THE BEST NEW HIP HOP MIXTAPES & EPS OF 2022 …(SO FAR)

THE BEST NEW HIP HOP MIXTAPES & EPS OF 2022 …(SO FAR)

THE BEST NEW HIP HOP MIXTAPES & EPS OF 2022 …(SO FAR)

With so much uncertainty in the world, music fans are in search of a simpler time. Almost nothing brings back early 2000s nostalgia like the idea of mixtapes. The distinction between albums, mixtapes and EPs seems to get blurred more and with each year that passes. Some artists claim they released a mixtape despite it being a studio LP and others will label a 15-track project an EP. Simply put, there’s not much rhyme or reason anymore.

But whether it’s just a label or artists releasing mixtapes and EPs in the traditional sense, plenty of these projects are still being delivered despite the ambiguity. HipHopDX is compiling the best of the best in an effort to help fans keep track of what drops in 2022.

2022 has opened the year with some great mixtapes. So far, fans have seen releases from Yung Kayo, WiFiGAWD, $not and more. DX will be narrowing down the endless amount of music released during the course of a year to the essentials, providing readers with a list of the must-listen projects.

DFTK, the debut album by 18 year old YSL signee Young Kayo, feels like freefalling through the PlayStation loading screen and down the rabbit hole. For 35 minutes Kayo, cloaked in Kiko and Loewe, sings, raps, yowls, mutters, croons and yells, sounding at once superhuman and totally alien. He does this over beats that sound like swimming through a coral reef (“who you gon call”), a Fortnite battle royale (“YEET”), a halftime performance by a demonic marching band (“freak”). What makes Kayo’s music so special is how little connective tissue he needs to stitch together these disparate ideas. The music’s hyperactivity brings to mind the unfettered chaos of digicore star dltzk or hyperpop icons 100 gecs. But unlike those artists, Kayo is more than happy to make rap music. In some ways, his closest analog might be Charli XCX, whose obsession with cutting-edge sonics always loops back to making elevated pop songs. Taken as a whole, careening from woozy synths to rage beats to autotuned exorcisms, it’s hard not to get the same electric feeling about DFTK as early Thug or Carti: “Wait… rap can sound like this? All the time?” – Vivian Medithi

WIFIGAWD – CHAIN OF COMMAND

WiFiGawd sounds trapped in another dimension with his distinct, warped vocals. The Washington D.C-native has built a prolific career since the mid 2010s with hectic and chaotic raps over DIY lofi production. CHAIN OF COMMAND is WiFi’s latest offering — an 11 track opus that covers everything from COVID-19’s criminal advantages, celebrity crushes and the Draco he stores in his closet. On “Fuck What Ya Heard,” the looped electric strings act as the beat’s jazzy backbone, while WiFi maneuvers the streets, surprising opps with a hundred rounds. – Anthony Malone

ETHEREAL – $NOT
New York rapper $NOT falls into the same category of post-SoundCloud ragers like Yeat, Ken Car$on and of course Travis Scott, but his approach to rap is entirely unique. Originally launched into Hip Hop’s spotlight with tracks such as 2018’s “Pull Up” and “Stamina,” though his vision was fully realized with the release of Ethereal. With Ethereal, $NOT has found himself transitioning from a viral sensation on TikTok to a true heavy hitter in rap’s mainstream. From the blood-pumping thrill of “Doja,” Ethereal’s lead single featuring Harlem’s A$AP Rocky to the glittering instrumentals of penultimate track “high IQ,” $NOT sound ravenous and inspired. Expanding on the work begun with 2020’s Tragedy and Beautiful Havoc, $NOT’s latest is his most polished album to date. But don’t fear: the edge is just as sharp as ever. With a diverse range of features from Kevin Abstract and Joey Bada$$ to Juicy J and Trippie Redd, Ethereal stands as a true breakout project from one of the leaders of rap’s next generation. – David Brake

RENT FREE – HOOK

Hook dropped her new album From, Hook just eight days after she released a rough six-song mixtape. The album is more melodic and fully produced, but the studio scraps on RENT FREE MIXTAPE showcase her ferocious raps far better. Hook’s raps flow and freeze, her staccato bursts lurching in and out of the pocket. Aside from “FOUR,” every song here was genetically bred in a lab to rattle car trunks, blow out subwoofers and generate neighborly noise complaints. Yet Hook is never overshadowed by these titanic beats. She icily spits “when you see me/you see the word hope/MLK/I had a dream/that I wrote” on “THREE” in a hypnotically undulating cadence. The “work-in-progress” energy of the tape brings to mind the urgency of The Life of Pablo, music so immediate and vital it connected with people despite its visible seams. And for people who still aren’t on board the Hook hype express, here’s a line from “ONE” just for you: “Oh my god/Booooooooooooo!/Throw tomatoes!/Tomato or tomato.” – Vivian Medithi

ME VS. ME – NLE CHOPPA

NLE Choppa’s beef with Baton Rouge rapper NBA YoungBoy has been swirling around Twitter for most of January, a sharp distraction from YoungBoy’s Colors project and now Me vs. Me, the latest project from Choppa. Choppa is only 19 years old, but his rap career has already gone down a multitude of different pathways. He started as a hard-hitting rapper with savage bars before transitioning into a peaceful and meditative lane. Me vs. Me straddles the middle of these two extremes: plenty of introspection is present, but OG Choppa fans will be thrilled to hear the explosiveness is still present in his music. – David Brake

LONG LIVE YOUNG DOLPH – PAPER ROUTE EMPIRE

Young Dolph was the hallmark of independent success and building generational wealth through music. A beloved figure in his hometown of Memphis and abroad, the rap world is still processing his tragic murder in November 2021. Long Live Young Dolph from Paper Route Empire is a fitting tribute to an artist gone way too soon. From Key Glock’s “Proud” to Kenny Muney’s “Role Model,” the PRE rappers show Young Dolph’s undeniable influence and promise to continue pushing forward in his honor. RIP Dolph. – David Brake

FROM THE BAYOU – NBA YOUNGBOY & BIRDMAN

UNTAMED – DUSTY LOCANE

NIGHTINGALE LEGEND – EBK YOUNG JOC

YO!88 – TM88 & PIERRE BOURNE

RAP – TIERRA WHACK

FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM APRIL 2021
SZNZ – Mother Nature
Rookie Of The Year – Lil Eazzyy
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM MAY 2021
Benbow Crescent – Cochise
1 Night I Took Acid – BIGBABYGUCCI
BOY ANONYMOUS – Paris Texas
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM JUNE 2021
SGV1 – SURF GANG
Sin City – Ski Mask The Slump God
Sheep Hate Goats – Chris Crack
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM JULY 2021
It’s Remble – Remble
Sergio Summer – WiFiGawd
They Think We Ghetto – Quadry
Bigger Than Life Or Death – EST Gee
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM AUGUST 2021
03 Inna Key – 03 Greedo
Dum n Dummer 3 – RMC Mike & Rio Da Yung OG
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM SEPTEMBER 2021
Hey Tony! – Tony Seltzer
HIM, Not Them – Co Cash
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM OCTOBER 2021
mr.siLLyfLow – TisaKorean
This Thing Of Ours 2 – Alchemist
Web The World – TEC
FAVORITE MIXTAPES FROM NOVEMBER 2021
Intimadated – KAYTRANADA
RPS & Plan BS II – Tony Shhnow & 10Kdunkin

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