Seattle-based artist AJ Suede’s third project of the year, following on Metatron’s Cube (January) and Hundred Year Darkness (April). Metatron’s Cube is one of the best Hip Hop albums released in January, and Oil On Canvas is just about as good. Where Metatron’s Cube was produced by Blue Sky Black Death’s Televangel, Oil On Canvas is entirely self-produced – showing AJ Suede is as strong on the boards as he is on the mic. His semi-abstract wordplay perfectly meshes with his sample-based psychedelic beats, resulting in a slightly left-field Hip Hop album with lots of replay value.

Release date: August 5, 2022.

Jay Worthy & Harry Fraud - You Take The Credit, We'll Take The Check

Longtime collaborators Jay Worthy and Harry Fraud’s first joint full-length Eat When You’re Hungry, Sleep When You’re Tired (2020) is pretty great, and this follow-up is even better. Chilled-out summertime beats crafted by Harry Fraud, and entertaining rhymes by Jay Worthy (and guests such as Larry June, Conway the Machine, and Curren$y) – great vibes all around.

Release date: August 5, 2022.

M.A.V. (Da Cloth) & P.A. Dre - The Caution Tape

M.A.V. from Rochester collective Da Cloth is one of the top coke rappers in NYC and has been for a while now. The feature list on this project – with Estee Nack, Asun Eastwood, Pro Dillinger, Daniel Son, Rome Streetz, and SmooVth (among others) – is stacked, and P.A. Dre’s beats are fire. The Caution Tape is a slice of street rap at its finest.

Release date: July 29, 2022.

Obijuan & YUNGMORPHEUS - SLANG CASINO

“Obijuan & YUNGMORPHEUS join forces on SLANG CASINO. Smoked-out raw Hip Hop that sees Obijuan’s unique flow tread across a range of soul & funk-laced beats produced by YUNGMORPHEUS. But since both artists are of Bahamian and Jamaican descent respectively, they wanted to bring it back to their Island roots and blend some reggae with the grittier Hip Hop sound they’re known for. Slang talk, bravado, and esoteric maundering run throughout the record, with guest features from Rahiem Supreme, Bisk, and looms.”

SLANG CASINO is a great project, a highlight in both artists’ catalogs.

Release date: July 29, 2022.

Sankofa - BLKTCHP2

“Boom-bap with wicked lyrics making the tunes slap.” Sankofa is an emcee from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and BLKCHP2 is one of the many strong projects he dropped in the past couple of years, and his best of the year as far we’re concerned. The album is a continuation of last year’s BLKCHP, and like its predecessor, it is another kick-ass presentation of soulful boom-bap and dope wordplay – also like BLKCHP somewhat darker than most of his other releases. Go and check Sankofa out if you’ve slept on him up to now, you will not regret it.

Release date: July 28, 2022.

Mickey Diamond - No Liquor Before Twelve

We like Detroit underground spitter Mickey Diamond’s Bangkok series, and his second full-length project of 2022 No Liquor Before Twelve is dope as f too. This is gritty underground Hip Hop at its finest, with nothing but hard bars and beats. Favorite track: “Bartenders”.

Release date: July 28, 2022.

Taiyamo Denku & BoFaatBeatz - Do You Want Bars?

Another collaborative album from Milwaukee rapper Taiyamo Denku and German producer BoFaatBeatz, and it’s another good one – with dope beats and strong content from Taiyamo Denku and guests such as Nature, Moka Only, Freeway, Punchline, Wordsworth, Mood, Shyheim, and the late Gift of Gab.

Release date: July 22, 2022.

Schaffer The Darklord - The Derelict Craft

“The Derelict Craft is the eighth full-length release from NYC-based rapper, drummer, and comedian Schaffer the Darklord. This concept album tells the story of a dissatisfied artist who enlists in a civilian space program for a solo mission to investigate reports of an abandoned extraterrestrial spacecraft floating adrift within our solar system. However, before reaching his destination, he awakens from stasis sleep to the horrifying discovery that his own ship’s engines and communications have failed during the trip. Lost in space, he spends his time facing his mortality, examining the petty conflicts back home that drove him to this mission and slowly losing his mind. Where 2013’s Sick Passenger took a look at depression and addiction, The Derelict Craft explores isolation and one’s anxiety about leaving a legacy.”

Different, and certainly not for everybody – but The Derelict Craft is an intriguing and engaging listen nonetheless.

Release date: July 22, 2022.

Daz Dillinger & Capone - Guidelinez

West Coast meets East Coast on Guidelinez – a surprisingly strong album by two 90s icons, which will resonate especially with fans of Tha Doggpound and CNN of course, and anyone else in for some melodic but hard-hitting 90s-flavored underground Hip Hop – with extra flavored added by the likes of  N.O.R.E, Kurupt, M.O.P., Smif-N-Wessun, Havoc, Styles P, Curren$y, and Conway the Machine (among others).

Release date: July 22, 2022.

DeepState - Lead By Example

Combining the lyrical wisdom of New Jersey MC Magiver Knowledge and production mastery of beatsmith Slater, DeepState proudly flies the flag for modern East Coast Hip Hop. Lead By Example is a strong project, check it out

Release date: July 22, 2022.

Knowledge The Pirate & Big Ghost Ltd - Wolves Don't Eat With Shepherds

Veteran emcee Knowledge The Pirate’s 4th full-length album Wolves Don’t Eat With Shepherds is a strong follow-up to last year’s Hidden Treasures. Having Big Ghost Ltd as a producer on your project pretty much guarantees quality on the beats side, and as always Big Ghost Ltd’s atmospheric instrumentals succeed in bringing out the best in the emcee he crafts beats for – Knowledge The Pirate is as strong as ever here, with dope flows and hard as nails street bars.

Release date: July 20, 2022.

Al.Divino - Guns & Butter

Al.Divino’s style is an acquired taste, but if you can get with his idiosyncratic flow and delivery, and you’re a fan of that gutter-style street rap with hard bars and murky beats, Guns & Butter is sure to satisfy.

Release date: July 16, 2022.

Cognac Kingz (Him Lo & Giallo Point) - Cubanz & Cognac

Hard-nosed bars by Buze Bruva emcee Him Lo backed by atmospheric boom-bap beats crafted by English producer Giallo Point – Cubanz & Cognac is a presentation of quality underground Hip Hop.

Release date: July 15, 2022.

Lloyd Banks - The Course Of The Inevitable 2

In 2021, G-Unit’s prodigal son Lloyd Banks made his long-awaited return with The Course Of The Inevitable – his fourth studio album and his best album to date. The Course of the Inevitable 2 is not quite as strong as its predecessor but it’s pretty great too – the dark and moody boom-bap beats are mostly nice (though really memorable), and lyrically Lloyd Banks is on the top of his game again. Good stuff.

Release date: July 15, 2022.

Joey Cool - The Chairman Of The Board

The Chairman Of The Board is the 6th full-length album from Kansas City emcee Joey Cool, released on Tech N9ne‘s Strange Music label. The Chairman Of The Board is a long but consistent album that has Joey Cool bringing some of his most confident writing and performances to date, supported by an effective blend of straight-up boom-bap beats and a couple of more mainstream-sounding instrumentals.

Release date: July 15, 2022.

Ruste Juxx & DJ Views - Im Not Like These Other Rappers

Im Not Like These Other Rappers is Crown Heights emcee Ruste Juxx’s tribute to his mentor, the late Sean Price. Australian DJ Views adds flavor with his cuts & scratches, and Ruste Juxx’s content is solid as always. The beats could have been better, but overall this is an enjoyable project, with nothing but pure Hip Hop from start to finish.

Release date: July 15, 2022.

Wordsworth & Kelzwiththaheat - The Fragility Of Life

eMC rapper Wordsworth is one of those top-tier emcees who never managed to come out with a truly great solo album. The Fragility Of Life is not that album either, despite some dope bars and flows and help from the likes of Masta Ace, Pearl Gates, and Finale (among others). Kelzwiththaheat’s beats are kind of bland though, and the overabundance of poppy hooks does not help. The Fragility Of Life is not bad but is not great either.

Release date: July 15, 2022.

AA Rashid & DirtyDiggs - The Nod

Los Angeles rapper AA Rashid teamed up with production duo DirtyDiggs for The Nod, an album that manages to stand out from the crowd because of its dreamlike left-field instrumentals, and AA Rashid’s off-the-wall flows and clever free-associative lyrics that mesh perfectly with the idiosyncratic beats. Features from Planet Asia, Tristate, and RedPill help round out what is our favorite project released in the month of July.

Release date: July 12, 2022.

Wrecking Crew - Sedale Threat

Wrecking Crew – emcees Zilla Rocca, Curly Castro, and PremRock, plus producer Small Professor – can always be trusted to bring some top quality Hip Hop, and Sedale Threat is a dope project too. A host of guest emcees and producers add extra flavor and help round out what is a more than solid underground Hip Hop album. If you’ve slept on Wrecking Crew up to now, be sure to listen to Sedale Threat – and no doubt you’ll be checking for the crew’s (group and individual) back catalog right after you’ve finished listening to this one.

Release date: July 11, 2022.

Kota the Friend - MEMO

MEMO is Brooklyn rapper Kota the Friend’s third full-length solo studio album, following May 2019’s FOTO and May 2020’s EVERYTHING – it is billed as a sequel to the former. Warm chilled-out summertime soul rap – even if the album’s instrumentals get a bit repetitive after a while, this is a thoroughly entertaining listen that has some of Kota’s best and most personal writing on it. As far as ‘modern-sounding’ Hip Hop goes, Kota the Fiend is one of our favorite artists out there. Keep ’em coming, Kota.

Release date: July 8, 2022.

Femme Deadly Venoms - Femmenomenon

Oakland, California-based Femme Deadly Venoms is a quartet based consisting of Aima the Dreamer (MC), Breathless (MC), Dakini (MC), and Lady Fingaz (Turntablist/Vocalist/Producer). The group’s music is a sweet gumbo of Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, and Electronica – Femmenomenon is their second full-length album as a group, and it’s their best work to date. Femmenomenon seamlessly combines political messaging with more lighthearted content, all of it backed by smooth instrumentals. The three vocalists have great chemistry, and Lady Fingaz’s turntablism is the icing on the cake. The album is too short, but its limited runtime is the biggest knock against Femmenomenon. 

Release date: July 8, 2022.

McGyver - Camillionizm

Dutch-Canadian emcee McGyver mixes Dutch with English into a new kind of language, which is surprisingly fun to listen to. It doesn’t hurt to have icons like Pete Rock, Large Professor, and K-Def contributing on the production side, and features from the likes of Fredro Starr, Craig G, and Neek The Exotic (along with a bunch of emcees from The Netherlands and other countries) make for an album with international allure. Even if not all lyrics will be accessible to all listeners, this album can be enjoyed by all nationalities – the beats on this project bang, the sampling plus the cuts & scratches give the whole thing a fun 90s vibe, and the overall energy is infectious. That cover art is pretty great too – the image reflects exactly how the album sounds.

Release date: July 8, 2022.

Nyce da Future & Eto - Forever Mobbin

Forever Mobbin is a solid underground Hip Hop album, not the best we’ve ever heard from Eto though. Still, worth checking out.

Release date: July 7, 2022.

The Bad Seed - Four Finger Ring

New York-based underground rapper The Bad Seed’s releases are always worth a listen, and Four Finger Ring is no exception. With beats crafted by Team Demo, Murda Megz, Freakshow, CJ Dove, and Takenotez, and with cuts & scratches by Tone Spliff, this is a must for listeners who can’t get enough of atmospheric NYC underground Hip Hop.

Release date: July 4, 2022.

K1NG ELJAY - PTSD

K1NG ELJAY’s PTSD is an honest, vivid journey that highlights his previous (and, current) struggles in a way that’s relatable to those who’ve been there.

Release date: July 4, 2022.

Ty Nitty & DJ Woool - Pain Is Power

Solid NYC boom-bap from Queensbridge veteran emcee Ty Nitty, member of the Infamous Mobb crew.

Release date: July 4, 2022.

Snowgoons - 1st Of Da Month

Snowgoons’ second full-length release of the year is not as strong as the first one (January’s Renaissance Kings), but solid enough. Dope beats, sharp cuts & scratches, and hard bars by a host of emcees – including Hex One (Epidemic), Fashawn, N.B.S., Reef The Lost Cauze, The Good People, Ruste Juxx, and Sicknature.

Release date: July 1, 2022.

Snyp Life - Ingenuity

Ingenuity is a dope project from D-Block’s Snyp Life, with guest appearances from heavy-hitting veterans such as Royal Flush, Lil Fame, Billy Danze, Jadakiss, Tek, Steele, Styles P, Ruste Juxx, Rockness Monsta, Sheek Louch, and Termanology (among others). Raw underground sh for your ears.

Release date: July 1, 2022.

Wordburglar - Burgonomic

Toronto-based emcee Wordburglar’s Burgonomic is one of those albums that breathe LOVE for Hip Hop. The Backburner collective member turned out a fresh Hip Hop album with this one, totally entertaining and fun from start to finish. Flows, beats, cuts, and samples – Burgonomic has that ‘old school’ feel all the way through, a great ride.

Release date: June 29, 2022.

Rebelwise - Rebelwise

Rebelwise is a group of artists based out of Portland, and Rebelwise is the collective’s debut album. Conscious, uplifting, and powerful – this is a great piece of music.

Release date: June 28, 2022.

Pan Amsterdam & Damu The Fudgemunk - EAT

EAT is the brand new album from your favorite rapper trumpeter, Pan Amsterdam. Made with fans of both food and Hip Hop in mind, the LP opens up a new pocket in the Pan Am dimension: the rapper-producer album. The whole thing’s a collaboration with underground legend and Def Pressé family Damu The Fudgemunk. Perceiving the world in terms of taste, EAT is musically wistfully joyous, and lyrically playful – a full menu with Pan Am your maître d’, and Damu the chef du cuisine. Damu’s beats are deep, warm, melodic, and progressive, a perfect playground for the duality of Pan Am’s beat poetry and Leron’s caressing trumpet, which as always is a persona in itself.”

Damu The Fudgemunk doesn’t miss, and his production on EAT is jazzy and tasteful – a joy to listen to. Pan Amsterdam’s vocals may not be for everybody: his idiosyncratic spoken word flows and semi-abstract oddball bars certainly are ‘different’, something like what a hybrid of Guilty Simpson and MF DOOM would sound like. EAT is a unique piece of music, an album that may require a few listening sessions to be able to fully appreciate it but one that will certainly grow on you.

Release date: June 24, 2022

MC Eiht - Official Re-Up: The Double Album

Official Re-Up: The Double Album is a 27-track project composed of nothing but no-nonsense West Coast gangsta rap from Compton’s Most Wanted legend MC Eiht and guests like Xzibit and Tha Chill. Overlong, but totally enjoyable. Like on his other recent albums MC Eiht overuses his trademark “Gyeah” to the point of caricature, you’ll hear him say it a couple of hundred times again – it can get a little annoying just (like him mentioning the name of his “Blue Stamp Official” label over and over and over). But these are minor complaints – Official Re-Up: The Double Album is another solid project from one of gangsta rap’s biggest icons.

Release date: June 17, 2022.

Kevin Gates - Khaza

Khaza serves as the official follow-up from the Baton Rouge native Kevin Gates’s second studio album, 2019’s I’m Him. Kevin Gates’s Khaza starts off strong enough with “Intro”, but quickly turns into a mixed bag with some highs but just as many lows- effectively mirroring Kevin Gates’s state of mind during the recording of what can be labeled as a ‘break-up’ album. Kevin Gates’s voice is as powerful as always, his emotions raw and on full display, and some of the beats bang – for us there are just too many pop tendencies on Khaza to consider it for OUR best the year list. For a mainstream-oriented rap album, Khaza is solid as f though, one of the better ones in the pop-rap category.

Release date: June 17, 2022.

Westside Boogie - More Black Superheroes

Mainstream-friendly pop-rap, with too much singing, but overall the laidback More Black Superheroes is not a bad album at all.

Release date: June 17, 2022.

J. Stone - The Definition Of Sacrifice

The Definition Of Sacrifice is the final installment in Crenshaw rapper and All Money In Records co-founder J. Stone’s Definition trilogy, following The Definition Of Loyalty (2019) and The Definition Of Pain (2020). The album features production from Swizz Beats, and guest spots from Young Dolph, Styles P, Jadakiss, and Swizz Beatz (among others). Tired subject matter and too mainstream-oriented for HHGA, but still worth a listen.

Release date: June 15, 2022.

Mic Bles - The Features

Hip Hop in its purest form. Lyrical powerhouse and Oxnard underground fixture Mic Bles’s The Features is a great collection of tracks all featuring Mic Bles and guests such as Ras Kass, Planet Asia, Chino XL, Rakaa, Pacewon, and El Da Sensei – among many others. Production by Science Green, DJ Diaze, Merge Beats, The Beatpack, DJ Hi Yella, and Brenx takes listeners back to Hip Hop’s heyday – relentless bars, banging beats, and well-placed cuts & scratches – The Features is a must for Hip Hop traditionalists.

Release date: June 14, 2022.

Conway The Machine & Big Ghost Ltd - What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed

What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed is not the best work Conway The Machine or Big Ghost Ltd have ever been responsible for, but this third collaboration between the two is sure to satisfy fans of either artist. This project was billed as an EP, but because (at 35 minutes) it’s longer than half of the ‘albums’ that drop these days, What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed merits inclusion on this list anyway.

Release date: June 14, 2022.

Bizarre - He Got A Gun

He Got A Gun is D12 rapper Bizarre’s best album. Foul Mouth’s production is dark and eery, and his sound is a perfect fit for Bizarre’s characteristically bizarre and humorous bars. Guests such as Kool Keith, Nems, Ty Farris, and Guilty Simpson (among others) add extra flavor.

Release date: June 3, 2022.

Blak Madeen - Amongst The Living Dead

“On their third album for SpitSLAM, Boston’s Blak Madeen show no signs of slowing down. Intelligent lyrics, intricate flows, and neck-snapping beats will educate, entertain, and get you involved. Featuring guest appearances by Smiff-N-Wessun, Edo. G, Reef The Lost Cauze, The Impossebulls, and the late, great Zumbi of Zion I.”

Amongst The Living Dead is a great album. Conscious bars and engaging 90s-centric beats laced with sharp cuts & scratches – pure Hip Hop.

Release date: June 3, 2022.

C-Lance - The Undying Flame

The Undying Flame is an album from heavyweight underground producer, C-Lance of Enemy Soil fame (Jedi Mind Tricks, Vinnie Paz, AOTP). Dope beats and bars from guests such as Vinnie Paz, R.A. The Rugged Man, Celph Titled, Reef The Lost Cauze, Termanology, Recognize Ali, and Murs – among others.

Release date: June 3, 2022.

Kingdom Kome & Onaje Jordan - Alchemy

Kingdom Kome and Onaje Jordan teamed up to deliver one of the finest underground projects released in the month of May. Alchemy doesn’t offer anything you haven’t heard before but those who can’t get enough of atmospheric underground Hip Hop will no doubt dig this display of killer rhymes and beats.

Release date: May 31, 2022.

Deca - Smoking Gun

“Deca’s streak of entrancing releases continues with Smoking Gun, an album that deftly blends psychedelic, raw production with sharp insights and clever lyricism. But it’s also much more than that. Smoking Gun is a sonic representation of an artist grappling with living in America, a country with a network of broken systems that leaves Deca questioning when and if it may turn around.”

New York City-based producer/emcee Deca turns out another excellent piece of Hip Hop with Smoking Gun. His production is immaculate, and his intricate writing shines with intelligence and intention, providing insight on topical and complex subjects. Homeboy Sandman and Blu appear (among others), adding some extra weight to what is one of the best albums released in May.

Release date: May 27, 2022.

Tokyo Cigar & August Fanon - Lexus Money

August Fanon can always be relied upon to come up with innovative en captivating instrumentals, his production work on Lexus Money is strong as always. Maryland-based artist Tokyo Cigar‘s idiosyncratic flows and entertaining bars are dope as f too, this is a project to spend time with, one that will grow on you. We could have done with fewer skits and interlude parts, but that’s a minor complaint. Lexus Money is a must-listen.

Release date: May 27, 2022.

Destruct - The Best You Never Heard

The Best You Never Heard is the debut vinyl release of one of the most hardworking emcee’s in the scene today – Destruct – a Los Angeles native with 15 years resume of working with legendary artists.

The album showcases over 10 years of heavily influenced music from the East to West coast. The Best You Never Heard contains tracks that were never meant to be all under one roof. Half of the album’s songs were previously released as singles or in compilations and the other half is unreleased original brand-new music. The album is a true picture of an underdog story of what passion and an undying will can showcase on wax, with legendary features from Sean Price to Steele of Smif-Ν-Wessun, Blu, Planet Asia, and many more, and with beats from Jake One to Exile, Moka Only to Kev Brown and to other well-known producers.”

Release date: May 27, 2022.

Double A.B. - Devils & Drugs

“New York’s conceptual rap veteran Double A.B. returns with Devils & Drugs, an album soaked in classic New York grit with conceptual wordplay abounding. Known for his collaborations with artists such as Roc Marciano, Sean Price, and Cannibal Ox, A.B. shows he keeps pace with the greats as the album showcases him lamenting fallen friends and appeasing his own inner demons in the same breath. The album features appearances from Napoleon Da Legend and Breeze Brewin of The Juggaknots amongst others.”

Release date: May 27, 2022.

Dregs One & Ill Sugi - Skies Over Tokyo

Dregs One is an emcee/producer from San Francisco, and Ill Sugi is a producer from Tokyo, Japan. The two are frequent collaborators, and Skies Over Tokyo is another fine product of their undeniable chemistry. Ill Sugi’s soulful instrumentals are soothing and hypnotic, contrasting beautifully with Dregs’s blunt delivery and rhymes. Give Skies Over Tokyo a chance, and no doubt you will find yourself returning to it again and again.

Release date: May 20, 2022.

Ghettosocks & DK - Listen To The Masters

“Funky, jazzy, soulful, melodic, hard, and smooth — somehow all at once — Listen To The Masters takes listeners on a 10-track audio journey with DK and Ghettosocks manning the helm as their boom-bap tour guides. Steeped in analog swagger, each track exudes a warm vintage vibe that’s instantly chilled by ultra-cool flows, including features from industry heavyweights like CL Smooth, El Da Sensei, Skyzoo, and more.”

Listen To The Masters is a must-have for fans of smooth 90s-centric boom-bap.

Release date: May 20, 2022.

Havik & Layzie Bone - Infinity

This Havik & Layzie Bone album is overlong at 92 minutes, but pretty strong overall. This is one of the better Layzie Bone solo projects, fans of BTNH better go check Infinity out, those who dig their Hip Hop with symphonic bass-heavy beats and melodic spitfire flows (think Tech N9Ne’s music) will like this album too.

Release date: May 20, 2022.

Paradox & ReFlex the Architect - Enough

Denver-based emcee Paradox teamed up with producer ReFlex the Architect for Enough – a short, slightly left-field, boom-bap project with guest spots from the likes of Boog Brown, Moka Only, Stik Figa, Von Pea, Theory Hazit, KRUM, Melissa Carter, Ozay Moore, and others. Entertaining rhymes and wordplay, fresh beats, and positive vibes – you will not regret checking out Enough.

Release date: May 6, 2022.

Sleep Sinatra & KNGKVMI – Brainstormz

Prolific Lincoln, Nebraska artist Sleep Sinatra is working hard on putting together a catalog filled with quality projects – Brainstormz is no exception. Brainstormz is a collaborative album with Bellevue, Washington-based producer KNGKVMI. His minimalistic boom-bap production is raw and gritty, and the beats on this project prove to be a great fit for Sleep Sinatra’s rhymes. Brainstormz is a presentation of top-tier underground Hip Hop.

Release date: May 6, 2022.

Method Man - Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab

Meh. Some interesting features (Redman, KRS-One, and Jadakiss are the most notable artists), but beats are by the number, and Meth’s heart doesn’t seem to be in it. Meth Lab Season 3: The Rehab has its moments, but is totally forgettable.

Release date: May 6, 2022.

Wilma Vritra - Grotto

Grotto is the work of two musicians separated by an ocean but undoubtedly operating on a shared wavelength. One is Will Archer, a Newcastle-born but London-based multi-instrumentalist and composer who today records as Wilma Archer. His debut solo album A Western Circular, featured guest spots from the late MF DOOM, Future Islands’ Samuel T Herring, Sudan Archives, and Laura Grove. The other is Hal Donell Williams Jr, aka VRITRA – a Los Angeles-based rapper whose tales of graft and grind are often couched in spiritual or cosmic terms. VRITRA has previously collaborated with Matt Martians via The Jet Age of Tomorrow, Pink Siifu, and YUNGMORPHEUS.

Grotto’s striking cover image is by Swampy, an enigmatic Californian street artist whose itinerant lifestyle – tales of squatting and train-hopping across North America – have made him a demi-mythical figure. It is a playful image, but it communicates the album’s themes – of a voyage through darkness and the promise of light at the end of the tunnel.”

Grotto is an enticing listen, one of the finest left-field Hip Hop albums of the year. The hypnotic and inventive production is magnificent, and the rapping is beautiful too. These two bring out the best in each other, let’s hope this duo will continue to make music together.

Release date: May 6, 2022.

Prop Dylan - Bushido Code

Prop Dylan’s fifth studio album Bushido Code is an ode to the alternative lifestyle. It’s also a roadmap taking us from Prop Dylan’s hometown streets of Borlänge, through Southern Europe, and all the way to Detroit City. The majority of beats (10 of the 14 tracks) on Bushido Code have been supplied by Detroit’s producer extraordinaire Apollo Brown, whilst Gravy Sparks and DJ Connect produced the remaining songs. Elzhi from Detroit appears as a featuring guest, as do Termanology and Fashawn who feature on two different tracks. Cosmic from Looptroop Rockers and the soul singer Erik Runeson add the final pieces to the album.

Release date: May 6, 2022

MC Longshot - The Healing

MC Longshot is a Chicago-born, Minneapolis-based emcee, and The Healing is his twelfth album, produced entirely by Chicago producer CeLL Uno. Over CeLL Uno’s gritty but soulful production Longshot paints the self-portrait of an artist navigating modern-day, post-COVID America. The Healing is a strong album, one of Longshot’s best yet.

Release date: May 6, 2022.

Makeba Mooncycle - Just A Part Of Me

Just A Part Of Me is a strong album from Queens, NYC-based emcee Makeba Mooncycle. Her delivery and flow are great to the ear, and her wordplay and bars are entertaining from start to finish. Polished boom-baps beats and well-placed cuts & scratches complete what is a fully realized album that deserves your attention.

Release date: May 5, 2022.

NapsNdreds – Super Braff

Jamaican-born, Florida-based NapsNDreds’ Super Braff is a fun album, with banging 90s-centric sample-based beats and entertaining bars from start to finish. Great cover art too.

Release date: April 29, 2022.

Ransom - No Rest For The Wicked

Ransom is one of the finest lyricists in the game – his voice, flow, delivery, and cadence are all top-notch. Appearances from The Game, 38 Spesh, Tyrant, Willie The Kid, J. Arrr, and Black Chakra add extra flavor. Production (overseen by Nicholas Craven) is not on par with the vocal performances on No Rest For The Wicked, though. The album is accessible and soulful, but the instrumentals are also kind of bland and pretty forgettable – too ‘clean’ somehow. No Rest For The Wicked is a solid Ransom album, just not what we were hoping for.

Release date: April 29, 2022.

LuGhz & Watkinz Da General - Realer Than Nicolas Bourbaki

Realer Than Nicolas Bourbaki is a solid and accessible presentation of underground Hip Hop, filled with listen-worthy bars from NYC-based Nigerian/British emcee LuGhz, and atmospheric beats crafted by Watkinz Da General (and LuGhz).

Release date: April 26, 2022.

CZARFACE - Czarmageddon!

We are Czarface fans and Czarmageddon! has some of the group’s best songs on it, with Esoteric and especially Inspectah Deck on top of their game. The biggest issue we have with Czarmageddon! is that it is too short at a mere 32 minutes. There’s no room for mistakes on a mini-LP like this one, and there are a couple of weaker tracks among the bangers. 7L’s production is more varied than ever before on a Czarface project, and unfortunately, not everything works – especially the reggae/rock-flavored “Big Em Up” (with Lion Eye) feels out of place. That said: there’s plenty of Czarface brilliance on Czarmageddon!: to offset one or two missteps: “Damien’s Dinner Time”, “Walk Thru Walls”, “Bob LaCzar”, “Nu Mutantes”, “Fearless & Inventive” (with Kool Keith), the instrumental “Boogie DefMix”, and “Czarv Wolfman” are all dope as f. A little more substance to the tracklist would have been better, but overall this is another super solid addition to what is shaping up to be an excellent catalog.

Release date: April 23, 2022.

The Grates - Saturdays with The Grates Vol. 1

The Grates are a crew from Chicago, and their Saturdays with The Grates Vol. 1 is an entertaining underground Hip Hop record, composed of slightly left-field instrumentals and raw, unfiltered bars. The Grates have a definite own sound, which is an accomplishment in this day and age where so many artists sound exactly the same. Saturdays with The Grates Vol. 1 is different enough to stay interesting for its whole duration, and it’s an album that invites and rewards multiple listens. Don’t sleep on The Grates.

Release date: April 22, 2022.

Mickey O'Brien - Shift Change

Shift Change is Canadian emcee Mickey O’Brien’s sophomore album, evolving his sound and bringing his most evocative and diverse pen game yet. Production from producer Fresh Kils with additional input from live musicians such as keyboardist Zachary Clement, blues musician Tommy Fyfe, jazz saxophonist Alan Walsh, and turntablist DJ SLAM! add exciting combinations, texture, and their own unique imprint to the songs. Mickey O’Brien takes us on a journey of self-transformation that goes from night to day and dark to light, enlisting the assistance of Premrock, Ultra Magnus, Juno-nominee D-Sisive, and BET Freestyle Champion Young Stitch, Eyeda Sophia, Ice Tha One, Annie Q, Sarah Craig, and Anne Feeney (the acclaimed folksinger who sadly passed away in 2021). Shift Change is a strong album, with eclectic and stylish instrumentals complemented by a good blend of meaningful and fun lyrical content.

Release date: April 22, 2022.

Linqua Franqa - Bellringer

“In linguistics, “lingua franca” is a term for a language used to communicate across cultures. For instance, the lingua franca of the Internet is typically English; in post-colonial Africa, French is often the lingua franca. For Athens, Georgia-based rapper, linguist, activist, parent, and politician Mariah Parker (they/them), aka Linqua Franqa, music is the tool they use to communicate – and educate – across cultural boundaries. Parker is a linqua franqa for the people.

Weaving a rich tapestry of Hip Hop lyricism and neo-soul hooks, Parker imbues every song with a sense of urgency and keen social consciousness. This is particularly evident on the forthcoming sophomore album Bellringer, produced by Parker, Reindeer Games, and Joel Hatstat and featuring guest spots from Jeff Rosenstock, Of Montreal, Kishi Bashi, Dope KNife, Wesdaruler, and Angela Davis. On Bellringer, Parker does not hold back, touching on issues like police brutality, social media addiction, mental health, anti-capitalism, and labor organizing, among other topics, ripped from the headlines.”

Bellringer is a unique album by a unique artist. The mix of experimental Hip Hop, neo-soul, and indie pop is unlike anything else you’ll hear this year. We gravitate more to the Hip Hop side of the sounds on this LP, and if the whole album would have maintained the standard set by the first five songs, we would have considered Bellringer an AOTY contender. But even with a couple of songs in the middle of the tracklist that are not for us, the overall Bellringer experience is pretty awesome. Linqua Franqa’s diverse vocal abilities and the range of the subject matter – from views on social inequalities and public policies to personal struggles to straight-up sh*ttalking – make for an album that deserves all the attention it can get.

Release date: April 22, 2022.

Nelson Dialect & Mr Slipz - Ever Since

Ever Since is a collaborative album from prolific Brighton-based producer Mr Slipz and Australian rapper Nelson Dialect. The album features a slew of impressive guest verses including High Focus Records label mates Vitamin G & Verbz on the emphatic “Oxford Scholars”. Two UK rap legends Jehst & Confucius MC combine on “Smooth Ride”. D.I.T.C legend A.G delivers a show-stopping verse on “Trembling the Marrow”. There are hypnotic singing performances by Indira May on “First Date” and “Open Book” as well as from Jace XL on the soul-stirring anthem “Figure Out What’s Right” U.S. rappers SickInTheHead & Cazeaux O.S.L.O round out the impressive guest list on the album with their inspired verses. Ever Since is just one of the many quality Hip Hop albums to come out of the UK in recent times.

Release date: April 21, 2022.

Matlock - Coffee & Cannabis

Coffee & Cannabis is a dope album from Matlock, a veteran emcee from the underground scene in Illinois. Production on Coffee & Cannabis is handled by DreamTek, DJ Alo, Panama Beats, Kaz 1, and Obvious Bane, and the album features Suzi Uzi, Rusty Chains, Wes Restless, Verbal, Pozlyrix, and DreamTek. Matlock is a strong lyricist, and the musical backdrops are enjoyable. Coffee & Cannabis is well worth a listen.

Release date: April 20, 2022.

Defcee and BoatHouse - For All Debts Public And Private

For All Debts Public And Private is a strong little album from Chicago rapper Defcee and Closed Sessions producer BoatHouse. The album centers on being overlooked, undervalued, and underfunded. Boom-bap inspired production, intricate wordplay, and compelling narratives, with guest features from Armand Hammer, Mother Nature, Kipp Stone, SolarFive, and GreenSLLime – this is a dope project that would have ranked higher if it had been a little bit longer, but 32 minutes is too short to be considered a proper LP. Nevertheless, this is an album you shouldn’t sleep on.

Release date: April 19, 2022.

Zu Ninjaz - Invading Europe

Invading Europe is a solid Wu-Tang family album, with production from Shaka Amazulu The 7th, Iron Sheik, SuPreme, Bronze Nazareth, Darkim Be Allah, and features from East Coast Killa Beez, Timbo King, DJ King Shiloh, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, C.I.A., School Of The Gifted, PxRo, Lamar Unique, Son Of Light, Absztrakkt, GoDZKiLLaZ, Gaceloide, Dogge Doggelitto, Cuban Pete, Rambo, Darkim Be Allah, and HWK. Reading the names of all those involved with Invading Europe should tell you enough about what kind of sound to expect: raw beats and bars in the Wu-Tang tradition.

Release date: April 17, 2022.

Height Keech & Darko The Super - You Gotta Have Friends

You Gotta Have Friends is a strong album from regular collaborators Height Keech and Darko The Super. Few artists are as prolific as Darko The Super is, and not all of his work is especially memorable, but there’s plenty of fire in his catalog. You Gotta Have Friends is part of the better half of Darko’s catalog. All production is done by Height Keech, and his beats are the strongest aspect of this project. The instrumentals are slightly off-kilter, perfect backdrops for the duo’s quirky bars and flows. You Gotta Have Friends is different but interesting.

Release date: April 16, 2022.

Booda French - the losers victory lap

Booda French is an emcee from Ipswich in the UK. His the losers victory lap LP is a laidback boom-bap LP that’s impossible not to like. Booda French’s wordplay is clever and fun, and the slightly experimental production gives the album an original vibe and enough of an edge to invite repeated listens. This is a pretty great album, don’t sleep.

Release date: April 15, 2022.

Brizz Rawsteen - Steen Malenko

Brizz Rawsteen is a renowned battle rapper from Delaware by way of North Carolina, and Steen Malenko is his third full-length project, following 2021’s Private Lecture EP. The eye-catcher on Steen Malenko is the Method Man feature on “Chalked Out Pt.2”, one of the stand-out tracks, but the whole project is fire – a prime example of grown man rap, with nothing but strong beats, bars, and flows.

Release date: April 15, 2022.

Blac Samurai - Saints Are Sinners

Poet, rapper, songwriter, and short story writer. Brandon Watkins better known as Blac Samurai is an artist from Chicago. Saints Are Sinners is an entertaining album, with mature rhymes and easy-listening boom-bap instrumentals.

Release date: April 15, 2022.

Josiah The Gift - Mightier Than The Sword (Side B)

Mightier Than The Sword (Side B) is the follow-up and second half of Mightier Than The Sword, which was released two weeks before this one. Mightier Than The Sword is a great little project, but a little bit too short to be considered a proper LP.  At just over 40 minutes, Side B is more fully realized, and it’s just as dope – this is kick-ass underground Hip Hop. Josiah The Gift should have released the best content of both projects as one 1-hour album. Cut in half, we have two separate projects that are both solid as f, just not as great as an album could have been if side A and side B had been put together.

Release date: April 15, 2022. 

Daniel Son - The Bush Doctor

The Bush Doctor is another great project from Daniel Son, one of the foremost emcees active in the Canadian underground. Production from Vic Grimes, Giallo Point, Futurewave, and Finn (among others) is grimy and atmospheric, and Daniel Son’s bars along with those of guests Eto, Estee Nack, Saipher Soze, and Raspy complement the beats.

Release date: April 15, 2022.

Vic Spencer & Doc Da Mindbenda - Still Here

Still Here is not on par with his Spencer For Higher series or some of his other recent projects, but the prolific Chicago emcee can always be relied upon to come up with some solid content.

Release date: April 15, 2022.

Nick Gun - Jumping The Gun

Nick Gun is an artist from Adelaide, Australia, and his Jumping The Gun is an enjoyable project composed of easy-listening beats and entertaining wordplay. Check it out

Release date: April 8, 2022.

International Mack - The Wisdom

The Wisdom is the official debut album by Filipino-American rapper/producer International Mack from Syracuse, NY. Ten strong tracks make for a tight but fully realized album, composed of a nice set of melodic boom-bap instrumentals and mature bars. 

Release date: April 8, 2022.

Johnny Ciggs & Ant The Symbol - The Great White Hype

Personal rhymes from Johnny Ciggs over dope beats crafted by Ant The Symbol: The Great White Hype is a solid album that deserves a listen.

Release date: April 8, 2022.

V Knuckles - Winter Warfare

After dropping singles with the likes of Millyz, Fredro Starr, and Termanology, Cambridge, MA emcee V Knuckles (of N.B.S.) comes with his debut solo album Winter Warfare – a lyrically dense offering equipped with street tales, braggadocio rhymes, and hard-hitting production from Snowgoons, Phoniks, Nashihat, Luka Millano, and more. Their melodic boom-bap hits hard, and V Knuckles has a powerful voice with a dope traditional flow to amplify the beats (along with rhymes from guests such as Termanology, Slaine, Ali Vegas, and REKS). Winter Warfare is a strong album.

Release date: April 7, 2022.

Ed Scissor - Post Sleep

Ed Scissor teamed up with composer and multi-instrumentalist Chapel Tapes on Post Sleep to create a series of dreamscapes, pairing key excerpts from the Post Sleep text with an original score that evokes a meditative calm (especially on late night walks with nothing but a pair of headphones on empty streets for company).

Post Sleep comes ten years after the melancholic and dark Better.Luck.Next.Life., and six years after Ed Scissor’s masterpiece Tell Them It’s Winter (2016) – an intensely dark, moody, emotive, and disturbing immersive experience. Heavy stuff, but gorgeous music at the same time – Tell Them It’s Winter truly is a unique work of art and one of our favorite British Hip Hop albums of all time.

Post Sleep is unlike most other albums as well, offering an hour of deep spoken-word poetry backed up by minimalistic but extremely atmospheric soundscapes – haunting and soothing at the same time. An acquired taste without a doubt and not everybody will feel the same way – but we happen to love this Ed Scissor oddity.

Release date: April 7, 2022.

Purpose - The Tony Camonte Saga: Cost Of Business

Purpose has been a consistent presence on the underground rap scene for over a decade as part of Tragic Allies (with Estee Nack), his own solo material and production for some of the Golden Age’s finest, like Roc Marciano, Cormega, Planet Asia, Killah Priest, and others.

The Tony Camonte Saga: Cost Of Business is entirely self-produced and features appearances from Saigon and Estee Nack among others. Purpose’s beats are dope as f, as are the rhymes. At 34 minutes, the album is on the short side – but across its ten tracks The Tony Camonte Saga: Cost Of Business is consistently strong.

Release date: April 5, 2022.

HYPE – Talk To Me Nice

Born in Cameroon, in 1998, HYPE was only six years old when his family uprooted to North America. Influenced by the likes of Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West but also by the styles and sounds of artists like Nas, 9th Wonder, and DJ Premier, his music is a mix of the current nuance of rap fused with the iconic ’90s sound. Talk To Me Nice is HYPE’s debut album. HYPE has a dope flow, his pen game is strong, and the production on the album is hard-hitting yet elegant and stylish at the same time – Talk To Me Nice is a record to take notice of.

Release date: April 5, 2022.

IM'PERETIV - Burial Plots & Pyramid Schemes

Burial Plots & Pyramid Schemes is the first full-length project from Canadian producer IM’PERETIV. The album features appearances from a host of underground spitters, including the likes of Benny the Butcher, Elcamino, Daniel Son, Asun Eastwood, and Josiah the Gift, plus sharp cuts & scratches from Dystrakted. IM’PERETIV’s beats are dope as f, in the vein of the dark and gritty sounds you know from top-tier producers like The Alchemist and Daringer. With fourteen full tracks, this is a fully realized record composed of nothing but killer instrumentals and hard street raps – no doubt about it: Burial Plots & Pyramid Schemes is one of the best underground projects of 2022.

Release date: April 1, 2022.

Planet Asia & DJ Jay-Ef - Cash or Caskets

Cash or Caskets is a collaborative project from prolific emcee Planet Asia and NYC-based DJ Jay-Ef, with production from the likes of Buckwild, Evidence, and E-Swift, among others. Bars, beats, and sharp cuts & scratches – Cash or Caskets is one for boom-bap traditionalists.

Release date: April 1, 2022.

Josiah The Gift - Mightier Than The Sword

Mightier Than The Sword is a dope little project from Jersey’s Josiah The Gift. Tight boom-bap beats with an experimental twist here and there, entertaining wordplay, and a great all-around vibe – Mightier Than The Sword is a project well worth checking out.

Release date: March 29, 2022.

Factor Chandelier – Time Invested II

“20 years after the release of his first album, Factor Chandelier has created Time Invested II, a nostalgic and energetic compilation reminiscent of how his music career started. With the intent of creating something inspiring for a younger self, the producer collaborated with his heroes, long-time friends, and contemporaries to create a work of 16 songs. Time Invested II weaves sonically through genres while remaining rooted in Hip Hop, leading to moments of downtempo and trip-hop amidst electronic soundscapes and hard, underground beats. Factor Chandelier has been able to creatively evolve his sound with the ever-changing musical climate, showcasing originality, diversity, and one-of-a-kind production.

Myka 9, Open Mike Eagle, Moka Only, Awol One, Eligh, and Ceschi are among the artists appearing to rhyme over Factor Chandelier’s beats – which should tell you the rhymes and flows on this album can be expected to be as left-field as the instrumentals are. Not for everybody, but people who appreciate originality (and a little weirdness) better not sleep on Time Invested II. 

Release date: March 28, 2022.

Chad Game & PARANOIZE - Raw Deal

Hard beats and bars – Raw Deal is a quality underground boom-bap album.

Release date: March 28, 2022.

Wildchild - Omowale

Omowale is a powerful album from Wildchild, one-third of Madlib’s legendary Lootpack crew and a formidable solo artist who released many projects on the iconic Stones Throw Records label. Across the 15 tracks, the Cali rapper deftly explores what it means to be a Black man in the U.S. today with timely, poignant lyrics. Big Daddy Kane, Ras Kass, Murs, Sadat X, Posdnuos, Guilty Simpson are among the featured artists, while the slightly left-field boom-bap beats were crafted by the likes of Madlib, Nottz, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Theory Hazit, and others. Omowale is assured and mature – a super solid album all around.

Release date: March 25, 2022.

Tha God Fahim - Six Ring Champ

Tha God Fahim is one of those artists with a crazy release schedule, dropping project after project – billing them as albums but because they are usually just under 30 minutes they never make our lists (an under-30-minute project is an EP in our book, so not an LP). Six Ring Champ clocks in at just over 30 minutes, so it’s just long enough to be included here. The God Fahim is still improving as an emcee, and this project is one of the better ones in his catalog. Slick beats and hard bars – Six Ring Champ is a dope little project.

Release date: March 25, 2022.

Mic Handz & L'Undercover - Golden Era Timeless

The title and the cover art of this project say enough: fans of Golden Era Hip Hop cannot give albums a pass. Producer L’Undercover crafted a set of banging boom-bap beats for Mic Handz and guests such as  Grand Daddy I.U., Craig G, Napoleon Da Legend, Lil Fame, Sadat X, Shabaam Sahdeeq,  and Skyzoo (among others) to get busy on. Golden Era Timeless = 90s-centric boom-bap done right.

Release date: March 25, 2022.

The Mercenaries - Thou Shall Not Kill

The Mercenaries is a duo consisting of brothers Rec Riddles & Gunsmoke Jones from New Jersey. Their debut album Thou Shall Not Kill is a solid underground project, with a notable appearance from Detroit’s Guilty Simpson on “Guillotine”, one of the standout cuts.

Release date: March 25, 2022.

The Cool Kids - Before Sh*t Got Weird / Baby Oil Staircase / Chill Out

Chicago duo The Cool Kids’ Before Sh*t Got Weird is a 21-track, hour-long epic – the first of three “episodes” that comprise the pair’s triple album, which include Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks’ solo records Baby Oil Staircase and Chillout, which are episodes two and three.

The bass-heavy, synth-laced production by Beat Butcha and Chuck Inglish is solid throughout, combining golden age Hip Hop vibes with futuristic accents, and the rhymes on Before Sh*t Got Weird are goofy and fun, laced with The Cool Kids’ unfailing sense of humor. Guests like Larry June, JID, Pac Div, and Chance The Rapper (among others) add extra flavor.

Baby Oil Staircase and Chill Out are episodes two and three, completing the triptych that was started with Before Sh*t Got Weird. With a total of 24 tracks and over an hour of music this is another long-ass listen, but like Before Sh*t Got Weird, it’s mostly easy-listening with smooth instrumentals and fun bars. At times the albums tend to meander, and the skits do not all work, but overall this triple album is a pretty enjoyable undertaking with way more highs than lows.

Release date: March 4 / March 21, 2022.

Stank Nitty - Chinatown Bus

NYC-based artist Stank Nitty will be an unknown for many, he definitely needs to work on his exposure. As it is his Chinatown Bus album will fly under most people’s radars – and that’s a shame because it’s a pretty enjoyable listen. Chinatown Bus offers 45 minutes of gritty boom-bap with an experimental edge – with listen-worthy lyrics and a couple of good features to cap it off.

Release date: March 20, 2022.

Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon - Here, There & Everywhere

Here, There & Everywhere is a pretty damn good little project from North Carolina-based rapper Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon. Production is captivating, with a good blend of hard and chilled-out instrumentals, and the bars and flows from Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon and his guests are on point too. Nice.

Release date: March 19, 2022.

Killah Priest & The Holocaust - Savage Sanctuary

Savage Sanctuary is a collaborative album between Killah Priest and The Holocaust (aka Warcloud aka Alcatraz). We are Killah Priest fans and pre-inclined to like his work, this album isn’t on par with most of his solo albums, though. The beats knock, and the bars are entertaining enough too, but there are way too many guests for the length of this project. American Poets 2099, Canibus, Kurupt, Ras Kass, Bootface, Pro the Leader, Nova-Kane, Killarmy, Kinetic 9, Dom Pachino, Shogun Assason, Irie-1, Masta of Ceremoniez, Thea Van Seijen, School of the Gifted, Solomon Childs, Shaka Amazulu The 7th, Black Knights, Frukwan, Shabazz the Disciple, Doc Doom, Crisis Tha Sharpshooter, Rugged Monk appear – making Savage Sanctuary more of a compilation LP instead of a Killah Priest album. Not bad at all, but unlike Killah Priest’s best albums not very memorable.

Release date: March 18, 2022.

Pete Flux & Parental - Global Scope

Global Scope is another strong album from the transatlantic duo composed of emcee Pete Flux from Atlanta, Georgia, and producer Parental from Paris, France. Just like their previous collaborations, Global Scope is a delightfully chilled-out affair: smooth and stylish jazz-flavored Hip Hop with appearances from the likes of Marquee, Venom, Awon, Debonair P, and Godfather Don to add some extra flavor.

Release date: March 18, 2022.

Skizza - Bridge City Underdog

Skizza is an artist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and his Bridge City Underdog is a great album – 16 tracks of laidback and soulful mid-tempo boom-bap (the beats crafted by German producer Yakuzy), with entertaining wordplay all the way through. Check out Bridge City Underdog and treat yourself to a nice surprise you otherwise would have slept on. 

Release date: March 18, 2022.

Cypress Hill - Back In Black

Back to basics. Following the psychedelia of Elephants On Acid (2018), Cypress Hill’s last LP before this one, Back In Black will especially delight fans who were rocking with Cypress Hill from day one. Back In Black is not produced by DJ Muggs but by Detroit icon Black Milk – who manages to capture that dark and gritty Cypress Hill sound, while retaining a little bit of the polish of his own signature sound. Fans of the more eclectic Cypress Hill albums may disagree, but we’re on board with the straight-to-the-point back-to-basics approach of B-Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric Bobo on this one. L.A. gangland and blunt stories – you should know what to expect from Cypress Hill by now, and especially B-Real is on top form here. Back In Black is a (too) short listen, but definitely a good one.

Release date: March 18, 2021.

Sy Ari Da Kid - The Shadow In The Shade

Jadakiss, Benny The Butcher, Lloyd Banks, Ransom, T.I., Raekwon, Big K.R.I.T., and Bumpy Knuckles (among others) make appearances on this 21-track LP, an album that will especially appeal to listeners who appreciate Hip Hop with both mainstream and underground tendencies. Also because of its length The Shadow In The Shade is kind of a mixed bag, there are definitely more highs than lows on this ambitious Sy Ari Da Kid project.

Release date: March 18, 2022.

Starvin B & Seasra23 - Sorry For Your Laws

Sorry For Your Laws is a collaborative album from Queens-based emcee Starvin B and producer Seasra23 – co-founder of the independent Top Shelf Muzik label. Gritty and hard-hitting beats, and dope bars and flows – aren’t reinventing the wheel here, and why would they? Sorry For Your Laws is a strong piece of traditional-feeling NYC underground Hip Hop – check it out.

Release date: March 15, 2022.

Mic Bles - Till The End

Mic Bles is an emcee from Oxnard, California, and his Till The End boasts production and cuts from American and international boom-bap heavy hitters such as Merge Beats, Science Green, Brenx, Bouklas, CeeOne, Soul Clap, and Kimibro Beats, backed by the cuts of DJ Romes, DJ Mysterons, Brenx, Dj Diaze, and DJ Kitsos. With the production and cuts combined with such features as Big Twinz, Chris Rivers, Rodo G, and Riff Raff McGriff, Till The End consistently offers solid 90s-centric Hip Hop that will be especially appreciated by fans of that Golden Age sound.

Release date: March 15, 2022.

Paten Locke - Americancer

Paten Locke (25 August 1974 – 5 August 2019) was an MC, DJ, and producer, born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, before he settled in Jacksonville, Florida (by way of Chicago, Illinois and College Park, Maryland). Americancer is his first posthumous release coming two and a half years after his untimely passing. This album was mostly complete in 2017 with plans for it to be released with the name Americancer already intact, long before Paten Locke was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that would tragically end his life in August of 2019 soon after that diagnosis.

Americancer is a great little album, dusty and experimental but fresh and accessible at the same time. Paten Locke’s raw beats and his flipping of obscure samples showcase his love for the craft and his skill as a cratedigger. His wordplay is dope too, his bars offer a good blend of thoughtfulness and sh*ttalking, always laced with a sarcastically humorous bite. Americancer is short, but (bitter)sweet.

Release date: March 15, 2022.

Leaf Dog & BVA - The Menu

The Menu is a 16 track album by British Hip Hop icons Leaf Dog & BVA – half of the Four Owls crew. The album features M.O.P and Keith Murray, with most of the production done by Leaf Dog but featuring production from Illinformed and Stevi Beats as well. The Menu = a well-rounded presentation of quality 90s-centric boom-bap – nothing but dope beats and bars, just as we’ve come to expect from Leaf Dog and company.

Release date: March 15, 2022.

Dr Creep - Resident 2030

Solid underground Hip Hop from Phoenix-based emcee/producer Dr Creep. Resident 2030 offers a potent blend of thought-provoking content and hard bars, supported by dope beats – this is an album well worth checking out.

Release date: March 15, 2022.

Dave East & Mike&Keys - HDIGH (How Did I Get Here?)

A couple of decent tracks (“Unbelievable” and “1000 Miles”), but more so-so tracks with weak-ass hooks. Dave East still doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do with his sound – in any case, this is another Dave East mixed bag. Method Man has the only worthwhile feature on the album (on “1000 Miles”), Benny The Butcher’s appearance is wasted on a semi-R&B track. Musiq Soulchild, Anthony Hamilton, Kalan.FrFr, Trae Tha Truth, Steven Young, and Onlyifwevibe also show up, but the songs they are on are all forgettable. We’re still waiting for Dave East to deliver on the promise he made with his best mixtape Kairi Chanel (2016), but even more than his previous solo studio albums, this one ain’t it. Nine tracks, just two good ones: HDIGH (How Did I Get Here?) gets an honorable mention, but just barely.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

N.B.S. (Natural Born Spitters) - Swissvets 3

Natural Born Spitters is a duo consisting of E-Flash & V-Knuckles. Their Swissvets 3 is a kind of generic underground boom-bap project – run-of-the-mill, but totally enjoyable nonetheless.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

Hip Hop HeadUcatorz - Head Of The Class

The Hip Hop HeadUcatorz is a group of Ontario Teachers who believe in the use of Hip Hop culture to inspire and engage students. The HeadUcatorz is made up of DJs, producers, emcees, breakers, and graffiti artists who are active educators across Southern Ontario. Positive messages, dope flows, and head-nodding 90-centric beats – this is a nice project. 

Release date: March 11, 2022.

Bun B & Cory Mo - Mo Trill

Mo Trill is a fun and uncomplicated listen filled with slick Dirty South beats. But at barely 30 minutes and a ton of features, there’s not nearly enough Bun B on this to call it a Bun B album. Nice, but forgettable.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

Faf - The Haymaker

Swiss producer Faf recruited a bunch of nice emcees like Reks, Planet Asia, Journalist103, Ruste Jux, and Leaf Dog to spit rhymes to his 90s boom-bap beats. Forgettable, but enjoyable.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

Substance810 × Chuck Chan - Desolate Lands

For Desolate Lands, Home Team collective producer Chuck Chan crafted a perfect set of beats to feature the bars from Michigan-based emcee Substance810, and guests like Philmore Greene, Pro Dillinger, Supreme Cerebral, Dango Forlaine, and Mickey Diamond. Chuck Chan is a master of slightly experimental lo-fi boom-bap, and the beats on here are deliciously raw and murky – the music is the best aspect of this short but sweet project. Nothing wrong with the rhyming on Desolate Lands either, this is Substance810’s best effort yet. Desolate Lands offers a slice of underground Hip Hop at its finest.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

K.A.A.N. & Dem Jointz - Mission Hillz

Prolific Maryland-based rapper K.A.A.N. is a versatile artist – there are lots of different styles and sounds to be found in his extensive catalog. Mission Hillz is his second full-length collaboration with Dem Jointz, and like the first one, this one is heavily trap-flavored. It’s better than its predecessor, but not on par with most of K.A.A.N.’s more boom-bap or left-field oriented releases. That said: K.A.A.N. does a better trap album than most trap artists do, so there’s that.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

Novatore, A.M. Early Morning & Stu Bangas - Kingdom Of Criminality

The biggest knock against this project is a common one these days: at a mere 32 minutes Kingdom Of Criminality can hardly be called an album, it’s more like an EP really – but since we consider 30 minutes the cut-off point, it makes the list. The half an hour of music we get is great. Stu Bangas can always be relied upon to come up with banging boom-bap instrumentals, and like before Novatore and A.M. Early Morning come with head bars to do justice to his beats. Spit Gemz, Lord Goat (Goretex), Recognize Ali, Chino XL, Tone Spliff, Apathy, and D-Rec show up to add extra flavor – Kingdom Of Criminality is one for Hip Hop purists, fans of Jedi Mind Tricks & Army Of The Pharaohs type Hip Hop will love this tight little project.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

Joell Ortiz & KXNG Crooked - Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse

Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse is a solid Hip Hop album from two top-notch lyricists, Slaughterhouse minus Royce Da 5’9″ and Joe Budden – and Joell Ortiz and KXNG Crooked talk about how and why Slaughterhouse is no more. Lyrically Joell Ortiz and KXNG Crooked come hard, production on Rise & Fall Of Slaughterhouse is a touch too unremarkable to make this album a keeper.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

3 The God Way - Mount Olympus

3 The God Way is a trio composed of Kaimbr, Sean Born, and LetTheDirtSayAmen, and Mount Olympus is their collaborative debut LP. Sean Born’s tasteful boom-bap beats are laced with soul samples and complemented by strong bars from all group members. Mount Olympus is a solid album, a slow-burner that rewards repeated listens.

Release date: March 8, 2022.

Big Rebz - Irritable Vowel Syndrome

Romford, UK-based emcee Big Rebz’s third album Irritable Vowel Syndrome is a strong album. Over an hour of music, with few, if any weak points – on the stylish Irritable Vowel Syndrome Big Rebz manages to seamlessly blend 90s-centric boom-bap vibes with more modern rap hooks and sounds (mostly produced by Big Rebz’s long-time affiliate MR2). Big Rebz’s lyrics range from personal to thought-provoking to braggadocious – and for extra flavor, Rebz is backed up by guests such as American underground greats Reks (on the stand out “Wonder Barz”) and Blaq Poet, as well as by a bunch of indie rappers from the UK such as Mic Righteous and Stig Of The Dump. Easy-listening but totally entertaining all the way through, the well-rounded Irritable Vowel Syndrome is a nice surprise, an album you will not regret checking out.

Release date: March 7, 2022.

Chuuwee - Falling Up

Lots of mainstream rap sensibilities on prolific rapper Chuwee’s Falling Up, but this is NOT a generic and forgettable trap album. Despite Chuwee’s at times choppy sing-songy flows, this is a totally enjoyable album – thanks to the artist’s personality, to his ability to switch up his flows, and especially to the excellent beat selections. Chuwee is an independent force to reckoned with, and his Falling Up is a pretty great album, potentially enjoyable even for Hip Hop listeners who do not much care for modern-day rap music.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

no1mportant - There's No I

no1mportant is an artist from Austin, Texas, and his There’s No I LP is one of the many strong left-field Hip Hop albums out these days. There’s No I is left-field of the left-field – lots of musical, vocal, and lyrical intricacies make this an album that will be inaccessible for many, but those willing and able to invest the time and attention There’s No I demands will be amply rewarded.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Lord Jessiah & Bronze Nazareth - Time Waits On No One

Detroit rapper Lord Jessiah teams up with fellow Wisemen Bronze Nazareth for Time Waits For No One, with Bronze Nazareth taking care of all production duties and dropping bars on a couple of songs too, along with guests such as Mickey Factz, Bub Rock, Illah Dayz, Solomon Childs, Salute Da Kidd, Ty Farris, and Recognize Ali. Time Waits On No One offers nothing you haven’t heard before, but those that can’t get enough of hard-nosed 90s-centric underground boom-bap will no doubt enjoy this project.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Thorts & Haunted Days - Hanky Man

For Hanky Man, Australian artist Thorts teamed up with French producer Haunted Days. The atmospheric instrumentals Haunted Days crafted for this album are simply beautiful – they set the perfect tone for Thorts’ introspective and evocative bars. This is a thoughtful, mature LP, with a slightly experimental edge to it – fans of stylish left-field Hip Hop should definitely not sleep on Hanky Man.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Vic Monroe & Tone Spliff - Words To The Wise

Following the success of their 2021 EP Marinade, Chicago-based lyricist Vic Monroe reconnects with Los Angeles-based DJ/producer Tone Spliff for Words To The Wise. This is one for the HHGA demographic: dope boom-bap beats laced with cuts & scratches, and dope bars and flows too – Words To The Wise is a tight presentation of mature Hip Hop for mature Hip Hop listeners.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Craig G, Taiyamo Denku & BoFaatBeatz - Most Amazing

Anyone familiar with Hip Hop’s golden era will undoubtedly recognize Craig G from the legendary Juice Crew. Still going strong and rocking at his best since 1988’s “The Symphony“, Craig G partnered with Wisconsin-based emcee Taiyamo Denku and German producer BoFaatBeatz to deliver eleven boom-bap tracks that bridge Queens and Milwaukee with bars and beats that take no prisoners and include features from Sadat-X, Rambunxious, and Urban Legend.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Kojey Radical – Reason To Smile

Born and raised in East London, British Ghanaian Kwadwo Adu Genfi Amponsah aka Kojey Radical is often described as a “renaissance man”. At 28 years old, he is at the forefront of a generation of young British artists who have pushed underground Black music into the mainstream over the last few years – along with someone like Little Simz, who was responsible for our AOTY in 2021.

Reason To Smile is Kojey Radical’s highly anticipated debut album (even if his four EP’s are long enough to be considered albums), and it delivers on all fronts. Similar to Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be IntrovertReason To Smile seamlessly blends different musical styles and flavors into a strong whole – being mainstream-friendly while retaining a pure Hip Hop feel at the same time. Reason To Smile is authentic and uncompromising, constantly blurring genre boundaries as Kojey Radical moves between rap, funk, soul, R&B, and spoken word with almost effortless fluidity. Reason To Smile is a great album, that will resonate with casual mainstream rap listeners as well as with underground Hip Hop fans. It’s a little too ‘poppy’ to rank higher in OUR list, but it’s not hard to see this album being an AOTY contender for many people.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Chill Rob G - Empires Crumble

33 years after his classic debut Ride The Rhythm, iconic Flavor Unit co-founder Chill Rob G returns to the scene with the surprisingly strong Empires Crumble, released on Chuck D’s SpitSlam Record Label Group. Featuring a Flavor Unit reunion with Double J, God Lakim (formerly Lakim Shabazz), and The 45 King on “F.U. (Rockin Wit The Best)”, Rob also teams up with Chuck D to present a rugged new version of his 1990 hit “The Power”. The rest of the tracklist is solid as f too – C-Doc’s production is fresh and consistently strong, and sharp cuts & scratches on almost every track give the whole album that late 1980s/early 1990s feel, without sounding dated at all. Empires Crumble is a dope album, a must-listen for those who were rocking with Chill Rob G and his Ride The Rhythm back in the day, and for younger listeners who know and appreciate Hip Hop history too.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Tom Caruana - Strange Planet

Tom Caruana is a producer from Britain, and the conceptual Strange Planet is his best project yet. For this LP he recruited a host of top-notch American and British underground emcees – most notable among them Prince Po, billy woods, Mr. Lif, Denmark Vessey, Boog Brown, Paten Locke, and Jehst. Tom Caruana cooked up a potent mix of 90s-centric boom-bap and experimental, futuristic beats for Strange Planet – the result is a surprisingly cohesive album with a sound that definitely is not thirteen to a dozen, an album that manages to captivate from start to finish. Strange Planet invites requires and rewards repeated listens – there’s a lot of musical and lyrical depth to decipher. Take your time, open your mind, and allow yourself to be swept away by the beautiful and refreshing Strange Planet.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

Stik Figa & August Fanon - Heresy

Stik Figa is a rapper originally from Topeka who cut his teeth on the Kansas City rap scene for close to a decade. For Heresy, he partnered with Dallas-based producer August Fanon – whose left-field sound always manages to captivate. On Heresy, we get Stik and August’s heretical take on Hip Hop tradition over the course of eleven funky, soulful, and experimental joints – a chilled-out listening experience, quality music from start to finish.

Release date: March 4, 2022.

S.P.I.C. - Spictacular

S.P.I.C. is a trio consisting of Danny Diablo, Big Leto, and Joe Fatal (yes, the Joe Fatal that appeared on Main Source’s 1991 classic “Live At BBQ” track), and Spictacular is a solid, Latin-flavored underground banger with nothing but hard beats and hard rhymes.

Release date: March 3, 2022.

Carasel - Dreams Of Paradise

Dreams Of Paradise is a strong album from Bristol, UK rapper Carasel – one of the many quality Hip Hop albums to come out of the UK in recent years.

Release date: March 3, 2022.

OKnice - Have You Tried Being Happy?

Have You Tried Being Happy? is an exercise in honesty. Whether it’s observations about himself or the world he lives in, OKnice tackles thoughts and questions in real-time along with the listener, instead of trying to give any answers. An often lighter soundscape is riddled with words of doubt and disappointment. It’s not all doomsaying, however, as the project sees the Saint Paul rapper at the top of his form mixing in humor about his life choices, small glimpses of growing up in rural Oklahoma, and verses that flex enough to impress those here for straight bars. Have You Tried Being Happy? is a project focused on mental health, growth, and figuring out what “happy” even means.”

OKnice’s bars are mature and relatable, and the beats on Have You Tried Being Happy? are pretty great  – give this album a listen, you may be in for a nice surprise.

Release date: March 1, 2022.

Da Flyy Hooligan - Ben Kingsley

London-based emcee Da Flyy Hooligan had one of the best underground Hip Hop albums released in the UK last year with Flyyghost, a collaboration with producer Teslas Ghost. For Ben Kingsley, Da Flyy Hooligan teamed up with British Hip Hop mainstay Micall Parknsun, who took care of all the production on this album. Micall Parknsun’s minimalistic beats and loops are atmospheric and soothing, perfect for Da Flyy Hooligan’s melodic cadence and smooth flow. The single “Gourmet Trap” is one of the ear-catchers on Ben Kingsley, other stand-outs include cuts such as “Bar Of Soap”, “Ian McShane”, “Pile Driver” (with D.V. Alias Khryst), “Wu Baby III” (with Dom Pachino), and “Tape Decc”.

The skits attached to most of the songs are an annoyance, but other than that Ben Kingsley is a great project, that continues Da Flyy Hooligan’s hot streak.

Release date: February 28, 2022.

Sean Rose - ViceLAND

ViceLAND is another strong project from Las Vegas rapper Sean Rose. His The Bloomprint was an honorable mention in August of 2021, and this one is just as good. Sean Rose is an artist to keep on your radar.

ViceLAND is a project about the city I grew up in & all of the perceptions around it. The jealousy, envy, greed & the hunger to make it out of here. Surviving the temptations of all the vices surrounding the city. Welcome to ViceLAND.”

Release date: February 28, 2022.

Hell Razah & Bofaatbeatz - Heavens Warriors

Heavens Warriors is Hell Razah’s third release of the year, and while solid, the least interesting of the three. German producer Bofaatbeatz has crafted more memorable beats in the past, and the same goes for Hell Razah’s bars. Still, Heavens Warriors is not bad at all – forgettable maybe, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Release date: February 25, 2022.

EARTHGANG - Ghetto Gods

EARTHGANG’s sophomore studio album Ghetto Gods is a mainstream-friendly effort, with enough heart and soul to distinguish itself from the assembly line trap it competes with. Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot obviously are two talented individuals, and even if they are not the ‘new OutKast’ some people thought they were going to be after their impactful 2019 Mirrorland debut, this Atlanta duo are among the most interesting artists on the Dreamville label. Future, JID, J. Cole, Musiq Soulchild, Baby Tate, Lynae Vanee, Cee-Lo Green, Nick Cannon, and Ari Lennox appear to give extra weight to the album – for a mainstream rap album, this is a pretty enjoyable listening experience.

Release date: February 25, 2022.

Truth & Da Beatminerz - For All Intents And Purposes

After From Ashes To Kingdom Come (2016) and The Fight For Survival (2019), Truth dropped another banger with his third 90s-centric LP: For All Intents And Purposes – this one is a collaboration with iconic duo Mr. Walt and DJ Evil Dee, better known as Da Beatminerz. The album features dope rhymes by Truth, guest bars from Tragedy Khadafi, Ras Kass, Large Professor, Treach, and Joe Fatal, sharp cuts & scratches by DJ JS-1, DJ Evil Dee, and PF Cuttin, and knocking boom-bap beats crafted by Da Beatminerz. This album is a must for fans of traditional-sounding Hip Hop.

Release date: February 25, 2022.

Sole & DJ Pain 1 – Post-American Studies

Sole is one of the founders of Anticon, the iconic avant-garde Hip Hop collective and record label, responsible for a long string of projects but best-known for Anticon releases Selling Live Water (2003) and Sole And The Skyrider Band (2007). Post-American Studies is Sole’s fourth collaborative album with DJ Pain 1, and because of his idiosyncratic rap style, this is one for a niche audience – like all of his work is. Sole’s pen game is strong, his content is topical and thought-provoking, and DJ Pain 1’s instrumentals are pretty accessible. Sole probably will not gain any new fans with this album, but longtime Sole followers will know not to sleep on Post-American Studies.

Release date: February 25, 2022. 

Distrik 22, Ruste Juxx & Sadat X - With Or Without Access

With Or Without Access is a strong Distrik 22 project, with guest rhymes from feature-king Ruste Juxx and Brand Nubian legend Sadat X. A little short at 35 minutes, but With Or Without Access is a must-listen for underground Hip Hop fans. Favorite track: “Game Over”.

Release date: February 23, 2022.

Lu Chin Chen - NA Meeting

“This concept album by Lu Chin Chen features several featured verses from many of Hip-Hop’s legends and elite artists (Craig G, Masta Ace, Mr. Cheeks, A.G., Nine, Kool Kim (aka NYOIL of UMCs), Tash (of Tha Alkaholiks), Ruste Juxx, and many others) give you a cohesive audio story and soundtrack over perfect soundscapes provided by Conflikt of Hellzwind. The story of Alex and his downward spiral into addiction will keep you entertained on a roller-coaster ride through his journey while he tells us his story at an NA Meeting.”

NA Meeting is a fully realized and well-rounded presentation of 90s-centric Hip Hop, with strong performances from Massachusetts-based Lu Chin Chen and his illustrious guests. Don’t sleep on NA Meeting.

Release date: February 22, 2022.

Da$H & SonnyJim - Between The Lines

“New Jersey’s own Da$H links with London’s SonnyJim to bring you their latest offering Between The Lines. A project that embodies grimy drums and soulful samples laced with thought-provoking lyrics that compliment each other perfectly.”

SonnyJim never misses, and Da$H’s style is perfectly suited for his atmospheric beats. At barely over 30 minutes Between The Lines is much too short, but that’s the biggest knock against it.

Release date: February 22, 2022.

Chris Crack – Growthfully Developed

Chicago rapper Chris Crack’s Growthfully Developed is one of his best works to date, alongside Washed Rappers Ain’t Legends (2020) and Might Delete Later (2021). The beats are topnotch, and Chris Crack’s rhymes, punchlines, and flows are entertaining – all of it packed in his signature short-song formats. Chris Crack is an acquired taste, Growthfully Developed is a good entry point for people new to his music.

Release date: February 22, 2022.

C-Rayz Walz - Free Rayz Walz 2.0

C-Rayz Walz is a prolific rapper from The Bronx, NY, who has put together an impressively substantive catalog since his debut in 1999. Ravipops (2003) and Monster Maker (2007) are his best albums – Free Rayz Walz 2.0 is not really special, but remarkable if only for its feature list: the likes of Sean Price (he keeps showing up posthumously), A.G., R.A. The Rugged Man, Vordul Mega, and Recognize Ali appear, among many others.

Release date: February 22, 2022.

Six Sev - Give Thanks

Give Thanks is a solid project that straddles the fence between underground and mainstream Hip Hop. Los Angeles-based emcee & activist sometimes employs that sing-songy modern-day flow, but he has something to say and hypnotic production from Terrace Martin (and others) give this project enough of an underground feel to appeal to wide audiences.

 Release date: February 22, 2022.

Eddie Kaine - Wonderful World Of Kaino

Eddie Kaine is an exciting new voice from Bed Stuy Brooklyn, who has dropped a couple of great projects since his debut LP Akura that dropped in 2019. His collaboration with Big Ghost Ltd. –  A Flower Grows In Brooklyn – was one of our favorite underground Hip Hop albums of 2021. Wonderful World Of Kaino is a little too short, and less memorable than A Flower maybe, but it’s a strong outing too – Eddie Kaine is an artist to keep an eye on.

Release date: February 22, 2022.

Earplugz - I Think It's Over

New Mexico-based artists Rize-Again and Khaanduit teamed up to form the duo Earplugz. The outcome of the collaboration is the self-produced full-length LP titled I Think It’s Over. 90s-centric beats, jazzy loops, and smooth flows make for a solid project that deserves a listen.

Release date: February 21, 2022.

Mickey Diamond - Bangkok Adrenaline

Dark, hard beats and dark, hard bars – Bangkok Adrenaline is another strong addition in Detroit underground spitter Mickey Diamond’s Bangkok series. Keep an eye on Mickey Diamond.

Release date: February 19, 2022.

Chaz Canairy & steel tipped dove - The Birds

steel tipped dove is an NYC-based producer, known for his work for alternative acts like Armand Hammer, billy woods, Milo, ShrapKnel, and many others. For The Birds, he teamed up with West Virginia artist Chaz Canairy, whose idiosyncratic vocals are a perfect fit for steel tipped dove’s left-field instrumentals. Not for everybody this project, but fans of experimental Hip Hop that pushes genre boundaries should definitely give The Birds a listen.

Release date: February 18, 2022.

Rahiem Supreme – Dogon Sirius

Washington DC’s Rahiem Supreme isn’t the best rapper you’ve ever heard and his bars on Dogon Sirius are not especially remarkable. Also, you’ve heard better beats than the ones on Dogon Sirius – there are so many projects with this kind of dusty boom-bap beats out there right now, it’s not difficult to find better-produced projects. That said: there is a certain charm to Rahiem Supreme and Dogon Sirius, enough to deserve a spot on this list. If that neo-boom-bap sound is your thing, you will find enough to enjoy here.

Release date: February 18, 2022. 

Big K.R.I.T. - Digital Roses Don't Die

Digital Roses Don’t Die is the highly anticipated 5th full-length album from Mississippi emcee/producer Big K.R.I.T. Mixtapes like K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) and Return Of 4 Eva (2011) and Big K.R.I.T.’s first two studio albums Live from The Underground (2012) and Cadillactica (2014) – were pretty great, all leading up to his magnum opus 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time (2017) – an album that cemented Big K.R.I.T.’s status as one of the most important artists of the 2010s. The amazing 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time proved to be impossible to follow up – 2019’s K.R.I.T. Iz Here was a major disappointment.

Digital Roses Don’t Die is better than K.R.I.T. Iz Here, but unfortunately not by much. It certainly doesn’t come close to 4Eva Is A Mighty Long Time, or even to K.R.I.T.’s earlier albums and mixtapes. There is nothing particularly bad about Digital Roses Don’t Die, it’s just that the majority of the tracks have forgettable instrumentals with unmemorable flows and verses. The intended romance concept doesn’t really come off, and it all feels kind of passionless, underwritten, and generally underwhelming. Digital Roses Don’t Die = mid, and just barely an honorable mention for 2022.

Release date: February 18, 2022.

Wu-Syndicate - Omerta

Wu-Tang affiliates Myalansky and Joe Mafia are Wu-Syndicate, and their Omerta is a solid project composed of atmospheric boom-bap beats and hard bars that will no doubt appeal to fans of the Wu-Tang vibe and grimy NYC Hip Hop. The likes of P.U.R.E., Bless Picasso, Jay Royale, Yrs Boogz, Ray Luger, Estee Nack, XP The Marxman, Mooch, The Big UFO, Rubbabandz, M-Eighty, M.A.V., and Shaka Amazulu The 7th make appearances to add to the underground feel of this album.

Release date: February 14, 2022.

L.O.U. & Big O - Journey Of Choices (An Awakening Mind)

London-based American producer Big O’s collaborative album with Philadelphia emcee P-Rawb – The Complexity – was one of 2021’s best Hip Hop albums, and with his work on Journey Of Choices, he once again proves he is a master producer of stylish and tasteful instrumentals. L.O.U. (aka Let’s Obliterate The Universe) is a multi-talented vocalist and rapper born and raised in South Side Jamaica Queens, N.Y. – who comes with dope flows and meaningful bars on all songs, there are no weak tracks on Journey Of Choices. This is easy-listening Hip Hop with some mainstream sensibilities – it’s hard to see anyone not liking Journey Of Choices. 

Release date: February 11, 2022.

Snoop Dogg - B.O.D.R. (Bacc On Death Row)

After acquiring Death Row Records, Snoop Dogg returns to the house he helped build with his 20th studio album, B.O.D.R. (Bacc On Death Row). Like all post-Doggystyle Snoop Dogg albums, B.O.D.R. is kind of a mixed bag – but this time around there are more highs than there are lows. Almost 30 years after his iconic debut LP Snoop Dogg has become an all-around likable mainstream celebrity, and he has the sympathy factor that makes you want to like his music. B.O.D.R. may not be really great but it is a fun listen overall, arguably even his best since Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (2006).

Release date: February 11, 2022.

Backburner - Continuum

Backburner is a collective composed of Canada’s best underground Hip Hop artists, and Continuum is their third (and best) album. Production is handled by Fresh Kils, Uncle Fester, Ghettosocks, Tim, MisterE, Savilion, Beat Mason, and Peter Project, and to take care of the vocals there are appearances from Backburner members Chokeules, Ghettosocks, Psybo, Frank Deluxe, Thesis Sahib, Ginzeintriplicate, More Or Les, Wordburglar, Jesse Dangerously, Timbuktu, Savilion, Mister E, Ambition, Jay Bizzy, and guest verses from Mega Ran, Aquakultre, Sean One, Tachichi, and Nilla. It is often said that too many cooks in the kitchen will spoil the broth, but that doesn’t apply in this case. Over the course of fifteen banging tracks, Backburner and guests manage to come off with infectious energy, making for a cohesive, entertaining, and fun album that will especially delight fans of early-90s positive-vibed East Coast Hip Hop.

Release date: February 11, 2022.

Professa Gabel & Brycon - Corner Booth

Just a few weeks after the release of Can’t Stay Perched All The Time, a collaborative album with San Francisco rapper and activist Equipto, North Carolina to San Francisco transplant Brycon dropped a new quite excellent project – Corner Booth – this one a collaboration with Professa Gabel,  another Bay Area Hip Hop scene veteran. Corner Booth is more polished and more accessible than Can’t Stay Perched All The Time is, but it still has enough of an experimental edge to it to make it stand apart from the crowd. As always, Brycon manages to tailor his instrumentals to best suit the flow and delivery of the emcee he is working with – his slightly off-kilter beats perfect backdrops for Professa Gabel’s clever wordplay. Corner Booth is one of the best Hip Hop albums released in February.

Release date: February 10, 2022.

Nelson Dialect & Must Volkoff - Glorious Definitely

Glorious Definitely is a solid presentation of Australian underground Hip Hop. Rapper Nelson Dialect and producer Must Volkoff have good chemistry together – Nelson Dialect’s bars and laidback flow going well with Must Volkoff’s smooth and classy beats. Well worth checking out.

Release date: February 9, 2022.

The Brethren - Garbage Eataz

The Brethren is a St. Louis, Missouri-based crew consisting of God Luck, Dirtface Negronno, J.Vengeance, and OutcastGawd Lord EL, and their Garbage Eataz album is a project you would probably have slept on if you hadn’t read about it here. Nothing you haven’t heard before on Garbage Eataz, but if gritty underground Hip Hop composed of hard-bodied raps and beats is your thing you will not regret checking out this project.

Release date: February 9, 2022.

Heaven Razah & Bizi Beats - Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn

Wu-Tang affiliate and Sunz Of Man member Heaven Razah (aka Hell Razah) has put together an extensive and pretty strong catalog over the years, starting with Sunz Of Man group album The Last Shall Be First in 1998. Of his solo work, it’s the 2007 LP Razah’s Ladder that is his absolute best work, thanks to superb beats crafted by production duo Bue Sky Black Death and Razah’s deep lyrical imagery. Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn is not on par with Razah’s Ladder, but it is a strong album in its own right – with solid beats crafted by Bizi Beats and bars worthy of your attention.

Release date: February 8, 2022. 

DSOTM - 7th

DSOTM (Dark Side of the Moonis a British crew consisting of Menace Mendoza, FlowTecs, Gordo Templi, Dragon Priest, Nomad, Joey Menza, and Dr.Voodoo. Following on 2018’s cult classic The Echo Chamber DSOTM scores again with 7th – a superb display of sample-based, drum-heavy production combined with dope flows and vivid wordplay. Killah Priest and Ray Vendetta show up for some killer features, topping off what is another winner coming out of the UK Hip Hop underground.

Release date: February 7, 2022.

Kid Capri - The Love

Nearly 25 years after the release of his last full-length album (Soundtrack To The Streets, 1998), legendary Bronx DJ and rapper Kid Capri returns with his third studio LP, The LoveThe Tape (1991) remains Kid Capri’s best album, but The Love is a solid enough album, even if it is overlong at 19 tracks and at just over an hour of runtime. The Love has enough modern-day mainstream sensibilities to appeal to new listeners, without completely turning off old heads who’ve been rocking with Kid Capri ever since his voice started appearing on everybody’s records in the early 90s.

Release date: February 7, 2022.

Canibus - One Step Closer To Infinity

One Step Closer To Infinity followed close on the heels of Canibus’s December 2021 album Kaiju – one of Canibus’s best albums ever, that ended high on our best-of-2021 list. One Step Closer To Infinity was produced by Chicago’s A-Villa and offers ten new tracks that feature the Jurassic 5 and legendary rapper K-Solo, among others. A-Villa’s are solid enough but not as good as BodyBagBen’s – whose instrumentals and their perfect synergy with Canibus’s bars helped elevate Kaiju to that next level. “iPictorial Wallet” with J5, “One Step Closer To Infinity”, and the posse cut “Master Builders” with K-Solo (and others) are the stand-out tracks on One Step Closer To Infinity – but with the exception with one or two weaker tracks this is a pretty good Canibus project overall.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

V Don & Bodega Bamz - The Lost Pack

NYC emcee Bodega Bamz’s work has been hit-or-miss over the years, but The Lost Pack is one of his better projects. It’s the excellent work on the boards from producer V Don that provides the foundation upon which The Lost Pack is built, his grimy beats are a perfect backdrop for Bodega Bamz’s street rhymes.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

Claas - This Is Revenge

Arlington, Texas-based veteran underground emcee Claas (from The Underground Avengers) drops a career-best album with This Is Revenge. Over an hour of high-octane music: some straight boom-bap songs, some more trap-flavored, some rock-infused – the common denominator is that all tracks on this album are high-energy bangers. Fans of Tech N9ne’s music may want to check out Claas’ This Is Revenge.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

Sankofa - The Dubs I Met

Fort Wayne’s Sankofa doesn’t let up, dropping one quality after the other. He has dropped a bunch of great projects in the past decade – with four excellent full-length projects and a number of dope EPs in the last two years alone – The Dubs I Met is his first dope LP of 2022. If mature and clever boom-bap is your thing, Sankofa got you covered.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

Kain & Foul Mouth - Sump (Survival Under Major Pressure)

Vivid lyrical imagery from Michigan-based emcee Kain and atmospheric beats crafted by Detroit producer Foul Mouth – Sump (Survival Under Major Pressure) is an album that is well worth your attention.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

Saba - Few Good Things

Care For Me, the previous release from Chicago rapper and Pivot Gang leader Saba, is our favorite Hip Hop album of 2018, and one of the finest rap releases of the 2010s. The fatal stabbing of his cousin (founding Pivot Gang member Walter Long Jr. aka dinnerwithjohn) a year prior to the recording of Care For Me, left Saba left stricken with loss and grief – his state of mind at the time casting the shadow that makes Care For Me the melancholic and emotionally resonant masterpiece it is.

On Few Good Things, his third album, Saba expands his scope – this time around focussing on losses and wins in equal measure (despite the violent death of Squeak, another Pivot Gang crew member, in 2021). Saba’s pen game is strong, and the musicianship (the instrumentals were crafted by daedaePIVOT, Daoud, and Saba himself) matches it. Few Good Things is not as impactful and perhaps not as memorable as the career-defining Care For Me, but it’s an excellent project in its own right – a well-rounded and fully-realized album that confirms Saba’s status as one of the frontrunners of modern Hip Hop. Occasional missteps like “Fearmonger” or a limp feature from G Herbo on “Survivors Guilt” are more than compensated by some of Saba’s best songs ever, like  “2012”, “Still”, and “Few Good Things”.

Lots of the mainstream-friendly rap music that passes for Hip Hop these days kind of sucks, Saba’s music is a clear exception to that rule. Even the staunchest Hip Hop traditionalists will be able to appreciate the tasteful neo-soul trap fusion that is Few Good Things – we do, in any case.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

Bankai Fam - The Stance

In 2013, eleven emcees from Crown Heights, Brooklyn (Skanks, Top-Notch, P General, Gangsta, Phenom, Gstats, Low Banga, Big Bizness, Has Diggz, El Gee & Shatike) broke into the Hip Hop world with On My Side, a strong EP with a modern approach of boom-bap mixed with manga culture. A full album with the original producer collective Ninjustice (Kyo Itachi, Venom & Azaia) still had to see the light of the day – and with The Stance it’s finally here. Street bars combined with banging drums, deep sampling, and cuts & scratches – The Stance will not go and win any prizes for originality or innovation, but it does have enough of a sound of its own to deserve your attention.

Release date: February 4, 2022.

SmooVth & Machacha - Subcriminal Thoughts

Hempstead, New York rapper SmooVth had a great album in 2021 with the cinematic Amongst Wolves, his fifth collaborative project with British producer Giallo Point. In 2022 SmooVth teamed up with Danish producer Machacha for Subcriminal Thoughts. SmooVth bars and laidback flows take the backseat here to Machacha’s superb instrumentals – the production on Subcriminal Thoughts is simply delicious. The album should have been longer to give it more body, but this is a nice little project that will not disappoint fans of atmospheric noir-rap.

Release date: February 1, 2022.

Flowz4daze & DJ Mitsu The Beats - Dream Crews

Flowz4daze (formerly L.A.Z) is known for his work with the groundbreaking Detroit Hip Hop group Clear Soul Forces. Mitsu The Beats is celebrated as one of Japan’s foremost producers/beatmakers, and part of the infamous Jazzy Sport crew. Their collaborative LP Dream Crews is a great project, composed of nothing but chilled-out boom-bap with smooth flows and soulful beats.

Release date: January 28, 2022.

ILL Conscious & Mute Won - Acres Of Diamonds

Acres Of Diamonds is Baltimore-based emcee ILL Conscious’s fourth LP, this one solely produced by Camden, NJ’s Mute Won. On Acres Of Diamonds, ILL Conscious comes with some of his best content to date – this album is filled with strong storytelling and vivid lyrical imagery from start to finish. Mute Won’s instrumentals are dope as f too – which means you can’t go wrong with Acres Of Diamonds.

Release date: January 28, 2022.

M-Dot - Dining In Dystopia

Raw 90s-centric boom-bap from Boston-based emcee M-Dot, with rhymes from M-Dot and guests such as Conway The Machine, Kool G Rap, Elzhi, and RJ Payne, and cuts & scratches by DJ Accepta, DJ Access, DJ Jean Marron, LP2, and DJ Slipwax – Dining In Dystopia is a great project.

Release date: January 28, 2022. 

Casual & DEAD PERRY - The Art Of Reanimation

The Art Of Reanimation is a project by West Coast emcee and member of the legendary Hieroglyphics crew Casual, and producer DEAD PERRY. The Art Of Reanimation is an eighteen-track deep affair that remixes tracks from his Casual’s Big Head Science LP (2020) and that includes four new tracks. Production is primarily handled by DEAD PERRY who tends to create darker and more claustrophobic soundscapes that you don’t usually hear Casual flow on. PERRY enlisted long-time ally L Nasty to tackle a handful of tracks bringing the listener up for some air. As PERRY says of the vision for the album “I wanted the beats to cater to the hardcore Hieroglyphics fan but still keep a certain level of grime so my own style would stay apparent on the album.”

Also enlisted for the project are turntablists DJ TMB and DJ Jason D who aid cuts to a number of tracks as well as a plethora of legendary emcees and notables from the recent boom-bap renaissance. Featured guests include Ghostface Killah, Planet Asia, Ras Kass, Killah Priest, ETO, Daniel Son, Celph Titled, Crimeapple, Rockness Monsta, Phesto, Tristate, P-Dirt, J-Spliff, MC Wicks, and more.

The Art Of Reanimation is a 2022 project from a West Coast Hip Hop veteran, that sounds like a mid-90s NYC boom-bap album. We dig it, and no doubt you will too.

Release date: January 28, 2022. 

DJ Deadeye - Intervention

Intervention is one of the strong producer albums released in January. DJ Deadeye recruited a terrific group of emcees to rhyme over his dope boom-bap beats – Termanology, Reks, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Lil’ Fame, Reef The Lost Cauze, Celph Titled, Blacastan, Planetary, UFO Fev, Flee Lord, Rasheed Chappell, Slaine, Ruste Juxx, Rigz, Estee Nack, SmooVth, Vic Spencer and many more appear. This is one for Hip Hop purists – one hour of real Hip Hop with fifteen bangers that more than compensate for the only misstep (“Go Get It”) on the tracklist.

Release date: January 28, 2022. 

S. Reidy - An Album, With Songs

Oklahoma artist S. Reidy’s An Album, With Songs is a short but sweet alternative Hip Hop project. S. Reidy is a rapper who sings or a singer who raps – he is not a ‘natural rapper’ in any case and his style is not for everybody for sure. The instrumentals on this album are different from the general Hip Hop fare too, so non-adventurous Hip Hop listeners should probably give this one a pass. Those open to genre-boundary pushing Hip Hop may be in for a nice surprise, though. Open Mike Eagle and A-F-R-O make appearances, enough reason in itself to take a dip into An Album, With Songs.

Release date: January 24, 2022.

Equipto & Brycon - Can't Stay Perched All The Time

Bay Area Hip Hop underground fixtures Equipto and Brycon reconnected for their second collaborative project Can’t Stay Perched All The Time – a modern re-imagining of the classic Bay Area underground tape tradition, perfected in the late 90s by revered groups such as Hieroglyphics, Living Legends, and Bored Stiff. Brycon is an expert crate digger and his left-field boom-bap instrumentals sound suitably rough around the edges here, while Equipto’s conversational flows and mix of semi-abstract, everyday-life (as an indie artist), and conscious bars complete the mixtape vibes of the album. Not for everybody maybe, but those nostalgic for the underground tape days will no doubt LOVE this labor of love from two masters of the craft.

Release date: January 24, 2022.

King Iso - Get Well Soon

Get Well Soon is a great follow-up to Nebraska emcee/producer King Iso’s World War Me (2020). Always upfront about his struggles with his state of mind, Get Well Soon is an album created to further raise awareness of how much mental health matters and King Iso’s killer flow makes listening to his meaningful content an engaging ride from start to finish. The trap-tinged beats on Get Well Soon are kind of bland and forgettable, but this LP is all about King Iso’s bars. X-Raided, Twista, Rittz, A-Wax, Snake Lucci, Taebo Tha Truth, C-Mob, King Kash, and Linds, and Strange Music head honcho Tech N9ne show up to help round out what arguably is King Iso’s best album yet.

Release date: January 22, 2021. 

Crown - Underground Crown

Crown (from Grim Reaperz) is a French producer, and Underground Crown is his best project yet. Hard-hitting sample-based 90s-centric beats and dope bars from a host of underground emcees like U.G. (Cella Dwellas), Tragedy Khadafi, Ruste Juxx, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Rigz, Mooch, M.A.V., Rob Gates, Da Buze Bruvaz, Jay Royale, Chris Rivers, Ill Conscious, DV Alias Khryst, Jamil Honesty, Wildelux, Recognize Ali, Ca$ablanca, D.R.E. Colombian Raw, Dutch Hip Hop pioneer Deams (and many many others), make for an album tailormade for the HHGA-audience.

Release date: January 22, 2022. 

Che Noir - Food For Thought

Buffalo, New York-native Che Noir’s Food For Thought is a solid follow-up to As God Intended, one of the best Hip Hop albums released in 2020As God Intended is a more fully realized project, not just because of Apollo Brown’s direction but also because it’s 15 minutes longer. At 34 minutes, Food For Thought is too short to consider it a proper LP, but thankfully the content that’s there is consistently strong. Despite the number of different producers involved (CartuneBeatz, TrickyTrippz, Gods Children, Chup, JR Swiftz, Motif Alumni, and Che Noir herself) Food For Thought is surprisingly cohesive – with stylish boom-bap beats that serve as fitting backdrops for Che Noir’s bars. Her voice and flow are great, and she has something to say too. Strong guest appearances from Ransom, 38 Spesh, Rome Streetz, Jynx716, 7xvethegenius, and Armani Ceasar add extra value. A little more substance to the tracklist would have made the album more memorable, but overall Food For Thought is a dope project that serves as a confirmation – Che Noir is one of the finest emcees out there today. Favorite tracks: “Split The Bread”, “Ladies Brunch”, “Table For 3”, “Gold Cutlery”, and especially “Brains For Dinner”.

Release date: January 21, 2021.

B Leafs - The Synopsis

Boston-based producer B Leafs follows up his impressive 2019 debut The Horizon with The Synopsis – another strong effort, for which he once again recruited an illustrious line-up of lyricists – Kool G Rap, Craig G, 38 Spesh, Eto, Skyzoo, Guilty Simpson, Wordsworth, Termanology, Reks, Rasheed Chappell, Estee Nack, and others make appearances. B Leaf’s boom-bap production is cohesive throughout and the features are good – The Synopsis is a solid album, nice and tight at ten tracks. Best songs: “Say It Right” (with Kool G Rap and Craig G) and “Out The Window” (with Eto and Guilty Simpson).

Release date: January 17, 2022.

Hell Razah & Sacx One - Classic Renaissance Rhymes

Wu-Tang affiliate Hell Razah teamed up with producer Sacx One for Classic Renaissance Rhymes – a super solid Wu-Tang style boom-bap album, with strong content from the always interesting Hell/Heaven Razah, and guests such as Grand Puba and Killah Priest.

Release date: January 16, 2022.

I Self Devine - That Which Is Hidden

I Self Divine is a Minneapolis-based emcee who can always be relied upon to come up with strong spiritual and conscious content, and That Which Is Hidden doesn’t disappoint in that regard. That Which Is Hidden is more accessible than last year’s intense but hard-to-get-into Rituals Of Resilience, thanks to the smooth boom-bap instrumentals that go with I Self Devine’s rhymes on this one. Those familiar with I Self Devine’s work will know to pick up That Which Is Hidden, for newcomers to his music this is as good a place to start as any.

Release date: January 14, 2022.

The Winners - The Winners Ball

The Winners Ball is an album released on Hus Kingpin’s The Winners Club label, and The Winners on this album are Hus Kingpin himself, together with Rozewood, SageInfinite, SmooVth, Milano Constantine, Marvelous Mag, JuneLyfe, Sean Rosati, and El Ay, and producers Arch Druids, Giallo Point, All Ceven, Groovie, DJ Kryptonite, Marco Polo, DirtyDiggs, Josh Lamont, Beat Ninja, Tropes, and Camouflage Monk.

With the superb Portishus, Long Island’s Hus Kingpin had the best Hip Hop album released in January of 2021, and a top 30 album of that year. This January release is not quite as good, but The Winners Ball is a totally solid underground Hip Hop project nonetheless, with appealing instrumentals and solid flows and bars from Hus Kingpin and company.

Release date: January 14, 2022.

East Hampton Polo Boys - Winter Catalogue

Winter Catalogue is East Hampton Polo Boys’ (rapper Scorcese and producer Panels) dope follow-up to 2020’s Summer Catalogue. Panels’ sparse sample-based boom-bap instrumentals are stylish and atmospheric, and the late (Winter Catalogue was released on January 14th, the anniversary of his passing) Scorcese’s rhymes entertain, as do the contributions from guests Eddie Kaine, Lord Juco, Doof, Rahiem Supreme, Zilla Rocca, and Alaska. Winter Catalogue may not have enough to set it apart from the many similar releases out, but it is a solid project that deserves your attention.

Release date: January 14, 2022.

Cordae - From A Birds Eye View

Cordae is one of the most exciting new talents in mainstream rap, and he made a good impression with his 2019 debut album The Lost Boy, which was a bit uneven but which nevertheless showed a lot of promise. Does From A Birds Eye View deliver on that promise? Yes and no. From A Birds Eye View definitely is a step-up compared to The Lost Boy, with a good mix of traditional boom-bap production and more modern trap sensibilities, and with mature and passionate lyrics from Cordae. And like on The Lost Boy his genuine talent as a rapper is evident too. At the same time, From A Birds Eye View feels a bit formulaic and repetitive, especially on the more melodic, trap-tinged tracks. Also, not all guest vocalists deliver (Eminem particularly seems to have phoned his contribution in). A special mention goes out to one of the standout tracks: “Champagne Glasses”, which has a solid feature from Freddie Gibbs and most noteworthy the legendary Stevie Wonder on the harmonica. Overall From A Birds Eye View is a fine album, as far as mainstream rap goes.

Release date: January 14, 2022.

Snowgoons - Renaissance Kings

The Snowgoons are a team of Hip Hop producers based in Germany, consisting of DJ Illegal, Det, Sicknature & J.SKuster. Throughout the years, the buzz surrounding the Snowgoons has steadily escalated as their gritty, authentic, and eclectic beats have gained recognition in both the US as well as within the burgeoning European Hip Hop scenes. 

The Snowgoons philosophy is simple: if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. They can always be relied on to come up with banging bombastic bass-heavy boom-bap beats and they always manage to recruit a host of top-tier emcees to take care of the vocals – on Renaissance Kings, there are bars from Billy Danze, Fredro Starr, Sadat X, Cappadonna, Bronze Nazareth, Slaine, Ransom, Chi-Ali, Royal Flush, Napoleon Da Legend, Ty Farris, Rasheed Chappell, Nems, Reef The Lost Cauze, the late Sean Price, and many many more. The 90s-centric Renaissance Kings is a dope album – it gives you exactly what you’d expect from Snowgoons, and that’s perfectly alright.

Release date: January 14, 2022. 

Napoleon Da Legend & Just Music Beats - Modus Operandi

Prolific bilingual Comoros-born, Brooklyn-based emcee Napoleon Da Legend closed out 2021 in a strong way with the dope The World Changed LP (his best project of 2021), and just two months later he returned with his next album: Modus Operandi – a collaboration with French Marseille-based production duo Just Music Beats. Modus Operandi is a dark and melodic boom-bap album, with great beats complemented by dope bars and flows from Napoleon Da Legend and guests like Torae and The Bad Seed.

Release date: January 14, 2022. 

Supreme Cerebral & Clypto - The Loop 2: The House Of Loops

Los Angeles emcee Supreme Cerebral has dropped a slew of strong projects in recent years, The Loop 2: The House Of Loops (coming four years after The Loop) is no exception. As on The Loop Clypto’s production is dope as f, with guests like  Eloh Kush, Substance810, Alphabetic, Napoleon Da Legend, Ill Conscious, Killy Shoot, Realio Sparkzwell, Josiah The Gift, Gripz, John Jiggs, SmooVth, Squeegie O (and many others) adding their bars to some of Supreme Cerebral’s best content – The Loop 2: The House Of Loops is a must for fans of polished underground Hip Hop.

Release date: January 11, 2022. 

Milez Grimez - Milezstone

Milezstone is an album from Rhode Island rapper Milez Grimez, with raw beats and raw battle rhymes by Milez Grimez, and contributions from guests such as Sticky Fingaz, Psycho Les, and more. Production by Marco Polo, Psych Less, Notzz, and others, and cuts by DJ Revolution and DJ Mekalek help round out what is a great little project for the heads.

Release date: January 7, 2022. 

The Cloaks - A CloakWork Orange

The Cloaks are Awol One and Gel Roc, two rap veterans in the game and active members from the world-renown Project Blowed and Life Seen Differently crews, of the acclaimed Los Angeles Underground Hip Hop scene and Graffiti street culture. A CloakWork Orange is produced by Awkward (hailing from Bristol, UK), and features impeccable scratch work by Sir Beans and from D-Styles and RoachTheDj, not to mention an all-star rap lineup of guest appearances from Aceyalone (Freestyle Fellowship), Demrick (Serial Killers), Megabusive (Exalt The Anti), Mestizo & Dose as A7PHA, Brevi, and Quaesar (Project Blowed).

Like The Cloaks’ two previous projects, A CloakWork Orange is a slightly experimental but thoroughly enjoyable underground boom-bap experience – bass-heavy, scratch-heavy, and with lots of idiosyncratic rhyming to add to the album’s captivating weirdness. This is as underground as it gets – great stuff.

Release date: January 7, 2022.

Bambu De Asiatic - Reclamation

Atlanta-based emcee Bambu De Asiatic is a core member of Collective Efforts, and he has a bunch of strong solo albums under his belt as well. Reclamation, entirely produced by renowned emcee/producer Supastition, is a solid 90s-centric Hip Hop album – composed of nothing but atmospheric and head-nodding boom-bap instrumentals and meaningful bars.

Release date: January 4, 2022.

Ozstriker & Golden Joe - Interdimensional Cable

This experimental project will not be for everybody, but those with a taste for trippy Hip Hop could do worse than give Ozstriker and Golden Joe’s Interdimensional Cable a chance.

Release date: January 1, 2022. 

Observe Since '98 - Muerte De Un Salvaje

Muerte De Un Salvaje is the prequel to last year’s Le Dernier Royaume (one of our favorite underground Hip Hop albums of 2021), and the fifth and final installment in the “Savage” series from Wisconsin-based beatmaker and Loretta Records founder Observe Since ’98.

“The supervillain known simply as The Savage has landed in South America. Little does he know, that a force even more vile and wicked than himself is hot on his trail. They call him King Clout and he will do anything to destroy The Savage. And so it begins… the last chapter in our epic tale.”

Muerte De Un Salvaje is an excellent project, composed of dark atmospheric beats and loops laced with obscure samples – giving this project that unique Observe Since ’98 vibe. Muerte De Un Salvaje features appearances by underground emcees like Jay Nice, Ru$h, Substance810, Jakprogresso, Pro Zay, UFO Fev, Tha God Fahim, Mickey Diamond, All Hail Y.T., Pro Dillinger (and many others) – most of whom bring their A-game to do justice to Observe’s killer instrumentals. Muerte De Un Salvaje dropped on the first day of the year, exactly one year after Le Dernier Royaume – we’re already looking forward to Observe’s next January 1st release.

Release date: January 1, 2022.

calm. - Conversations With A Willow Tree

Bandcamp blurb: “The album is an ode to a willow tree, which was the main collaborator on the album with AwareNess and I. I used to drive by this willow tree on my way to work, it lived at Bowles Grove Park. I found comfort in this tree and had written the song conversations with a willow tree and after recording the song, the tree was cut down. I feel it was one of its last messages to share. The album dives into failed friendships, betrayal, climate catastrophe, capitalism, colonialism, the war machine, the violence and beauty of typewriters, medicine and plants, and dealing with death.”

Conversations With A Willow Tree is a dope project. Meaningful lyrics, captivating instrumentals, and a couple of well-placed guests (Che Noir most notable among them) make for a well-rounded album you will not regret checking out.

Release date: January 1, 2022. 

FNKPMPN (Del The Funky Homosapien & Kool Keith) - Subatomic

FNKPMPN (Funk Pimpin) is Del The Funky Homosapien’s new moniker and for this album, he hooked up with our favorite crazy genius Kool Keith – who took care of all the production on Subatomic (and regretfully only has bars on one of the songs). Both Kool Keith and Del are among our favorite Hip Hop artists of all time, so we have a high tolerance level even for their more obscure releases, and Subatomic firmly falls in the obscure category – this is a wonderfully weird little project. Kool Keith’s droning rough-around-the-edges basement-type beats are an acquired taste to be sure, as are Del’s stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Fans of the work of either artist will no doubt dig this project as much as we do, Kool Keith and Del noobs may want to start with classics such as Dr. Octagonecologyst and Deltron 3030 and circle back to Subatomic later.

Release date: January 1, 2022.

Written by

Scroll to top

Related

2 responses to “Best Hip Hop Albums Of 2022 – The Honorable Mentions”

  1. Exposure is exposure. Independent artist Crown Corleone, Va Beach, Va native currently in Seattle, Wa. Is definitely Hip-Hop’s most tucked away & slept on. With this compilation album, Norfolk International Vol.1 its all Corleone with minor features from various artists he has worked with over the years. Big Kills from Brooklyn, Ny, Lord Levee & Lady J from Chi-Town, Perfect Sight out of Va just to name a few from whats to be expected on the album. Free for Download @ http://www.SoundCloud.com/CrownCorleone

  2. MainSource says:

    Full court press????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.