The year 2022 has resulted in some amazing rappers really showcasing their skills on a global stage. Some of the smaller names are making their break and ready to take you on a lyrical ride like never before.
But don’t fall into the trap of thinking only the new names apply here. Instead, I have a feeling you may encounter a few of your favorite rap artists. So, let’s get on with the 35 best rappers of 2022.
1. J. Cole
J. Cole has this amazing habit of coming across as if he has so much fun when performing, and that fun comes across in his music as well. He has been around since 2007, and he shows no sign of slowing down. Also, his collaboration with Lil Tjay was a real highlight of the year, and it’s exciting to wait to find out what he has in store for 2023.
2. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is amazing, and 2022 was a huge year for him. He landed one of the biggest hip hop songs of the year with N95, and his album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers showcased his real talent for producing powerful tracks with hooks and lyrics that grab you and hold on.
This award-winning rapper had another strong year in 2022 thanks to his ability to create strong beats that stand the test of time. His lyrics remain smooth throughout each song, and yet he raps with absolute precision and never feels pressured into doing so. Overall, his rap skills are strong and there’s just so much more to come from him in the next few years.
4. Travis Scott
Travis Scott has this ability to offer something completely different when it comes to rap. His best songs have been dominating the charts over the past few years. While his lyrics remain explosive, it’s the way he offers a psychedelic slant to rap that allows him to take you on a real journey into the depths of his mind. But be aware, you never know where you may end up.
5. Royce Da 5’9”
Royce Da 5’9” deserves to be even bigger than he is, and his songs are prime examples of just how good this guy is in the world of rap. Known for his collaborations with the likes of Eminem and Kanye West, he is straight out of Detroit and brings that rough edge to his music. Prepare to be blown away by his lyrics.
6. Pusha T
Pusha T has this insane ability to take you into dark corners with his beats and lyrics. But don’t worry, as he has your back throughout. It was another good year for him due to tracks such as Dreamin Of The Past, which he brought out in April. It’s clear that his confidence in his skills is soaring high, and his ability to put on stunning live shows has helped him to further build his fanbase.
Yes, even after all these years, Nas is still around and throwing out lyrics and great tunes just as he has always done. His album in 2022 called King’s Disease 3 is one of his best ever, so there’s lots of energy left in this old-timer. Expect his usual energy and ability to turn your mind inside out with his lyrics.
8. Central Cee
This rapper from the UK is one I think needs to have a bigger audience thanks to his ability to string together a series of tracks that will blow your mind. He has the skill to take a beat, ride with it, and drag you along with him. Also, his lyrics have a layer of intricacy packed full of emotion opening up a rawness deep inside you.
9. Sampa the Great
This female rapper was born in Zambia, lived in Botswana, and now, resides in Australia, but I love her as she takes her roots and applies them to her music. While her rapping skills are excellent, it’s the way she incorporates funk and fuses folk chants and songs into her tracks. She creates something so completely different that will appeal to so many.
The juggernaut that is Drake just keeps on rolling, and 2022 was no different. The way he manages to throw out lyrics all about humanity and the emotions contained within blows your mind, and the way he appeals to people of all ages is something that’s quite rare for a rapper. Check out the song above to see what he’s up to right now.
Born in Manchester in the UK, Aitch is not only a fantastic freestyle rapper, but he’s also a good guy as well. His collaboration with Ed Sheeran was outstanding, and it certainly opened him up to a whole new audience who were left stunned by his vocal talents. He can take any beat at any speed and wow you by the end, leaving you breathless.
12. Noga Erez
I admit that Noga Rez may be a wildcard here, but this female rapper from Israel has been responsible for some of the best songs of the year. Her collaboration with Missy Elliot is outstanding, and her ability to blend trip-hop with electronica makes her out as somebody who is completely different for you to listen to.
Even through all his troubles, the one thing you have to say about Ye is he knows how to create some amazing tunes. He puts on a lyrical masterpiece every single time, and this was no different in 2022. Perhaps, he should just focus on what he’s really good at, and that’s being one of the best rappers of all time.
Future has managed to remain prolific with the music he churns out while always sounding fresh and with no sign of exhausting himself. His more mumbled lyrics add a real sense of charm and meaning to every word he utters while he’s viewed by many as a real pioneer of auto-tune in the trap hop genre.
15. Tory Lanez
This Canadian rapper continues to build a substantial following, but that’s partly due to their ability to engage in various feuds with other rappers. The year 2022 was no different in that respect, but if you check out his music, such as the album Sorry 4 What then you will find a rapper who grabs you by the throat at the start and does not let up through each track. It’s an amazing rap album.
16. Russ Millions
Russ Millions offers you the chance to experience UK hip hop blended with drill music. It’s seriously rough and raw around the edges, but he takes you on a dance through his music, leaving you feeling breathless by the end. This rapper is one you may never have heard of, and yet, I think that’s something that needs to change.
17. Lil Uzi Vert
While Lil Uzi Vert has a touch of excess with their appearance and demeanor, their rapping ability is second to none. The energy they bring to proceedings manages to infect you with beats that smash you in the face repeatedly, and then a melodic feel to it all brings you back down to earth. The control they have over their music is astonishing.
Her 777 album was a follow-up to her debut that saw Latto hit it big time, and she has managed to continue where she left off. Her trap beats bring with them influences from genres such as soul and even gospel while she sounds supremely confident with her lyrics and delivery. If this is her at the start of her career, then she is an artist that is here to stay.
19. Jack Harlow
What stands out for me about Jack Harlow is the absolute speed at which he raps. I’m talking about him zipping through leaving you feeling dizzy at what’s going on. However, he also manages to make it all sound so easy, and if it’s high-energy rap you like, then this is the guy to check out.
20. Megan Thee Stallion
It was a huge year for Megan Thee Stallion when she cemented her place as one of the best female rappers around. She manages to bring a touch of sass to proceedings while throwing out insults that keep your interest peaked, wondering what’s going to follow.
21. Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X isn’t afraid to put on a show, and the way he bursts through tracks sends your head spinning. However, he’s also fantastic at finding that line between more hardcore hip hop and pop, resulting in his own take on music that has built a substantial following.
22. Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt has the ability to take his lyrics and coil them up like a tight spring before letting them burst out. I wish he had a bigger audience to showcase his talents, as they are astounding. You can sense his excitement in what he’s doing, and his album Sick is aptly named because the beats and loops he creates are some of the best around.
23. 21 Savage
If you love your rap with rough edges to it, then 21 Savage is your guy. Even when he does a collaboration with Drake, it’s clear who has that rawness to their approach. His Southern drawl just adds to the overall feel of his music while his lyrics give you a serious opening into his mind and where he’s at in life.
24. Baby Keem
Baby Keem has spent 2022 building on the success of his debut album from 2021, and he has certainly built a strong foundation for his future career. There is a real blend of youthfulness and intimacy in his music, so enjoy it before maturity takes over.
25. Roddy Ricch
The one thing that’s clear with Roddy Ricch is he knows how to master a beat, and he is clearly highly skilled at what he does. But there’s a whole lot more to him as he has a stunning talent for taking any aspect of rap and blending it together in his own unique way. His talent cannot be questioned at all.
26. Lil Durk
Lil Durk released his seventh studio album in 2022, and it’s another example of how far his skillset has come since his debut. With a clear love of autotune effects, his tracks have a melancholic feel to them taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end. This is a rapper who has grown in confidence, and that comes across loud and clear in his music.
27. Lil Wayne
One thing about Lil Wayne is his ability to still perform to the highest level even after all these years. He still has an infectious way of rapping and strings together beats that are packed full of energy even after a decade.
28. Kool G Rap
Kool G Rap remains a stalwart in the rap world, and for good reason. He is a genius and remains as popular as ever among hip hop enthusiasts. His masterful take on lyrics and ability to string lines together packed full of raw emotion and his collaborations with other rappers will become the stuff of legends in years to come.
29. Rod Wave
Rod Wave is cool, and his album Beautiful Mind has a soulful feel to his lyrics as he takes you on his own form of a musical journey. This album was actually delayed a few times, but it was well worth the wait. Look at his collaborations with other artists allowing him to showcase some real balance to his work you rarely see elsewhere.
30. Vince Staples
One thing I love about Vince Staples is his ability to offer real contrast in his lyrics from start to finish. There always appears to be some anguish in them, drawing you into his music and exploring what he’s feeling. He does this expertly with every track, and this is one rapper that is here to stay.
31. Kodak Black
The thing about Kodak Black is he has a slightly sluggish feel to his rapping style, which is a change from so much high-tempo stuff out there. He keeps things simple while offering his own distinctive flow to things while managing to keep hold of your interest in everything he has to say.
32. Boldy James
Boldy James offers one impressive thing, and that’s consistency in what he brings to the table. His focus is on long, drawn-out lyrics that build a picture, and it’s clear that he’s a real artist at crafting things. He has been around for a few years, but when you are this good, then hopefully, he stays for longer.
Eminem had another big year in 2022 with a new album and various collaborations that blew your mind. His creativity shows no sign of stopping, and you just know he will continue to be controversial when required. A new year does not mean a new Eminem.
34. Snoop Dogg
As one of the coolest guys in rap, Snoop Dogg remains one of the top rappers in the world. The year 2022 saw yet another album appear from him, and he still has that smoothness about his delivery and creates stunning beats that move with time.
Finally, we have Jay-Z and yes, he does still produce some stunning music. This lyrical master crafts carefully honed beats, pulling them together in a seamless fashion in ways almost no other rapper can manage. He remains on top of his game even after all this time.
Barry has worked as a freelance writer for over a decade and has developed an eye for detail when it comes to unearthing cool and interesting facts.
His love of music stems from his student days checking out up and coming bands playing in the darkest corners of bars and clubs in Edinburgh.
The love of uncovering something new also remains with him. With an appreciation for music that’s best described as eclectic, his musical tastes range from Eric Clapton to Eminem through to Snow Patrol and Incubus. The memories that music can bring back to the fore is something he tries to portray in his writing.
For him, the voyage of discovery and unearthing something new is what makes this task of writing for MusicGrotto.com so interesting.