As the New Year approaches, it’s only right that we take time on this Monday to reflect on the best mixtapes of 2013. A lot of music was released this year; some great, some recycle bin-worthy. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to select the top 10 I feel are most worthy of recognition.
10. Free Crack – Lil Bibby
Hailing from Chicago, young rapper Lil Bibby released this promising effort, simply titled Free Crack, less than a month ago. It is definitely something I didn’t feel the urge to download right away, but I was somehow convinced, and pleasantly surprised.
9. The Pimpire Strikes Back – Roc Marciano
Roc Marciano released The Pimpire Strikes Back tape to hold his fans over as he prepared to release his sophomore album Marci Beaucoup. It’s a solid mixtape and deserves to be appreciated, because, well, he is Long Island’s gem.
8.Crenshaw – Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle was a very popular trending topic during the promotion for his 8th mixtape, Crenshaw, for reasons that went beyond just the music itself. The currently unsigned rapper was able to earn an unprecedented $100,000 by selling just 1,000 copies of the project for $100 each. Suffice it to say, many (Jay Z among them) were Proud2Pay.
7. The Golden Age – Dizzy Wright
Dizzy Wright’s The Golden Age is inspired by a classic era in hip hop, yet seems to exist within an era entirely of its own design. I personally didn’t pay Dizzy much mind at first, but this tape represents both style and substance, which are qualities that seldom seem to be found in the same place in the current rap landscape. Overall, it’s a surprisingly enjoyable listen, and the Vegas rapper now has my attention towards any future projects.
6. Acid Rap – Chance the Rapper
Many other year-end lists presented Chance the Rapper with the distinction of having the best mixtape of the year. Although I might think otherwise, Acid Rap is still deserving of praise. Chance has created a huge internet buzz, and with features on high profile releases by Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber, among others, his star is rising very quickly. Time will tell if the young Chicago native can continue to live up to the hype.
5. Wrath Of Caine – Pusha-T
Released at the top of the year, Pusha-T’s Wrath of Caine served as a prelude to his debut solo album, My Name Is My Name, which dropped this past October. While it was overshadowed by the buzz for his album, this project was in itself a highly worthwhile and well put together one. It’s clear that Push-A-Ton can hold his own weight, regardless of his affiliation to G.O.O.D Music.
4. King Remembered In Time – Big K.R.I.T.
King Remembered In Time marked the tenth mixtape release by Big K.R.I.T. There isn’t much you can say to discredit K.R.I.T., seeing as he really hasn’t disappointed yet (on the mix tape/free album end of things). There are many who claim similar kingship, but as of right now, he may hold rightful claim over the crown for the South.
3.Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever – Logic
Logic dropped his highly anticipated 4th mixtape, Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, back in May. The project reached over 100,000 downloads on Dat Piff within the first 24 hours, yet he somehow remains one of the most underrated rappers out. So why number 3? If you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you listen to this tape and hear why. At the age of 23, the recent Def Jam signee’s future looks very promising.
Blue Chips 2 – Action Bronson
Bronsolino has had a stellar year. He’s worked with some of the best producers, from Harry Fraud to Alchemist, but when he collaborates with partner in crime, Party Supplies, you should expect nothing less short of greatness. With gritty, hilarious bars, and a flow still somewhat reminiscent of Ghostface Killah, while retaining a style all his own, he is easily one of my favorites right now. With that being said, Blue Chips 2 was the clear choice for runner-up mixtape of 2013.
1. New Jet City – Curren$y
After carefully thinking it through and deliberating for almost two weeks, I’ve concluded that Spitta is most deserving of the crown for best mixtape of 2013. New Jet City was released all the way back in February, yet I still find myself listening to this project frequently. Some might recall that I’d also selected this tape as the first pick for the Mixtape Monday segment. With the year coming to a close, I’m looking forward to what Curren$y has in store for 2014, as he more than likely will continue to stick to his simple and reliable formula of releasing a lot of good music (for free).
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