50 Best Albums of 2022
Welcome back to list szn.
It’s time to recap a year of incredible albums across genres. Below, you’ll find our list of the 50 best albums of 2022. Check out our picks, discover something new, and follow us on socials to let us know what we may have missed.
And stay tuned—later this week we’ll be running through the 50 best songs of 2022.
- The albums are listed in alpha order by artist
- Selections were based on the taste of our curation and content teams
- Your favorite album didn’t make the cut? Let us know on Twitter @Audiomack.
Ambré — 3000°
NOLA songwriter-turned-solo artist Ambré’s 3000° captures an evocative love story that could only take place in New Orleans.
Ankhal — ANKHALINO
After surviving a tragic shooting in February of this year, Puerto Rican rapper Ankhal has refocused himself through music—ANKHALINO tells his life story in intense detail.
Ari Lennox — age/sex/location
Shea Butter Baby was a reset for R&B back in 2019. Thankfully, Ari Lennox didn’t rush her new album and as a result, age/sex/location rises up from the deep belly of soul music.
Asake — Mr. Money With The Vibe
Asake had a dominant 2022, signing to Olamide and constantly breaking records on Audiomack. If his eponymous February EP set him up as one of the year’s breakout artists, his debut album Mr. Money With The Vibe makes it obvious that Asake is one of Nigeria’s biggest stars.
Babyface Ray — FACE
Detroit has set the pace for rap flows for the last couple years, and Babyface Ray has been at the forefront of the movement. FACE is his major-label statement album, as he expands his range and list of collaborators while remaining true to his regional beginnings.
Bad Bunny — Un Verano Sin Ti
In an era where the consensus star is dying, Bad Bunny is a true one-of-one, international phenomenon. Un Verano Sin Ti affirms the universal love with a sprawling ode to the sounds of the Latin diaspora.
Baky — Rap ap rete Rap
Baky raps in Haitian Kreyol over near-gospel productions. His spiritual sound translates to a pack of anthems on Rap ap rete Rap.
Beyoncé — RENAISSANCE
Queen Bey’s dedication to uplifting dance music and the queer history behind it makes RENAISSANCE a portal into the past and future of a genre.
Black Sherif — The Villain I Never Was
#UpNow alum Black Sherif is the golden voice of Ghana’s rap scene. After a series of smash hits, both introspective and anthemic, Sherif’s debut album The Villain I Never Was landed, sounding like an instant classic.
Brent Faiyaz — WASTELAND
There’s something to be said for Brent Faiyaz’s independent spirit. It contrasts well with the subtle toxicity of his flavor of R&B. WASTELAND feels like a revelation for the artist.
Burna Boy — Love, Damini
Burna Boy is a staple, helping to take African music worldwide with his party-ready sensibilities. Love, Damini is an effortless album, one that swims upstream in an uneven year for music.
CEO Trayle — HH5
Atlanta rapper CEO Trayle wants to freak you out—and he’s damn good at it. HH5, released aptly on Halloween, is the latest installment in a rowdy mixtape series and sees him breaking out of the pack of ATL artists who admire the relentlessness of stalwarts like Gucci Mane.
Costa Titch — Mr Big Flexa
South Africa’s Costa Titch went from dancer to rapper with relative ease, rapping in English and s’Pitori, and going viral for better or worse. On Mr Big Flexa, Costa Titch takes his flashy amapiano and hip-hop fusion into a cohesive body of work.
Daddy Yankee — LEGENDADDY
What is there left to write about an icon like Daddy Yankee? The multi-Platinum, chart-topping titan of reggaeton released his farewell album LEGENDADDY in March, sounding fresh and innovative as ever.
Destroy Lonely — NO STYLIST
Rising up from the Playboi Carti camp, Destroy Lonely’s debut album NO STYLIST immediately established him as one of the most compelling Opium signees. The Atlanta-born artist flutters over looping rage beats, concocting viral-ready moments with ease.
Diamond Platnumz — First Of All
Tanzanian bongo flava icon Diamond Platnumz has been revolutionizing the genre for 10-plus years. On First Of All, billed as his first EP after three studio albums, the artist taps sounds from all over Africa.
Eslabon Armado — NOSTALGIA
Regional Mexican music thrives on emotion. Eslabon Armado hit the heart with their crumbly singing on NOSTALGIA, inspiring listeners to pine over memories false and otherwise.
FAVE — Riddim 5
FAVE’s debut EP Riddim 5 follows her viral hit, “Baby Riddim.” Refusing to be tied down by genre, the Nigerian singer feels most at home breaking down all sides of love.
Feid — FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS FERXXO TE PIRATEAMOS EL ÁLBUM
Colombian artist Feid’s FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS FERXXO TE PIRATEAMOS EL ÁLBUM released in September—with a cheeky nod to being pirated in the title—after being leaked online. Though his rollout was upended, the record remains one of the singer’s strongest albums.
Fireboy DML — Playboy
This summer, Fireboy DML entered his Playboy era, driven by global hit “Peru.” The Nigerian Hometown Hero is obsessed with legacy and making feel-good jams.
Flume — Palaces
Flume’s third album Palaces arrived in May after a six-year gap between records, with some mixtape goodness (Hi This Is Flume) sprinkled in. The record is a synth-heavy, chaotic spree, continuing Flume’s run as one of electronic music’s most beloved innovators.
Future — I NEVER LIKED YOU
Future is never shy with how he really feels. I NEVER LIKED YOU is buoyed by toxicity, and a global smash in “WAIT FOR U,” featuring Drake and a Tems vocal sample.
Jahmiel — Legend
Jahmiel’s Legend is an odyssey through influences ranging from rock to reggae and beyond. The Portmore native’s sophomore album crystallizes him as a wide-ranging performer.
Jay Wheeler — Emociones
Since 2019’s Platonico, Jay Wheeler has established himself as a force in Latin music. Emociones expands his style into new territory, while also playing out as an evocative victory lap.
Koffee — Gifted
When Koffee broke in 2019 with “Toast,” there was no question she would be huge. Her major label debut Gifted leans into live instrumentation, positivity, and classic reggae spirit.
Latto — 777
777 may be Latto’s sophomore album, but with her name change and strong rebrand, the record feels like a proper introduction to the Georgia rapper. In her own words, she’s “The Biggest.”
Lil Baby — It’s Only Me
Now firmly entrenched in the upper echelon of rap stardom, Lil Baby declares It’s Only Me. For his third studio album, the Atlanta native continues to hone in on his lyrical mastery, delivering a bulletproof collection.
Lil Silva — Yesterday Is Heavy
Electronic artist Lil Silva flirts with the impermanence of memory on Yesterday Is Heavy. The UK producer spent 10 years building up to this debut album, and every moment feels lovingly crafted.
Luis R Conriquez, Tony Aguirre — Corridones Belicones Duetos
Luis R Conriquez and Tony Aguirre’s Corridones Belicones Duetos is a rich entry in regional Mexican music, from a pair of maestros of the form, with a focus on spirited corridos (ballads) that land in any language.
Mura Masa — demon time
Genre-shifting UK producer Mura Masa makes rage weird. His demon time album takes the sugary and the futuristic and throws them in a blender with an expansive guest list. Somehow, it works.
Natanael Cano — NataKong
Mexican rapper Natanael Cano fuses corridos with hard-hitting hip-hop tones. On NataKong he splits the difference between gentle ballads and absolute bangers.
Omar Apollo — Ivory
Ivory is pop-R&B wunderkind Omar Apollo’s most realized album, a melting pot of influences that led to the artist’s GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist.
Phabo — Before I Let Her Go EP
Since debuting in 2021, R&B singer Phabo has carried the genre’s soul tradition on his back. Before I Let Her Go EP is a brisk and moody offering, where Phabo’s silky voice is the star.
Prem Dhillon — No Lookin’ Back
Punjabi singer Prem Dhillon started breaking in 2018, and in the last four years, he’s become one of the biggest artists in the Punjabi scene. His swagger and passion come through on No Lookin’ Back.
Prince Swanny — Swanology
Prince Swanny has a PhD in Swanology, also known as the study of TriniBad music. The genre pioneer blends dancehall and hip-hop with an unfettered urgency.
Ravyn Lenae — HYPNOS
Ravyn Lenae took her time with HYPNOS, releasing over four years after her breakout, Crush. These sweet songs brim with self-love and power.
Seyi Vibez — Billion Dollar Baby
Where Seyi goes, the vibes follow. His sophomore album Billion Dollar Baby avoids the cursed slump in favor of a pack of confident jams that punctuate Seyi Vibez’ seismic rise since 2020.
Sleazyworld Go — Where The Shooters Be
Hailing from Kansas City, SleazyWorld Go feels like the next big breakout star from the Midwest. His major-label debut Where The Shooters Be is low-key and haunting.
Skeng — Beast of the Era
Beast of the Era sees Skeng double down on his visions of Jamaican street life. He is one of the most important artists in dancehall currently working.
Steve Lacy — Gemini Rights
From iPhone beats to No. 1 hits, Steve Lacy’s Gemini Rights is the artist at his peak of popularity and performance. The record, built upon the smash “Bad Habit,” will go down as life-changing for the artist.
Sudan Archives — Natural Brown Prom Queen
Sudan Archives’ inventive Natural Brown Prom Queen takes the best of pop music innovation and pushes it further, completely shattering the expectations placed upon Black women in music.
The 1975 — Being Funny in a Foreign Language
The most solid The 1975 album has landed. Being Funny in a Foriegn Language sees the UK band adopt a more striking and coherent tone. It trades peaks and valleys for a straight shot to the AOTY finish.
The Weeknd — Dawn FM
The Weeknd took his moody tones to the disco this year. Dawn FM feels like the byproduct of mixing uppers and downers while synths blare and creativity soars.
TiaCorine — I Can’t Wait
What’s the functional difference between TiaCorine and an anime character? On I Can’t Wait, the elastic rapper complicates the answer, stretching her voice and flow in 100 different directions.
T.I Blaze — The Fresh Prince of Lagos
Formally introducing T.I Blaze as The Fresh Prince of Lagos, the album established him as one of the most exciting artists coming out of Nigeria and breathing new life in Nigerian street-pop.
T Dollar — Born 2 Shine
Nigeria’s T Dollar has a honeyed voice. Born 2 Shine runs eight tracks and sees the breakout artist dip into his ballad bag.
Wizkid — More Love, Less Ego
Wizkid’s massive crossover smash “Essence” with Tems helped bring African music to the West. More Love, Less Ego continues the deluxe vibes of 2020’s Made In Lagos, presenting a more complete picture of the luxurious life of one of Africa’s biggest stars.
Yeat — 2 Alivë (Geëk Pack)
Yeat taps into something elemental when he raps in that melty new language he seems to concoct live on the mic. 2 Alivë (Geëk Pack) is the most holistic collection of his sound—what should be nonsense is instead irresistible.
Yung Kayo — DFTK
Yung Kayo makes the worlds of fashion and music collide. His debut album DFTK, released on YSL, was a strong entry by the Thugger protégé, one that exemplified the weird corners rap can reach into.
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