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The Thunderbolt

Top 5 Rap/Hip Hop Albums of 2022

2022 was a year that produced many good records from the Rap Genre. Upcoming artists began to blossom this year, and many anticipated albums dropped from the best rappers in the game. This list consists of my top 5 favorite albums of the year, graded on enjoyability, lyricism, context, and the production of these records.


Heroes & Villains – Metro Boomin

Heroes & Villains is Leland Tyler Wayne’s (Metro Boomin) second studio album, released on December 2, 2022. From a young age, Metro began to be a pioneer of trap production and inspired many other rappers’ and producers’ sounds. His new album: Heroes & Villains, comprises some big-name features such as Morgan Freeman, John Legend, Future, Chris Brown, Don Toliver, Travis Scott, 21 Savage, Young Nudy, The Weeknd, Mustafa, ASAP Rocky, Gunna, and the late Takeoff. Although Features do not carry heroes & Villains, it focuses on Metro’s signature sound, which consists of dark, moody, and melodic beats that quickly can put you in a trance.

Heroes & Villains concludes the new year as a cohesive record with no skips. Metro has perfected the ability to incorporate his unique sound while matching artists’ flows and styles. 

Favorite Tracks: Metro Spider (ft. Young Thug), Too Many Nights (ft. Don Toliver & Future), I Can’t Save You (Interlude) (Future & Don Toliver), Feel The Fiyaaaah (ft. A$AP Rocky & Takeoff) 


Sick! – Earl Sweatshirt

Sick is Earl Sweatshirt’s fourth studio album, released on January 14, 2022. Sweatshirt started his career by helping Tyler, the Creator, launch an alternative hip/hop collection: Odd Future. Ever since, Sweatshirt has been known for his sound, distinct voice, flow, and unique lyricism. Sweatshirt’s first three studio albums incorporated dark and heavy feelings while diving into deep grief, trauma, and joy. While Sick has the same feelings, you can see a different side of Earl experimenting with new sounds, flows, and influences, such as new fatherhood and the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to describe it is more of a clear, cohesive record incorporating an experimental side while having a modern emcee feel. Sweatshirt includes significant artists and producers, such as Armand Hammer, The Alchemist, Zelooperz, Black Noi$e, Navy Blue, Samiyam, Alexander Spit, Theraveda, and Rob Chambers. 

Sick blessed us with a new side of Earl, shaping him into who he is and what he wants to be. This record comes away with a beautiful experience for someone who wants to dive into the experimental side of Rap while keeping it short and sweet. I love you, Earl

Favorite Tracks: Old Friend, Vision (ft. Zelooperz), Lobby (int), Titanic


The Forever Story – JID.

The Forever Story is Destin Choice Routes, more known as JID, third studio album, released on August 26, 2022. Route redefines the young rap scene and inspires rappers, old or new, every time he drops. Route is one of the best to do it now and deserves more appreciation. JID is signed to Dreamville Records, J Coles’s collaborative record label, which comprises many talented and unique rappers today. JID’s reputations consist of a superior lyrical flow and unique sound. The Forever Story incorporates everything you might like in a Rap album, whether that’s a range of songs that make you feel excited, chill, emotional, or a mix of many feelings. Routes also incorporate top-tier production with aggressive beat changes and flow switches while being deep and thoughtful with his lyrics. JID includes many talented artists, such as Kenny Mason, EARTHGANG, 21 Savage, James Blake, Baby Tate, Lil Durk, Ari Lennox, Yasiin Bey, Lil Wayne, and more. 

The Forever Story dives into the rapper’s formative years in a unique manner that allows for a fantastic listen. JID leaves us a record with everything we could hope for, whether that will fall in production, lyricism, or feeling. JID has it.

Favorite Tracks:  Raydar, Sistanem, Just In Time (ft. Lil Wayne & Kenny Mason), Lauder Too (ft. Ravyn Lenae & Eryn Allen Kane), 2007


Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar 

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is Kendrick Lamar’s fifth studio album, released on May 13, 2022. Lamar is a storyteller. The amount of effort and time put into this record speaks for itself. Within his discography, each album has a particular purpose that Lamar expresses. For example, his 3rd studio album, “To Pimp A Butterfly, ” was to “break down the idea of being pimped in the industry.” While Rap has heavy stereotypes and defining opinions, Lamar redefines what it means to be a rapper and what he and others have gone through as Black Americans. In Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendricks highlights and reflects on his insecurities and beliefs. Its lyrics touch on personal themes such as his childhood, generational trauma, infidelity, and celebrity worship. Despite his fantastic lyricism, the production contributes to the record as a smooth, cohesive sound incorporating pianos, rhythms, and R&B samples. And synths. The record features artists such as Sampha, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Baby Keem, Kodak Black, and more. 

We see a new side of Lamar with Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers; incorporating personal issues, emotions, and problems makes this an even better record. Kendrick dives into fresh water with this project and never looks back.

Favorite Tracks: N95, Father Time (ft. Sampa), Savior, Count Me Out, Mr. Morale 


Melt My Eyez See Your Future – Denzel Curry 

Melt My Eyez is Denzel Curry’s 5th studio album, released on March 25, 2022. Curry is an innovator. Curry’s past albums focus primarily on raw production, and his unique voice and flow easily make listeners fall in love with his music. Overall, Curry is likable and has records that fit anybody’s taste. Whether that will be punk, experimental, trap, or industrial, Curry has it. Melt My Eyez is Curry’s most mature body of work yet. Due to his abstract lyricism and tenacious production incorporated drums, rhythms, and synths to make a futuristic but old-school record. The songs in Melt My Eyez are a movie; the best way I can describe it is if you are actually in the music, Curry can do this with his storytelling and hypnotizing production by using synths and layering. Denzel also goes further with his lyricism introducing personal issues in his life while also talking about cultural hardships and mental health. 

While attending his concert in Salt Lake City, I was able to experience Denzel Curry firsthand, and it was my favorite concert I’ve been to. You can see he cares about his fans and his work. 

To Conclude, Denzel Curry’s “Melt My Eyes See Your Future” was the most vital album to come out of the year because of everything that was built up for it. The production, lyricism, and how it makes you feel. With this record, Curry grows as an artist and overpasses his past albums in every aspect. Denzel’s Future is bright.

Favorite Tracks: Walkin, X-Wing, The Last, John Wayne, Angelz (ft Karriem Riggins)


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Sanjay Moorthy, Staff Writer
Chilla. Class of 2024

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    Noah molinaroJan 23, 2023 at 12:22 PM

    not a bad list. I would recommend her loss by drake and 21 savage. I also recommend, only built-for-infinity links by quavo and takeoff. god did by DJ Khaled is a good one ( i recommend jay z’s verse and staying alive by drake and Lil baby) but overall its really good

    • S

      Sanjay MoorthyFeb 1, 2023 at 3:10 PM

      for sure man! those are some awesome albums! thanks for the input.