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The Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums of 2022

From Kendrick Lamar to Megan Thee Stallion, here are the rap albums we’d like to hear in 2022

Ryosuke Tanzawa; Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images; Chinedu Chukuka; Republic Records

There’s a lot of new music for hip-hop fans to be excited about in 2022. After a year of delayed album drops, canceled tours, and radio silence from most major rappers not named Ye or Drake, it looks like we’ll finally get some of the music that the pandemic stole from us. And if the festival and tour announcements for the summer are any indication, things are sure to get interesting. From Kendrick Lamar to Megan Thee Stallion, and maybe even Kanye West, 2022 is shaping up to be a year full of surprises from some of rap’s biggest names.

Of course, the world is a bizarre place these days, and anything could happen. But for the sake of optimism, here are some of our most anticipated rap albums for 2022.

From Rolling Stone US



Album: Ghetto Gods
Release Date: January 28

Atlanta rappers Olu and WowGr8 have been collaborating together for some time under the name Earthgang. They’ve offered up their one-of-a-kind energy to everyone from Billie Eilish to Mac Miller and J. Cole. And while you can certainly hear motifs reminiscent of Outkast from the Atlanta rap-weirdos, Earthgang’s spaced-out brand of Southern charm is as experimental as it is present. They have a way of imbuing the textures of today’s hip-hop with just the right amount of freaky. Ghetto Gods, the follow-up to their 2019 debut Mirrorland is sure to kick us all into another dimension.


Earl Sweatshirt

Album: Sick!
Release Date: January 17th

Earl Sweatshirt is a time traveler. Go back and watch the music video for his debut single, “Earl.” The then 16-year-old wordsmith conducts an experiment of rap agility, contorting impossible phrases into one another as if he was trying to remember a password, all the while downing a concoction of teenage delirium to take the edge off. In the decade that followed, Earl unlocked enough for us to decipher for at least another ten years. Dense with texture and feeling, his work grew defiantly experimental without veering into self-indulgence. On his new album Sick!, he’s found a way to translate his vision to us in real-time.


Lil Uzi Vert

Album: TBD
Release Date: TBA

In just a few years, Lil Uzi Vert dropped a long-awaited album and a follow-up project with Future, all while setting trends in jewelry and modeling for brands like Marc Jacobs. He’s also quietly racked up a slate of features that might suggest new music is on the way. Back in 2020, following the release of Eternal Atake, Uzi alluded to a mixtape possibly titled Pink Tape during one of his many Instagram Live sessions. He’s subtly teased the project ever since, adding and deleting clues to various parts of his profile, and even apparently dying his hair pink. Still, this is Lil Uzi Vert, so it’s anyone’s guess what it all means. A new Uzi album in 2022 certainly wouldn’t hurt.



Album: TBD
Release Date: TBA

It is a Ye world, and we’re just living in it. Even after last year’s marathon performance project of a Donda rollout, Kanye still keeps us hooked on his every move. From his beef with Drake, collaborations with Gap and Balenciaga, high-profile divorce from Kim Kardashian, to his equally high-profile second date with actress Julia Fox. This year, he’s scheduled for a headlining Coachella performance and has already begun to tease new music. A cryptic post on Instagram — featuring an image by the photographer Nick Knight, of a monkey’s skinned corpse pasted against a red backdrop — suggests an upcoming collaboration with The Game is on the way. The caption reads: “MY LIFE WAS NEVER EAZY.” Ye’s confusing, productive, provocative, and brilliant run doesn’t show any signs of slowing down in 2022.


Cardi B

Album: TBD
Release Date: TBA

Early on in the pandemic, Cardi B was one of a few artists that were able to make people want to have fun, like on the mega-hit “WAP,” which came with the added bonus of causing conservative weirdos to tell on themselves. The rapper has been busy in the past year, though decidedly quieter. Other than the admittedly excellent “Big Paper,” from DJ Khaled’s Khaled Khaled, we didn’t hear much from Cardi B in 2021. She even took to Instagram Live in December to talk to fans directly about needing to make space for herself. “It’s been a lot trying to balance out my new motherfucking life,” she said. “I’m in a lot of positions and that requires a lot of my time.” Yet still, even with motherhood, business, and life on her plate, Cardi seems like she might be ready for another victory lap. “On top of that, I gotta put out this album next year,” she continued. We’re certainly grateful.


Kendrick Lamar

Album: TBD
Release Date: TBA

That it’s been five years since Kendrick Lamar released his cross-dimensional missive DAMN doesn’t take away from its personal and political urgency. Kendrick’s clear-eyed and spiritually adventurous record is the reason one must refer to him these days as Pulitzer Prize-winner Kendrick Lamar. Still, in those five years since the release of Damn, Kendrick has been as frustratingly cryptic as you’d expect. He recently announced that his next record will be his last with the storied label TDE where he’s been his entire career. Now, after making “top of the morning” a catchphrase in 2021, on Baby Keem’s “Range Brothers,” not to mention his upcoming Super Bowl Halftime performance, it seems like 2022 might be the year Kendrick graces us briefly with his presence. Chances are it’ll make for a lasting impression.