The Year in Music 2022: Beyoncé and Rihanna make long-awaited musical returns

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2022 was a year filled with long-awaited musical returns from some of the greatest in the culture. After six years, Beyoncé and Rihanna released new music, while Kendrick Lamar came out of hiatus with his final album for Top Dawg Entertainment. Here’s a recap of their year, along with some other artists who returned to the music scene.

While Bey released a soundtrack and visual album for 2019’s live-action version of The Lion King, fans hadn’t heard a solo project since 2016’s Lemonade. She returned in June with “Break My Soul” and dropped Renaissance a month later, earning nominations, awards and positions on some year-end lists.

Beyoncé never released a visual for the album, but she shared a teaser for “I’m That Girl,” as well as video compilations of fans dancing to “Break My Soul” and doing the TikTok “Cuff It” challenge.

Rihanna’s spent the last few years building her Fenty empire and brushing off constant questions about her new music. In 2022, however, she had a life-changing experience: She became a mother. She and A$AP Rocky confirmed they were expecting after a photographer shared images; they welcomed their first child months later.

Rih also launched another Savage x Fenty fashion show before announcing new music: “Lift Me Up” and “Born Again” are both featured on the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. She secured the headlining performance for the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show, which she says has nothing to do with a new album.

Kendrick released Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers in May, four years after DAMN.

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Pusha T‘s It’s Almost Dry, the follow-up to 2018’s Daytona, dropped in April. 

In September, Ari Lennox returned from her three-year break with Age/Sex/Location.

SZA released SOS nearly five years after Ctrl in December. It’s now her first #1 song on the Billboard 200.

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