The Top 10 Mixtapes of 2011

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The Top 10 Mixtapes of 2011:

Now that 2011 has all but bit the dust, it is time to reminisce in the year that it was. In this modern age where the internet and social media sites are more and more popular, the number of mixtapes have gone up and up. This was another great year for mixtapes, and many of them would have made my list for best albums had they not been given out for free. With that being said, I present my top 10 mixtapes of the year.

For the reader’s sake my definition of a mixtape is any project that the artist releases for free, so XXX and Covert Coup qualify, but I’m excluding I’m Gay by Lil B as it was an album that he just graciously leaked (Thank You BasedGod).

Honorable Mentions (Just Missed the Cut):

Pabst & JazzAsher Roth

I personally wasn’t a big Asher Roth fan coming into this year, but this tape impressed me greatly, and I am looking forward to see what he puts out next. This also might be the best titled of all of the mixtapes here.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Choices” and “More Cowbell


BBNGBadBadNotGood

This mixtape has the most unique sound out of all of the mixtapes on this list. BadBadNotGood is a band that is a hip-hop/jazz fusion, and that might sound weird, but they execute it beautifully in their mixtape BBNG. Be sure to keep note of them in the future, because Tyler the Creator has said that their kind of sound will be on his new solo album, Wolf.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Salmonella” and “The World Is Yours / Brooklyn Zoo


Instrumental MixtapeClams Casino

Clams Casino impressed me throughout this whole year, and this tape is one of the reasons why he is my pick for producer of the year. I find his sound contagious and I can’t help but get his beats stuck in my head. The only reason why this tape didn’t make the top 10 itself is because it is instrumentals of songs you may have already heard if you are a Lil B, Soulja Boy, or ASAP Rocky fan

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Motivation” and “Cold War


SleepwalkingCo$$

For those who don’t know who Co$$ is, he is a close partner of Blu, the mysterious but talanted emcee from California. Before he released his debut solo album Before I Awoke, Co$$ blessed us with a mixtape, which had some great beats that go along with his new school west coast sound.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Play Ya Role” and “The Sky


Higher Learning 2Fashawn

This mixtape came out early in the year, Febuary to be exact, but it still makes waves around my iPod. Fashawn is a great lyracist, and with guests like J. Cole, up-and-comers like Gilbere Forte, and veterans like GLC, this tape is a winner in my book.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Manny Pacquiao” and “Relaxation


The MarytrImmortal Technique

The controversial Immortal Technique lives up to his name with this tape, which was chock full of the conspiracy theories and radicalism you can expect from Immortal Technique. What made this tape special was the production, which includes a beat from the legendary J Dilla (R.I.P.) and the guest feautures, which include veterans like Killer Mike and Brother Ali to name a few.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Toast to the Dead” and “Goonies


The Eleven One TheoryWale

Before releasing his album, Ambition, Wale got us mouth watering for more, with Dump The Clip. It reminded me of the old Wale I used to love, back when he released The Mixtape About Nothing. I believe that The Eleven One Theory was even better than Ambition, but that is a different story.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Barry Sanders” and “Varsity Blues


Echoes of SilenceThe Weeknd

The Weeknd had an unremarkable 2011. From releasing three of the best mixtapes of the year, to stealing the spotlight in Drake’s Take Care, the Weeknd became a star. Echoes of Silence, the third of his mixtape trilogy was fabolous, and it is clear that Abel has one of the best voices in all of music right now.

Check out RapGenius moderator Klonopin’s review of EOS for an in depth look

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “D.D.” and “Next


ThursdayThe Weeknd

The second of the Weeknd’s trilogy had a lot of expectations in following House of Balloons, but Abel was able (no pun intended) to impress once again with Thursday, which showed off more of his vocal range.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “The Zone” and “The Birds (Part 1)


Now for the Top 10

10) Zero HeroesXV

Before Zero Heroes really didn’t hear of or give XV a listen, and I really wasn’t sure if it was worth my time to download this tape. However, once I read a RapGenius blog post on how XV was the next big thing, I decided that I had nothing to lose. Needless to say, I am a Vizzy fan now. This album has it all from great guest features, including verses by RapGenius favorite Kendrick Lamar and veterans like Pusha T, all the way to fantastic production from his producer Seven and Just Blaze, who was just on fire in 2011.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Pictures On My Wall” and “Wichita


9) ElmaticElzhi

Like many people, I beleive that Illmatic, the debut album by Nas, is the greatest hip hop album of all time. That being said, I was kind of scarred that Elzhi, one of my favorite underground artists (I still rock The Preface) from Slum Village fame, would copy too much from Nas’ masterpiece. I was happy to see, that for the most case that wasn’t the case, as Elzhi had the live music of the band, Will Sessions to back up his lyrics. Speaking of his lyrics, they might be the best of any mixtape listed here. The only thing keeping this from being higher, is that it wasn’t necessarily as original as the the mixtapes higher on this list, but this is definitely the best Illmatic tribute I have ever heard. Nas should be proud.

Dedxsad’s Recomendations: “Memory Lane” and “Ain’t Hard to Tell


8) The IllustriousSTS

The first time I heard STS was in 2010, on How I Got Over, which was the album by the legendary The Roots. On that album, STS stole the show on the songs he was in (“Right On” and “Hustla” to be specific). When I heard that STS had a new mixtape, I was quick to download it, excited to see what it would sound like. At the end of the tape, I was thoroughly impressed, and I am looking forward to new music by STS in the future. With his special flow, and great lyrics, he should be blow up very soon.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Cliché” and “Hello Sunshine


7) Cold Day in HellFreddie Gibbs

I’ve said many times that I’m a huge Freddie Gibbs fan, stemming from his incredible 2010, where he released two of the best songs of the year in “National Anthem (Fuck the World)” and “The Ghetto”. This mixtape displays more of the gangsta image that Gibbs has, evident in such tracks like “Rob Me A Nigga” and “Let Ya Nuts Hang” (which maybe the best titled song of 2011). With production credits from Big KRIT and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, this mixtape bangs. If there is one artist I don’t want to be stuck in the streets with, it is Gangsta Gibbs.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Rob Me A Nigga” and “187 Proof


6) Covert CoupCurren$y

When I heard that one of my current favorite artists, Curren$y, and one of my favorite producers, The Alchemist, where making a free EP, I was eager to hear the concoction. The result was pure bliss, as the Alchemist donated some of his best beats to Curren$y, whose laid back flow rocked over them perfectly. With guest features, like frequent Alcehmist collaborator, Prodigy, and the always good Freddie Gibbs, this EP was one of the highlights of 2011, and definitely the best project that came out Spitta’s camp in 2011.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Scottie Pippen” and “Full Metal


5) LiveLoveA$APASAP Rocky

When I downloaded this tape on Halloween, I was looking to explore the hype ASAP Rocky was receiving. He had just signed a huge record deal, and was going to be touring with Drake. After my first listen I was thorougly disappointed, and did not understand the hype. However, after a month, I decided to give it another listen, and I was shocked. This tape boasts the best production of all of the mixtapes, from beat-smiths like the wonderful Clams Casino, and the talanted ASAP Ty Beats. ASAP Rocky also boasts a great flow, which nicely accompanies the beats. He might not be very lyrical, but he’s not supposed to be, and he rides his flow extremely well.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Peso” and “Palace


4) Nostalgia, UltraFrank Ocean

This actually might have been the first mixtape I downloaded in 2011, and it left me with high expectations for music in 2011. I was not expecting this kind of sound from an Odd Future member at all; I actually mistakenly downloaded this tape after roaming around the Odd Future website, and it was one of the best mistakes that I made in 2011. Frank has one of the smoothest voices I have ever heard, and yes, I would rather hear Frank Ocean over Chris Brown, Trey Songz, and even Adele.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “We All Try” and “Novacane


3) XXXDanny Brown

I jumped on the Danny Brown train after hearing Detroit State of Mind 4 and The Hybrid , and when I heard that Danny was back with new music I was ecstatic. XXX did not disappoint. The production on this tape is perfectly suited for Danny, thanks to producers like the up and coming BranDun DeShay and others. Danny Brown is one of the most unique emcees in all of hip hop, from the way he looks, to his voice, to the actual lyrics he spits. He can be disgustingly detailed at times, but also can make you crack up the next second. At 30 years old, Danny is showing that it is never too late to become famous, as more and more people are discovering his genius.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “Outer Space” and “D.N.A.


2) House of BalloonsThe Weeknd

I have to admit, I was hesitant in downloading this when I first heard of it. I looked at the cover to see a nude women covered with balloons, and I was thinking to myself, what am I getting into? What I was getting into was one of the best voices in all of music, The Weeknd. From hearing the beginning of “High For This” I was hooked, and I had become obsessed. From start to finish this was a great tape, and it led Abel to having one of the most successful and prolific 2011 for any musician.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “The Morning” and “Glass Table Girls


1) Return Of 4evaBig KRIT

When I heard that Big KRIT was releasing a new mixtape, entitled Return of 4eva, I had big expectations. I was in love with K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, his previous stellar mixtape, and in all honestly I was not expecting it to be as good as KRIT Wuz Here. However, upon listening to this masterpiece once, I was amazed. K.R.I.T’s production had become even better, and had even one upped the songs he did the previous years, evident in the “Country Shit (Remix)” which featured established southern veterans Ludacris and Bun B. This mixtape was everything I ask for in a Southern album and more. I am really looking forward to hearing K.R.I.T.’s new album coming this year in 2012.

Dedxsad’s Recommendations: “R4 Theme Song” and “Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Ecouraging Racism


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