So much rap music comes out all the time, and especially with frequent surprise releases, it can be hard to keep track of it all. So, as a way to help keep up with all of it, here’s a roundup of the 5 rap albums from June 2022 that stood out to us most. We also probably still missed or haven't spent enough time with some great June rap albums that aren't on this list. What were some of your favorites of last month? Let us know in the comments, and read on for the list (unranked, in no particular order).


ELUCID - I Told Bessie
Backwoodz Studioz

Armand Hammer have been on fire lately, having released back to back underground rap gems with 2020's Shrines and 2021's Haram, and this year, the duo's individual members have both released their own solo albums. billy woods put out Aethiopes in April, and ELUCID dropped I Told Bessie this past month. Both rappers feature on each other's new albums -- woods is actually on four of I Told Bessie's songs, including one track that also features Pink Siifu and Quelle Chris, and he co-executive-produced the album -- and both albums scratch a similar itch. I Told Bessie is one of ELUCID's most focused and direct projects yet. Bars land with impact, repeated punchlines quickly get stuck in your head, and ELUCID follows a theme throughout. The album is named after his grandmother, who ELUCID credits with "pouring early ideals of Black consciousness into [him]," and with this album, he aimed to "pay tribute to her and acknowledge her continuing impact on [his] life path." With that strong, clear goal comes some of the strongest, clearest songs he's ever released. I Told Bessie feels like one of ELUCID's most accessible albums, but it's all relative. He's still rapping over mind-warping, experimental production, and his approach to language is just as dizzying. The album always seems to have one foot up in space and the other firmly planted on earth. It occupies that thrilling, unpredictable space in between.


070 Shake

070 Shake - You Can't Kill Me
G.O.O.D. Music//Def Jam

NJ artist 070 Shake had her first breakthrough as a guest on multiple albums from Kanye West's Wyoming sessions, including his own ye, Pusha T's Daytona, and Nas' Nasir, and two years later she released her own debut album, Modus Vivendi, which further established her as a refreshing new voice in the hip hop world. On that album, she did use rap cadences and trap beats, but it wasn't really a rap album; she sounded more like a singer at heart. Modus Vivendi almost seemed caught between what Shake wanted to be and what people expected from a G.O.O.D. Music artist, but on You Can't Kill Me, she sounds wholly original. Aside from the occasional brush with the genre, You Can't Kill Me isn't a rap album at all. It's a soulful art pop album, and this time Shake relies less on gurgly auto-tune and more on just belting it. The album's only featured guest is Christine & the Queens, and they're a very fitting pair. Like Christine, Shake makes left-of-the-dial pop music that casually defies genre and expectations. The album's full of futuristic, innovative production, and lush, multi-layered vocal harmonies. To quote Madonna, who recently featured Shake on an official remix of "Frozen," "There is no one like her."


Drake Honestly Nevermind

Drake - Honestly, Nevermind

The Great House Music Revival of 2022 is upon us, with both Beyoncé and Drake incorporating the genre into their music within days of each other. Drake did so in the form of Honestly, Nevermind, an album that's almost entirely Drake singing over dance beats, without really any rapping or traditional hip hop production involved at all. It's not entirely out of left field for Drake (who did something similar on "Passionfruit," has worked with Jamie xx, etc), and it still never reaches the heights of his early/mid 2010s hot streak, but as an overall album, it's the most drastic musical departure he's made in a while. It's nice to hear him shaking things up in any capacity, and it's a fun record, cynics be damned.



Logic - Vinyl Days
Def Jam

Logic's critics usually accuse of him being too much of a tryhard, too obsessed with trying to make classics for the hip hop canon instead of just actually making music that's good enough to be discussed alongside Logic's heroes. That may still be true, but on Vinyl Days, he seems a little less concerned with canonization and more concerned with just paying tribute to the music he loves the most: '90s boom bap and underground hip hop. From the album title alone, it's clear that this project is meant to induce nostalgia, and as a fan of all the stuff Logic is paying tribute to, I have to say this one's kinda hard to deny. He pays tribute to J Dilla, he has a whole song where he calls Madlib the greatest producer of all time but urges him to revive his rap alter-ego Quasimoto, and contributors include other boom bap devotees like Action Bronson, Curren$y, Blu & Exile, and The Game, plus some actual boom bap legends like DJ Premier, RZA, and AZ. At 30 songs, it's really long, but it sounds like Logic's having fun, and it's fun to listen to too.


Conway Big Ghost

Big Ghost Ltd. & Conway the Machine - What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed
Big Ghost Ltd.

Conway the Machine remains incredibly prolific, having dropped several projects this year all alone, all of which find him offering up gritty, detailed storytelling and knockout punchlines over nostalgia-inducing production that recalls the classic boom bap era. One of his most frequent collaborators is producer Big Ghost Ltd., who he's now released three projects with in as many years (and four total including 2015's Griselda Ghost with Westside Gunn). On What Has Been Blessed Cannot Be Cursed, the pair do what they do best, with Big Ghost crafting ominous soundscapes that serve as a perfectly-matched backdrop for Conway's lyricism. Guests include Method Man, Jae Skeese, yxvethegenius, and more.

Honorable Mentions
Big Moochie Grape - East Haiti Baby
Big Sad 1900 - I Don’t Tap In or Tap Out
Duke Deuce - Crunkstar
Erica Banks - Diary of the Flow Queen
Tony Shhnow - Reflexions
Westside Boogie - More Black Superheroes


hip hop

More From Brooklyn Vegan