Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hip-Hop mixtapes are one of the greatest things about music as far as I'm concerned. It's a true testament to the solidarity of the genre as an artistic movement. Through mixtapes, artists can sidestep their labels and release some seriously def shit to their fans, free of charge in top form. There's no worry about copyright legal shit as far as profit, releases, or proper use of samples. They can also cover each other's tracks without any legal questions since the aim isn't profit, it's exposure. Lupe Fiasco is a perfect example of this. I remember one particular conversation about music I had with my girlfriend after I mentioned that Lupe's new album was supposed to be his third and final, to which she replied "Wait, he only has two albums out? But you've got like twenty on your computer." That's cause Lupe is the man when it comes to releasing mixtapes. He's got a bunch of them, each one different and better than the last. The dude is so good he's had singles off his mixtapes. That's unheard of as far as I know.

The second reason mixtapes are so great is the fact that fans can use them to put their own spins on their favorite artists' tracks. The difference between an "official mixtape" and a "DJ mixtape" is simple: officials are put out by the artists with some new stuff and some revamped old material, while DJ mixtapes are usually almost all old cuts, but remixed and mashed up, spun around completely. The whole musical experience becomes 100% interactive when DJ mixtapes are thrown into the mix.

Here's a list of a few good new mixtapes that are certainly worth checking out. They're all available for free listen or download over at DatPiff.com, just click on the album covers for a direct link. If you don't have a DatPiff account, you better get on it. There's all kinds of great shit over there as far as hip-hop mixtapes go. Just search your favorite artist and get started. Plus, it's user-updated constantly, so there's always new greats. Like these...

Alright, the new Drake mixtape 'So Far Gone' is pretty good, especially if you're into Lil' Wayne and all the dudes that skip around behind him. That's not to say he sounds just like Wayne, cause he doesn't. I just don't necessarily agree that this tape would be so hot right now if Drake wasn't affiliated with Wayne. But hey, if that's your thing click the cover and definitely check it out over at DatPiff. I obviously thought it was worth mentioning here, so it's gotta be at least sorta worth it, right? Check it out...



Now, if that's not your thing (cause I've gotta be honest, it isn't really mine) and you want something of a little different flavor, check this next one out. It's called 'Afro Samurai: Mixtape'. It's mostly a collection of stuff from or inspired by the Afro Samurai series, which is musically produced by RZA of Wu Tang fame. Here's where I put my foot in my mouth regarding my "Lil' Wayne and all the dudes that skip around behind him" comment. If you follow the Wu Tang Clan at all, you know they like to help their own. So, in true Wu fashion, RZA's soundtracks are filled to the brim with contributions and cameos from other Wu Tang Clan regulars -- which is a nice way of sayin they "skip around behind him" on this one. Along with RZA it's got Raekwon, Ghostface, GZA, and a couple full-on Wu Tang Clan tracks. HOWEVER, it's also got good ones from Jay-Z, Nas, MF Doom, Q-Tip, and some other classics. This shit puts the mix back into mixtape. Not to mention all the funky dialogue from the Afro Samurai series that pops in occassionally throughout -- and if you didn't know, Afro Samurai is voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, so you could say this tape is kinda hosted by him, which adds some style as well. Anyway, some of it's new, some of it's old, and some of it's wholly reimagined. It comes highly recommended by me (and check out the show too, if you've never seen it; it's fuckin wild). Click the cover to check it out for listen or download...



One more mixtape for your listening pleasure. This one is a mix/mashup disc from DJ Eggnice called "The Jay-Z Dropout". You guessed it, it's a Jay-Z tape. Not that there aren't way too many Jay-Z mashup mixes, but this one is probably the best as far as I'm concerned. It's got some great stuff mixed from and/or featuring Kanye, Mos Def, Common, Nas, Talib, and even Ludacris. And don't forget about the Lupe Fiasco "Superstar" remix -- it's a little bit weird, but you know I love Lupe Fiasco. Not to mention, it flows well and stays pretty onbeat, so it's a great party mix. Check this one out for sure...



That's all for now. If you like these tapes, be sure to hit me up to suggest some more. Leave me some comments and all that. I wanna know what you think. Thanks for the read.

-Mike-

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