It’s that time of the year again, as we compile the best release of the last 12 months. We decided to start tonight with the top 15 mixtapes, which was rather hard to compile in a year that saw more free releases than ever. We got together and came up with our top, so continue below to check it out. Let us know if you agree, or if you think our opinion is trash. Either is fine.
Not many mixtapes made a big of a splash this year as Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw. Fans had been waiting for a new full length project from Nip since his 2011 release The Marathon Continues, and he finally delivered in a big way when he dropped this gem off earlier in the year. Not only was packed with great music, but he also made limited signed copies available for $100 which caught the attention of everybody from your everyday music listeners, to Jay-Z who purchased 100 copies in support of the vision. This served as a perfect warmup for his long-awaited debut album, Victory Lap, which is set to be released in 2014.
The young talents of Chicago have been kicking in the door for the past year, and Lil Bibby appears to be the next one up. After gaining some buzz appearing on tracks with other Chi-town emcees, Bibby dropped off his promising effort titled Free Crack. Look for this kid to make a splash in 2014.
Future started the year off right, capitalizing on his amazing 2012 run by dropping the FBG project. “Chosen One” turned out to be quite the hit, and there were arguably a few better bangers on the tape which says something. We’re still waiting on his 2nd studio album Honest, but this piece of work right here at least gave us something solid to keep in rotation until then.
12. The Underachievers – Indigoism
If you aren’t familiar with these kid yet, check out this mixtape and get up to speed. Indigoism was their highly-anticipated debut that had the internet buzzing, and proved that Issa Dash & AK are the new duo to watch out for in 2014.
11. Vic Mensa – Innanetape
Oh look, more Chicago talent. Whether you’re on the bandwagon or not, Innanetape shined as one of the year’s best, and should be a tape everybody gives at least one listen to. There’s no denying the rapper’s success this year, coming on strong in the second half of 2014 after fellow Chi-town buddy Chance The Rapper handled the first half.
One of the new voices of New York without question is the man that goes by Troy Ave. He’s still often overlooked, despite dropping consistent projects for the past couple of years, and New York City might be his best effort yet.
In the words of the man himself:
I swear on my word as a man, my balls, everything. If this ain’t the dopest shit you heard all year I’ma stop rappin’. I’m not gon get no more money in the street, I’ma be a square. I’ma go get a job at Home Depot, that’s gon’ be it. I ain’t gon’ fuck no bitches, I ain’t gon’ drive no more fly cars, that’s gon be it.
Nobody has been arguably more consistent since 2010 than Big K.R.I.T. when it comes to dropping mixtapes. King Remembered In Time followed the same winning formula that we’ve grown to love from the Mississippi emcee. If it isn’t broke, well you know the rest.
Making their mark last year, the trio came back with everything you want in a second project. The group made solid, concrete steps in the right direction solidifying them as a force to be reckoned with for some time to come. Drug Rap has never been more interesting.
Pusha T served up us Rap fiends with a perfect prelude to his even better debut album, My Name Is My Name, with this free project Wrath Of Caine. Simply put, the master of Coke Rap gave us our fix.
One of the 2013 XXL Freshmen put his talents on full display with one of the year’s most anticipated projects, Owl Pharaoh. His production was at the forefront of this mixtape, displaying his wide range of sounds. The tape brought unlikely collaborations, blended sounds from mentors Kanye West & Kid Cudi, but yet nothing here sounds done before. Unique is the one word that comes to mind here.
Often referred to as the hardest working man in Rap, Curren$y took it pretty easy on the releases for once in 2013. But, that’s not to say the one full length solo effort wasn’t a blockbuster as per usual. New Jet City had everything we love about Spitta. From the weed raps, to the motivational records, to the slick talk, great production, and features that make sense. Like many of his releases over the years, this one is sure to stay in rotation for some time to come.
04. Migos – YRN
Not what most would consider “real rap”, and that’s fine. The trio from ATL made a spalsh this year with their YRN mixtape that spawned the hits “Hannah Montana”, “Bando”, and the ever-so instant classic “Vesace” that saw remixed from just about every artist in the game. In the words of Kanye West: “VERSACE! VERSACE! VERSACE! VERSACE! VERSACE! VERSACE! We love Versace. Versace is the greatest designer of all time!”
Action Bronson has made it a point to work solely with one producer when conduction his projects. He’s done full pieces of work exclusively with the likes of Harry Fraud, Alchemist, but working with Party Supplies for the second go-round proved that their bond might be the strongest. There’s no one else in the game right now quite like Action Bronson, who is indeed an acquired taste, much like some of the food he used to prepare as a chef. The raps are delivered about as good as any rapper out doing it right now, but it’s his unique song topics & often hilarious worldview that makes him special at what he does.
Killer Mike & El-P upped the ante from their previous projects when they dropped the free album, Run The Jewels, earlier this year. To say these two mesh well together is about as big an understatement I can make, but you’d have to listen to fully understand what I mean there. This project is an adrenaline rush from start to finish, to put it lightly. If you haven’t, you should.
Anybody who wasn’t living under a rock this year knows about Acid Rap, anybody that tells you Acid Rap wasn’t one of the most refreshing releases in a while is lying, and anybody who thought this project wouldn’t come in at #1 is delusional. Keeping up the trend of showcasing the young talent Chicago has to offer, Chance The Rapper shined above all in 2013 easily claiming the year as his with arguably the best release of year (album or mixtape). The success of this one tape even had Chance toying with the idea of never releasing an official retail album, saying that as long as he puts out dope work such as this he can be successful in today’s rap world. We sure look forward to seeing what he has for us in 2014, because if Acid Rap is any indication of what’s to come, we’re in for something beyond great from this kid.