Best Mixtapes of 2010
One of the great barbershop debates, “What was the best mixtape of the year?” To be honest, there is no one single answer. Everyone is always bias to their favorite artist, hometown guy or even bias to a part of country, whether its East, West or South. Therefore, I’m here to settle this debate and if I don’t settle the debate, at least I’ll put it into some kind of perspective.
Imagine a city full of clubs, bars, restaurants, movie theatres and buildings, etc. In this city lies one lonely skyscraper-sized building fill of hungry, underground and established rappers. The name of the apartment is the Pinnacle. Here at the Pinnacle, rappers housing is determined by their mixtape. The better the mixtape, the higher you live. The Pinnacle is broken down into four levels.
Before I set up the levels, let me tell you more about the Pinnacle. Its leasing manager is the Internet, who’s boss is the developer and investor of the building, The Suits. The Suits never visit the Pinnacle but keep their eyes close on it through the Internet. At the Pinnacle they have a 24-hour concierge front desk which rotates between your favorite DJ. Whether, it’s Funkmaster Flex, DJ Drama or Angie Martinez. The janitor and custodial work is handled by the Streets. They know all the inner workings to the building and its little dirty secrets. The Streets and the Internet have a close relationship. Internet just happens to receive more credibility. Now, that you know the setup and people working inside the Pinnacle, let’s head to its floors.
Lowrises: This is the place that’s right above the lobby. Rappers on this floor had a slight buzz before their mixtape was released, but the project either quickly fizzled out or didn’t capture me like I thought it would. This floor could also be renamed the Disappointed Floor, but in the same respect these guys had good projects. Every up-and-coming artists has its highs and lows. Maybe 2011, they will climb higher.
- Mixtape was decent at best.
- Some buzz, never met expectations.
- Only a few memorable songs and bangers.
- Has more than a few missing: standout track, overall flow of tape, not enough memorable verses or boring hooks.
- Not too much replay value and short shelf life.
Midrise: Go a little higher up the Pinnacle and we find our self in an awkward space. Rappers here had projects that we thought were going to blow us away, but fell short, yet still provided a good tape. This can also be called the disappointed level, but to some degree they still showed and proved. What separates this floor from the lowrise is that these tapes at least had somewhat of a replay value. Shelf life was nonexistent for the lowrisers.
- Mixtape was well put together.
- A few bangers and memorable songs, but more than a few songs to skip.
- Expectations were on the borderline of met and not.
- Missed two or more of these things: standout track, overall flow of tape, not enough memorable verses or boring hooks.
- Replay was par. Longer shelf life than low rise
Highrise: This floor is where we can separate the boys from the men. Great projects were established, up-and-coming rappers made their voice loud and clear and even well-known rappers increased their legacy. Here you might find some projects that are debatable for the next floor. Where they fall short is that, when you think of 2010, these are the tapes that fall slightly short of memorable. For the established artists (i.e. Joe Budden) this continues their legacy, but doesn’t push their legacy to a greater level. Think of Ray Allen making it to another All-Star game for all my basketball lovers.
- Mixtape could’ve been an album. Very good.
- Had a few skippable tracks.
- Met or passed expectations.
- Made a slight impact upon release.
- High replay value and long shelf life.
- Missed one thing; standout track, overall flow of tape, not enough memorable verses or boring hooks.
Penthouse: This is the place where memories are made and these projects can take you to a certain place and time. For instance, as soon as you think of 2009’s best mixtapes, So Far Gone and The Warm Up immediately jump into your mind. This the place where, if your they may get into the 5-disc changer from time to time. Hardcore fans of these artists will argue me to death about this belonging in the Penthouse, but sorry playas. Atleast you still get to overlook the city.
- Mixtape should’ve been an album.
- Two or less skippable tracks.
- Completely surpassed expectations.
- Created or added a huge new fanbase and impact to the game.
- Tape was continuously in your ears for at least a month. These are the mixtapes that if you could only put 5 discs in your CD changer, these are it.