It’s been a great year for hip-hop mixtapes. Maybach Music Group had an especially strong showing with two of the biggest tapes of the year: Meek Mills Dreamchasers 2 (which had over 2 million downloads earning it “double diamond” status) and Rick Ross’ Rich Forever (which went diamond).
And with the addition of French Montana to MMG, as well as both new comers like A$AP Rocky and vets like Fabolous and Joe Budden holding down, New York looks to be the major contender as the undisputed jewel in the hip hop crown. Pittsburgh is blowing up too right now with major moves from Taylor Gang (including bangers like Wiz Khalifa’s Cabin Fever 2 and Juicy J’s Blue Dream And Lean), Mac Miller’s Macadellic and relative new comers Change of Plans (listen below).
With so much great free music out there, we’ve put together a list of the tapes you should be listening to right now…
1) Fabolous: The Soul Tape 2
Fabolous has come a long was since he released his debut album Ghetto Fabolous back in 2001. After being shot in the right leg after leaving one of Diddy’s restaurants in 2006, the NYC vet has gone on to release 3 successful full length albums and some highly celebrated mixtapes (including There Is No Competition 2: The Funeral Service and There Is No Competition: Death Comes In 3′s). His latest mixtape certainly lives up to his reputation as one on NY’s finest emcees.
Stand out tracks include “For The Love” And “We Get High.”
2) Joe Budden: A Loose Quarter
After a successful solo career in the early ’00s, Budden left Def Jam records in 2007 and moved to Amalgam Digital where he released 4 more albums. Shortly after, he reached out to Crooked 1, Royce da 5’9″, and Joell Ortiz to form the hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse. A Loose Quarter is the follow up to his Mood Muzik mixtape series (check out Mood Muzik 4: A Turn For The Worse).
Stand out tracks include “What Y’all Want” and “Through My Eyes.”
3) Chevy Woods: Gangland
A member of the Pittsburgh crew Taylor Gang, Chevy Woods may be lesser known than founder Wiz Khalifa, but he brings it just as hard. Much of Gangland focuses on living the TG lifestyle: rolling and blowing large amounts of expendable greenery; purchasing three ‘Raris instead of one; and of course, bragging rights.
Stand out tracks include “Shine”, ” Ca$h” and “Circumstances.”
4) French Montana: Mac & Cheese 3
After founding Cocaine City Records in the early 00s and releasing a series of successful mixtapes under the “Cocaine City” label (including Mac & Cheese 2 and Coke Boys 3), French singed a joint venture deal with Bad Boy Records and Maybach Music Group (MMG). Mac & Cheese 3 focuses on living the cocaine lifestyle: selling coke, drinking till you drop and a passion for Mac & Cheese.
Stand out tracks include “Ochocinco”, “State of Mind” and “Water.”
5) Change Of Plans: The Come Up
Consisting of Franchise and Vinny Radio, The Come Up hail from the Braddock section of Pittsburgh, PA. They’ve hit the road with the likes of PA native Mac Miller and OH natives The Cool Kids. The Come Up is the perfect blend of old school gangster and new wave chill and includes production by 9th Wonder and ID Labs.
Stand out tracks include “Major Moves” and “All In The Game.”