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.