15. Lil Durk- Signed To The Streets
Lil Durk’s year was up and down, he was arrested in the summer but let out shortly after, he was signed to French Montana’s Coke Boy imprint, and had a very successful single “Dis Ain’t What You Want.” These factors gave his Signed To The Streets all the more impact when it dropped, and indeed, with production from Young Chop and Zaytoven, street anthems were bountiful on the tape.
14. Action Bronson- Blue Chips 2
Blue Chips 2 was Action Bronson and Party Supplies’ follow up to the first stand-out project of the same name. The second one follows the structure of the first, with Supplies’ keeping Bam Bam on plenty of unique vintage sampled-beats (i.e. “Pepe Lopez” which utilizes The Champs’ 1958-track “Tequila”), and Bronsolino spitting his detailed lines, always with a sense of humor.
13. Logic- Young Sinatra
Logic, who was named an XXL Freshman, kept his fans satisfied and gained new ones with the release of Young Sinatra: Welcome To Forever. Logic does it all—singing, multiple flows, lyrics, mainstream sounds and more indie—he mixes it all together on Welcome To Forever to keep a variety of listeners on lock. With his go-to producers C-Sick and 6ix on the boards, this tape was not to be missed and quickly became a fan-favorite.
12. Vic Mensa- INNANETAPE
Vic Mensa has yet to really blow up in 2013, but 2014 is just around the corner and he’s on our watch list. The Chicago native from Chance The Rapper’s Save Money camp does sound similar to Chance upon first listen, but that’s not bad a thing. INNANETAPE put Vic on the map, and was quality not only because of contributions from Ab-Soul, Joey Bada$$, Rockie Fresh, Hit-Boy and Boi-1da.
11. Nipsey Hussle-Crenshaw
Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw was impactful not just because it offered free music, but because of the marketing scheme, which also allowed the most loyal of fans to purchase a hard copy for $100, receiving a signed and numbered version as well as show tickets. The music itself wasn’t too bad either, although fans are still waiting on the final instalment of Nipsey’s Marathon series, this did the trick to hold us over.
10. Meek Mill- Dreamchasers 3
As with the past instalments of Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers series, there was plenty of anticipation for his third one. Although the third wasn’t as successful or rated as highly as Dreamchasers 2 (the second basically crashed the internet), it was still considered fire and jam-packed with bangers, high-quality production and big features. Just as with DC2 there were certain records that stood out among all the others, in particular, DC3 had the heartfelt “Lil Nigga Snupe” produced by Boi-1da. DC3 has amassed over 205k downloads. Combine that with the downloads from the No DJ version and you’re nearing 300k.
9. Migos- YRN
Migos definitely had an impactful year in 2013. Rising out of the Atlanta with warble rap down pat, the three rappers’ fame soared to new heights when Drake hopped on “Versace” off Young Rich Niggas. YRN dropped shortly before the “Versace (Remix)” which worked out well for Migos because the remix had listeners looking to cop the whole tape. The tape also contained the popular tracks “Out The Gym” and “Hannah Montana” keeping Migos in rotation all summer. Between the No DJ and DJ version of the mixtapes on HNHH, Migos have around 75k downloads.
8. Kevin Gates- The Luca Brasi Story
Kevin Gates did not leave fans wanting in 2013, he not only dropped his stellar mixtape The Luca Brasi Story, but followed that up a few months later with his debut album Stranger Than Fiction. A fate befell the Baton Rouge native that occurs to many rising rappers— the mixtape turned out to be better than the album. Not to throw shade on Stranger Than Fiction, it was still solid, but The Luca Brasi Story takes the cake. The Godfather-named project was a cohesive one (no skipping tracks necessary), with dope original production, while displaying Gates’ lyrical ability and his penchant melody. As Gates continues his climb up the rap ladder, he’s definitely one to watch in 2014.
7. Dizzy Wright- The Golden Age
Dizzy Wright’s The Golden Age mixtape (as the title indicates) paid homage to the bygone era of hip-hop, by littering his tape with quality lyrics and old-school beats. Not only that, but it was a weed smoker’s dream, with each record perfect for lighting up and laying back. The Golden Age seemed to put the Funk Volume rapper on the radar for those who were unaware, at the same time keeping his older fans satisfied. It’s received almost 155,000 downloads as of now.
6. Kirko Bangz- Progression 3
The third instalment of Kirko Bangz’ Progression series may be our favorite yet. Kirko puts the auto-tune on as he sings and raps throughout the project, which featured ill production from the likes of Jahlil Beats (“Awwready”), Sound Mob, J. Oliver and DJ Mustard. Features like Nipsey Hussle were perfectly placed to balance out the Houston native. And of course being from the South, Kirko made sure to keep a Southern tinge on everything he did. It was a mix of rap and r’n’b that we definitely appreciated. He’s nearing 100k in downloads.
5. Ace Hood- Starvation 2
Ace Hood’s Trials & Tribulations album unfortunately didn’t do too well when it comes to sales, however it seems like all the supporters come out for Ace’s mixtapes. Ace Hood kept the Starvation series going this past year, kicking off 2013 with Starvation 2. The We The Best went on to receive almost 160,000 downloads, as he provided 20 absolute bangers for fans to enjoy
4. YG- Just Re’d Up 2
YG seems to be on the precipice of big fame, as fans await his debut album My Krazy Life in 2014. He had a successful year, linking up with Jeezy’s CTE family, and receiving a co-sign from Drake (we finally received their collaboration “Who Do You Love” late last night). As YG continues to gain momentum in the rap game, so has his Just Re’d Up mixtape series, the second of which came out in January 2013. The project undoubtedly left fans content (it has gone on to receive 141k downloads), as it contained an amazing 28 records, with lots of bouncy contributions from frequent collaborator and producer of the moment DJ Mustard. YG x Mustard seems to be an unstoppable force.
3. Pusha T- Wrath Of Caine
Pusha T’s Wrath Of Caine seems to have been forgotten by many over the past year, although he did drop it at the end of January 2013. Nonetheless, it was nothing but street quality from the Clipse member, much like Fear Of God. The 11-track project was not excessive, it had strong features, with Pusha bringing his usual grimy-ness as he spit about his dope boy antics. “Millions” with Rick Ross was a stand-out that became a fan-favorite.
2. King Los- Becoming King
King Los delivered Becoming King this past April. The mixtape was definitely one of his most-hyped, and also one of his most well-received, for good reason too. The Bad Boy rapper provided bars for days, whether it’s about life in Baltimore, his come-up or his current status in the game— at the same time, he provided jams that had radio potential— not a bad move. The tape only further cemented Los as one to watch in 2014, we just hope Diddy does him right.
1. Chance The Rapper- Acid Rap
Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap was more in the vein of an album, with completely original material, as rappers tend to do these days. It served as a launching pad for Chance’s now sky-rocketing career—since its release, he’s connected with the likes of Lil Wayne on “You Song,” Justin Bieber (yeah—it’s weird, but that’s a sign that he’s reaching a mainstream audience soon enough), and he even hung out with Madonna. This project ultimately landed on many year-end lists, and we’re no different. The mixtape was unique, introducing Chance’s nasally voice and sing-song ways to the world, and fans, both new and old, devoured it up.