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list Apr 29 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.

Also read: The Best Hip Hop Albums Of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 15, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 an AOTY contender though.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

3 The God Way - Mount Olympus

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 an AOTY contender though.

Release date: March 11, 2022.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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One response 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

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