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2022 Hip Hop Year in Review: Don't Let Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good

Don't Let Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good.

This is a phrase that I have heard for years

but only really started to put into practice. I won’t glorify the hustle, but I will say that the last few years have taught me that I can’t do everything exactly as I want. As a result, I have learned to do what I can and move on. I have been doing my Hip Hop Year in Review since 2004. When I first started, I would spend WEEKS writing the damn thing. I would develop an analogy for the review (e.g., comparing top albums to College Football conferences), write and revise each review several times, change my rank ordering and on and on. Also, I was a single 20-something graduate student with little recreational income. I didn’t have money, but I had time! As I have taken on more responsibilities, I have found it more and more difficult to get the review done on time. Sometimes I wouldn’t post it until mid-January when people had already moved on to new stuff. In short, I was letting perfection be the enemy of good.

No More.

So this year, I’m giving you my list. No clever analogies (sorry). Just me and a microphone. Just my heartfelt opinions about the music that moved me this year. None of these albums is perfect, but there is plenty of “good”. And that, I realized, is the lesson in all this.

So without further ado, the list of my top hip hop albums of 2022.

Honorable Mentions

  • $oul $old $eparately, Freddie Gibbs - The album is interesting. Freddie can rap his ass off, so the floor of any album he makes is going to be higher than average. The feature list is notable, but strangely there aren’t a ton of stand out tracks.

  • Apt. 505, Coast Contra - Love the freestyles that these guys put out. A lot of clever word play, but the album doesn’t have an identity. This is a good album for pre-gaming before you head out.

  • If Not Now, When?, Russ - Only a 4 song EP so I couldn’t put it on the list. Back from London Freestyle is one of my favorite songs in 2022.

  • Her Loss, Drake & 21 Savage - I have no strong feelings about this album. It sounds like a Drake album but the presence of 21 Savage keeps it from getting too sappy and emo. They have captured the sounds of music today. Very catchy. Empty calories. I play this album in the car when I’m picking up my Gen Z cousins at the airport.

#5 Tana Talk 4, Benny The Butcher - Great workout / riding around mean mugging music. Nothing new in terms of content. Benny gives you exactly what you are expecting. The Alchemist is in his producer bag. 2-3 standout tracks. No duds.

  • “The Good”: Johnny P’s Caddy; Weekends in The Perry’s; 10 More Commandments;

#4 Mr Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar - This album is good, but it’s a tough hang. There are a few songs on the album that are absolutely mesmerizing, and there are a few songs that I never want to hear again. Not because they are bad, but because listening to the content is like the dentist drilling into a raw nerve. Great art, but not always an enjoyable album.

  • “The Good”: Father Time; Purple Hearts; N95; Silent Hill

#3 It’s Almost Dry, Pusha T - This album seems to be the Russell Westbrook threshold for Pusha T. The point when people start loudly asking if Pusha T is overrated. The content is not novel, but it doesn’t matter. His recipe hasn’t changed, monotone coke boy raps juxtaposed with incredible musical production. A triple double is still a triple double, right? It still works.

  • “The Good”: Dreamin of the Past; Neck & Wrist; Diet Coke; Just So You Remember; Call My Bluff

#2 Kings Disease III, Nas - This is the cream of the crop for 2022. It dropped with very little fanfare. The only album that really took over my whole weekend. Nas sounds rejuvenated on this album. Like he enjoys rapping again. It’s that more than anything that sparked something in my old dark hip hop soul. The album is a bit too long and if I can be honest, I do not hear any home runs on this album, but a lot of solid doubles and triples.

  • “The Good”: Legit; 30; I’m on Fire; First Time

#1 Cheat Codes, Danger Mouse & Black Thought - One of my favorite producers with one of my favorite rappers. They do not disappoint. These two compliment each other perfectly. Black Thought is a chameleon. He can rap in any style to any beat. Danger Mouse can produce anything. Seeing these talents combine on an album is something to appreciate because it doesn’t happen often.

  • “The Good”: Sometimes; Cheat Codes; Because; Belize; Strangers


Sekou Bermiss

Brooklyn's Own



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