2022: Complex UK’s Highlights From The World Of Music Journalism

A look back at some of the best music writing of the year.


It’s safe to say it’s been another chaotic year, both in and out of the music world.

There have been moments of reckoning and some contentious debates surrounding misogyny (and misogynoir), drill’s public image, and the age-old question of whether you can or should separate the artist from the music (no prizes for guessing who was at the centre of that one). We also lost some greats (R.I.P Coolio, Takeoff...).

But it wasn’t all bad. Here in the UK, Central Cee continued to smash up chart records and took the good word of British rap farther and wider than ever. Stormzy made a return (he never really went anywhere, but we got a lot of new music) with a new album in This Is What I Mean, and a stunning 10-minute visual for “Mel Made Me Do It”, which championed Black Brits from multiple generations and multiple fields. We also got a pretty decent Brit Awards this year—thanks to live performances from Little Simz, Dave, Giggs, Ghetts, Fredo and Meekz, not to mention some big wins for our homegrown rap scene.

In short, there was a lot to discuss this year and a fairly decent amount of it was good, at least in the music world. With that in mind, here’s the best of what the Complex UK team (and extended family) have been reading and rating in 2022.

Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson, EIC

joseph jp patterson editor in chief complex uk

Grime Transformed British Music. A New Exhibition Traces How.

By Desiree Ibekwe, The New York Times

July 8, 2022

The “Is UK R&B Dead?” Debate Has Got To Stop.

By Yemi Abiade, TRENCH Magazine

Aug. 1, 2022

What Is The Sound Of Drill? Brrrrrrrrrrap. Bang! Bam! Pow!

By Wayne Marshall, Vulture

Aug. 17, 2022

The Exploitation Of New York Drill Hits A Disturbing New Low

By Alphonse Pierre, Pitchfork

Oct. 21, 2022

Hip-Hop Needs An Intervention

By Too $hort & E-40, The Atlantic

Nov. 15, 2022

James Keith, Contributing Editor

james keith contributing editor james keith contributing editor

Review: Caspa & Rusko, Fabriclive.37

By Will Pritchard, Pitchfork

Jan. 9, 2022

The Assassination Of Drakeo The Ruler

By Jeff Weiss, LA Mag

Jan. 13, 2022

Stories To Tell: The Deaths Of The Notorious B.I.G. And 2Pac, Through The Eyes Of The People Who Covered Them

By Julian Kimble, The Ringer

Mar. 9, 2022

The Films That Made Us: Skinnyman On ‘Made In Britain’

By Sam Davies, Complex UK

May 5, 2022

Where Does Ye Go From Here?

By Shamira Ibrahim, Defector

Nov. 18, 2022

Claudia Valentina Cagna, Social Media Manager

claudia valentina cagna best music journalism picks

Dréya Mac, The Rising West London Musician Approved By Rihanna

By Thandie Sibanda, Dazed & Confused

May 19, 2022

Amid A Rash Of Cheesy Samples, Is UK Rap Running Out Of Ideas?

By Will Pritchard, The Guardian

May 31, 2022

Solidarity In Silence? Why Muting Artists In Support Of Music Industry Abuse Survivors Is Complicated

By Ray Sang, gal-dem

July 27, 2022

Giggs: The Godfather Of Road Rap

By Naz Hamdi, The Culture Crypt

Aug. 24, 2022

Why Stormzy’s “Mel Made Me Do It” Is An Instant Rap Classic

By Yemi Abiade, TRENCH Magazine

Sept. 26, 2022

Chantelle Fiddy, Contributor

chantelle fiddy complex uk contributor


By Tomas Fraser, Polymer

Jan. 17, 2022

Jamal Edwards, UK Music’s Beacon Of Light, Shines On Through Us All 

By Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson, Complex UK

Feb. 23, 2022

MC Skibadee Tribute – This Style Was Identical To None

By Chris Kelly, UD Music

March 9, 2022

How Benga’s ‘Diary Of An Afro Warrior’ Shifted The Perception Of Dubstep

By Son Raw, TRENCH Magazine

May 31, 2022

How The #BrokenRecord Campaign Is Fighting To Fix The Music Industry

By Tom Gray, Mixmag

Sept. 16, 2022

Yemi Abiade, Contributor

Yemi Abiade Music Journalism 2022

Meet The MC: Jeshi

By Rahel Aklilu, DJ Mag

June 15, 2022

Loyle Carner: ‘There’s A Whole Other Side To Me That’s Darker’

By Alex Mistlin, The Guardian

July 19, 2022

The Line Between Hip-Hop Journalist & Personality Is Only Getting More Blurry

By Elijah C. Watson, Okayplayer

Oct. 16, 2022

The Best UK Rap Albums Of All Time: Every Classic

By Hamza. R, Miccheque

Nov. 1, 2022

Uncut Tems: The Rise And Reign Of The Queen Of Alté R&B

By Natty Kasambala, Dazed & Confused

Nov. 29, 2022

Robert Kazandjian, Contributor

robert kazandjian robert kazandjian

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