Words: Dylan Murphy
With the fresh avalanche of new music landing every month and new artists popping up, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise. That’s why we curate the best new rap tracks to keep you abreast with the most exciting new artists and biggest anthems from acts pushing the needle.
December is often quiet for new releases. With retrospective assessments of the year in motion and artists needing a break after a busy 12 months, the holiday period is a time to recharge and look towards the year ahead. Inevitably, that breathing space means that artists often come out all guns blazing in January and this year was no different. Earl Sweatshirt returned with his fifth studio album, Denzel Curry announced his next LP with a stunning video and plenty of up-and-comers made good on their promise to make 2022 their own.
Dig into the 20 best rap tracks of the month.
In opening a new chapter in his career, Denzel Curry has shelved his previous characters in his quest to build out a new world for his forthcoming album Melt My Eyez, See Your Future. The first single from the record ‘Walkin’ sees the Florida rapper amble through the desert as he reflects on life with the benefit of hindsight.
Hailing from Derry, Hyfin has garnered a reputation as one of the north’s most potent spitters. Through a series of freestyles, Instagram snippets and loose previews he’s showcased that he’s capable of holding his own with just about anyone. However, until now, the rapper only had one song on Spotify and a few videos on Youtube.
This month, he shared ‘Back Up Plan’ featuring Jordan Adetunji which sees the pair go back and forth over an ominous drill instrumental like their life depends on it.
Digga D reimagines the work of 50 Cent and G-Unit on ‘Pump 101’, a track that began life as a freestyle and has now arrived as a fully formed song.
Two of Ireland’s most exciting forces link up for a soulful and considered neo-soul rap crossover.
One of Irish music’s most enigmatic artists teams up with JayEm7 and Juggrite for another ruthless cut.
If you were still somehow sleeping on Fly Anakin after FlySiifu with Pink Siifu then here’s your chance to board the train. The Richmond MC has enlisted none-other than Madlib for ‘No Dough’ which arrived in tandem with the announcement of his debut album Frank.
While evidently, Ye FKA Kanye West is not enjoying his divorce, it’s producing some of his wittiest bars in recent memory. On ‘Eazy’ with The Game he raps:
“N***a, we havin’ the best divorce ever,
If we go to court, we’ll go to court together,
Matter of fact, pick up your sis, we’ll go to Kourt’s together”.
The line about Pete Davidson provided a spit-your-tea-out moment too.
Landing like a soundtrack to a final boss level, Elzzz and TraviS are scoring out their old goals in favour of bigger dreams in 2022 on ‘Logic Files’.
It would appear that 2022 is the year Dreamville’s roster comes of age. JID’s ‘Surround Sound’ sees the spitter excel on track that features heavy hitters in Baby Tate and 21 Savage, with the beat switch only accentuating his ability to hit the accelerator at a moment’s notice.
Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot muse on the state of America and preach perseverance in the face of hard times.
There wasn’t ever a chance this collaboration wouldn’t snap. Two of the UK’s smoothest are counting up their cheques on ‘PayBack’.
It’s a Chicago to Cleveland connection on Saba’s ‘Come My Way’. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony spitter Krayzie Bone comes through with a daydream of a verse on a soulful cut.
With Rory and Ahmed previously teaming up on’X-Pac Heat’ they’ve now invited Curtisy for their jacked up new single ‘Men On A Mission.’ Borrowing influence from footwork and Michigan’s new wave rap scene the instrumental sounds like an adderall high became sentient, meanwhile Curtisy and Ahmed barely break sweat as they go through the gears.
We kicked off the new right with some positivity courtesy of Cities Aviv. The Memphis rapper and producer threads anecdotes and positive mantras over a gorgeous and dusty loop on ‘WAYS OF THE WORLD’.
Any number of tracks from Earl Sweatshirt’s wandering new album could have made the cut. We’ve gone with the distant murmurs and submerged production of ‘God Laughs’.
Clouded thoughts, observations on the absurdity of modern Britain and a title which pulls a seminal Manga artist into his grime-adjacent world – there’s few acts that could veer so wildly between disparate ideas and make it sound so sensical. With help from the foreboding production of Nammy Wams, M.I.C pens his obituary on modern day England from what sounds like the cave he’s using to hide from the chaos.
Life is hard at the best of times. On ‘Eating’, London upstart SCUTI raps with the deadpan delivery of someone that’s going through it, but her attentive lyrics reflect her unwavering love for her family and a reason to keep moving forward.
Laced with countless visual references to classic videos from the 2000s, Ivy Sole’s video for ‘Call Me‘ is a reflection of the music that soundtracked their formative years whilst their stepfather was in prison. Likewise, the decision to float between their point of view and that of their stepfather in alternating verses is just one example of the thoroughly layered storytelling from Ivy’s forthcoming album Candid.
Robert Glasper continues to throw the rule book out the window and push jazz into exciting new places with his jazz-soul-hip hop crossover ‘Black Superhero’ featuring Killer Mike, BJ The Chicago Kid and Big K.R.I.T.
Catch all the inclusions in our ‘Best New Rap Music’ playlist on Spotify: