These Songs Took Over The Streets, Trended on TikTok, and Climbed Charts, and We Believe They Deserve Some Year-End List Love!
Since Audible Treats formed in 2004, a lot in the music industry has changed. Hip-Hop has grown more melodic, drill music has proliferated worldwide, and TikTok is ground zero for new artists and inescapable hits. One thing hasn’t changed: our team is committed to sifting through the noise and serving up undeniable bangers. Our most notable songs of 2022 include Billboard Hot 100 hits, viral smashes, and multiple odes to a certain “Say So” pop star. Each one of these songs has permeated the culture.
Whether you favor baddie anthems, demonic drill, or boldly inclusive reggaeton, we have just the track for you. Please take a listen and consider them for your “Best Songs of 2022” lists.
The Audible Treats Team
Central Cee can captivate audiences with a single phrase, crafting quotable rhymes that seep into the culture. The cheeky opening line of “Doja” helped the song become a viral phenomenon (over 150 million total streams and over 500k creations on TikTok), but the full song demonstrates why Cench is the hottest rising star in the UK. Sliding over the familiary guitar melody with effortless cool, Cench demonstrates the poise and promise of a rising rapper on top of his game: “The mandem celebrate Eid, the trap still runnin’ on Christmas day.”
“Doja” was the high watermark of an astoundingly successful year for Central Cee. His February 2022 mixtape 23 debuted at #1 on the UK Official Charts, but none of the singles from the album reached the heights of “Doja,” which debuted at #2 on the charts and stayed in the upper reaches for weeks. The song’s video marked a major moment for Cench and his home coutnry’s rap scene: “Doja” was the first song by any UK rapper to earn a video from Cole Bennett and a debut on his Lyrical Lemonade channel (66 million views).
“You thought I was feelin’ you?”
With that six word phrase, a star was born. Hailing from the Bronx (“so I got it from nothin’,” she asserts in her viral On The Radar freestyle), the arrival of “Munch” heralded a new era of New York drill, one defined by Ice Spice’s blasé bars, soft-spoken flow, and “you can’t sit with us” demeanor. Pared down to the bare essentials, the minimalist beat by frequent collaborator RIOTUSA allows Ice Spice to showcase her personality, her soft-spoken wit and laid-back ferocity shining through.
The song earned a notable co-sign from Drake, but the accolades didn’t end there: the song earned breathless praise from Pitchfork, The New York Times, and more, and earned the attention of fellow Bronx native Cardi B. With 18 million streams on Spotify and nearly 500k video creations on TikTok, “Munch” is a powerful and playful opening salvo from an artist who will be with us for a long time.
If rap had a Hall Of Fame, Young Dolph would reach it on the first ballot. The iconic Memphis native passed away last year, but he left behind a prolific catalog of hard-hitting bangers, countless memorable lines, and a thriving Paper Route Empire. Produced by his stalwart collaborator Bandplay, Dolph’s first posthumous single “Hall Of Fame” is a testament to his towering legacy, packed with the high-end flexes for which Dolph is known, but mixing in subtle, yet potent moments of sincerity revealing the heart behind the hustle: “When I was 16, I said ‘It ain’t even about me no more’/This PRE on my chest, it’s a multi-million dollar logo.”
Dolph’s presence loomed large over the year, which saw releases from nearly every artist on the Paper Route Empire roster. His fans streamed his catalog more than ever before–Young Dolph was one of the Top 75 most streamed artists in 2022, with over 1 billion on-demand plays to his name.
Lashing out at the world from behind his ever-present hoodie, $NOT sublimates his antisocial tendencies into aggressively catchy rap songs. The 24-year-old artist’s meteoric rise attracted the attention of A$AP Rocky, who executive-produced the acclaimed Ethereal album and lent his vocal talents to “Doja,” a confrontational banger that played to both artists’ strengths. Produced by Dee B, “Doja” is a bass-boosted banger that finds $NOT wilding out over sirenic vocal samples and speaker-knocking 808s, shouting down his haters with four-letter epithets. On the song’s second verse, Rocky slides in with a supernatural calm, assaulting the upbeat with assonant syllables. The song arrived with a video directed by HIDJI, a member of Rocky’s AWGE collective.
“Doja” caused a stir upon its release, trending on Twitter at midnight shortly after it dropped, and catching the attention of Doja Cat herself. “Doja” debuted at #87 on the Hot 100, making it $NOT’s first Hot 100 placement as a lead artist, and has generated over 50 million streams on Spotify alone.
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A rising artist who impresses with his pen and his pipes, Joyce Santana is one of the standout talents in a flourishing Puerto Rico music scene. The Rimas Ent. artist united with another PR rising star in the spring when he recruited Young Miko for “Besties,” a percolating club banger that caught fire on the island. For the supersized “Besties” (Remix), Joyce and Miko return, but also welcome a new verse Villano Antillano, the first trans woman rapper to make waves in the reggaeton scene who recently earned notice in Rolling Stone, as well as standout performances from red hot reggaetonero Luar La L and rising trap star YOVNGCHIMI.
“This is not for ‘culture’, this goes much further,” said Joyce Santana upon the song’s release. “This is possibly the biggest thing I’ve done in my entire career so far, this is HISTORY. This is dedicated to all minorities. To my black brothers and sisters who have always been marginalized and who I will represent until the last day as that is what I came for. To my brothers and sisters from the LGBTQIA community who have to live day by day and go through more than those who single them out for nothing could bear, and to my people from the neighborhood who have always had to resort to whatever it takes to survive in this society that It is controlled by the one with $ and godfather, but those are sometimes the real poor people.”
Losing a loved one is never easy. Last November, the world lost a legend, a family lost a husband and father, and Key Glock lost his close friend and mentor, the man who plucked him from the streets of Memphis and set him on the path to stardom. On “Proud,” the standout track from Paper Route Empire’s Long Live Dolph compilation tape, Key Glock delves deep into his feelings, processing his sadness and resolving to honor Young Dolph’s memory by going as hard as he can. No matter what he does, Glock knows that Dolph sees him and is proud of what he’s become.
Atlanta multi-hyphenate Lil Gnar‘s iconoclastic attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, and raw rhyme skills prompted Chief Keef to make him his first signee to his new 43B imprint. The two iconoclasts celebrated the impending 43B takeover with “Almighty Gnar,” a titanic beat-switching banger that showcases the unique skills of both rappers. Marked by menacingly triumphant horn fanfares, horror film synths, and hyperactive snares, “Almighty Gnar” reverberates with a grandeur that befits this Godzilla vs. King Kong-like clash of the titans. Sosa leads off the song with a “bang bang,” serving up a stop-starting flow that only the Glo Gang chieftain could’ve conceived. After Keef’s verse, the beat shifts gears to make room for Gnar’s appealing rasp–the Atlanta rapper cycles between infectious flows as he stacks disrespectful flex after disrespectful flex during a supersized verse: “Lil Gnar like a doctor, he be medicated/I need my money now, I ain’t got no patience.”
The legendary, late King Von was known for his crazy stories, but his acclaimed posthumous album What It Means To Be King proved once and for all that he had many more skills in his arsenal. “Don’t Play That,” the lead single from the album and one of the most successful songs in Von’s catalogue, was a spritely change of pace. Produced by Slaughter Gang’s Kid Hazel, “Don’t Play That” is a bouncy, whirring anthem that emphasizes Von’s playful side. A close friend of Von’s family who has always shown love, 21 Savage is an ideal sparring partner for Von, his deadpan demeanor a perfect foil to Von’s animated delivery.
“Don’t Play That” was an immediate success upon its release, generating 1.4M+ Apple Music streams, 1.2M+ Spotify streams, and 1.1M+ YouTube streams in just its first 24 hours of its release, good for a #40 debut on the Billboard Hot 100. Released in February, the song racked up over 66 million Spotify streams en route to earning GOLD certification from the RIAA in August.
Few in the music industry know how to navigate its precarious digital landscape better than the decorated artist-producer collective Internet Money and rap superstar YoungBoy Never Broke Again. It was only natural that these two unstoppable forces would eventually collaborate.
“Flossin” is a banger that lives up to the starpower behind its creation, YoungBoy’s bayou-bred sound and gives it the 4K treatment, layering glistening pianos over booming 808s and crisp handclaps, creating an ideal backdrop for the Baton Rouge native to talk his smack. YoungBoy sics himself on the track like a pit bull, alternating bluesy croons with snapping cadences as he explains how his high-flying lifestyle invites hangers-on and makes it hard for him to figure out who to trust.
One of the most streamed YoungBoy songs of the year (there were a lot!), “Flossin'” was included as a bonus track on YoungBoy’s mixtape Colors, and made a #72 debut on the Billboard Hot 100.
Using his church-trained voice, melodic mastery, and incisive pen, Morray speaks for those going through the struggle. On his 2022 single “Still Here,” the rapper teamed up with a fellow Grammy-nominated NC native in Cordae, as both artists poured their hearts out over layered guitars and hard-hitting trap percussion. Morray opens the song with a emotional hook about his attempts to find liberation while still playing in the rap game, and Cordae follows with a thoughtful and penitent verse about his upbringing and his desire to keep it real: “Oh Lord, Oh Lord I heard you/Found myself and I’m searchin’/We been sinnin’ but won’t do it on purpose,” says Cordae. The Fayetteville, NC native follows up the Raleigh, NC native with a verse of his own, as he speaks on the stressful life of an artist on the move
Whether you say “what’s up” or “wagwan,” or trap out of a vacant “apartment” or “flat,” Central Cee wants you to know he’s speaking your language. During a viral freestyle delivered on the L.A. Leakers Show, Central Cee looked to bridge the gap between U.S. and UK slang, cleverly comparing the lexicons used by rappers in each country. Though the styles are different, Cench proves in a succinct three minutes that the two scenes are not so different after all. Leave it to the UK’s biggest riser to.
With the versatility to set a vibe on any instrumental, Trapland Pat is an artist for all occasions. Earning a co-sign from the Sunshine State’s sunglass-clad jefe, Pat recruited Rick Ross for “Big Business (Remix).” Built around the bouncy piano rolls of Pat’s constant collaborator Pepper Jack Zoe, “Big Business” first saw release in 2021, and quickly became Pat’s breakout hit. Exuding easy confidence and packed with off-beat wordplay (“If you need a loan, you gotta pay me interest/No cappery/ Call the weed man, ’cause this shit here swappery”) the song racked up over 4 million YouTube views and earned recognition from Passion Of The Weiss, who ranked the song #18 on its list of Best Rap Songs of 2021. On the remix, Rick Ross slides like the booming-voiced boss he is, rhyming about carrying extendos in his fresh Rolls Royce and old school Box Chevy.
Along with his acclaimed project Trapnificent, “Big Business” (Remix) establishes Pat as one of the most exceptional talents in the bustling South Florida scene. Just one look at his radiant smile proves that he’s far from finished.
Two years after he broke into the music industry, the DUSTY LOCANE train rolls along. The Canarsie native impressed once again with the latest installment in his signature series. “ROLLIN N CONTROLLIN Pt. 3” finds a 23-year-old DUSTY reminding listeners who they’re dealing with through a more refined, resonant roar: “I ain’t never d*** ride, switch sides, just for a favor/Try to go against mine, brought six nines, if he tellin’ in the paper.”
The MIDAS-directed video for “ROLLIN N CONTROLLIN Pt.3” finds DUSTY and his blue-clad cohort mobbing out in Washington D.C. Whether he’s flanked by his bandana-waving contingent, standing on his own, or riding around the city in a black Escalade, it’s clear that even in our nation’s Capitol, the only one who represents DUSTY is himself.
Unbound by genre convention or traditional song structure, MIA GLADSTONE‘s warped music appeal to the brain’s intellect and pleasure centers in equal measure. Taking a tuneful, yet uncompromising look at how a young queer woman navigates a digital life, “TALKING ONLINE” is throught-provoking, hip-shaking ear candy. Produced by Mia herself, the electric piano-laden track spans an eventful three minutes, complete with complex chord changes, multiple tempo switches, and dueling lyrical perspectives. After indulging the boor for a short time, Mia flips the script and ups the tempo as she tells the lechers to pipe down, laying down a rhyme that perceptively touches on the fragmented communication that dominates this age.
A highlight from MIA’s eclectic new project LOOPY, “TALKING ONLINE” arrives with a boundary-pushing music video that takes an unflinching look at the horror of modern communication culture. Directed by William Alan Harris, the video for “TALKING ONLINE” mixes the ultra-modern subject matter with aesthetics that harken back to the grainy VHS era and the psychedelic 60s. Though the video paints a nightmarish picture, MIA remains defiant, determined to thumb her haters’ noses by living her truth.