There are many ways to go about crafting a list. I think some people go out of their way to create the most eclectic list of music that they honestly would never give replay value to. There are others who would make such a large list that it winds up showcasing the average with the great. And no list will do everyone justice and so this list was crafted with the ten albums I feel that demonstrated the best melding of talent comprised of ten songs or more in one platter. Did elite lyricsm live within an ill beat? Can you replay this album indiscriminately and still appreciate the value? THESE were my requirements. With that being said I had 400 albums to sift through for the year and this is the top 5% of that collection. So, without further ado.
#1 – The number one album of my musical journey this year is For All Debts Public And Private from the duo of Defcee and Boathouse. I can revisit this album time and time again and find something different to love all over again, while appreciating the familiar. The production from Boathouse strikes every chord imaginable creating a boom bap powerhouse. And Defcee…wow. There is such a cleverness with his rhyme schemes, and he delivers each bar with such and strength and commitment it just sticks to your ears. So many quotable lines on this project. The whole thing is a tireless listen. It never grows old. It is the “go to” project for 2022 and set for many listens to come.
#2 – If the list was bigger, you would see the names, Mickey Diamond and Big Ghost littered all over it with other amazing projects. As it stands, there is no joint that knocked harder in 2022 than Gucci Ghost. The skill level embodied in this release is insurmountable. Big Ghost makes this album slap in unheard of ways. He could literally define the term “banger” with this one. And I don’t think anyone brings as much confidence and persona to the mic right now more than Mickey Diamond. He has the natural gift and the ferocity to deliver that is unmatched in today’s music scene.
#3 – A late entry but clear contender, is Ransom and V Don’s project, Chaos Is My Ladder. This album is riveting in both its sonic instrumentation and its delivery of hard hitting and introspective lyricism. Ransom is hip hop’s philosopher’s stone. He drops more than just lyrics but thought-provoking moments bar by hard hitting bar. And he does so in keeping the moments gritty and not being over the top. He doesn’t fly over your head but keeps your finger pressed on the rewind button which is a true gift. This pairing is a true blessing for hip hop.
Most temporary homies will teach you permanent lessons
#4 – Lebron James loves it. Kevin Durant loves it. And we here at HipHopDependency love it as well! 38 Spesh has proved year after year just what a talented artist he is, either with the mic or behind the boards. And here we have him blessing the former over some premium production from none other than Harry Fraud. Beyond Belief is a showcase of distinction. These two artists have a sound that simply cannot be replicated. Spesh has that unique cadence, voice, and style that plays beautiful with Fraud’s haunting rock infused hip hop. There’s so much to love here and you can see it play to all audiences.
#5 – Surprise! I know you don’t know about this one but Fatt Father and DJ Jewels Baby cooked you up something special with Grindset Vol 2. Fatt Father has this way where his lines fly like darts and resonate with the listener. He combines topics of being a father, self-improvement, and also showing that he is not man to be trifled with. He can handle any topic and any beat, speaking of which DJ Jewels Baby brings a diversity of fire for our emcee to spit on. He’s got the whole repertoire on display here with hard hitting beats and impeccable sample usage. This project is extremely relatable touching on topics that we can all feel. Please don’t sleep on this joint.
#6 – Waterr and Vanderslice crafted a really great sound with their new album, Life Is More Than White Bricks. This project has so much soul entrusted to it. Vanderslice really brought plenty of depth to the music, using lots of different instrumentation and giving each song a ‘musical’ place in the album. There is such a melodic quality about this album that differentiates itself from other releases this year. And Waterr has always been impressive on the microphone. He has that sound that stands alone, and cuts through the music effortlessly, and allows his lyrics and message to be hear with clarity.
#7 – Casual and DEAD Perry are up next for this talented yet dark and twisted musical journey The Art Of Reanimation. Perry really just does a masterful job of bending sound giving each song a deep, rich, and yet dark tone. It’s boom bap with a shadowy twist and I absolutely love what he did sonically. And lyrically, Casual is razor sharp. His rhyme schemes and wordplay are not just as good as they were in 1992, but actually I think he’s better. And you can’t say that about so many. I think this album, released earlier this year, needs to get considerable credit for breaking quite a few molds.
#8 – There were quite a few dope producer albums that dropped in 2022 but I don’t think anyone served up a more delectable platter than Reckonize Real on his album Subterranean Obscura. There is such a great mix of sounds here that range from subdued and haunting to that boom bap slap. And you have a superb selection of emcees solicited for their rhyme skills. And each emcee and beat complement each other perfectly. Nothing sounds forced or out of place which I think is incredibly hard to do on a producer album, because out of sixteen tracks you would think something would be amiss. Not here. This is a complete release and a highlight of the year.
#9 – It’s the splendid union of soul with producer Nicholas Craven and emcee Boldy James. Both artists contributed alot of time and talent to 2022 but together they crafted the most soulful, yet slick album of the year with Fair Exchange No Robbery. Craven’s use of honing the perfect sample and creating a complete vibe in rhythm is on full display. This sound provides the perfect home for Boldy James, as his flow sounds completely at home over this production. His wordplay just cascading over this production with beautiful results. And that track, Power Nap, is simply one of my favorite tracks ever. Brilliant.
#10 – So when I think of who’s got next in hip hop, the first name that came to mind in 2022 was Maze Overlay. And when you hear his project, Aztecaz, produced by Farma you will understand why. Maze has some gritty lyricism and really great flow. Much like one of his guest spots on the album, Daniel Son, he always seems to be in the pocket. Perfect timing with a quick turn of phrase with at times an even melodic tone as he dips in and out of the chorus and into verses. And this is the best I have heard Farma in the last couple of years. These beats prove equally as gritty as the emcee and the perfect complement. He uses this somber guitar element a few times throughout the album that is really effective. Also, a perfect amount of dope guest spots to make this album the sure shot.