The 20 Best Rap Verses of 2022
Our list of best rap verses features a wide spectrum of rappers finding new ways to flip language and flows.
Despite what some people might say, rappers are still spitting. And while reflecting on the best rap verses of 2022, we couldn't help but notice the vibrancy and diversity in rapping: MCs are still finding new ways to flip language and flows, making mundane topics sound fresh and new again.
Our list of best verses features a wide spectrum of rappers touching on a wide spectrum of topics. Some verses are loud and braggadocious, others are intimate and gut-wrenching. Some verses just feature a rapper trying to get his or her shit off. The one thing in common? Everyone on this page is spitting their ass off.
Here are the best rap verses of 2022.
20. $ilk Money — “A White Bitch Killed Gary Coleman"
$ilkmoney's latest album, I Don’t Give a Fuck About This Rap Shit, Imma Just Drop Until I Don’t Feel Like It Anymore, is a DMT trip gone horrific — a nightmare of paranoia, anxiety and absurdity. $ilkmoney’s frenetic flow traps the listener in a box, the breakneck speed of his information dump making it impossible to turn away. “A White Bitch Killed Gary Coleman” blends all of this together, featuring $ilk at his most sarcastic, idiosyncratic and unhinged. “Queen Elizabeth in my spliff got me feeling like Mr.T for the chinchilla mixed with six different rings with a bitch named Philistine,” he raps with fervor. The punchlines pass through with rapid precision, demanding repeat listens to comprehend his commentary. — Josh Svetz
19. Vel Nine — "Winning Time"
From the moment Vel Nine kicks off her verse on the Zoomo-produced "Winning Team," she's going for the gold. The flow is effortless and relaxed like a typically sunny day in Southern California (where she resides), but there's an attack to the cadence that's so commanding. There's an immediacy to those first five lines where she doesn't let up, where you'll likely have to play it back to fully appreciate lines like "done under serving my work to settle, enough surface to bevel." By the end of her verse, it's clear that Vel should be seen as one of California's most promising up-and-coming MCs. — Elijah Watson
18. EST Gee — “Chickens”
EST Gee wants you to know that everything he does is real. And even when the beat calls back to the looser anthems of the Dirty South, EST Gee maintains focus on the tales of the streets. On Future’s “Chickens,” he spits his standout verse of the year and he’s as genuine as they come. “On my block, yeah, I'm like Pac, but I ain't dyin' or goin' to jail,” he raps with the conviction of a man that isn’t afraid of death due to life’s obstacles and ailments. — Anthony Malone
17. Lupe Fiasco — “Ms.Mural” (First Verse)
No matter how we try to classify it with numbers, categories, or trendy lists like this one, art will always be more than the sum of our observations. That's a topic Lupe Fiascobroaches on "Ms. Mural," a Drill Music in Zion song that explores the strained relationship between creators and critics. Coasting over a languid jazz beat, Carrera Lu oscillates between condescending art snob and jaded painter as he connects grand ideas and tongue-in-cheek humor for a glimpse at the soul of an artist. Responding to the detached critic, Lupe scoffs at the notion of creative failure, alluding to a mission that's more sacred than good or bad: "The patron pointed at a pile, 'Are those rejections or mistakes?'/The painter said, 'That is not for question or debate/Most of what we know as art is the projection of a faith." —Peter A. Berry
16. Nas — "Thun"
On King's Disease IIIhighlight, "Thun," Nas takes the time to reflect on career milestones. The song isn't just a victory lap; it’s also a testament to his skill that stands the test of time. “In a Range Rover dissecting bars from 'Takeover.' Sometimes I text Hova, like nigga this ain't over, laughin’,” Nas raps with a peaceful callback to a not-so-peaceful time. — AM
15. Lil Wayne — “Just In Time”
Every year Lil Wayne emerges from his rap palace, takes a puff of his blunt, and reminds the world that he remains one of rap's great technicians. One of the most recent reminders is his verse on J.I.D's "Just in Time." Laced with a rambling flow, adventurous punchlines and disparate metaphors, Weezy's F's offering is the sound of organized chaos — at once neat and unwieldy. —PAB
14. Drake — “Churchill Downs”
Drake is still a great rapper when he wants to be. In the wake of Certified Lover Boybeing critically panned, the Canadian allstar dropped one of his better verses — on a Jack Harlow album of all places. “Churchill Downs” is Drake at his most enjoyable, rapping about everything from therapy, his child, and, of course, just how incredibly wealthy he is — especially compared to you. While subject matter is mostly standard-fare, it's the talk of revenge that stands out the most. An air of disgust surrounds every word as he seemingly addresses issues with the likes of Pusha T and Kanye West, almost as if even he can’t believe he’s still discussing it. — Larry Little
13. Future — “Bullseye 2”
On “Bullseye 2”, Freebandz rapper Real Boston Richey and Future release their demons through indulgence in drugs and violence. For Future, his venom manifested in the form of digging his claws into ex-fiancé Ciara: “If my nigga wasn't Jigga, I'm the type to go after B, And I still smash on C.” Future dropped a lot of music in 2022, but this is his best verse. — AM
12. Rico Nasty — “Swamp Bitches”
Rico Nastyspent 2022 diversifying her sound even further with elements of hyperpop, punk, and grunge laced throughout her Las Ruinas album. But when the call came in from Doechii, TDE’s latest flagbearer, to help her on the intro to her she / her / black bitch EP, the nightmare princess jumps deep in her duffel and reminds everyone that her rapping is not a secondary skill. Over a segmented beat with stalking guitar riffs and bells that sound like they're ringing from a sunken belfry, Rico proceeds to let loose a braggadocious blitz of one liners and alliterative couplets filled with threats of beatdowns, cutting insults, and a slick closing double entendre in “Got hit with the RICO that bitch started singing like she was on Glee.” — LL
11. Freddie Gibbs — “Blackest In The Room” (First Verse)
Behind the social media trolling, lies an often underrated truth about Freddie Gibbs: he’s political, and it’s evident on $oul $old $eparately. “Blackest In The Room,” could arguably serve as the project’s unofficial title track, between The Alchemist’s majestic production, and Gibb’s metaphors on Black power and plight. Freddie name-drops several African-American figures in “Blackest In The Room;” including the death of Fred Hampton; Jeff Fort contacting Muammar al-Gaddafi; and Alonzo Harris, the fictional-super villain character played by Denzel Washington in Training Day. Aside from the cast of Black men he names in his raps, he also sheds light on the political landscape of being Black in America. His cousin who lives in Flint, MI, whose still being affected by the water crisis, and the assumed anti-blackness from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. — Shelby Stewart
10. Kodak Black — “Silent Hill”
On “Silent Hill” Kodak Black asks for no forgiveness, no salvation, no understanding. He is a lost cause, and he makes that clear (“Audemars water, aqua, beatin' the block up 'til we spot 'em/I don't want your ice, boy, I want your life, but fuck it, I still might rob 'em.”) He may have a daughter and a son he’s trying to steer right, but as for himself, he’s embraced the black hat. Kodak’s verse rides in direct juxtaposition with Kendrick Lamar's laid back flow, coming out like a firecracker doused in gasoline. It’s a verse that shows all sides to Kodak: rapper, son, father, ex-convict, displaying the duality of man before our very eyes. — JS
9. Black Thought — “No Gold Teeth”
You can pick apart indecipherable metaphors and esoteric meanings all you want, and that's cool. But simply put, some artists are just self-evidently good — the types of multi-layered talents that even a casual fan can instantly recognize as brilliant. As poignant as he is technically sharp, Black Thought is that kind of rhymer. He served up further proof when he teamed with Danger Mouse for "No Gold Teeth," a stellar, self-contained showcase for clever self-mythology, imaginative rhyme schemes, and wordplay. — PAB
8. Malice — “I Pray For You”
It’s been 10 years since Malice was reborn into No Malice and left his blood-brother tandem the Clipse behind. Through the years, the Virginia Beach rapper has resurfaced from time to time, but the story of No Malice feels partially untold. “I Pray For You” corrects this, with the buried Malice resurrected on the mic one last time summarizing his transformation. “Tell me what I missed/New designer drugs and emotions I don't get/I don't Hellcat, still paddle when I shift/Vietnam flashbacks, I get triggered by a sniff,” he spits with ferocity, admitting he’d rather age gracefully than hold onto old glory and risk losing his peace of mind. Other verses from No Malice have lacked the punch of his prime work, but bringing back his old persona resurrects the witty quips, menacing cool and matter-of-fact cold bloodedness that made him a legend. — JS
7. 21 Savage — “Jimmy Cook”
Her Lossmay have been a disappointment, but it’s evident Drake and 21 Savage had the chemistry to carry a collab album, if Drake had let 21 steer the Bugatti more. Look no further than “Jimmy Cooks” a gaudy flex fest where Drake switches into a Mob boss, and 21 sprays lyrical bullets like his right hand man. 21 is given his own song within a song as the beat switches, riding a tightrope between menacing and playful. 21 may have jokes but I wouldn’t laugh too hard – he might just slap you with a stick. — JS
6. Conway the Machine — "Stressed" (Second verse)
Everyone has bad days, but few can make you feel them the way Conway The Machine does on "Stressed." For the second verse of the Wallo267-assisted track, he renders dormant trauma through couplets of blunt confessionals. Here, he recalls his cousin's suicide and the premature death of his son, threading them with immediate rhyme schemes for bars that are poignant as they are unnerving: "And not too long' after my cousin hung his self/I never told nobody, but I lost a son myself/Imagine bein' in the hospital, holdin' your dead baby/And he look just like you, you tryna keep from goin' crazy." Unsparingly honest, it's more of a blood-letting than rap verse. — PAB
5. J. Cole — "Johnny P's Caddy"
Benny The Butcher and J. Cole’s collaboration, “Johnny P’s Caddy,” served as the opening track to Tana Talk 4, and rightfully so. The two MCs' vivid rap styles collide over the Alchemist-produced song in a bout of wits to create a timeless classic. However, J. Cole’s lyricism takes the first chair on “Johnny P’s Caddy,” where you see a flicker of Cole from his 2010 mixtape Friday Night Lights. Reflecting on his rise in the rap game, Cole takes this opportunity to menacingly speak his piece. He wastes no time to deliver a chilling verse: “On the night I was born, the rain was pouring, God was crying, lightning struck, power outage sparks was flying." He doesn’t just set the scene but creates a movie with every bar. — SS
4. Megan Thee Stallion — "Plan B" (First verse)
It’s no secret that Megan Thee Stallion gleans inspiration from The Notorious B.I.G., and the Houston rapper takes on his style and charisma on “Plan B.” She debuted the song during the first weekend of Coachella and went viral, leaving much speculation about who the song was about. She prefaced the song, saying that it wasn’t aimed at any one person but “to whom the fuck it may concern.” It’s important to acknowledge the song title in itself, considering a Plan B, is widely known as the “morning after pill,” taken after unprotected sex, which she acknowledges by saying, “poppin’ Plan Bs cause I don’t plan to be stuck witcha.” The track samples Jodeci’s 1995 hit song “Freek’n You (Mr. Dalvin’s Freek Mix)” featuring Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, so it’s a track that old-school hip-hop purists can appreciate. On “Plan B,” there’s no singing on the hook, and Megan’s raw bars don’t leave any room for soft and diluted interpretation. Megan comes off abrasively; however, her delivery is effortless, a part of what makes the track so riveting. — SS
3. Kendrick Lamar — “The Heart Part 5” (Third Verse)
It was fitting for “The Heart pt 5” to be the first independent offering we’d get from Kendrick Lamar in five years. Mr Morale and the Big Steppers would find him saying to the world that he is not our savior, but over a sample of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You”, the Compton MC is still acting as the mouthpiece for hip-hop and the woes that plague it. What proceeds to take place is a 5 minute commentary on a cultural cycle of violence that seems to have no end and only doubles down on itself as it takes more than it gives. However, the third verse would center a specific victim. As the beat minimizes — a funk bass line and bongos being all that remain — Kendrick turns into a shaman; a release of deep breaths clear his mind as he allows himself to become a vessel for the late Nipsey Hussle to deliver his final words and reflect on his life. While admitting that his time was cut short, he reassures listeners; “I completed my mission, wasn’t ready to leave/But fulfilled my days, my creator was pleased.” It’s a beautiful tribute that speaks to Kendrick’s ability to provide critique and catharsis with the same impassioned tone. — LL
2. JAY-Z — “God Did”
On “God Did, the behemoth title track off of DJ Khaled latest album, JAY-Z raps with the ancient wisdom and experience of an artist that moves like a myth. He dominates the track, spitting for more than 4 minutes, weaving tales of how a drug kingpin turned in a businessman. — AM
1. Cardi B — “Tomorrow 2”
Cardi B’s innate charisma and overwhelming authenticity make her a commanding presence when it comes to features. It can even lead to totally eclipsing a song's original owner. But on “Tomorrow 2” Cardi matches Glorilla’s adlib punctuated tempo perfectly, acting as both an experienced upperclassman and a schoolyard bully with a bone to pick. There are a number of comedic jabs thrown throughout her minute long verse (“Fake bitch that’s why my friend fucked on yo niggaaa” is a personal favorite), but “I don't speak dog hoe, I don't care what no bitch said/I stay on her mind, I got condos in that bitch head” is the stone fisted haymaker that could flatten even the most emboldened denigrators. The immense confidence and “fuck you” energy in Cardi’s cadence effectively strapped a rocket to an already standout track. — LL