Drake, NBA YoungBoy, Juice WRLD, Ye, Future, and more are leading hip-hop in the numbers game this year.
No matter how you slice it, 2022 has been a gigantic year for hip-hop in an era where it seems to get bigger and bigger every year. Whether it’s a slew of excellent underground releases, massive albums from some of the game’s best, or insane events or happenings in the culture, rap fans have much to celebrate this year.
Now that there’s only about two months left in the year, and many of the biggest music releases have already landed in our laps, many are reflecting on the ten rappers who got the most numbers through streaming this year.
First up we have Lil Baby at number ten and Kendrick Lamar at number nine. The Atlanta native has been on one of the most remarkable upward trajectories of his generation, honing his skill not just as a hitmaker and feature killer, but as a lyricist and storyteller on the recently released album, It’s Only Me. Meanwhile, Kendrick’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is arguably the release of the year, following five years of studio album silence with incredible introspection, critical acclaim, and huge songs like “N95” and “Silent Hill” that solidifies him as the face of hip-hop today, no matter the metric.
Rounding out the bottom five are Rod Wave, Eminem, and Lil Durk in that order. Durkio’s album 7220 most likely propelled him to the number six spot, whereas the unassuming placement from Rod Wave was driven by his album Beautiful Mind. Em did drop Curtain Call 2 this year, but his success is driven just as much by his absolutely unstoppable impact and popularity as it is by his newest releases. It is a greatest-hits album, after all.
Starting out the top five are Future, Ye f.k.a. Kanye West, and Juice WRLD, who is still beloved by millions of passionate fans who continue to support his legacy. Future’s I NEVER LIKED YOU is one of the biggest albums of the year as well, and while Ye technically didn’t drop an album this year (at least not one that cost $200 to access), his controversies, visibility, and legacy are still sending fans and newcomers alike to his music in droves.
At number two is YoungBoy, who is well-known as a streaming giant on YouTube. As one of the most prolific artists in the game, he has a laundry list of albums and mixtapes released this year: six so far with a rumored collab with Quando Rondo on the way. Worth noting is his latest mixtape, Ma’ I Got A Family, a Gangsta Grillz tape with the legendary DJ Drama.
Finally, the most streamed rapper of 2022 is Drake- wait, Drake at the top of the numbers game? Who would’ve thought? The 6 God is almost guaranteed to make huge numbers no matter what he drops, something that he basically proved with the No. 1 success of his house-driven album, Honestly, Nevermind. With a new collaborative album with 21 Savage on the way titled Her Loss, it’s unlikely that anyone will take the “Sticky” singer’s crown away this year, and he’ll be adding millions more to his 6.7 billion streams in 2022 so far.
All of these rappers made huge projects under their name this year, almost all of which went No. 1 on the charts. Looking at this crew of MCs, we see so many hometowns, so many styles, and so much influence, whether they are imparting it on others or using their own to push hip-hop forward.
As you can see in the above tweet, hip-hop is the dominant genre of the moment, and it’s here to stay. Stay tuned to HotNewHipHop to see how the rest of the year pans out.