The future of music

40 Best Rappers of 2022 (Most Famous)

December 12, 2023
best rappers of 2022

I’ve compiled a list of the best rappers of 2022, highlighting the most famous and influential artists who are currently shaping the hip-hop scene.

This article is your guide to the lyrical geniuses and trailblazers who have made a significant impact in the rap world this year.

Top Rappers of 2022

  • Kendrick Lamar
  • J. Cole
  • Pusha T
  • YoungBoy Never Broke Again
  • 21 Savage
  • Lil Baby
  • Drake
  • Lil Uzi Vert
  • Future
  • Lil Wayne

1. Kendrick Lamar

Yep!

He deserves it.

Kendrick Lamar is among the most likable characters in the contemporary music scene.

He started the journey in 2011 with his first single, “HiiiiPower,” and has only become bigger and better.

2022 wasn’t any different for the Compton native, enjoying massive success with his Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers album and the “The Heart Part 5” hit single.

He started the year by headlining the Super Bowl halftime show alongside Mary J. Blige, Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg. 

Lamar still maintains his progressive rapping style and socially conscious lyrics that have secured his place in history books.

See also: Best Kendrick Lamar Songs

2. J. Cole

A die-hard J. Cole fan will tell you that no rapper comes close to the Fayetteville native when it comes to smooth flow and crazy rhyme schemes. 

Many people have found a way to connect with different sides of J. Cole over the years, be it the vulnerable side, the dominant side, the self-conscious side, or simply that rapper who dissed Noname.

The Grammy-winning rapper had yet another fantastic year in 2022, releasing new hit singles “Waterboyz,” “90 Proof,” and “Johnny P’s Caddy.”

3. Pusha T

Talk about aging like fine wine.

Pusha T has been around since the early 1990s but doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The New York City native started his career as part of the Clipse brotherly duo.

And everything changed after meeting the legendary Pharell Williams, who connected them to the Elektra Records record label. 

He started his solo career in 2010 under Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label, appearing on Ye’s 5th studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the same year.

2022 was another successful year for the American rapper, releasing songs such as “It’s Almost Dry” and “FACE.”

4. YoungBoy Never Broke Again

YoungBoy Never Broke Again increased his popularity in 2022 with his 4th studio album, The Last Slimeto, spawning the hit singles “Mr. Grim Reaper,” “I Hate Youngboy,” “I Don’t Rate Me,” and “Vette Motors.”

NBA YoungBoy first shot to fame in 2015, releasing eight independent mix tapes in 3 years to gain a cult following in the hip-hop world. 

5. 21 Savage

A few rappers exemplify trap music quite as good as 21 Savage.

And that showed again in 2022 when he continued his street-centered themes and insane wordplay in the singles “Spin Bout You,” “Umbrella,” and “Walk Em Down (Don’t Kill Civilians).”

21 Savage’s beat, delivery, and flow are enough reasons for his meteoric rise to mainstream prominence. 

6. Lil Baby

Many hip-hop lovers knew Lil Baby was destined for the top as soon as he debuted in 2017 with Perfect Timing.

Modeled and mentored by fellow rappers Gunna and Young Thug, the Atlanta native has established himself among the best American rappers.

His 2nd studio album, My Turn, topped the Billboard 200 chart and became triple-platinum certified.

Lil Baby was one of the best rappers of 2022, winning 4 BET Awards, 2 Billboard Music Awards, 5 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, and a Grammy Award. 

7. Drake

There aren’t many words to describe Drake anymore.

He’s stood out with his flawless compositions, surprised a few with obscure hits, and even given us a tour of his lavish Toronto mansion.

The Canadian rapper is one of the most enduring names on this list, with a career that stretches back to the early 2000s.

Drake’s journey got even better in 2022, starting the year as a guest artist on Gunna’s DS4Ever studio album.

He also featured on Future’s ninth studio album, I Never Liked You.

On a personal level, Drake released his 7th studio album, Honestly, Never Mind, in June of the same year, selling over 200,000 units in the first week.

He also released the collaborative album, Her Loss with fellow rapper 21 Savage to complete a successful year for the 5-time Grammy Award winner. 

8. Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert knows how to get the audience’s attention.

They began their music career in 2012 and are best known for their facial piercings, tattoos, and unique hairstyles. 

Their influence in modern hip-hop is felt around the world.

And their success in 2022 made them one of the best rappers of the year. 

9. Future

The “Mask Off” singer has won several awards since he broke into the scene in 2012 with “Magic.”

Future is one of the most prolific hip-hop artists who’s stood out with his timeless classics and new hits.

A deep dive into the American rapper’s discography shows hits like “Turn On the Lights,” “Wicked,” and “Life Is Good.”

As one of the best rappers of 2022, he released the singles “Wait For U,” “Love You Better,” and “Back to the Basics.”

10. Lil Wayne

He’s never going to stop.

Is he?

That’s Lil Wayne’s story, who has entertained his fans from his time with the Hot Boys as a budding teenage rapper.

The New Orleans-born rapper has remained influential in contemporary hip-hop, releasing high-profile collaborations and successful hit singles to cement his name in the entertainment industry. 

While many will love his old classics like “A Milli,” Carter still has everything to entertain his new fans. 

11. Polo G

Polo G broke onto the scene in 2019 with his “Pop Out” and “Finer Things” singles before releasing a new studio album, The Goat, in 2020.

He released several singles in 2022, including “My All,” “Distraction,” and “Bag Talk,” to continue his newly found fame. 

12. Lil Durk

Lil Durk’s unquestionable work ethic has built his reputation as one of the best rappers in the world.

He’s built a massive fan base in recent years thanks to his solid collaborations that have endeared him to many hip-hop lovers.

One thing that stands out throughout Lil Durk’s career is his adaptability and desire to improve every day.

That’s why he ranked highly among the best rappers of 2022. 

If you want a confident rapper destined to go to the top, he’s the one.

13. Gunna

Gunna has been around since 2013, only his career truly kicked off in 2016 with his Drip Season debut mix tape.

He followed it up in 2017 with Drip Season 2, featuring Offset, Playboi Carti, and Young Thug.

His third mix tape, Drip Season 3, brought the breakthrough he craved, featuring big-name artists like Lil Durk, Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty, and Hoodrich Pablo Juan.

His 2nd studio album, Wunna (2020), received positive reviews from music critics, debuting at #1 on the US Billboard 200.

He continued the success in 2021 before releasing his third studio album, DS4Ever, in 2022. 

With guest appearances from Drake, 21 Savage, Kodak Black, Chris Brown, and Lil Baby, the album made Gunna one of the best rappers of 2022. 

14. Playboi Carti

Playboi Carti is one of the best up-and-coming rappers from Georgia, who’s had success with hip hop, trap, punk rap, rage rap, cloud rap, and experimental rap music.

He started his career with Awful Records record label before switching to AWGE Label.

Carti had a dream start to his rapping career after building a cult following with his self-titled debut mixtape in 2017.

He’s since founded his Opium record label and was among the most successful rappers of 2022. 

15. Baby Keem

Baby Keem is one of the youngest rappers in the modern hip-hop scene, born in 2000 in Carson, California.

He started his career with the “Orange Soda” hit single before blossoming under the wings of Kanye West.

He gained a massive following after featuring on Ye’s “Praise God” single from the Donda studio album. 

In 2022, Baby Keen received a Grammy for Best Rap Performance thanks to his “Family Ties” song, featuring Kendrick Lamar. 

16. Young Thug

Jeffery Lamar Williams, commonly known as Young Thug, has been doing it year in and year out since he earned mainstream recognition in 2014. 

He is recognized among the most influential rappers of his generation, with a unique fashion sense and vocal style to captive audiences.

17. Roddy Rich

The constantly catchy beat is one of the first things that grabs your attention when listening to Roddy Rich’s music.

The Compton-born rapper was already building his name in the US in 2017 but became even more popular in 2018 when he released his “Die Young” hit.

To some, he’s the complete package, flying the Compton flag high while making steady steps in the modern rap scene. 

18. Nardo Wick

Nardo Wick is another upcoming rapper who stunned audiences in 2022.

He’s famously remembered for 2021 hit single “Who Want Smoke?”

Nardo Wick ended 2021 with a new album, Who Is Nardo Wick? released in December of that year.

His deluxe version of the same album came out in July 2022, with guest appearances from Lakeyah, Big30, Hit-Boy, Latto, and The Kid Laroi. 

19. Rod Wave

Rod Wave is among the new group of rappers incorporating hip-hop and R&B elements in their songs to massive success.

He only rose to fame in 2019 but is already spreading the soul-trap wave in the US while securing his place among the industry’s hottest prospects.

Rod Wave released four studio albums in his brief career, including Beautiful Mind, in August 2022. 

20. DaBaby

DaBaby launched his career in 2014 under the stage name Baby Jesus, releasing several mix tapes that quickly made him a fan favorite.

One of his best-ever songs, “Suge,” peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, laying the perfect foundation for his promising music career.

The North Carolina native released his second studio album in 2019 before following it up with Blame It On Baby in 2020.

In 2022, DaBaby released a collaborative mixtape, Better than You, alongside rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again and his 4th studio album, Baby On Baby 2. 

21. Nicki Minaj

There’s a lot to admire about Nicki Minaj, from her longevity in the rap game to her unique rapping style and her influence on upcoming female rappers.

She’s one of the most enduring names on the rap scene, alongside Lil Wayne, Drake, Jay-Z, and Kanye West.

Nicki’s musical versatility is matchless.

And the more you listen to her songs, the more you become convinced that the modern rap scene still needs her talent. 

The Trinidad-born star was still one of the best rappers of 2022. 

22. Jack Harlow

Jack Harlow is undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects in the hip-hop world.

The Louisville native has never looked back since his breakthrough with “What’s Poppin” in 2020.

The remixed version was even better, featuring Lil Wayne, Tory Lanez, and DaBaby.

Jack started 2022 with a new hit single, “Nail Tech,” before releasing his 2nd studio album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, in May of the same year.

23. Moneybagg Yo

Moneybag Yo is a flawless lyricist ranked among the most influential figures in modern hip-hop.

His career dates back to the late 2000s after discovering his love for music at a young age.

He released his first official single, “F U Pay Me,” in 2011 before following it up with several mix tapes, four studio albums, a compilation album, and an EP. 

One of the rapper’s best moments of 2022 was performing for his fans at the Wireless Festival in London. 

24. 42 Dugg

42 Dugg is a Detroit rapper signed to the Collective Music Group (CMG) and 4 Pockets Full (4PF).

His collaboration with rapper Lil Baby on “We Paid” and “Grace” earned him a place in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

After enjoying success with his Free Dem Boyz mix tape in 2021, 42 Dugg got even busier in 2022, releasing a collaborative mixtape, Last Ones Left, alongside EST Gee. 

25. Cardi B

Female rappers have had some of the most interesting journeys in hip-hop history.

And one such name is Cardi B, a New York City native writing an inspirational story right before our eyes. 

Much has been said about the “WAP” singer.

But one thing is certain.

She’s a mega-star and one of the most influential women in the world right now.

Hip-hop fans love her unique voice, evident throughout her 2022 hits such as “Hot Shit,” “No Love,” and “Tomorrow.” 

26. Doja Cat

Everybody remembers Doja Cat as the Los Angeles-born rapper who started her career on SoundCloud.

But that was a long time ago, and Doja has perfected her skills, becoming one of the most influential female rappers.

She’s enjoyed massive success with the singles “So High,” “Mooo!,” and “Say So.”

2022 was another fantastic year for the technical rapper, thanks to her strong social media presence. 

27. Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion’s rise to fame has been inspiring. 

The Houston girl has found a way to make a lasting impression on his audiences, whether through her matchless fashion sense or explicit lyrics, delivered confidently in an attitude you can almost feel.

She followed her quick success with a new album in 2022 titled, Traumazine. 

The hits “Plan B,” “Sweetest Pie,” and “Her” made her one of the best rappers of 2022. 

28. Earl Sweatshirt

As one of the most popular rappers in the world right now, Earl Sweatshirt doesn’t need any introduction to the contemporary rap scene.

Most of his projects have received positive reviews since breaking into the scene with his debut mix tape, Earl.

His fourth studio album, Sick! came out in 2022 and features guest appearances from Zelooperz and Armand Hammer. 

29. Vince Staples

Vince Staples is one of the rappers spreading the West Coast hip-hop wave around the world.

Vince believes in the power of connecting with audiences and is loved for his ability to get the listeners hooked from start to finish.

He rose to fame through his collaborative mix tape, Stolen Youth, featuring Mac Allister.

As one of the biggest names in the rap game, Vince didn’t have to do much to maintain his cult following in 2022 because his new album, Ramona Park Broke My Heart, would do the trick. 

30. Saweetie

Saweetie recovered from her publicized breakup with rapper Quavo in 2021 with a new EP, The Single Life, released in 2022. 

This was after releasing a new single, “Don’t Say Nothin,’” which was one of her best projects of the year.

31. Young M.A

Young M.A first rose to mainstream prominence with her 2016 “Ooouuu” hit single that has now garnered over 400 million YouTube views.

She’s been featured in many ad campaigns and appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018. 

“Tip the Surgeon” was one the rapper’s best singles of 2022 besides her guest appearance in “Mountains” alongside Coi Leray and Fivio Foreign. 

32. Rubi Rose

Rubi Rose is a young Georgian rapper born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky.

She began her rapping career in 2016, inspired by Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Megan Thee Stallion. 

“I Like” was one of Rubi Rose’s best singles of 2022, putting her among the best rappers of the year.

33. Travis Scott

It’s always nice to read the underdog stories of musicians rising against all odds to achieve international stardom.

That’s Travis Scott’s story, who rose from his humble beginnings in South Park, Houston, to write his name in history books.

The “Sicko Mode” hitmaker has built an enviable career and is recognized as one of the most popular figures in modern culture.

34. Snoop Dogg

If there ever was an award for the coolest rapper of all time, only Snoop Dogg would deserve it.

Dogfather is among the pioneers of gangsta rap and has been around since 1992.

He was still one of the best rappers of 2022, marking a career that has helped him build over $100 million in estimated net worth.

Snoop’s accolades include an Emmy Award, a BET Award, an American Music Award, an APRA Award, and 17 Grammy nominations. 

He released his 19th studio album, BODR in 2022, with guest appearances from Nate Dogg, Lil Duval, Wiz Khalifa, Uncle Murda, DaBaby, The Game, Sleepy Brown, T.I, and Nas. 

35. Lil Nas X

You either love or hate Lil Nas X.

There’s no in-between for this Georgia-born rapper who broke onto the scene with his “Old Town Road” hit.

He had yet another successful year in 2022, releasing new hit singles “Late to da Party,” “Lost in the Citadel,” and “Star Walkin’.’”

No matter where you belong in the Lil Nas X debate, he’s one of the most talented singers of his generation, who’s found success in the hip hop, pop rock, trap, pop rap, and country music genres. 

36. Kool G Rap

Kool G Rap is another lyrical genius and a legend of east coast hip hop from New York City.

He’s been active in the entertainment industry since the mid-1980s and cites Jay-Z, Eminem, and The Notorious B.I.G. as his biggest influences.

He’s also among the greatest MCs of all time, widely celebrated throughout the 80s and 90s. 

37. Kodak Black

The “Zeze” hitmaker would never become a one-hit wonder after debuting with “No Flockin” in 2014.

His first album, Painting Pictures, set the tone for the rest of his career, plagued by success and controversy in equal measure.

Kodak Black has been one of the most successful rappers in recent years, but he’s also had his fair share of troubles, from alleged sexual offenses to possession of weapons. 

But he managed to put his troubles away to release a new album in 2022, titled, Back for Everything.

38. Boldy James

Boldy James has one thing any aspiring rapper could benefit from; consistency.

He’s been around since 2009 but still understands how to connect with his audiences.

And that made him one of the most influential figures in 2022.

He’s probably one of the most underrated rappers on this list, so you should listen to his new hits to appreciate his good music. 

39. Eminem

Eminem continues to surprise us when we least expect it.

And 2022 wasn’t any different for Slim Shady, releasing a new album, Curtain Call 2, with many hit singles such as “Lucky You,” “Walk on Water,” and “The King and I.”

Despite the controversial tag he’s carried for the longest time, Eminem’s limitless creativity still shows up every day.

And we won’t be surprised if he continues to dominate the hip-hop charts for years. 

40. Kanye West

We can’t ignore Kanye West when listing the best rappers of 2022 despite his recent troubles. 

The Atlanta native has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, from his much-publicized divorce from Kim Kardashian to his controversial social media posts.

But Ye will always be Ye, still ranking among the wealthiest rappers in the world in 2023. 

Best Rappers of 2022 – Final Thoughts

The list of the best hip-hop songs of 2022 is diverse. 

But the list of the best rappers of the year is even more interesting, featuring new and upcoming artists like Rod Wave and veterans such as Kanye West. 

Ultimately, it was a perfectly balanced playground, with everybody battling to retain their status in a fiercely competitive industry. 

That was good news to hip-hop lovers around the world.

We hope you enjoyed our list of the 40 best rappers of 2022. 

You may also like: Best Rappers of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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