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In celebration of the new music released this year, The Black Wall Street Times has compiled our “Top 22 Songs of 2022.” Whether you’re in the car, working out, or just want to hear something different, we’ve got you and your playlist covered.
Note: This is not a combined ranking of talent. It’s our staff listening preferences.
22. Shakuhachi – HeartWerk
This track thumps hard, having the title instrument’s sound float over fluttering arpeggios. Perfect soundtrack for late night drives on the highway.
21. Glorilla – F.N.F. After 60 days of fasting from men, The Memphis Artist made her breakout hit. The song earned her a few Grammy nominations after only being out a few months.
20. Kendrick lamar – N95. Lamar mashes his poetic brilliance with hard-hitting beats that get you thinking and moving at the same time.
19. Beyoncé – Summer Renaissance
It’s a feel good song that makes you feel free. A whole bop givin’ Sylvester, rooftop vibes, joy, rainbows and unicorns.
18. Jeezy – SNOFALL – In 2005, school principals and administrators reportedly made grade school students turn their t-shirts inside-out if it featured Jeezy’s iconic Snowman. Over fifteen years later, he and DJ Drama drop an album intro reminiscent of the classic chemistry which cemented both as hip hop legends.
17. Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part 5. In a music video in which his face morphs into O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Kobe Bryant, Will Smith, and Nipsey Hussle, Compton’s Kendrick Lamar flexed his mental and lyrical dexterity in the single lead up to his long-anticipated album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.
16. Muni Long – Hrs and Hrs. This song was everywhere everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. Undoubtedly the 2022 Valentines Day theme song.
15. Chance the Rapper – Child of God
First of all, gotta show love to the Chi! Chance is a true inspiration in his music and to our community. This song is beautiful and for anybody doubting the pursuit of their dreams.
14. Killumantii – Black Wall Street. After using social media to blow up, Atlanta’s Killumantii has quickly gained steam across the streaming platforms. Paying homage to Black Wall Street, the young emcee flows effortlessly like a tried and true veteran with a sound of her own.
killumantii leaving the studio after writing black wall street ? pic.twitter.com/YDlmNGgkvB
— Tanisha ? (@MinajsKeeper) March 13, 2022
13. Future Feat. Drake – WAIT FOR U. From one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year, Future’s second single didn’t miss. Sampling Tems song, “Higher,” the song debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
12. Burna Boy – Last Last. This song introduced Afrobeats to our Managing Editor, Deon Osborne, and he’s been a fan ever since.
11. Summer Walker feat. SZA – No Love
The blatantly raw lyrics and angelic vocals makes a perfect combo. And don’t forget the remix with Cardi B!
10. Chappell Roan – My Kink Is Karma. Chappell delivers a simmering performance on the verses that builds up only to pull back on the bridge and deliver an explosive payoff before closing out the track. As far as songs about karma this year go, this one has teeth.
9. Nas – Legit. Welcome back to one of the G.O.A.T.S!
Insane how much I slept on this ??? https://t.co/bxJBRRfRfG
— JAKE (@wussgoodjake) December 18, 2022
I just really appreciate the consciousness that Nas has been consistent with throughout the years and especially at a time when mumble rap is King. It’s a refreshing return to real hip-hop.
8. Burna Boy – Alone. The instant hit from the soundtrack of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever gets me in my feels every time.
7. Beyonce – Cuff It
— Mugiwara no Yoncé???? | fan account (@mugiwaranoyonce) December 17, 2022
This song took off like wildfire. It’s up beat, it’s groovy, it’s provocative. They even made a nice little dance to go with it. Oh, and check out the Cuff it x Wetter mash up.
6. Love’s Train – Silk Sonic. Even though it was released in 2021, it didn’t become a hit until this year. I don’t usually condone remakes of old school classics but they did this!
5. Iyla fest. Benny the Butcher – Lost Me. The City of Angel’s own Iyla has been delivering stellar single after single this year and rounds out the year with this last single linking up with Griselda’s Benny the Butcher over sultry noir beats. Grab a highball glass and your favorite cocktail, lower the lights, turn up the speakers and then enjoy this record.
4. DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Hov, John Legend & Fridayy – God Did
To a certain age group, Jay-Z will always be the GOAT. Releasing new music at his leisure these days, Hov had hip hop listeners stop what they were doing on Friday, August 26, and listen to his extended bars before geeking out across social media.
Jay Z on God did ? https://t.co/f42H4yTSFr
— Naa Thee Stallion ?? (@browne_naa) December 21, 2022
3. This Is Why – Paramore. The title track of their upcoming 2023 album, This Is Why builds on the sounds found on their previous record After Laughter with clearly audible influence from the bands side-projects – Hayley Williams’ solo albums and Zac Farro with HALFNOISE – for something both upbeat and new.
2. FUTURE – I’M DAT N****. Some songs penetrate not only the culture, but can infuse a sense of pride. Much like 1973’s “Every Ni***r is a Star” by Boris Gardiner, Future celebrates himself, finding brazen sanctuary in the slur.
1. Tems – Free Mind
Born Temilade Openiyi, Tems started making music in 2015. Free Mind is the latest in a string of musical victories scored by the Nigerian-born artist.
The song debuted in 2020, but ascended to new heights in ‘22, landing her her first BillBoard #1 hit for an Afrobeats song, delivering her melodies to the ears of toe-tapping humans and canines alike.
‘FREE MIND’ by TEMS is so special, even the dogs can testify. ?pic.twitter.com/u81bMVwCbC
— MUSIC RADAR (@NewSoundRadar) December 14, 2022
Ever since “Essence” was released in 2020—a duet with Wizkid that reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and garnered Tems her first Grammy nomination—there’s been a series of Champagne-worthy celebrations. Last year, a clip of Adele—a confessed Tems fan—singing Openiyi’s “Try Me” went viral on social media.
“Free mind by tems has me in a f—ing choke hold .. wow,” wrote SZA on Twitter. When Future sampled her song “Higher,” he made sure she had a featuring credit so his fans got to know her name. Having only released two EPs to date, the 27-year-old has already featured on tracks with Drake, Future, and Justin Bieber.
Tems is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World ! ?????
Don’t care what anyone says ? pic.twitter.com/0hMVmcZf4J
— TEMS SZN (@temsszn) December 20, 2022
She also became the first female Nigerian artist to accept BET’s Best International Act award.
The week before “Move” came out, Openiyi worked on the soundtrack for the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and later appeared on Barack Obama’s summer playlist. All this before the release of her debut studio album.
This is a freaking big deal, especially cause of the culture shift wakanda represents. @temsbaby you earned your strips, keep shattering ceiling and breaking boundaries ??
— WAJE (@OfficialWaje) December 13, 2022