Meek Mill, Wale, and A$AP Ferg weigh in on the importance of mixtapes in the current state of hip hop.
In today's rap climate, even the big dogs drop mixtapes. Releasing free material is becoming a reality of the game, with many artists choosing to promote albums by releasing free projects first, and others, such as Nipsey Hussle and Chance The Rapper, who are taking an independent, mixtape-based route. HHDX had the chance to sit down with a couple of rappers who are no stranger to mixtapes, or major label albums, speaking with Wale, Meek Mill, and A$AP Ferg about how they view mixtapes at this point in time.
“Album mode is different,” said Wale. “I don’t start the album process trying to provide the feel of a mixtape. As a whole, I put a lot of time into lyrics and production. In the sequencing of my last album The Gifted, you can hear the intricacies between the songs.”
Meek Mill stressed that free music benefits him greatly. “[Mixtapes] always help me, because I’m putting out hot music anyways,” he said. “But giving something back to the fans sometimes…they pay for everything anyways, so why not give ‘em a free album?”
A$AP Ferg on the other hand, had a slightly different experience this year. His debut album Trap Lord, was conceptualized as a mixtape, before the rapper decided to put it out as a retail project.
“It was called a mixtape at first, but now we’re going to put it out as an album,” said Ferg, explaining the clear difference between his debut album, and his work on the A$AP Mob mixtape, Lords Never Worry. “That was a mixtape, because we all did the songs and tracks in different places, different areas, and it was kind of like, I put my two cents in, Rocky put his two cents in," he explained. “Everybody came from different angles on it.”