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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

——

Enliten Elite Affiliate Tapes

DyMe-A-DuZiN – The Orientation mixtape

Elbee Thrie – I am A PiG mixtape

MoeBrad – Graduation Kush mixtape

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Artist Update

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Before we get any closer to 2011, use the random selection below as an update on the 10 artists featured in the 02.04.2010 post Artists To Watch ’10-’11. To qualify, artists couldn’t be on the ‘09-’10 post. In no particular order:

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa – Real Estate

Wiz Khalifa – Stoned

Wiz Khalifa – Bad Guy

Big Sean

Big Sean – Poster

Big Sean – Big Nut Bust

Chris Brown feat. Big Sean – Shit God Damn

Mike Posner

Mike Posner – Single & Drunk

Mike Posner feat. Big Sean & Clinton Sparks – Ambiguous

XV feat. Mike Posner – Mirror’s Edge

J. Cole

J. Cole feat. Drake – In The Morning

J. Cole – Blow Up

J. Cole feat. Wale – You Got It

Jay Electronica

Jay Electronica feat. John F Kennedy

Jay Electronica feat. Jay-Z & The Dream – Shiny Suit Theory

Jay Electronica feat. Diddy – The Ghost of Christopher Wallace

Game feat. Swizz Beatz & Jay Electronica – Higher

XV

XV – Gettin’ Bizzy

XV feat. Talib Kweli – Reset Button

XV feat. Chiddy Bang – She Go, I Go

Woody feat. Charles Hamilton & XV – Make Believe

B.o.B

B.o.B – Beast Mode

B.o.B feat. Wiz Khalifa – Fuck The Money

Slim Thug feat. B.o.B – So High

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj – Catch Me

Nicki Minaj – Wave Ya Hand

Nicki Minaj – Blow Ya Mind

Chip The Ripper

Chip Tha Ripper – Ain’t No Love Here

Kid Cudi feat. GLC, Chip Tha Ripper & Nicole Wray – The End

Big Sean feat. Chip Tha Ripper & Curren$y – Five Bucks (5 On It)

Short Dawg

Short Dawg feat. Lil Wayne – Lean

Short Dawg feat. Kid Ink & Mistah FAB – Cuff Yo Chick

Short Dawg – Tell ‘Em Free Tune

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Music Videos 11.28.2010

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Tyga – Like Me:

Soulja Boy – Speakers Going Hammer:

B.o.B – Beast Mode:

Mac Miller – Knock Knock:

Clinton Sparks feat. Big Sean & Mike Posner – Ambiguous:

DyMe-A-DuZiN feat. Kenzie May – Flash Me:

Black Eyed Peas – The Time (Dirty Bit):

Rihanna feat. Drake – What’s My Name?:

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Artists To Watch ’10-’11

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Here’s the list for this year. The only qualification is that you can’t be on my list from last year. That means your name can’t be Tyga, KiD CuDi, Charles Hamilton, Drake, Mickey Factz, Jae Millz, Wale or Willy Northpole (a pretty decent list). I’ve included some kind of demonstration for each artist, which could be a mixtape, mp3 or video. In no particular order:

Wiz Khalifa

One of the best albums of last year:

Wiz Khalifa – Flight School (mixtape)

Big Sean

Big Sean destroys Bangladesh/Gucci Mane’s ‘Lemonade’ beat:

Big Sean – Supa Dupa Lemonade Freestyle

B.o.B.

I know I just posted this but:

B.o.B. – May 25th (mixtape)

Mike Posner

This was one of my ‘Best Mixtapes of 2009‘:

Mike Posner – One Foot Out The Door (mixtape)

J. Cole

I gotta admit – I’ve been sleeping on J. Cole this past year. Check this out though:

J. Cole – The Warm Up (mixtape)

Chip Tha Ripper

Check out an artist from Cleveland that’s not named CuDi:

Chip That Ripper – The Cleveland Show (mixtape)

Nicki Minaj

Currently, she is the only relevant female rapper. Here is the new video with Mariah Carey:

Mariah Carey feat. Nicki Minaj – Up Out My Face

Jay Electronica

Could be the future of music. Here are some exhibits to demonstrate:

Jay Electronica – Exhibit A (Transformations)

Jay Electronica & Mos Def – Exhibit B (snippet)

Jay Electronica – Exhibit C

Short Dawg

I gotta mention another Young Money artist since I had three on the list last year. Check out some singles:

Short Dawg feat. Tyga & Lil Wayne – I Just Wanna

Young Money feat. Short Dawg – Pass The Dutch

Lil Wayne feat. Short Dawg & Gudda Gudda – Break Up

XV

Until his next mixtape, ‘Vizzy Zone’, drops…:

XV – 30 Minute Layover (mixtape)

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B.o.B. vs T-Pain?

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I know people like to compare B.o.B. with Andre 3000, but I can’t be the only one that thinks that when B.o.B. raps it kinda sounds like T-Pain. Check it out yourself: B.o.B. vs T-Pain. Regardless, his new mixtape is one of the best in a while:

B.o.B. – May 25th

[Featured artists: Charles Hamilton, J. Cole, Asher Roth, Playboy Tre & Bruno Mars]

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The Best Mixtapes of 2009

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1. Drake – So Far Gone

When a comparatively bad retail-version of your CD sells 73,000 copies in the first week, while a very good mixtape-version is available online for free, your album is #1 in my book. Also, props for songs featuring Sweden’s Lykke Li and Peter Bjorn & John. Everyone better already have at least some version of this mixtape in their library, and get ready for ‘Thank Me Later‘ in 2010.

[Featured artists: Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Bun B, Omarion, Lloyd, Lykke Li, Santogold & Peter Bjorn & John]

2. Wiz Khalifa – Flight School

I still listen to this CD pretty regularly. ‘Flight School’ showcases Wiz better than any of his other CD’s in 2009 by far.

[Featured artists: Kev Da Hustla & John Record]

3. Kid Cudi – Dat Kid From Cleveland

Kid Cudi had a big year, and this is his best mixtape effort for 2009.

[Featured artists: Kanye West, Common, Wale, Chip Tha Ripper, Consequence, Kevin Rudolf, Jackie Chain, 88-Keys & Sharam]

4. Big Sean – UKnowBigSean Vol. 2

I really wish Big Sean would release another mixtape, but this one will have to satisfy until that happens. This tape is solid throughout.

[Featured artists: Mike Posner, Santigold, Jay K, Earlly MacMillion, Dusty McFly, Keely & Pat Piff]

5. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings

Lil Wayne proves he is still ridiculously creative and has unlimited punch lines… gives me flashbacks to his mixtape haydays a few years ago.

[Featured artists: Birdman, Tyga, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, Nicki Minaj, Short Dawg, Shanell & Lucci Lou]

6. The Cool Kids – Gone Fishing

The Cool Kids drop another solid mixtape. I wish these guys came out with more music overall, but you can’t knock their consistent quality.

[Featured artists: Ryan Leslie, Shorty K, Jahda & Tennille]

7. Gucci Mane – Gucci Land

Gucci is the most popular rapper right now; I can see ‘The State vs. Radric Davis‘ selling between 250K & 500K this week… it’s a good CD. I had this mixtape, ‘Gucci Land’, on replay more than any of his others in the past year.

[Featured artists: OJ Da Juiceman, The Game, Timbaland, Fabolous, Nicki Minaj, Chip Tha Ripper, Dem Franchise Boyz, Yung L.A., Gorilla Zoe, Shawty Lo, Freeky Zekey & more]

8. B.o.B. – B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray

B.o.B./Bobby Ray/This guy is definitely one of the most talented of the new artists with his versatility rapping and producing.

[Featured artists: Kanye West, T.I., Charles Hamilton, Asher Roth, OJ Da Juiceman, Bun B, Mickey Factz, Big Kuntry, Mac Boney, Playboy Tre & Killa Mike]

9. Mike Posner – One Foot Out The Door

My only non-rap mixtape for the year, and it is Mike Posner for a reason. The songs featuring Big Sean are the highlights for me.

[Featured artists: Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Saigon, Bun B, Clinton Sparks, Freddie Gibbs, GLC & XV]

10. Wale – Back to the Feature

Another rapper that had a big year; this is Wale’s best overall mixtape effort in 2009.

[Featured artists: Big Sean, Talib Kweli, Mike Posner, Bun B, Joell Ortiz, Lady Gaga, Currensy, Memphis Bleek, Peter Bjorn & John, Young Chris, J Cole, Royce Da 5’9, Joe Budden & more]

11. Tyga – The Free Album

Yeah, I couldn’t narrow my list to 10 selections, and I even had a hard time deciding between this mixtape and Tyga’s more recent, ‘The Potential‘.

[Featured artists: Lil Wayne, Gata & Short Dawg]

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Hip Pop

I haven’t posted singles in a while, so I thought I might as well. Besides the first couple here, I think a lot of these songs will become pretty popular soon. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of Akon, but the beat on ‘New York City’ is legit. Birdman is still holding it down with a couple singles here. And Timbaland teaming up with Shakira and Lil Wayne? Hit. Also, watch out for Cory Gunz and Wiz Khalifa in the near future. :

Tyga – The Nausea

Cory Gunz – Big Noise

Wiz Khalifa – The Plane

Drake feat. Birdman – More Milli

Timbaland feat. Shakira & Lil Wayne – Give Up To Me

OJ Da Juiceman – When I Get Big

Akon – New York City

Birdman feat. Jay Sean, Flo-Rida & Mack Maine – Written On Her (remix)

Wale feat. Pharrell – Inhibitions

Which one has a better verse?

Mario feat. Big Sean – Before She Said Hi

Mario feat. B.o.B. – Before She Said Hi (remix)

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