Evolution is an inevitable part of the human cycle, but it is still remarkable how modifications can settle in so quickly. Take the “mixtape” for example. As the primary blood vessel that keeps an artist’s promo alive and thriving, it has progressed and weened itself off of DJ shouts, unsolicited gun shot sound effects and neverending tracklists to the point where it is indistinguishable from a retail album.
Aside from the price tag, that is.
In a perfect world, the majority of these artists and projects would have major backing behind them but since we’re still operating in the 2K10 Beta stages, they were given out only for your will to download. To honor their efforts, we’ve selected the 20 best freebies that made it cool to hoard MP3’s.
Oh yeah, #FreeOnSMASH.
Yelawolf & DJ Burn One – Trunk Muzik — The Alabama rap tide kicked in 2010 with a distinct aura, that for the most part, wasn’t rivaled by his competitors. It was a must that it was molded for stores in the subsequent future.
Subwoofer Soul: “Box Chevy Pt. 3,” “Pop The Trunk,” “I Wish”
Freddie Gibbs x Statik Selektah x DJ Burn One – Str8 Killa No Filla — Gary, Indiana’s mayor proved you can never have too much of a good thing as he beefed up his stock with his lengthy, yet surprisingly fluid 4th mixtape in two years. The EP did a little damage on its own, come to think of it.
Murda Muzik: “Personal OG,” “Str8 Killa No Filla,” “The Ghetto”
Wiz Khalifa – Kush & OJ — Even if you don’t smoke, the Pittsburgh Steeler had everybody in trance with plenty of potent joints—well before “Black & Yellow” became a signature anthem.
Wake & Bake: “Never Been,” “Mesmerized,” “In The Cut”
Rick Ross – The Albert Anastasia EP — Arguably better than the album he used this release to build buzz for, this is the moment where Ross recreated yet another winning formula that would help him push his weight around rap’s squared circle.
Grand Indictments: “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast),” “MC Hammer,” “Money Maker”
Kendrick Lamar – O(verly) D(edicated) — Compton has found a new liaison for rap sanctions and he has no hangups over putting out his music.
Intense: “Ignorance Is Bliss,” “She Needs Me (Remix),” “Michael Jordan”
Consequence – Movies On Demand — Boasting a jaw-dropping cadre of co-stars before the world discovered G.O.O.D. Fridays, you can essentially call this Con’s sophomore album.
Hollywood Swingin’: “Life Is Short,” “Childish Games,” “Down This Road”
Big Sean & Don Cannon – Finally Famous Vol. 3 — The life of the punchline party will always be where everybody knows his name as a result of this tape.
Too Cool For School: “Memories,” “Crazy,” “Supa Dupa Lemonade”
Dom Kennedy – From The Westside, With Love — California’s very own had no problem juggling affections from a gangsta point of view.
From The Heart: “1997,” “Me Again,” “Locals Only”
J. Cole – Friday Night Lights — Until he makes his big league debut, the Roc Boy will continue to dominate the intermediate level.
Half Court Shots: “The Autograph,” “Home For The Holidays,” “Too Deep For The Intro”
TiRon – MSTRD — The L.A. lyricist showed the world that all stains aren’t so bad. If fact, this one was damn good.
Catchy Condiments: “1ne,” “Take A Bow,” “Down”
Smoke DZA – George Kush Da Button — Quiet as kept, this was easily the best Ski Beatz project in 2010. Honorable mention to the Deluxe Version as well.
Premium Blend: “Etc. Etc.,” “We On,” “The Secret”
The Kid Daytona – The Interlude — Live from the Bronx, dope beats, dope lyrics, what more could you want?
In The Meantime: “On The Hill,” “The Champ,” Padma (So Buttery)”
Playboy Tre – The Last Call — Atlanta’s most lyrically liquored proved why he can out rap anyone under the table.
Bottoms Up: “Earline’s Son,” “Ready Go,” “Work”
B.o.B & DJ Drama – May 25th — You may have to dig deep to jog your memory to a recent past when President Obama didn’t know B.o.B’s name and he wasn’t MTV’s media darling, but Bobby Ray had the recipe for success way before his album dropped. It was so nice, the release date didn’t stick as it actually got pushed up.
Star Potential: “Don’t Feel So Good,” “Nothing On You,” “Bet I”
Glasses Malone – Drive-By Muzik EP — We’re not advocating violence, but you if you have to ride on your enemies, you might want this in the tape deck.
Stray Shots: “Emergency Room,” “Respect Mah Gangsta,” “Son”
L.E.P. Bogus Boys x DJ Drama – Don’t Feed Da Killaz Vol. 3 — The Low End Professionals instilled gangsta rap terror in shook perpetrators in the name of The Windy City.
Felonious Assault: “DFK3 Intro,” “Kush And Leather,” “Chicago Niggaz”
Gilbere Forte’ – 87 Dreams — If talent is a virtue, the young Philly native should start his own university because he excels in it.
Beautiful Nightmares: “Black Chukkas,” “Blo,” “30,000”
Joe Scudda & Statik Selektah – Not Your Average Joe — Your favorite non-White White boy finally dropped a full-length that lived up to his zany persona.
Exceptional Material: “Robert Downey Jr.,” “Trunk Rattle (Remix),”Catch Up”
Phil Adé x Don Cannon – The Letterman — A good project can transform you from obscure to the big man on campus. If only DC’s professional sports were as half as accomplished…
All-Conference: “Hollywood (Remix),” “Out Your Clothes,” “OMG”
The Paxtons – The Manhattan Project — They may have slipped under your radar, but Chris and Dave took their Chicago flow to the Big Apple in style.
Downtown Dopeness: “What We Doin’ (Ballin),” “Ceaser,” “Curtains”