If there's one thing that remains consistent after hip-hop's nearly 50-year existence it's that rappers continue to elevate the sound of the culture with every new music release. 2022 was an interesting mix when it came to rap projects. Veterans shined, newcomers stamped their place in the game and everything in between.

Pusha T set the standard with the April release of his critically acclaimed album, It's Almost Dry. The Virginia-bred MC delivered another exceptional piece of work highlighted by peak production from Pharrell and Ye. Freddie Gibbs had a drama-filled year, but proved that his music still holds true as some of the best in the game on his September album, $old $old $eparately. After using the one-producer formula on previous projects, Gibbs expanded his musical palate on his latest LP with fire results.

GloRilla put on for the ladies and placed her name in the hat as newcomer of the year. The timely release of her major label debut project, Anyways, Life's Great..., in November features the hits single "Tomorrow 2" featuring Cardi B and the breakout track "F.N.F. (Let's Go)," the latter of which earned her Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance. Latto continued to step up when her number is called. She has the praise and the hardware to go with it for her new 777 LP. Spearheaded by the hit single "Big Energy," the Atlanta rapper held her own with artists like Lil Wayne, Childish Gambino, 21 Savage, Lil Durk and others on the impressive listen.

The fourth quarter featured the surprise project from Drake and 21 Savage, Her Loss, which found the newly formed union capitalizing off the success of previous collabs, including their No. 1 hit single "Jimmy Cooks," from Drake's Honestly, Nevermind dance album. The joint project is the highest-selling rap album of the year.

Elsewhere, Jeezy and DJ Drama reunited for the banger-filled Snofall, and JID displayed infinite rhymes on The Forever Story. The year in rap was interesting, to say the least. With 2023 quickly approaching, XXL highlights the best hip-hop projects that came out in 2022.

See Best Hip-Hop Projects of 2022