The Best Mixtapes of 2010

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This year saw the continuing evolution of the mixtape from simple album-promo to legitimate work of art. In fact, the following mixtapes are better than a majority of artists’ studio albums. They are too hard to rank, so without further ado… in no particular order. I’ve also included a 3-song sample of my favorite tracks from each:

Wiz Khalifa – Kush & Orange Juice

Wiz had a very good year rising to become one of the hottest artists of 2010. Along the way, he signed a major deal with Atlantic Records. This mixtape is by far his best cumulative effort of the year.

Wiz Khalifa – Kush & Orange Juice mixtape

Wiz Khalifa – Never Been mp3

Wiz Khalifa – The Kid Frankie mp3

Wiz Khalifa – Mezmorized mp3

Big Sean – Finally Famous: Volume 3

The youngest member of Kayne’s G.O.O.D. Music, Big Sean’s creativity and style are encompassed in this mixtape. Hopefully 2011 will finally bring Finally Famous: The Album.

Big Sean – Finally Famous: Volume 3 mixtape

Big Sean – Meant To Be mp3

Big Sean – Hometown mp3

Big Sean – High Rise mp3

XV – Vizzy Zone

Another artist that signed a major deal in 2010 (Warner Bros. Records), and another mixtape with the quality of an album. XV’s The Kid With The Green Backpack should be one of the best albums of 2011. Still don’t understand how XXL forgot about Vizzy last year.

XV – Vizzy Zone mixtape

XV – GettinBizzy mp3

XV feat. Talib Kweli – Reset Button mp3

XV feat. Chiddy Bang – She Go, I Go mp3

Pac Div – Don’t Mention It

Representing the best coast, this mixtape was probably overlook by many in the Eastern Time Zone. Dispite the time different, don’t sleep on Pacific Division!

Pac Div – Don’t Mention It mixtape

Pac Div – It’s On mp3

Pac Div feat. Dom Kennedy, cARTer & Chip Tha Ripper – Don’t Forget the Swishers mp3

Pac Div feat. Pill – Birds mp3

B.o.B – No Genre

The newest mixtape to make the list, B.o.B’s May 25th mixtape could probably be included alongside No Genre as well. B.o.B is one of those artists who arguably puts out better mixtapes than studio albums.

B.o.B – No Genre mixtape

B.o.B feat. Donnis – Batman Flow mp3

B.o.B – Shoot Up The Station mp3

B.o.B – How U Do That mp3

Charles Hamilton – 10 Things I Hate About Me

Charles Hamilton is either a genius or suffering from serious mental/behavior issues. Either way, dude knows how to make a mixtape. This is Charles’ best effort from his countless releases in 2010.

Charles Hamilton – 10 Things I Hate About Me mixtape

Charles Hamilton – I Am Always Up To Something (Do That) mp3

Charles Hamilton – I’m Moody (Rox) mp3

Charles Hamilton – I Am More Concerned With Love (Mult-Player Love) mp3

Chris Brown & Tyga – Fan Of A Fan

Chris Brown’s In My Zone and In My Zone 2 as well as Tyga’s Well Done mixtape are noteworthy, but what pushes this tape over-the-top is its introduction of Kevin McCall to a larger audience. How long until Chris Brown officially signs with Young Money?

Chris Brown & Tyga – Fan Of A Fan mixtape

Chris Brown & Tyga – What They Want mp3

Chris Brown & Tyga feat. Kevin McCall – Have It mp3

Chris Brown & Tyga feat. Kevin McCall – Ballin’ mp3

Chiddy Bang – Air Swell

Even though it’s only a “mini-mixtape”, Chiddy Bang had to make the list. Check out 2009’s The Swelly Express now if you haven’t done so already.

Chiddy Bang – Air Swell mixtape

Chiddy Bang – Stylo (remix) mp3

Chiddy Bang – Pass Out (freestyle) mp3

Chiddy Bang – Hey London mp3

Wale – More About Nothing

Drawing inspiration from his Mixtape About Nothing released in 2008, Wale’s newest tape includes many tracks that could’ve even been included in his studio album, Attention: Deficit.

Wale – More About Nothing mixtape

Wale feat. Wiz Khalifa & Tre – The Breeze (Cool) mp3

Wale feat. Fat Trel & Black Cobain – The Posse Cut (Who Don’t) mp3

Wale – The Flight mp3

J. Cole – Friday Night Lights

J. Cole’s third official mixtape release might just be his best yet – and the others are pretty good. Like many of the artists above, J. Cole’s upcoming studio album, Cole World, is one of the most anticipated releases of 2011.

J. Cole – Friday Night Lights mixtape

J. Cole feat. Drake – In The Morning mp3

J. Cole – Blow Up mp3

J. Cole – Back To The Topic mp3

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Honorable Mentions

Curren$y – Smokee Robinson mixtape

CyHi Da Prynce – Royal Flush mixtape

Fabolous – There Is No Competition 2 (The Funeral Service) mixtape

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Enliten Elite Affiliate Tapes

DyMe-A-DuZiN – The Orientation mixtape

Elbee Thrie – I am A PiG mixtape

MoeBrad – Graduation Kush mixtape

9 Comments

Filed under Music

9 responses to “The Best Mixtapes of 2010

  1. Nice list. Out of all the sites that are dropping their best of’s for mixtapes, this list is the most accurate I’ve come across so far. Have you got a chance to listen and review Melo-X’s “More Merch” mixtape? That one is definitely in my top 5 for the year. Check it out, I put the link in the comment.

  2. Thanks for the comment – I’ll check out that tape for sure. Really like your site too. Do you have any collabs with clothing companies currently?

    • Nice List Kris – Friday night lights and, of course, Kush and Orange Juice are my top two.

      You should check out Kendrick Lamar’s mixtape called O.D. (Overly Dedicated). He got a shout out on live radio from Dr. Dre last week, and as a result has gotten in the studio with him to work on Detox. Good stuff!

  3. Kevin Sherman

    Yea some of these are great (K&OJ/Friday Night Lights/More About Nothing) but I really gotta say some are kinda weak (Big Sean’s, Charles Hamilton, Chris Brown and Tyga?!?! etc.). Where the hell is Lupe’s Before There Were Lazers, Jay-Z & Coldplay’s Viva La Hova: Remastered, Ya Boy’s The Fix 2, ODB’s Forever Dirty, Big L & Big Pun’s Night of the Living Dead 3, Redman’s Pancake & Syrup, and even Tech N9ne’s new XXL mixtape Bad Season?

    • appreciate the comment. i can see your criticism of ch’s tape, but big sean’s was definitely one of the best of the year – no question. charles’ total body of work made him deserve a spot in my mind. also, the cb x tyga x kevin mccall tape is legit! not to mention it premiered one of the hottest singles of the year, “deuces”, and introduced the world to mccall. you’re right on lupe’s tape, but i’m not convinced on the others. the jay-z x coldplay project is basically 2 years old; big l and big pun have been dead forever; redman is super old; and i’m still not sold on tech n9ne. i would say the chiddy bang tape i included is the weakest, but i really like their style.

  4. rroyel

    what happen with fab’s mixtape

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