eoy_2022: Staff Picks

Art by Tyler Farmer.

Our writers, editors, videographers and designers share their favorite music of the year. Peep our List of Lists for the full No Bells List Experience.


Millan Verma

On a train bulleting through Europe, the Dutch family next to me give each other kisses and share laughs, making me realize I’m so lonesome that it hurts. Then I put on Charley Crockett’s new album–suddenly I’ve got a friend too. 

I get to Atlanta at 9PM after a day of classes. My alarm rings at 4:30AM the next morning and I roll off my brother’s couch to catch a Frontier flight. The man sitting next to me was shot in the hand two weeks ago, and halfway through the flight he vomits heavily into a thin plastic bag. I take off his hoodie and pour cold water over his head. I ask the three women in front of me if they can help. God’s grace: they are all registered nurses. I touch down in New York City and listen to Surf Gang – now I belong here and replace the word “stress” with “motion.” 

Hayden calls me on a hot Tuesday night and asks if I wanna hit a lick in Los Angeles. His boss buys me a plane ticket and I’m connecting through Dallas 30 hours later. We work ten hour days in the brutal sun, jousting with cops and business owners on the premise that we are doing the American thing by pestering registered voters on commercial street corners by order of two coke-addled lobbyists. There’s blood on the money but it feels kinda good so we whip our rented Mustang to the rocky beaches of Topanga and smash the gas on every curve. Young Roddy adds butane to that dumpster fire of a week, making me smirk at a check that’d otherwise make me shudder. 

I’m alone in my car, thinking about how my life lives in three states at once. I haven’t had a conversation in days. One time I had a dream where I put all of my friends into a great house deep in the Georgia mountains. Nobody explicitly took mushrooms but the spiritual severity of the situation created the same effect. The melodies of Muddymya’s Eden encircle me like plasma, invisible, constantly regenerating; a séance in an unlikely place.  

After being in a coma for two months and vibrantly detailing his journey through purgatory, RobOlu takes my car’s aux. “This is some shit I made when I got home.” “Triplehflo” plays. I woke up this morning back on business, on Monday makin’ masterpieces bitch it’s time to get it. The doctors said he should be dead. 

I could go on. But just know that the songs and albums listed have served me as balms and amplifiers through this unruly year. I’m sure I forgot many.

Albums

  1. Charley Crockett – The Man From Waco  
  2. Lil Kee – Letter 2 My Brother 
  3. Kenny Mason – Ruffs
  4. Grandma – Angelhood 
  5. Black Sherif – The Villian I Never Was
  6. Lady Wray – Pieces of Me
  7. Sainté – Vacation  
  8. Young Roddy – Never Question God
  9. Flo – The Lead
  10. Rob49 – Welcome to Vulture Island

Songs

Unranked

Atl Smook – “Talmbout Naan
Babyxsosa – “Angel” 
Bear1boss – “Quit!” 
Popstar Benny – “Fun (feat. MuddyMya)” / “Merry Go (feat. Yellabandana)
Neno Calvin – “Bad Day” 
RobOlu – “Triplehflo” 
Bktherula – “Coupe”  
Kendrick Lamar – “Rich Spirit” 
Young Nudy – “My Gang” 
Nedarb & Danger Incorporated – “Nosebleed
Kenny Mason – “GIVENCHY” 
DavidTheTragic – “NONCHALANT”  
Jean Dawson & Earl Sweatshirt – “Bad Fruit*”  
Zach Bryan – “The Outskirts
Ice Spice – “Munch (Feelin’ U)” 
NoCap – “I’ll Be Here” 
Quavo, Takeoff & Youngboy Never Broke Again – “To The Bone”  
Lil 50 – “Out the Sunroof” 
Bashfortheworld – “Third World”  
RXKNephew – “Backyard Boogie”  
Marsofyouth – “Dirty”  
Rx Papi – “Trailer Park Blues” 
Muddymya – “Peach Sprite” 
Joony – “ON DAT SHIT”  
Future / Gunna / Kendrick Lamar featuring Kodak Black – “VOODOO” / “how you did that”  / “Silent Hill
SURF GANG – “HARDY BOYZ” 
Lil Baby – “Right On
Yeat – “Rëal Six”  
Ice Spice – “Euphoric”  
Novelist – “Straight G”  
Ethel Cain – “dust bowl (demo)
Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra – “Girl From the North Country

Best EP of 2022: Muddymya – Eden


Srikar Poruri

Albums

quinn – quinn
Yeat – 2 Alive
Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
Earl Sweatshirt – Sick!
Brakence – Hypochondriac
Dazegxd – vKiss
MIKE – Beware of the Monkey
Brent Faiyaz – Wasteland
454 – FAST TRAX 3
Rosalia – Motomami

Songs

Skaiwater – “#miles
Ice Spice – “Bikini Bottom
Yeat – “Out the Way/Kant die” 
BKTHERULA feat. Destroy Lonely – “FOREVER, PT. 2
Jean Dawson – “PORN ACTING*
TiaCorine – “FreakyT
Central Cee – “Bunda
Brakence – “cbd
Luh Tyler ft. Loe Shimmy – “A Day in the NOYA

Also shoutout Jaydes’ soundcloud output and this song I can’t stop listening to.


Mano Sundaresan

  • Most of this music sounded best in my dad’s dingy old Camry I brought up from Atlanta to DC to New York.
  • Besides my Number One, I associate a lot of my favorite stuff this year with the work I made about it—videos, reviews, profiles, mixes—and the people I met through it. Criticism has never felt more fulfilling.
  • I burrowed deep into a handful of discographies and scenes this year and admittedly skipped over / skimmed a lot of Important Music; that’s ok, I think.
  • Milwaukee is my favorite rap scene heading into 2023. Certified Trapper would be on this list but can’t be distilled to one song imo.
  • I didn’t listen to as much ‘‘internet music” as I did the last few years. Maybe it wasn’t as interesting? Maybe it doesn’t work as well in cars? Regalia was the coolest stuff to me, Caleb Wilfinger and I have a piece coming on that later this month.
  • Fav rap album not from 2022 was Rx Papi and Gud’s Foreign Exchange, easy number one if I had to redraft that year.
  • Ice Spice – “No Clarity” came out in Nov 2021 but embodies ’22 more than anything else on this list.

I’ll leave you with this raw thought I posted while I was fried out my mind trying to move into my apartment:

Albums

  1. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers
  2. quinn – quinn
  3. Yeat – 2 Alivë / Lyfë
  4. Papo2oo4, DJ Lucas & Subjxct 5 – Continuous Improvement 
  5. NBA Youngboy – 3800 Degrees / The Last Slimeto
  6. Brakence – Hypochondriac
  7. 454 – FAST TRAX 3
  8. Earl Sweatshirt – Sick!
  9. jaydes – Heartpacing
  10. Pierre Bourne – Good Movie
  11. Chicken P – Bussabrick Vol. 1 and 2
  12. Xaviersobased – who are you?
  13. iLoveMakonnen – Summer ’22
  14. Rx Papi – First Week Out (Deluxe)
  15. Izaya Tiji – Nevameant2b

Songs

  1. Peezy – “2 Million Up
  2. Ice Spice – “No Clarity” 
  3. Bear1Boss – “It’s Not Fair
  4. Yeat – “Kant rëlax” 
  5. cheRomani+ feat. Specxfic – “euphoria
  6. Lay Bankz – “Boyfriend N. 2
  7. Rx Papi – “Trailer Park Blues
  8. Kodak Black – “Walk” / “Spin
  9. Zahsosaa & DSturdy – “Shake That
  10. Veeze – “Let It Fly
  11. Papo2oo4 – “Space Jam
  12. Northxan – “Control <X
  13. RealYungPhil feat. Boofpaxkmooky – “Glo
  14. Tisakorean – “Backseat
  15. NBA YoungBoy – “Vette Motors
  16. BKTHERULA feat. Destroy Lonely – “FOREVER, PT. 2
  17. Hitkidd feat. Aleza, Gloss Up, Slimeroni, & K Carbon – “Shabooya
  18. Loe Shimmy feat. Kodak Black – “Bounty
  19. Joe Pablo & Chicken P – “N****s Cheap
  20. Future feat. EST Gee – “CHICKENS
  21. Glokk40Spaz – “I Choose Violence
  22. Autumn – “My Collection
  23. Weiland – “Broken Ego
  24. Slimesito feat. Dee Aura – “Christian Dior
  25. Lerado – “Right

Tyler Farmer

Albums

Smino – Luv 4 Rent
Jean Dawson – CHAOS NOW*
Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
Earl Sweatshirt – SICK!
dazegxd – vKiss
454 – Fast Trax 3
Yeat – 2 Alivë
Dj Lucas, Subjxct 5, Papo2oo4 – Continuous Improvement
SZA – SOS
Toro y Moi – Mahal

Songs

Yeat – “Poppin
Jean Dawson – “THREE HEADS*
Earl Sweatshirt – “Titanic
NxWorries, H.E.R. – “Where I Go
SZA – “Kill Bill
Ice Spice – “Munch (Feelin’ U)
Rob49, Lil Baby – “Vulture Island V2
hemlocke springs – “Girlfriend
Kenny Beats – “Still
Wiki, Subjxct 5, Dj Lucas – “Silent Meeting


Vivian Medithi

Songs

10. d0llywood1 (feat. blackwinterwells) – “a song about our feelings
9. Ice Spice – “be a lady
8. A$AP Rocky & Playboi Carti – “Sights (Our Destiny)” 
7. Suzy – “Satellite
6. Yung Kayo – “down (one kount)
5. Veeze – “Let It Fly
4.  BABYXSOSA – “FACETIME/TEXTING
3. Cruel Santino (feat. Amaraae) – “Born Again” 
2. Yeat – “Känt Die
1. Kendrick Lamar feat. Summer Walker & Ghostface Killah – “Purple Hearts

You Are Now Big Stepping With Mr. Morale. “I know y’all love it when the drugs talkin… but shut the fuck up when you hear love talking.” While critics frothed apoplectic dissecting Kendrick’s lyrics for signs of illiberalism, “Purple Hearts” takes a page from Marianne Williamson and puts love first.

A politics of love can feel facile or futile, naïvely optimistic or even blatantly ignorant, but Kendrick, Summer and Ghostface are anything but unworldly. So when Ghostface cries “God, please blow the whistle, we need an intermission,” it isn’t the innocent prayer of a child for global peace, but a plea for respite from a man well acquainted with the wickedness of the world. Kendrick, who spends most of Mr. Morale wrestling with angels and picking apart his failings, momentarily revels in those same flaws, unabashed and unapologetic: “I bless one day that you attract somebody with your mind exact” is just “may you live in interesting times” for people who are sick of dating apps.

Absolute goosebumps when Summer comes in under the hook, totally steals the show. She’s easily one of the best songwriters of her generation, laugh out loud funny (“I hate it here/asking if I been on the pole”), elite-level horny (“Now if it’s love I deserve to get some head on a balcony sometimes”), straight up talking her shit (“Summer in the storm/I cannot conform” COME ON!). “I just might love you still, just think I love me more.” Before you can love the world, you have to be able to love yourself.


Nigel Washington

Anyone who listened to a lot of rap in 2022 can easily tell you this was a fun year for the genre, even if it didn’t always come from the usual dignitaries. The initial box office excitement from new Kendrick Lamar and Drake projects quickly dissipated behind a tidal wave of unique artists and sounds who demanded my attention. GloRilla’s distinct baritone voice and undeniable Memphis energy shattered any lingering expectations we had about the current wave of women rappers in the best way possible; Milwaukee gave us a new and refreshingly exciting rap scene to root for; and “lyrical” rap—headed by perfectly produced projects from Roc Marciano, Boldly James, and Earl Sweatshirt—had a highlight year. The songs and albums I had to revisit the most only scratches the surface of all the exciting trends to emerge in rap this year. 

Songs

  1. GloRilla, HitKidd – “F.N.F (Let’s Go)
  2. Lil Yachty – “Poland
  3. Roc Marciano, The Alchemist – “The Elephant Man’s Bones
  4. Freddie Gibbs – “CIA
  5. TiaCorine – “Freaky T
  6. Babyface Ray – “Anotha One
  7. NxWorries, H.E.R – “Where I Go” 
  8. Certified Trapper – “Stomach in My Back” 
  9. SCY Jimm – “Ballin” 
  10. 10KDunkin – “Loose Screw

Albums

  1. Roc Marciano, The Alchemist – The Elephant Man’s Bones 
  2. GloRilla – Anyways, Life’s Great 
  3. Earl Sweatshirt – Sick! 
  4. Babyface Ray – Face 
  5. TiaCorine – I Can’t Wait 
  6. CEO Trayle – HH5
  7. Young Nudy – Monster 
  8. Fly Anakin – Frank 
  9. Brent Faiyaz – Wasteland 
  10. Dankhead Corleone – Hom3 Alone 

Cuautemoc Xocoyotzin

Albums

  1. Jean Dawson – CHAOS NOW*
  2. Fousheé – softCORE
  3. Earl Sweatshirt – SICK!
  4. MAVI – Laughing So Hard it Hurts
  5. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights
  6. Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart
  7. JID – The Forever Story
  8. Smino – Luv 4 Rent
  9. MIKE – Beware of the Monkey
  10. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyes See Your Future
  11. billy woods – Aethiopes 
  12. Little Simz – NO THANK YOU
  13. SZA – SOS
  14. Bad Bunny – Un Verano Sin Ti
  15. Rosalia – Motomami
  16. Kendrick Lamar – Mr Morale & The Big Steppers 
  17. Rico Nasty – Las Ruinas
  18. quinn – quinn
  19. Saba – Few Good Things
  20. redveil – learn 2 swim

HM: RAP Ferreira – 5 to the Eye with Stars & Open Mike Eagle – Component System with the Auto Reverse

Songs

  1. Smino feat. Lil Uzi Vert – “Pudgy
  2. Fousheé feat. Lil Uzi Vert – “spend the money
  3. Baby Keem feat. Lil Uzi Vert – “bank account
  4. Zack Fox – “triflin’
  5. Open Mike Eagle – “I Retired Then I Changed My Mind

Jesse Taconelli

All alphabetical, excluding Dazegxd – vKiSS, quinn – quinn, and Quadeca – I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You (all deadAir)

Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture
Black Country New Road – Ants From Up There
Billy Woods – Aethiopes
brakence – hypochondriac
black midi – Hellfire
Daniel Rossen – You Belong Here
Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter
Fievel Is Glauque – Flaming Swords
Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia
JID – The Forever Story
Jockstrap – I Love You Jennifer B
Naked Flames – Miracle In Transit


Josh Svetz

Music is the closest thing we have to a time machine. Songs and albums act as passageways to the doors of our memories, transporting us to specific formative moments in our lives. However monumental, or minuscule, the right song evokes the feelings of the past, reverting us mentally to messy high school breakups, glorious triumphs when everyone counted you out, somber grief over passed on friends, and simple times on the basketball court. Whenever I look back on my life, I can always find a piece of music to accompany it. But to simplify the ever-expanding score, here’s the soundtrack to my life in 2022, one track/album for each month only.

January: Chief Keef – “Yes Sir
February: Babyface Ray – FACE
March: Yeat – 2 Alive
April: Yung Lean feat. FKA Twigs – “Bliss
May: Cruel Santino – Subaru Boys
June: Drake – Honestly Nevermind
July: Cochise – “Turn It Up
August: Destroy Lonely – “No Stylist
September: Ame – “Biden
October: Kendrick Lamar/Kodak Black – “Silent Hill
November: Realest K – “Toxic
December: Brakence – Hypochondriac 


Eli Schoop

Albums:

  1. Cities Aviv – Man Plays The Horn
  2. 454 – FAST TRAX 3
  3. black midi – Hellfire
  4. Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
  5. Speed – Gang Called Speed
  6. Chief Keef – 4nem
  7. Alex G – God Save The Animals
  8. M.I.A. – Mata
  9. Fievel is Glauque – Flaming Swords
  10. Ravyn Lenae – Hypnos
  11. Jon Doe aka J Dilla – The 94’ Batch
  12. Klein – Star in the Hood
  13. The Smile – A Light for Attracting Attention
  14. Moin – Paste
  15. Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights

Songs

  1. Thaiboy Digital – “I’m Fresh
  2. black midi – “Welcome To Hell
  3. Z-money ft Valee – “Risk
  4. Steve Lacy – “Sunshine
  5. Jane Remover – “Royal Blue Walls
  6. 454 – “ZIP CODE
  7. Pink Siifu ft Valee – “Griptape!!
  8. Serph ft. Zun – “Piplup Step
  9. Babyfather ft. Tirzah – “1471
  10. jaydes – “convenience
  11. PinkPantheress ft. Sam Gellaitry – “Picture in my mind
  12. Cruel Santino – “HEATING ROCKS
  13. Alvvays – “Pharmacist
  14. Rx Papi – “In My Feelings
  15. MIKE – “nuthin i can do is wrng

Caleb Wilfinger

I often spent most of this year consumed by my Internet Music bubble, which while unsurprising, became pretty apparent during the process of making my longer list of 2022 favorites. This year had a deep bench of projects I loved and listened to on a regular basis, but I still found it fairly easy to shrink the pool down to the releases I can see myself constantly returning to for years to come. From late 2010s emo-rap forebears and short and sweet Pluggnb gems, to prescient albums from some of rap music’s best writers, these are my favorite releases of 2022.       

Albums

10. Bladee & Ecco2k – Crest
9. Drippin So Pretty – Betrayed 
8. Alvvays – Blue Rev
7. Earl Sweatshirt – Sick! 
6. Smokingskul – Da SlimePrint
5. Autumn! – ##B4GC2 
4. Billy Woods – Aethiopes 
3. Ame – Enchanted 
2. Yeat – Lyfe / 2 Alive
1. Glokk40Spaz – Baby Whoa

Songs

10. Daxegxd – “tell me (jane remover remix)
9. Destroy Lonely – “NOSTYLIST
8. Brakence – “5G
7. Kaixan – “Margiela
6. Earl Sweatshirt – “Vision (feat. Zelooperz)
5. Autumn! – “Know You Hear Me!
4. Drippin So Pretty – “Shallow
3. Yeat – “Holy 1
2. Glokk40Spaz – “I Choose Violence
1. Ame – “Degree

Thoughts? Let us know

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