We’re officially days away from 2023, but before the New Year begins, HNHH still has some major year-end rankings left. Over the last month, we’ve highlighted the hottest songs and the best albums of the year. In addition to our annual music lists, we’ve ranked the top sports performances and signature sneakers of 2022 as well. Now, it’s time for the second annual ranking of the best freestyles of the year.
Following the criteria set last year, only radio or rap show freestyles were considered to help level the playing field. Furthermore, the only other stipulation is that the freestyle had to be an entirely solo endeavor. As a result, group freestyles — like Girll Codee’s Funk Flex Freestyle and Conway’s L.A. Leakers Freestyle — were ruled out. Still, both of those were great, so to shine a light on them, they were included in the honorable mentions.
Without further ado, Here are HotNewHipHop’s 15 hottest freestyles of 2022, beginning with honorable mentions.
Lola Brooke | Funk Flex
Denzel Curry | L.A. Leakers
Freddie Gibbs | Funk Flex
Conway The Machine & Jae Skeese | L.A. Leakers
Girll Codee | Funk Flex
15. Rexx Life Raj | Sway In The Morning
Featured Instrumental: Mase “What You Want”
Read More: Rexx Life Raj Shares Incredibly Personal 12-Track Album, “The Blue Hour”
If you’re a casual fan of Rexx Life Raj, you’re likely more familiar with the California artist’s more melodic output. However, during his recent appearance on Sway in the Morning, Raj reminded everyone he’s got the bars on lock, too. In a smooth freestyle over Mase’s “What You Want,” Rexx Life Raj drops poignant bars while utilizing a soft-spoken flow.
Still finding ways to make it shake, just know I do it often
At times I shoulda lost it, I smiled through the losses
If you love me, God, then why would you put me through all this
What should I learn from seeing both of my folks in a coffin?
Look, I don’t want to much, just not to be exhausted
and aware enough to see my blessings when I come across ’em
14. YG | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumental: Nipsey Hussle “Hussle In The House”
Read More: YG’s “How To Rob A Rapper” Track Criticized Following PnB Rock’s Death
While bars can make or break freestyles, there’s no overlooking the magic that happens when artists fit the beats perfectly. Without a doubt, that’s the case with YG’s recent L.A. Leakers appearance. The I Got Issues artist pays homage to the late Nipsey Hussle by spitting over “Hussle In The House.” As a result, the West Coast vibes are downright palpable. YG’s performance is solid all around, and after dropping plenty of quotable bars, he even addresses his controversial song, “How To Rob A Rapper.”
So cautious, I’ll let it bang
In the courtroom I’m a rapper, I ain’t never sang
Same n*gga, same I ain’t never changed
Married to the game, 4 Hunnid on the wedding ring
Stupid, made it out the streets, gave the blueprint
Y’all was mad, Nip was Crip and I was whoopin’
That was my loc, we did our thang, we was troopin’
They was mad back, then but now they salutin’
13. Latto | Funk Flex
Featured Instrumental: UGK “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)”
Read More: Latto Gets The Key To Her Hometown Of Clayton County
Since her breakout single “B*tch From Da Souf,” Latto has always repped Clayton County — and by extension, Atlanta — proudly. Last year, the Grammy-nominated rapper landed a spot on this list with a fiery freestyle over Yung LA’s “Ain’t I.” Now, she has earned a spot once again with a freestyle over a song featuring yet another iconic Atlanta rapper. While visiting Funk Flex at Hot 97, Latto tried her hand at “Int’l Players Anthem.” The 777 artist skated over André 3000’s classic intro, and she also went crazy at the Pimp C beat switch.
My boots André, they cost a cool $3000
Big Latto like the Boi, the outcast they doubted
But I’mma make them hoes regret it like the bodies that they don’t count
Ride wood good, swear I shoulda been on Roll Bounce, ugh
I ain’t crying in no Maybach I can buy myself
Stupid bitch, you can’t keep him if he don’t wanna be kept
12. LaRussell | Sway In The Morning
Featured Instrumental: Original beat produced by Skeyez
Read More: LaRussell Shares His 21st Album, “I Hate When Life’s Going Great”
During his exclusive interview with HNHH, LaRussell admitted that he doesn’t take editorial reviews or lists seriously. With that said, there’s no way the Vallejo artist’s Sway freestyle wasn’t making this list. The soulful two-minute freestyle is jam-packed with motivational gems and quotable takeaways, and you can hear LaRussell’s passion in every line. However, LaRussell’s appearance on Sway in the Morning is — as he would say — not the same. This freestyle can actually be streamed on DSPs since it is owned by LaRussell, Sway, Skeyez, and even select fans. By allowing fans to buy stock in the freestyle, LaRussell proved that he’s living the entrepreneurial life he’s rapping about.
Money can’t save you, drugs can’t heal you
When you out of touch, it’s hard for n*ggas to feel you
Stress from the shame and the guilt will really kill you
Feelin’ like they owe you, but keep letting them bill you
When you break the mold, don’t forget about the mildew
11. Cordae | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: The Notorious B.I.G. “Kick In The Door” – Jadakiss “Put Ya Hands Up” – Kodak Black “Super Gremlin”
Read More: Cordae Pays Homage To Beanie Sigel On “Feel It In The Air”
Cordae was the first guest rapper on L.A. Leakers in 2022, and he definitely set the standard early on. While promoting From A Birds Eye View, Cordae stopped by Power 106 and freestyled over three different beats. First, he flowed over Biggie’s “Kick In The Door,” and then he went in over Jadakiss’s “Put Ya Hands Up.” However, he really caught steam during his freestyle over Kodak Black’s insanely popular 2021 single “Super Gremlin.”
I can feel you n*ggas panickin’, heart cold like a mannequin
Got the game in a chokehold like I’m Anakin
Darth Vader, heartbreaker, real n*gga, they faker
Word to Belichick, I’m a playmaker
I’m a money-gettin’ ass lil’ n*gga, if you disagree then they hate us
It’s like how do I come from the trenches
To wearin’ Givenchy? I promise my n*gga, it’s nothin’
Havin’ the people resent me to countin’ blue Benji’s
Shut up, it’s the end of discussion
10. Dreezy | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: Kanye West – “Clique”
Read More: Ladies First: Dreezy On Hit-Boy Collab Album, Getting Love From Coi Leray & More
Earlier this year, Dreezy released HITGIRL, a collaborative effort alongside Hit-Boy and her first full-length project in over three years. Thus, it’s only right that she freestyled over some iconic Hit-Boy production when visiting the L.A. Leakers. The gifted femcee rapped over GOOD Music’s Cruel Summer hit record, “Clique,” proving why she’s such a sought-after songwriter. Throughout her freestyle, she confidently addresses her lack of competition and boasts about working with Kanye West and J. Cole. If this doesn’t make you want to give HITGIRL a chance, you’re tweaking.
When you too humble, they act like they got amnesia, huh?
Til I come set the record straight on L.A. Leakers, huh?
Guess I’m too gangsta to be fuckin’ with a singer
All my n*ggas pushing P, that’s them pounds or they pussy pleasers
I go overtime like late shifts, find you some safe to play with
I hear another weak bitch, I’m snatching the mic like Tay Swift
It ain’t a ass shot, doctor, or a writer, or a playlist
That can build a bitch to step to me, I mean that disrespectfully
9. Benny The Butcher | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumental: DMX “N*ggaz Done Started Something”
Read More: Benny The Butcher Defends Violent Rap Lyrics
This year, Benny The Butcher managed to snag placements on HNHH’s top song and album rankings. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the Black Soprano Family artist also made our hottest freestyle list. Days before the release of Tana Talk 4, Benny made an impressive appearance on L.A. Leakers. Although his freestyle was rather concise, it was packed with hard bars and witty one-liners. The Butcher sounds at home over this nostalgic DMX instrumental, so it’s really a shame the freestyle is so short.
Put my shit out in a week and they gon’ learn every line
With these verses of mine the shit gon’ work every time
One point something out a label and I’m worth every dime
When I drop, shit gettin’ uglier than your first baby mom
8. Megan Thee Stallion | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumental: Warren G “Regulate”
Read More: Pam Grier Is Writing A Movie For Her And Cardi B, Shares Advice For Megan Thee Stallion
For years, Megan Thee Stallion has consistently been one of the best female rappers in the industry. Nevertheless, the Grammy award-winning artist still reminded fans about her bars in the leadup to her sophomore album, Traumazine. She stopped by the L.A. Leakers in August and delivered a swift yet hard-hitting freestyle over Warren G’s “Regulate.” In typical Hot Girl fashion, Meg killed it bar-wise and delivery-wise, floating to infectious braggadocio.
Ass move like water but I’m known to be a solid bitch
All that fuckin’ hating y’all be doin’, it ain’t stoppin’ shit
I don’t need a watch for me to let him know what time it is
You grown now, I ain’t doin’ nothin’ that your mama did
Never gave a fuck like I ain’t never broke my hymen, uh
I rock Louis slippers ’cause I’m always out here sliding, ayy
7. Ab-Soul | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: 2Pac “Hit ‘Em Up” & Biggie “Who Shot Ya”
Read More: Ab-Soul Details Suicide Attempt: “I Got A Lot Of Work To Do Still”
Surprisingly, Ab-Soul only just made his debut appearance on Justin Credible and DJ Sourmilk’s L.A. Leakers freestyle series. In fact, Soulo’s L.A. Leakers freestyle is only two weeks old. It’s a stark contrast to most of the freestyles in this ranking, but without a doubt, the Herbert artist deserves this placement. In a two-part rampage over classic 2Pac and Biggie tracks, Ab-Soul nonchalantly tramples over the competition. It’s loaded with hard punchlines and insanely high-level bars, so make sure you watch this one on repeat.
I’ma say it ’til I can’t, puttin’ paint where it ain’t though
Stuck to the paper, you can say I’m a staple
I be where you can’t go, every day I’m still breathin’
Is a celebration, life is too champagne-ful
Sayonara, I don’t wanna, but I gotta hit ’em up
Callin’ quits, you n*ggas full of shit, you need a enema
I’m only warmin’ up, check the temperature
I do it big as Christopher, you n*ggas miniature
I need a ticket for my signature, or we can’t get it done
6. LaRussell | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: Original beat produced by Smith 85
Read More: LaRussell Is In A League Of His Own: Talks Throwing Concerts In His Backyard To Nipsey Hussle’s Influence On “Proud 2 Pay” Movement
For all of the praise his Sway freestyle received, LaRussell’s L.A. Leakers freestyle deserves just as much. Just like his Sway in the Morning appearance, LaRussell owns the Leakers freestyle, and thus, it’s also available on DSPs. Without a doubt, it’s an incredible feat, especially since it was his debut on the fan-favorite freestyle series. Although fan equity and stock would come eight months after its release, LaRussell’s Leakers freestyle still delivered in other aspects. The Good Compenny head honcho fits perfectly on Smith 85’s production, and his bars hit on a deeper level. As he says during the freestyle, “These is life hymns.”
I’m just getting warmed up, had to start the car on n*ggas
I bench press and lift the bar on n*ggas
400 years depressed, it was hard on n*ggas
Blackjack, couldn’t wait to flip the card on n*ggas
Who need a label now? I came with the fire stick, who need cable now?
Built the whole god damn kitchen, who need a table now?
I guess the horse is out the stable now
5. Westside Boogie | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: Benny The Butcher “Johnny P’s Caddy” – Babyface Ray “What The Business Is” – Kanye West “Drive Slow”
Read More: Westside Boogie Drops Deluxe Version Of “More Black Superheroes”
Rapping over multiple beats back-to-back can be a challenge for many artists. For Westside Boogie, however, that’s simply not the case. Ahead of his latest album, MORE BLACK SUPERHEROES, the Shady Records signee visited Power 106 to prove that. In a stunning tour de force, Boogie bodied three incredibly different instrumentals from Benny The Butcher, Ye, and Babyface Ray. While rapping over each beat, he naturally switched up his flows; but interestingly enough, he also switched between alternate personas. Westside Boogie’s performance is both entertaining and loaded with bars, making it an easy freestyle of the year contender.
Here’s my secrets, come hold me so you can feel me, it’s heavy
Like break my ego in pieces and come rebuild me, I’m ready
My life already get shaky so man, my focus be steady
I look myself in the mirror, like I could grow if you let me
Shit, if I could uncover my powers, I’d be dangerous, mm-hmm
Teach my n*ggas how to heal and be more patient, mm-hmm
I’m responsible to come do all the saving
but I’m left with all this guilt because I made it
4. CyHi | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: 42 Dugg “Maybach” & Jeezy “Go Crazy”
READ MORE: CyHi The Prynce Says “Sicko Mode” Was A Gift & A Curse That Strained Rapport With Ye
Only a select group of rappers can go toe-to-toe with CyHi, and he proves that with his latest Leakers freestyle. After the release of EGOT the EP, the Atlanta native joined DJ Sourmilk and Justin Credible for a full-on clinic. While flowing over 42 Dugg’s “Maybach” and Jeezy’s “Go Crazy,” CyHi takes wordplay to another level. Like some of the best freestyles featured in this ranking, CyHi’s Leakers freestyle demands several repeat listens.
I might just drop a Christian project, n*ggas still’ll cop it
I’m a Catholic that’s philosophic, yeah
And my freestyles are philanthropic, yeah
So that makes me a non-profit, oh
Get the logic?
Used to be a ‘Kon artist, but I never picked a pocket
My partner still doing time, imagine me stealing watches
They botched a robbery and had to kill the hostage
Real life chronicles
3. Symba | Funk Flex
Featured Instrumentals: Wu-Tang Clan “C.R.E.A.M.”
Read More: Symba Shares Advice He Received From Dr. Dre
Symba has been on fire this year. He dropped the star-studded Results Take Time project alongside DJ Drama in September, and the Gangsta Grillz effort is definitely worth checking out. However, shortly before that, Symba was killing freestyles on Sway in the Morning and Hot 97. While Symba did do Lil Wayne’s “Cannon” justice for Sway, his Funk Flex freestyle was a bonafide moment. Symba kicked things off by checking Flex for disrespecting 2Pac, and the legendary radio host couldn’t even keep his composure. After taking a moment and starting things over, Symba found his flow again and never looked back.
I ain’t been home in weeks, my album about to drop
Imagine all the fans I’ma lose if this shit flop
It’s hard competing with Drake for the top spot
But imagine what we ’bout to go through with these robots
RIP to PnB Rock, I said, RIP to PnB Rock
What? RIP to PnB Rock
Man, you n*ggas from the block kill more than n*ggas than cops, let me stop
2. DaBaby | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: Gunna “pushin P” & Roddy Ricch “Too Easy”
Read More: DaBaby Win $6 Million Lawsuit Over Alleged Miami Assault
Needless to say, the top five freestyles of this ranking can easily be switched around depending on one’s tastes. DaBaby’s L.A. Leakers freestyle, for example, is definitely strong enough to be considered a freestyle of the year contender. For Super Bowl weekend, he obliterated two of Gunna’s DS4EVER beats, and 10 months later, his energy is still unmatched. Like his officially released music, DaBaby left no corner of the “pushin P” and “too easy” instrumentals untouched. DaBaby’s L.A. Leakers freestyle truly is a sight to see.
I’m the type of rap n*gga kill a rap n*gga, now I still walk in and do my lil’ show there, n*gga (Come on Baby)
I’m pushin’ P, I’m the realest one in it
She fuck with me, that boy still in his feelings
I’m in Atlanta, buyin’ designer
Fuck ’round with me and I’ll shoot you in Lennox
I’m in New York where I can’t have a gun
I’ma just fly into New Jersey with it
I’m back to Cali and I never run
Play, you gon’ go play with 2Pac and Biggie
1. Nick Grant | L.A. Leakers
Featured Instrumentals: Nas “Wu For The Children” & Lil Wayne “Dick Pleaser”
Read More: Nick Grant Welcomes Us To Loveland On His New Project
For 2022, the freestyle of the year goes to Nick Grant. In May, the South Carolina native made his third appearance on L.A. Leakers, which didn’t disappoint. After a four-year break from the platform, Nick Grant selected beats from Nas and Lil Wayne for his bar-riddled performance. The result was an insane 7-minute clinic. The A Room Full Of Members artist absolutely snapped, and his freestyle is one that gets better with every listen. Everything that Nick Grant does in his latest L.A. Leakers freestyle — from wordplay to breath control — should be studied. Check out HotNewHipHop’s best freestyle of 2022 above.
Even when riding public transit I was trained to bust
Nose-job on the barrel I had to face destruction
I learned young man, the loudest n*ggas ain’t ‘bout nothing
I’m living in color, tell ‘em meet me at the weigh-in brother
For real a hustler, don’t believe these rappers they dreaming, all this shit, fictitious
Got ya’ bitch on the couch, switching positions, like a Simpson
All I see is green, Donnie Simpson, bet that
If you ain’t mean to kill him you ain’t really earned him like, nepotism
Now that you’ve read our ranking of the top 15 hottest freestyles of 2022, what do you think? Is it on point? Is it wack? Are we missing anybody? Who had your favorite freestyle of 2022? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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