Top 10 Best Mixtapes of 2011

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    In the music industry climate of 2011, the quality of free music is more important than ever. Whether rappers are crafting the free projects because they need to create buzz to get a label push for their album, because they want some majors to notice them, or simply because they're ready to give fans some solid free music, the expectations for mixtapes have become album-like. That's why, with so many tapes leaking online so regularly—from both established and up-and-coming artists—the ones that rose to the top of the year were truly memorable. Some were entirely original material; some jacked other rappers' beats. Some were highly-anticipated; some came out of nowhere. One thing the best of the year had in common: all 10 were dope. —<em>XXL Staff</em>
  • gibbs
    <strong>10. Freddie Gibbs, <em>Cold Day In Hell</em></strong><br />One of a handful of projects released on Halloween day, <em>Cold Day In Hell</em> from Freddie Gibbs avoided getting lost in the shuffle. A tape that Gangsta Gibbs had been talking about for over a year, the gutter release was able to prove what the Gary, Indiana native was working on was worth the wait. Playing into his reputation as one of the fiercest rappers around from both a content and flow perspective, the former <em>XXL</em> Freshman made you believe what he was spitting, no matter the topic. Cuts like the Big K.R.I.T. produced “Rob Me A Nigga,” featuring Krizzle and Alley Boy, as well as the Young Jeezy-assisted “Twos and Fews” had Gibbs authenticating his G. Switching things up, songs like “My Homeboy's Girlfriend” allowed the CTE signee to craft vivid narratives that took the listener for a ride. Through and through, Gibbs continued to carve out his lane as a gangsta rapper with a conscience, with one of the meanest flows around.
  • Pusha-T-Fear-Of-God-Artwork
    <strong>9. Pusha T, <em>Fear of God</em></strong> <br />Even while he was a member of critical and fan-favorite duo the Clipse, Pusha T was praised for his solo abilities. With his brother Malice focusing on his new book, Push A Ton got a chance to shine on the solo tip, linking with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music and releasing his solo debut, March’s <em>Fear of God</em> mixtape. Mixing his vintage coke raps with shit-talking as well as some reflective joints, the Virginia native confirmed that he could indeed hold his own for an entire project. The 13-tracks body of work balanced original production and Push spitting over other rapper’s songs, but no matter what, the results were the same: that uncut raw. With features from 50 Cent and Pharrell (“Raid”), Kanye (“Touch It”), Rick Ross (“I Still Wana”) and Pusha T’s stand alone single “My God,” <em>Fear of God</em> solidified Pusha T as a solo force to be reckoned with.
  • Wale-The-Eleven-One-Eleven-Theory-Mixtape
    <strong>8. Wale, <em>The Eleven One Eleven Theory</em></strong><br />No matter how you slice it, Wale put in work in 2011. Once he linked with Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group in February, the D.C. native suddenly had a new battery in his back, and assaulted the internet and the streets with loads of new music and videos. After his standout showing on the crew compilation <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em>, Wale was determined to keep the summer hot and continue to build momentum towards his sophomore album, <em>Ambition</em>, and did so with his <em>The Eleven One Eleven Theory</em> mixtape. Not only did the August release have an unprecedented online impact—the 18-track project crashed popular download site Hulkshare for the first time ever—but it also made a substantial impact musically. The thumping “Chain Music” would ultimately make his official album, while “Bait,” another energetic banger, would be included as a bonus track. It wasn't just about the clubs, though. Wale again showed his deeper side on cuts like “Passive Aggres-Her,” Underdogg,” and “Varsity Blues.”
    <strong>7. A$AP Rocky, <em>LiveLoveA$AP</em></strong><br />Who was this ASAP Rocky kid? That’s what plenty of people were wondering after the Harlem native’s videos “Purple Swag” and “Peso” became viral hits and their author inked a reported multimillion dollar deal with Sony/RCA/Polo Grounds. An early step in answering that question came with <em>LiveLoveA$AP</em>, released on Halloween day this year. The 16-track offering honed in on the musical identity that Rocky had been crafting for himself with his two online smashes. With beats from fellow up and comers like Clams Casino and Rocky’s own crew-mate ASAP Ty Beats, <em>LiveLoveA$AP</em> was equipped with a spacey vibe, as the 23-year-old’s flow melted into the production with greasy talk about bitches, blunts, and fashion.
  • Wiz_Khalifa_Cabin_Fever-front-large
    <strong>6. Wiz Khalifa, <em>Cabin Fever</em></strong> <br />Surprises are usually awesome. Count <em>Cabin Fever</em> as another example of that. Exactly one week after his “Black and Yellow” became the No. 1 song in the country on <em>Billboard</em>, and just over a month before his anticipated Warner Bros. debut <em>Rolling Papers</em> hit stores, Wiz Khalifa took to Twitter to liberate his <em>Cabin Fever</em> mixtape. With Lex Luger taking the lead on the bulk of the production, the drop showed a harder side of Wiz sonically—not spacey like his <em>Kush & OJ</em> mixtape from 2010, nor overly poppy like the “Roll Up” single he had released shortly before. The tape included features from Big Sean, Juicy J, Trae Tha Truth and Chevy Woods (it actually proved to be a bit of a coming out party for the fellow Taylor Ganger). Cuts like “Taylor Gang,” “Phone Numbers” and “Gang Bang” became fan-favorites and mainstays at live shows, as Wiz reminded any detractors of his rap roots.
  • Tity_Boi_Tru_Realigion-front-large
    <strong>5. 2 Chainz, <em>T.R.U. Realigion</em></strong> <br />The kickstart of 2 Chainz’s reinvention and emergence as a solo artist can be credited to <em>Codeine Cowboy (A 2 Chainz Collective)</em> released in February. At that time, he was still widely known as Tity Boy, and widely unknown as a solo act outside of Atlanta. But with some records from that tape picking up through the summer, as well as memorable features after it, the dredlocked rapper set himself up perfectly for a larger breakout with <em>T.R.U. Realigion</em>. The tape, released at the beginning of November, was an album style offering, including all original production from the likes of Drumma Boy, Lex Luger and Mike Will. The guests were star-studded, as well; T.I. (“Spend It Remix”), Meek Mill (“Stunt”), Young Jeezy, Yo Gotti, Birdman, Big Sean, Jadakiss, Trey Songz, Raekwon and Kreayshawn all came along for the party. But what made this project hold up was the way that, no matter who laced him with the beat or which rapper was by his side, 2 Chainz’s personality and humor overtook the track and gave the project an identity.
  • elmatic-1
    <strong>4. Elzhi, <em>Elmatic</em></strong> <br />The art of the remake is often a tricky one from the get-go. Couple that with attempting to reimagine one of hip-hop’s undeniable classics—Nas’s <em>Illmatic</em>—like Elzhi did, and that’s one hell of a task at hand. Miraculously, though, the May-released <em>Elmatic</em> was able to accomplish that undertaking, and did so remarkably. Offering ten songs, just like its inspiration, the <em>XXL</em> presented tape was particularly notable in Elzhi’s ability to simultaneously pay homage to Nas’s esteemed work and completely make it feel like his own. The ability to achieve this, on the whole, relied on two primary factors: first, Elzhi usually employed his own song structure and flows, so it wasn’t impossible to hear no one else’s voice but Nas’s in your head when listening, as is often the case when someone goes over an <em>Illmatic</em> beat. Moreover, the Detroit native warped the feel of the project by bringing along Will Sessions to provide live instrumentation throughout. It may not duplicate the religious following that <em>Illmatic</em> achieved, but <em>Elmatic</em> was an impressive remake, reminding that Elzhi is an elite lyricist in the process.
  • Fabolous_Soul_Tape-front-large
    <strong>3. Fabolous, <em>The S.O.U.L. Tape</em></strong> <br /> Somewhat quietly, Fabolous has become one of the most consistent, seasoned rappers around. More than a decade deep into his career, Fab didn’t drop an album this year, but he was able to make his mark thanks to April’s mixtape <em>The S.O.U.L. Tape</em>. Evolving into one of the go-to guys for an R&B feature and raps for the ladies, the Brooklyn native focused his efforts on—you guessed it—soulful production, on the release. With a mix of original production and mixtape style beat-jacking, the project was far from a soft offering for the ladies, though. The smooth rhymer turned things up on cuts like “Phone Numbers” and the New York voltron record “Mo Brooklyn, Mo Harlem, Mo Southside,” featuring Vado and Lloyd Banks. Kicking his signature wit and sneaking in some subliminal shots, Fab proved that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, no matter what kind of beat he’s riding.
  • Meek_Mill_Dreamchaser-front-large
    2. <strong>Meek Mill, <em>Dreamchasers</em></strong> <br />It’s been a grind for Meek Mill. After spending a few years churning out mixtapes to get his home city of Philadelphia behind him, the rhyme slinger signed to Maybach Music Group in February and became a 2011 <em>XXL</em> Freshman the next month. By May, he was holding his own on the MMG compilation <em>Self Made, Vol. 1</em>, and then gained a stranglehold on the summer with “I’ma Boss.” The 24-year-old got his solo moment to shine in the limelight with <em>Dreamchasers</em>, his highly anticipated August mixtape. The tape lived up to the hype, displaying Meek’s frenzied, hungry flow over exciting production from Jahlil Beats, Lex Luger, All Star and more. The DJ Drama-hosted tape found the Philly spitter kicking inspired raps about life on the street, coming from the bottom, living good and not letting up. In addition to “I’ma Boss” and “Work,” also alongside Ross, highlights included linking with fellow Philly natives Beanie Sigel (“Dreamchasers”) and Young Chris (“House Party”), with the latter collab becoming a radio hit.
  • Big_KRIT_Return_Of_4eva-front-large
    <strong>1. Big K.R.I.T., <em>Return of 4Eva</em></strong> <br />Thanks to his 2010 project <em>K.R.I.T. Wuz Here</em>, Big K.R.I.T. became a mainstay in any discussions about who had next, especially among Southern circles. Following a signing to Def Jam, touring, and a 2011 <em>XXL</em> Freshman cover, the Mississippi native re-emerged in March with <em>Return of 4Eva</em>. The free album—like the previous one, entirely self-produced—displayed K.R.I.T.’s keen ear for soulful sounds as well as steady growth in his content. From ride around anthems to conscious approaches to deeply personal moments, the release was immaculate in its depth and passion. To compliment Krizzle’s own skills, he brought along guests like David Banner and Chamillionaire, as well as Ludacris and Bun B, who helped with the <em>Billboard</em> charting single “Country Shit (Remix).” This opus is sure to continue to hold fans over as the Cinematic signee preps his debut album for 2012.

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  • MishX

    WTF!!!!! No LUDACRIS!? Its So funny xxlmag!!

    • Brett William Fabian

      No Luda for a reason… it wasn’t a best mixtape of 2011. It was good but K.R.I.T. burned all these, lyrical content + fat beats just nothing else compares

      • rick c

        couldn’t of said that shit much better. alot of mixtapes were put out this year and if you listened to alot of mixtape rap. this list seems alright.but the albums of the year list is kinda wack. only watch the throne is in somewhat of the right place

    • $yk

      I don’t see Stalley, 50 or Willie The Kid or Danny Brown here on the list…

      tells me this is a popularity vote in disguise…

      * closes Firefox *

    • CaponeMOB

      why is even meek mill on the list? dude is HOT garbage,he sounds like phillies wocka flocka,but with a MORE annoying voice. hes fuckin overrated BIG TIME. EVEN his fans were dissapointed with his mixtape.

      and like $yk said. this gotta be a popularity contest,cuz willie da kid is a BEAST. and 50 made a slight come back with his mixtape. and just look at meek mill’s picture up there^^^^
      does that look like a nigga that could rap,or should get mixtape of the year? enuff said. DUDE just screams too much in his songs,theres NOT one verse were he’s not basically screaming. he’s fuckin annoying,dude raps too loud on his verses like he’s deaf or some shit. how he got popular is BEYOND me.

    • CaponeMOB

      why is even meek mill on the list? dude is HOT garbage,he sounds like phillies wocka flocka,but with a MORE annoying voice. hes fuckin overrated BIG TIME. EVEN his fans were dissapointed with the mixtape.

      and like $yk said. this gotta be a popularity contest,cuz willie da kid is a BEAST. and 50 made a slight come back with his mixtape. and just look at meek mill’s picture up there^^^^
      does that look like a nigga that could rap,or should get mixtape of the year? enuff said. DUDE just screams too much in his songs,theres NOT one verse were he’s not basically screaming. he’s fuckin annoying,dude raps too loud on his verses like he’s deaf or some shit. how he got popular is BEYOND me.

  • http://facebook Brendan

    i like the selection, K.R.I.T “retun of foreva” was killer but i listen to the last king 2 way more. and what about nipsey Hus$le? TMC was better than half of the selections of the year. Also, even though they were short, the J. cole “any given sunday” EP’s did not have a single song you couldnt bang loud. Just a few others that should have got some love are… donnis “southern lights” chris webby “websters lab” cyhi “royal flush 2″ mac “best day ever” yung joc “ready to fly”

  • RTL

    Nr.1 = The Big 10

  • ChuckDee

    Yeah…this is terrible. Did anyone even grab that Wale tape? 2 Chainz doesn’t deserve that high of a spot. Meek Mill sound like a 4th grader. Who the fuck is Elzhi?!

    • Bird

      Saying “who is Elzhi” just shows you need to turn off your radio and actually learn about Hiphop…. lyrically he is in the top 5 doing it right now…. loved the Big KRIT mixtape but Elzhi lyrically destroyed EVERYBODY on that list this year…. step your Hiphop game up… if you think Wayne, Drake or Wiz compare to Elzhi you on that dust……..

      • Pacer

        Word Up.
        What Bird said.

        I personally found Fear Of God being on heavy rotation when it dropped.

      • Tom Musikal

        Thank you for saying what I wanted to say, Bird. I’d probably go further and say Elzhi is one of the best EVER…

    • RL_Tucker

      That last sentence ruined your credibility. Go do some homework shorty.

    • AJB

      did anybody grab wale’s tape? nah man, it’s just leading the votes because everyone’s voting and didn’t listen. smh, dumbass. 11-1-11 theory & return of 4eva killed every tape this year. tmc was pretty dope too

  • B-Dawg

    Your crazy weres Luda and Wayne Elzhi sucks the only people that derserve to be on there are Pusha-T, Wale (Maybe should have been in 10),Fredie Gibbs sucks, A$AP Deff should be on there(Higher),Khalifa should not be on there that was a poor mixtape,2 chainz should be like 8 or 9, dont even get me stared about how shity Elzhi is Fabs okay should be 9 and now daa Meek Mill and Big K.I.R.T this must be the one for new rappers other then Fab and Chainz

    • fuck b-dawg

      your a fucking idiot. fuck wayne. elzhi lyrically destroyed this list so quit sucking ymcmb nuts and listen.

    • RL_Tucker

      You do realize that this is not a ranking but a list for you to place your vote, right? The little circles to the left are not for decoration.

      • Joshdaterrible

        haha exactly

    • frv

      Lmao Wayne is good and Elzhi sucks.

      Ignorance at its finest.

  • hei

    wiz and asap is the only good ones on this list… the rest suck dick!

    • Pat Myaz

      What?!?!? ASAP is a hypebeast, his lyrical ability is average. Wiz is a pop star unless you’re a pothead who never actually listens to how wack he is. SELL OUT! nobody on this list can hold a candle to Gangsta Gibbs and KRIT.


      Haha to even say Wiz was the best on the list was a joke The only 4 i liked alot was BIG K.R.I.T, ASAP, MEEK MILLZ I belive that Nipsey Hussel shouldve been on the list TMC was a very good mixtape

  • nossdog

    for people sayin Elzhi sucks…youve just lost all credibility when it comes to knowing hip hop. btw, Cabin Fever was by far Wiz’s worst mixtape

  • beast

    how can you say who the fuck is Elzhi, that shit was dope and deserves it up there.

    • deesizzle

      hell yeah.. im agree with you

  • Haroun

    WTF no Cold Corner 2/The Big 10.

  • bryan

    Ummmm….the best mixtape would be Gift Raps by Chip Tha Ripper.

    How are people still sleeping on this dude???

    • Brock

      I couldnt agree more, chip never disappoints

    • KillerEKIM

      Cuz Chip too busy makin music while others are out swingin on dicks to get deals. Just wait and see.

  • Joe

    Danny brown ..

  • Freshly pipes

    That Freddie Gibbs Is that real 100 shit!! “B.A.N” and “My homeboys girlfriend”

  • beez

    lol i like big krit but his mixtape wasn’t hotter then meek’s sorry.


      Meek’s mixtape was dope, but it was merely a mixtape. K.R.I.T. performed, produced, arranged & mixed his entire ALBUM by himself. The only reason K.R.I.T. is on this list is because his ALBUM was FREE. He should be nominated with other ALBUMS. He deserves to win.

    • get out

      LOL gtfoh meek is ASS! He sounds like every other average as fuck punchline rapping cornballs with alright beats. Krit smokes that nigga on the rhymes, flowz, has stronger subject matter and has more soul & feeling to his shit then meek. Not to mention he produced his entire album with beats better than the shit meek rapped over.

  • Breezy

    where’s B.o.B’s “E.p.i.c.” ?

  • ListenUp

    for real never heard of Elzhi!?!?!? his mixtape is the best, fabolous was def top 3 they got that, big ten was very good, but Cold Corner 2 def deserves to be up there

  • Jazz

    wow to anyone saying Elzhi sucks, he recreated Illmatic and dam near matched it, go listen if you havent heard

  • NYluv


  • iSOLEDmysole

    Elmatic is the best mixtape of the year. Return of 4eva is a close 2nd

  • Will

    If you don’t like eLZhi, that’s cool. Maybe you just like music with no direction, passion or lyrical quality. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, it just means that you don’t quite understand why he made Elmatic. You’ll get there.

    1. eLZhi – Elmatic
    2. K.R.I.T. – R4
    3. Rockwell Knuckles – YFOIFI
    4. Hoodie Allen – Leap Year
    5. Main Attrakionz – 808s & Dark Grapes II

  • kscott

    BIG KRIT……..

  • PHatBoi_Teddy


  • Wiz Sucks

    Wiz is a faggot – his album sucked, he’s going out with that chrome dome white chick. Fuck him.

  • shawn

    JUICY J????

  • Arian

    I’ll have to to with return of 4eva and ellmatic.. They were both great on production and both MCs killed it with lyricism. I look out for bigger things for Elzhi and Big K.R.I.T. next year

  • Aaron

    Big K.R.I.T. Mixtape was by far the best out this year. Listening to this cd just takes me back to when good music was being made. Sounds like some smooth old down south music like Outkast and goodie Mob type. and for those who dont get big krit, I can see why, Yall prob from Up North or somethin lol!!..but nothing that is out now is on Big K.R.I.Ts level..just lets me know there are still lyricsis out there and not these fake on the list PUSHA and Wale maybe the only ones deserving other than Krit..

  • Shekeese

    No Cold Corner? No TMC? No BIG 10??

    No TMC though…for real? Like…for real?

  • JP

    Kendrick Lamar -Section 80????

    • correction

      That was a digital-retailed album. All of these projects on this list were put on free

  • dabestofs

    Where is Curren$y’s Covert Coup or Prodigy’s Bumpy Johnson mixtape????????

    • 5

      Yo you took the words str8 outta my mind.

  • Matthew

    If you don’t know who Elzhi is, don’t even vote. Elmatic is better than every other mixtape on this list, Returnof4eva is second.

  • unclesam

    No Covert Coup (Best mixtape of the year by far IMO, was more like a dopeass album than a mixtape)? Setbacks (ScHoolBoy Q)?

  • HAHA

    “WHO IS ELZHI?” Educate yourself… do some research before you talk smack, comin here to vote for wack ass rappers. Anyways, nobody even close to krit’s level, R4 was easily the best tape of the year, and was better than EVERY entry on the album list too. #KRIT

  • mykey

    cant believe people are talking shit on elzhi. elmatic is a fucking masterpiece. real hip hop, wale over elzhi? haha gimme a break. top 3 should be 1. KRIT 2. Elzhi 3. A$AP, liveloveasap is probably my favorite of the three. but krit produces insane beats and has a lot of songs on his tape, that all bang. cant overlook that. IMO lyrically elzhi is ahead of asap and went hard on elmatic.

  • Bird

    If you don’t know who Elzhi is then you need to turn off your radio and step up your Hiphop listening game. His release was probably the best of the entire year… including most people’s albums…. Big KRIT’s mixtape would be 2nd…. if you think Drake, Wayne and Wiz are better lyrically than Elzhi then your probably new to Hiphop……..

  • FoodandDrink

    Return of 4eva was fye. Easily the best to me. But why didn’t Kendrick Lamar’s Section80 make the list?

  • Peter

    My top 3 this year were Return of 4Eva, Section 80 (Why the hell isn’t that on this list), Elmatic.

    • garrett

      Section.80 is an album

  • J.BONE

    2 Chainz and KRIT had the best mixtapes this year. I voted for 2 Chainz, if you aint feeling him he must be way the fuck over your head. Cause dude puts a lot of thought into those lyrics just like Jeezy some of you will never get it. And KRIT well he’s the best rapper I’ve heard come out in the last 10 or so years. Rest of those listed get no play in my ride…NONE.

  • WhamBeats757

    no blue dream and lean???
    cocaine muzik 6??


  • Leorules

    LOL…did this guy say who is ELZHI? lol

    I can’t even deal with dumb people. I’m out. All these other rappers on here are probably secretly voting for Elzhi over there own mixtapes lol

  • JP

    Gibbs is cool. A$AP is cool. I give eLZhi major props for recreating Illmatic in his own entity. K.R.I.T. made me a believer when I first listened to K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. Since then I hold his music in high regard. IMO, the best mixtape(s) this year are eLmatic and Return of 4Eva.

  • D.T.

    Where’s Curren$y or Juicy J??? How can u leave them off the list…Covert Coup, Verde Terrace, RubbaBand Business 2, Blue Dream & Lean…c’mon man!!!

  • Josh

    Hell yea thats a no brainer there he did his thing on Return of 4ever!!!!!

  • yeason

    Agreed ^^. R4 is the best hands down, elmatic and asap deserve mention, but Verde Terrace and Covert Coup deserve some love…. classics imo

  • rela talk

    Elzhi did not nothing special he took NAS’ MASTERPIECE and tried to create somethiing that was already done by NAS. Elzhi is nothing more than a NAS clone wannabe! Elzhi needs to create his own classic instead of trying to eat and be recognized off of Nas work.

    • real talk is dumb

      you sound dumb as fuck. elzhi recreated the beats and put his own twist on it. nas is one of his favorite rappers and he paid homage to him. he aint a nas wannabe go listen to his other shit before saying that.

      • hahaha

        Well like @real talk stated he is only getting recognized because he copied and pasted Nas’ entire classic “Illmatic” but has yet to recieve any recognition from his own work. So how good can he be when he is only getting shine from a remake of Nas’ classic? Nas already did Illmatic justice…what the fuck is Elmatic LOL.

        • U wack

          “how good can he be if hes getting recognized for re-doing nas stuff” <<<<obviously cause of how well he covered it dumb fuck, not because of JUST THE FACT that he re-did it. He paid homage to illmatic respectfully while projecting his own personal self into the album as well. As far as not getting recognized for his own stuff, most underground heads and alot of rap heads been knew about dude and were up on his own material before illmatic came out. Not elzhi's fault for u and that other dude for being ignorant fucks about elzhi's previous work. Go look up his solo projects and the slum village albums (which he was best known when he used to be a member of the group) and judge that before u write him off as a "nas-copycat". Oh and fyi, NO ONE WAS SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT ELZHI COPYING ANYTHING FROM NAS UNTIL HE COVERED THE ALBUM. NAS IS AN INFLUENCE, BUT ELZHI AND NAS ARE TWO DIFFERENT RAPPERS WITH DIFFERENT RHYME SCHEMES AND DIFFERENT SUBJECT MATTER. Like i said, do your research and listen to his own material before u judge.

  • Azhar

    Top 10 Mixtapes of 2011

    1. Freddie Gibbs – Cold Day in Hell
    2. BIG Krit – Return of 4eva
    3. Pusha T – Fear of God
    4. Wale – The 11-1-11 Theory
    5. Jeezy – TRIB 1&2
    6. Frank Ocean – Nostalgia/Ultra
    7. Curren$y – Covert Coup
    8. Fab – The Soul Tape
    9. Red Cafe – Above The Cloudz
    10.Lloyd Banks – Cold Corner 2

  • Jinesis

    this is a hard one and where is 50 Cent “The Big 10″

  • hollywood_briz

    No love for XV really??

  • Kushman

    WTF 2 chainz mixtape aint nowhere near as hot as rubbaband buissness 2, return of 4eva was the best hands down but in the dirty south gangsta rap category juicy has 2 chainz beat. Rubbaband buissness 2 had nothin but bangers…….2 chainz’s tape not so much.

  • DJ

    Where is Section.80?

  • arkitekt

    Cabin Fever sucked. People need to get off Wiz’ dick.

  • Kushman

    and i forgot COVERT COUPE and VERDE TERRACE from curren$y should be on here those where str8 fire start to finish. And wut about nipsey wit TMC or Smoke DZA wit hustlers catalog, and jet life to the next life. xxl is sleepin on sum of the hottest shit of the year

  • yes sir

    Top 11 Mixtapes of 2011

    1.The Fly 2
    2.The Great Debator
    4.Covert Coup
    5.Cold Day In Hell
    6.King of New York
    7.The Hustlers Catalog
    8.The Cold Corner 2
    9.The Marathon Continues
    10.C.A.T.S Can
    11.Zero Heroes

    Return Of 4eva – already considered a classic


    anyone who likes Really Hip-hop and doesnt know Elzhi should really check his mixtape before checking anything…. He just dropping his MEMORY LANE video today.. its def worth the watch for anyone

  • http://XXL.mag EMINEM

    Check Me and Royce da 59 making featured appearances in the new Elzhi video “MEMORY LANE”… make sure to check out his Mixtape Elmatic paying respect to Nas’s classic ILLMATIC.. DETROIT!!!

  • lll

    Great Album. But does the cover have to have the triangle just so people crazy about Illuminati can trip out?

  • Dre

    Where tf is domo genesis-under the influence at?

  • Benjamin Flocka

    This Is A Bullshit Ass List , Except For A$AP

    • fuckouttahere

      ^^^BIGKRIT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ASS Rocky…..and thats a fact

  • st0ner


  • busybyrd

    get em KRIT King Remembered in time…REDLINE 300 Run it

  • Kevin

    Big K.R.I.T – Return of 4eva is what I blast ALL THE TIME in my ride! This mixtape literally LIVES in my cd deck! Track #2 Rise And Shine is what I play every morning on my way to work; Track #3 R4 Theme Song is definitely a must play is you have some beat in your trunk; Track #13 Is straight up “REAL Hustler Music.” Man, I could go on and on about this mixtape (which, to me, is really like a free album that Big K.R.I.T gave away) but to sum it up…if you don’t have this mixtape then you still-no wait you STILL- haven’t heard what “REAL” music is playa.

  • chris

    Elzhi’s Elmatic is dope… Return of 4eva is good too… only good mixtapes out

  • PikaChu

    Elzhi, Big Krit, And Freddie Gibbs put out the only solid mixtape.. anyone who Likes Illmatic will love Elmatic.. Elzhi pays great respect to Nas

  • Shaun

    If you don’t like Meek Mill Dreamchasers Than you Can Go Fucking Jump off a top of a Stadium Face first


    NIGGAS NEED TO VOTE ELMATIC… AND IF DONT… YOU MISSIN OUT… ALL I GOTTA SAY… i also fucks with that Big Krit Mixtape too it was ill.. besides his “country shit” joint.. that was wack

  • Danny

    Pabst & Jazz came up the back real late and stole the show.


    NAS my favorite artist all-time… so i gotta vote ELMATIC.. elzhi pays tribute big time to the homie and he does his thing…

  • holy crap

    Not to hate but wtf no purp and patron? that shit was a double disc and then had a sequel. All of sick ass songs. xxl ur top 10 lists r whakkk

  • Alberto Pujols

    Me encanta ELmatic mucho

  • Stan

    If i was stuck on a Island and had to listen to one of these mixtapes… i’d have to choose Elmatic

  • matt

    1. Returnof4eva, Big K.R.I.T. displays classic 90′s southern and soulful hip hop through melodies and legendary lyricism. he proves there truly is no limitation to southern lyricism.
    2. Cold Day in Hell, Freddie Gibbs adds an enjoyment to gangsta rap, you can ride to this tape and party to this tape.
    3.LiveLoveA$AP, the tape has styles from various locations on the map, there’s a Cleveland feel, a TX feel, a Harlem feel, and a Westcoast feel.
    4.Cabin Fever, full of club bangers and great beats, Wiz didn’t display the lyricism he used to on projects like Show and Prove, the Prince of the City series, and Grow season but guests such as Chevy Chase, Big Sean, and Trae tha Truth.
    5. Body Bag, no disrespect but Ace Hood seems to put more into The Statement and Body Bag than he does in all his albums and other mixtapes. He destroys each instrumental with a rapid southern flow that you don’t here on his albums and other mixtapes.

  • Chevy P

    Yeah Hands Down return of 4eva!! Was the best mixtape this year!!

  • matt

    Why is that every one is on this elmatic tape? last year Fashawn made the best tribute when he did his Ode to Illmatic he gets way more lyrical and creative than Elzi. Please respond, I need to know why people are calling this tape of the year. Ode to Illmatic was increadible and underated.

    • Illy

      I like Fashawn but aint even in the same weight class as elzhi when it comes to pure lyricism and techincal skills so no he wasnt more lyrical and all fashawn did was rap over the original beats. Any rapper can take another artists beat and freestyle over it like it just another regular mixtape. Elzhi got a live band to re-create the beats that had more melody to em and felt more musical and elzhi did a different interpretations of tracks like one love and memory lane from the original to make the tracks more personal which fashawn didnt do as much so no he wasnt more creative than el either. Ode to illmatic was good but elmatic goes farther in matching the integrity & spirit of the original while having elzhi’s flavor put into it.


    I’ve voted for Big K.R.I.T. at least 30 times, and will vote 30 more. His music is EVERYTHING. Cause he gives EVERYTHING. #K4L

    Be on the look out for his new MIXTAPE: #4evaNaDay & his debut album: #LiveFromTheUnderground!!

    And I do have a problem with #CovertCoup not being on this list… And why niggas act like B.o.B.’s #NoGenre never happened??

  • Rob ROyall


  • SeanTom

    I dunno, i agree with return of 4eva and s.o.u.l tape but why they don’t have stepbrother by lito and don trip is beyond me?!?

  • Shady 2.0

    Elmatic was my shit all year

  • 300

    of all the rappers on the list… Elzhi deserves the Vote… he payed tribute to a Legend and thats Nas… Elmatic is a sick mixtape

  • Hip-Hop

    Lets seeeee Big Krit is dope, Meek Mill goes hard, Fab is nice, Elzhi a beast, 2chainz is retarded, Wiz is wack, A$ap is alright, Wale i think he’s gay, Push T is straight, Freddie Gibbs goes hard..

    Elzhi has been a lyricall beast since he came into the game in 97.. Elmatic was crazy… he deserves the vote


    Fabulos or Wiz. Check us out at

  • BTK

    Can’t believe none of Gerald Walker mixtapes was on here smh he dropped quality albums for mixtaps come on XXL!!!





  • Illmatic94


  • hellno

    none of the above.
    Immortal Technique – The Martyr.
    Better than all the albums on your “best albums” list also.
    Elmatic was the best from the list though

    • eh

      The Martyr would be better than returnof4eva if the album had better beats and if immortal was more versatile w/ his style and subject matter. Krit covers all the subject matter

      - Real life shit
      -Personal stories
      -Conscious rap
      - Spirituality (sort of)
      - Ride out music

      and krit produced, written and arranged the whole album himself. All the beats on this album>>>>the beats on immortal’s shit. Just MY OPINION.

  • kemar

    did los do something why no one is recognizing him as having the best mixtape?

  • slient

    who so ever say elzhi sucks or dont know who he is is either a fucking pothead or someone that dont listen to real hip hop key word: REAL HIP HOP not the bullshit ycmb music i hear nowadays and btw wiz verse in 5 in the morning was the worse big krit reminds me of pimp c and deserves to be in one spot i would put j cole up there friday night lights lloyd banks cold corner mixtape gibbs is impressive meek mill,wale there aight elzhi is the best out of the 10 guys there then big krit as much the pimp c comparasions are there hes the souths az he can rhyme with the best of them

  • Rashad

    Lyrically no one is seeing Elzhi…. Big Krit is the closest one if anything

  • GOKU

    If Hip-Hop was Dragon Ball Z….. Elzhi would be Super Saiyan 3 Goku.. and when Elzhi and Royce da 59 drop their album togther they gonna form Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta…. thats how nasty they are… ELMATIC ALL DAY

  • WU-TANG4life

    these niggas aint got shyt on Elzhi… you already know what my vote is…

  • Chava

    Kendrick Lamar’s Section 80?

    • Anonymous

      And to anyone asking why Section.80 isn’t up there, that’s cause it wasn’t a mixtape, is was an album. It’s actually on iTunes for purchase.

  • Westcoast

    kinda pissed Section 80 isnt on here… but Elzhi’s Elmatic is a definite

  • Zeus

    I Dont understand how Elmatic isnt at the top… Elzhi been in the game for 13 years killin it… yet people still dont know how great he is… i aint that Mad tho… Big Krit is great.. he the only other artist that deserves the top spot

  • yep…

    Return of 4eva. Cabin Fever shouldn’t even be on the last, Chip should have taken that place.

  • dru

    To anyone questioning Elzhi….actually listen to the tape. Give it a chance. It’s the best remake of illmatic ever made. If you appreciate beats and rhymes you’ll like it.

  • dru

    To anyone questioning Elzhi….actually listen to the tape. Give it a chance. It’s the best remake of illmatic ever made. If you appreciate beats and rhymes you’ll like it. Let go of your stanning for some other rapper and just listen to it all the way through.

  • Jake

    Who the fuck is Elzhi?!

    Elzhi Sucks!

    You’re either under 20, never listen to amazing emcees, deaf, or all the above…

    ELZHI IS THE ILLEST EMCEE ALIVE in terms of his material put out over the last 5-7 years or so (been around since mid to late 90s, slum village, and now amazing solo ish).


    Please study up on ppl like Elzhi, One Be Lo, Tonedeff, Diabolic, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought, Percee-P, Juice (from chi), Copywrite, Apathy, Lowkey, Rhyme Asylum, Crooked I to name a few of MANY and get back to hip hop heads that know what’s not in mass media


    Big KRIT for President!!!!

  • http://xxlmag Sadé Skyrocket Smith

    All Ryyyte!!! ;D

  • DeeJay

    the crown aint safe eats all these tapes and shits them out on some rapid fire tip….real talk LOS should be on this list straight uppp with at least 3 mixtapes

  • Roo

    How the FUCK can any hip-hop fan say Elzhi sucks? You obviously aren’t listening. Elzhi is one of the best technical lyricists in the game, quit getting spoon-fed garbage music and open your ears. And Freddie Gibbs sucks too? You’re either hating or don’t actually like hip-hop. 0 credibility.

    Big K.R.I.T. Elzhi and Gibbs top 3 tapes on there

  • justice

    Elzhi needs to create his own work and not use Nas’ classic as a come-up. How can anyone take him serious when he is known for remaking Nas’ classic, regardless if it was to pay homage it is still not his original work. He has been in this 13 years and remaking Nas’ classic is what he is being recognized for?

  • killah

    Big K.R.I.T. has the best mixtape.

  • Less_Clumsy

    Man, you guy’s didn’t mention Curren$y Covert coup, Fly Union TGTC…. I’ve listend to a lot of Mixtapes this year. My Favourite was Fear Of God, But when I heard Covert Coup i was like, That’s my Joint. Then A$AP came and just flipped the script. This years Mixtapes & Free Music has been good.

    In Order

    1) Curren$y (Covert Coup)
    2) A$AP Rocky ( LIVELOVEA$AS)
    3)Pusha T (Fear Of God)
    4)Fly Union (TGTC)
    5)Best Day Ever (Mac Miller) Or Chevy Wood’s (The Cookout)

    There are Soo Many I could List that you guys didn’t mention

  • Anonymous

    Where’s Zero Heroes? XV deserves to be on this list. His tape was better than anything Wale or Meek Mill put out.

  • chris

    Elzhi is the best one out there word up bird if u dnt know who Elzhi is go do some research imbecile

  • Will

    KRIT’s joint was actually supposed to be a real album, they switched it up into a free album, that’s why the quality of the product is so good.

  • Diggz

    What in the fuck? XV – Zero Heroes >>>>

    The fuck does XXL have up there ass about Vizzy.

  • Niggz

    Elzhi… ElMATIC…. got on that shit if you havnt…

  • Donuts

    ELMATIC all day god damnit… who the fuck votes Wiz Kagina he’s a faggot.. and Wale’s Mixtape is fuckin Tampon music… Big Krit’s mixtape is good…

  • g13

    curren$y had like 3 mixtapes this year and they were all better than cabin fever. we cant get him on the list?

  • AlaskanThunderFuck

    Elzhi is what mainstream Hip-Hop has been missing the past 7-8 years… Hip-Hop needs Elzhi …

  • bitchTITS

    Elzhi is a beast.. nobody want it with Elzhi… ELMATIC!


    Where is webster’s labratory by chris webby?

  • WTF

    b.o.b EPIC???? you guys suck

  • JetsFool

    okk if you havent even listen to one of these type all the way then who the fuck are you to knock it listen to the music before you knock it and curren$y covert coupe chip tha ripper’s gift raps and pac div’s mania should be on here

  • mike

    WOW, no XV? Zero heros is in the top 15 for me

  • joshdaterrible

    where is rockie fresh? the otherside is dope. add+ when pigs fly was also good. but anyway nod goes to krit

  • JiggaTHATnigga

    ELZHI is bringing real hip-hop back…

  • Kosi

    Where d he’ll is Kid Ink’s Daydreamer? Dat Kid killed it on Low Key Poppin’

  • Beau

    Uhhhhhh… Where is Covert Coup?

  • klassyKrys

    Ummmm Siya’s Elevator Dreams should be one of the nominees. She is the truth and I feel she is truly undervalued as an artist. Ya’ll sleeping on her.!!

  • Big M

    I agree with Big K.R.I.T. but the rest of the list sucks! Meek Mill sucks!

    • What?

      Elzhi and freddie gibbs suck though? GTFO! Did u even listen to listen to either one before u posted your comment?

  • yugang

    My top 4 off the list

    Big Krit – Return Of4 Eva (thats an album, not a mixtape!)

    Elmatic – Elmatic (a damn near classic cover of a classic, if that makes sense)

    Freddie Gibbs – Cold Day In Hell (Ya are sleeping on gibbs as a rapper! Hes just as good as krit on the rhyming tip. Musicially, he comes close to krit and comes close to krit on spitting real life type of shit.)

    Pusha T – Fear of God (its pusha! if u know about the clipse then thats what u can expect.)

    I can only vote for 1 tho, so who will it be? Sorry el, gibbs and pusha…i think i’ll role with krit cause i’ve got to sit with ro4e longer and i found myself playing that throughout the year more than any other rap album with the exception of section 80.


    Futuremusicmix is on the new XXL MAGAZINE with 50 Cent & Floyd mayweather



  • Jakeemthunder XXX? huh…I guess Meek Millz had a better mixtape than him…

  • Steven

    wheres spitta’s mixtapes at? covert coup & verde terrace was hard af.

  • Nature Boy

    Big Krit by a mile but Peanut butter and Swelly is second for me i’m a Chiddy Bang fans but then again thats not for everyone

  • trav

    no kendrick on here?

  • LGC

    808s and Dark Grapes II by Main Attrakionz should be up there. Elmatic was dope. Elzhi has crazy flows, and can rhyme circles around any one of these guys. Also loved LiveLiveASAP

  • David Ruckins

    #DMV D-Ruckins I Rep Dat…. Shout-out 2 da homie Wale
    if u dont know Google David Ruckins
    Color of My Soul (Mixtape) on Datpiff!
    Twitter @DavidRuckins

  • blah

    some of these mixtapes r good but u guys should check out Jon Connor Season 2 mixtape and Los Crown aint safe.

  • food for thought

    Before any of yall disagree I’m not hatin on people like Elzhi or other people who didnt make the list that had smart mixtapes the entire year but yall gotta also factor in not just these guys lyrical ability but also what the mixtape did for the artist and the impact on the hip-hop scene in the past year. Im not a big Wale fan but that mixtape was mad popular and helped a career that was in the major slums, Wiz maybe a pop rapper and lyrically weak (again not disagreeing with any of that) but 2011 was his year in the mainstreem and even though that mixtape wasnt one of the best (in my opinion the worst out of his work) it continued to build on his hype…same with meek mill, he mighta been a bit stale lyrically at points but he blew up at the end of last year and that mixtape was a large part of that (in addition to MMG)…the only other two mixtapes I feel have good argument to be up there are B.O.B.s and lupes but im guessing they were left off because of how late they dropped. But my point is yall gotta look at stuff besides the lyrically abilities when evaluating these mixtapes cause its a list for best mixtapes not best lyrical mcs or lyrical mixtapes of the year (even though XXL should have had a list for this instead of some of the other crap they post)

  • Marcus Hill

    Friday Night Lights? J. Cole

    • Double A

      That was last year smart one

  • Jarek Petras

    1.21 Gigawatts no doubt

  • mike4rmchamp

    the 11-1-11 go the hardest.
    then meek mills dreamchaser!
    then pusha t fear of God
    then fab the soul tape
    thennn big krit the return of forever
    next def wiz with cabin fever.
    then tit with the tru realigoin!
    asap nice, but he’ll prolly get it next year.
    but nic paper’s cash it or plastic mixtape (up and coming) might blow him out the water!

  • JByrd

    Verde Terrace -Curren$y should of been on this list. It was better than Cabin Fever

  • KidHoover

    XV’s “Zero Heroes” was a classic. Definitely shouldve been an option. Asher’s new one “Pabst & Jazz” is fucking insane too (but I guess it came out to late for this).

  • JByrd

    based on the description by the XXL staff why isnt Sorry 4 the Wait on this list? the mixtape was better than Carter IV and built up the hype to get it to sell 1 million in a week

  • Miroslav

    No Lupe? smh

  • DJ Fade

    MMG winnin’ but sorry Wale. That Dreamchasers is so hungry!

  • cadcds

    again yall sleeping on wale, that is the definitino of hip hop, big k.r.i.t was good on the ixtape but lyrical content doesnt even belong on the same level wale’s on. yyall need to wake up from this sleep you people are having


      I disagree I think krit was better but meek millz mixtape should win because his songs were on the radio and he had videos and I thought meek millz had a album until when I looked to purchase dreamchasers then I saw it was a MIXTAPE I was like wow the last person to get that much mainstream play off a mixtape was Drake

  • bob dillian

    What about purp and patron from the game?

  • Ryan

    why isnt echoes of silence/house of balloons or even thursday on here ?

  • dez

    wow fab and meek is low smh …them two mixtapes are better then everyone there period ..

  • larry

    wale is the best rapper on the list

  • Kareem

    What about Sorry 4 the wait.

  • Sthlm

    Wheres Stalley’s Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music)??!

  •!/TruaveliOVOXO TruaveliOVOXO


    Follow me on Twitter @TruaveliOVOXO



  • cru215

    honestly…cant believe meek only has 6%. Boy has more hunger than any of these other rappers. He’d eat all of em on a track. Shot out to all of em tho, really feelin the new class: asap, freddie, krit, n chain.

  • b.i.g. kenny

    don trip & starlito “stepbrothers” hands down hardest mixtape of the year

  • Ashley

    WALE betta win hands down. He is sooo underrated!

  • thinking2much

    Wale mixtape was the best he has so much to say when he is rapping. The subject matter on this mixtape (all his mixtapes) makes you think and he paints a picture with his lyrics.

  • Nas Escobar II

    Elzhi’s Elmatic was the best thing i heard all year. I remembered Elzhi from Slum Village and never was truly impressed by him and i was very skeptical before listening to Elmatic, remaking a classic is a bold move and i can honestly say Elzhi really did it justice. His pen game is crazy on the tape, the most lyrically complete body of work ive heard in some time, i even went back to his earlier work on his solo album and this nigga can simply rap his ass off. I feel like there a few mixtapes on this list that were actually good but NONE of them com close to Elmatic

  • chill will

    Mannnn Gangsta Gibbs made the competition look WEAK with cold day in hell

  • kevykev

    heard most these albums much love to K.R.I.T. ANd I’m a new york nigga!!!! bottom line Meek Mills dream chaser i think is the hottest mix tape because if u have struggled in your life sold drugs or been facing time you feel his music.. if u aint never been through that then i can understand why its not number 1..

  • Usman ibrahim

    Like yesterday i was no body but ask adout me today am goggle

  • DePo

    Chip Tha Ripper- GIFT RAPS!!!

  • Lu


  • its me

    good choices, but too bad they didn’t make room for Curren$y’s Covert Coup. just sayin

  • its me

    …also, L.E.P Bogus Boys new tape is ice cold. too hard for this list maybe?

  • JB

    WTF.??? Where’s TMC.???? I swear they be sleepin on Nipsey smh

  • http://@dfrompg Darius

    Wale deserves it #dmv

  • MCParanoia

    Hold up, hold up.. Why the fuck are people arguing on HERE? Go start a motherfucking street fight if you’re really ridin these rappers dicks that hard. This is gonna be contradictory, since I’m commenting about it, but seriously – there must be a better use of your time than to argue about the most talented out of Wayne, Wiz, Elzhi, K.R.I.T and ANY other rapper in the game. Goddamn, for real just chill the fuck out and accept that not everyone will agree with your opinion. Suck it up and quit bitchin in A FUCKING COMMENT BOX!! (It is pretty funny I’m bitchin about y’all bitchin in “A FUCKING COMMENT BOX!” too, though. I acknowledge that.)

    But really – beefin over another person’s preference in hip-hop thru a comment box on the XXL website is truly pointless; it accomplishes absolutely nothing. Especially to continue to come back just to shit talk back and forth. The fuck is that? Quit instigating and take it for what it is.

    We all have our own personal concept of the best styles, lyrics, beats, etc.If you love these rappers so much go join their street team, go to their shows, buy their album or their merchandise. I guess this is me forcing my views on y’all but at least I got a valid point here. When it comes to which rapper is better than which, why try to convince someone who disagrees with you that “so-and-so” is the best or deserves a spot in the top 10 mixtapes of the year?

    Now – to my REAL point of commenting… I give props to the EXTREMELY FEW people showin love to Los, J. Cole and Wale. I read literally every comment on all these pages and the majority of what I saw was K.R.I.T. and Elzhi. (I didn’t see a single person mention Tory Lanez, either – dude is like Cory Gunz mixed with College Dropout Kanye.)

    Let me remind you this is STRICTLY MY OPINION, I DON’T CARE IF YOU DISAGREE – IT’S JUST PERSONAL PREFERENCE. That being said – Big K.R.I.T.’s mixtape was excellent, for real. He’s got good lyrics, great beats/production, and at least for the most part, a FEEL for music & how to construct it, which very few rappers truly have. Really it was an album given out for free, and I guess other factors, that caused it to be considered a “mixtape”. Also, there is no doubt Elzhi’s good – I mean he’s great, and I love a talented lyricist/musician/producer just as much as any real hip-hop head, but as cool as it is that he re-did Illmatic…… Well, he re-did Illmatic.
    In the wise words of J. Cole, “Nobody touchin Nas, nigga, this more like Villematic”. It’s unique that Elzhi had real musicians, recreated the songs, was paying tribute to Nas and all but… I just wasn’t feelin it personally.

    I know people will disagree and that’s fine – to each his own, (I saw plenty of Wale haters on these comments), but even though Elzhi is GREAT lyrically, he’s really just writin badass puns plus words that work/rhyme really well together. Compared to most average rappers gettin radio play & hype, he’s extremely unique, but compare his lyrical abilities to some of these cats that are writin lyrics so over the heads of the general public people just don’t even listen, Elzhi can’t match their standards.

    So many people are ridin Elzhi’s dick and actin like Wale ain’t shit. Eleven-One-Eleven wasn’t great, but Wale has at least 4 or 5 double entendres, if not triple entendres, in each verse. In fact, I didn’t even like him at first until I started realizing what he was saying it, catching the puns and the lines that mean so 2, 3 or 4 different things at once, then he became one of my favorites. If we were votin albums there would have been no second thoughts of pickin Ambition. So, of the rappers on this list, Wale gets my vote.

    But then there’s still 2 guys that should have beat 8 out of 10 of the rappers on this list.

    First and foremost – J. Cole’s ‘Friday Night Lights’ is one of the hottest mixtapes I’ve ever heard. He’s not only givin you real shit, spillin his guts out without whining about it like Drake does, but he produced every beat, delivers the rhymes right from his fuckin soul, remaining insanely clever and matching damn near every song with a catchy hook. The lyrics might not be so intricate that it’s over your head, but there’s a perfect balance on that tape. It DEFINITELY shoulda been on this list.

    Second, and I believe most importantly, is Los aka Swaggaboylos, and if you haven’t heard his shit go to and listen. I have NEVER heard another rapper with so many unbelievably clever bars back to back throughout entire songs. He’s made a ridiculous amount of music (6 mixtapes, 3 original albums – total of 200+ excluding features), and I would bet money he could murder ANY rapper in the game. He invented an entirely new and unparalleled style referred to as “pattern rap” – essentially taking the same word, words, pronunciation of words or combination of words and using them in multiple different ways. To quote his remix of ‘Don’t Shoot Me Down’ from 2008: “It’s only right that I only write about what’s only right. Tie my left behind my back, fight you with only rights. You’ll still get left behind my back cuz I don’t just write. My flow’s ambidextrous – you see how you get left, right? Take a south paw, he write with his left, right? But right or left we all read from the left, right? So I just laugh when MCs say ‘let’s write’. I say ‘I’d rather left’, they say ‘is that right?’” Now, not only is he using his pattern rap style, but he’s got multiple double entendre’s. I could explain, but in just those lines I can count at least 7. This guy is the epitome of clever and the pinnacle of intricate. Not only that, but the diversity of his flow is phenomenal. His sound is so unique, punchlines so clever, songs where he plays with the same word almost all the way thru it in different ways and still creates a great track (Remix of “Run This Town”). This dude spits lyrical crack literally, with his songs ranging from the realest, deepest, saddest and most heartfelt songs written for his mother to the hungriest, rawest, vicious, most brutal remixes to popular tracks that would make the rapper who originally created the song not want to even listen to his own verse. The only thing Los lacks is production ability and the FEEL for music I mentioned earlier about Big K.R.I.T.

    Little do most of you know – this man has been featured in XXL on multiple occasions, they also voted his remix of “A Milli” the best they had heard in the world, he was on the first season of “Making the Band” and (wisely) left voluntarily to avoid that type of promo, was signed to Bad Boy for half a million dollars on the spot after rapping for Diddy for over 10 minutes (go to youtube and look for “Los 10 Million Dollar Massacre Freestyle”) but was later either dropped or left – I don’t know every detail. His newest mixtape/album (even has a line saying “this is an album disguised as a mixtape” on one song) is hosted by DJ Ill Will & DJ Drama with features by Twista, DMX, XV, Kid Ink, Lola Monroe, Phil Ade, Sean Hayz, along with production & features by the infamous Jazze Pha. Plus a wide variety of producers from Jahlil Beats (Roc Nation) and Rick Steel (Murder Inc) to Calvo Da Gr8 (Def Jam/Young Money) and Battleroy (Aftermath). Point is – he ain’t small time, he just doesn’t have a deal. Open your eyes, and your mind, and listen to this cat. He WILL go down in history. I said it here and now.

  • los

    4 words…the crown aint safe

  • h0rak

    No Danny Brown XXX???

  • MacMiller

    I really like all these tapes and I can understand why Sorry 4 the Wait wasn’t on here cuz it had no original beats. The same goes for Chamillionaire with his badazz freemixes (don’t sleep on him, he’s back and he’s got heat) but where’s Best Day Ever?! I thought I made a great tape with Donald Trump, arguably one of the most popular songs of the year. And let’s not forget about Curren$y who had a couple of great tapes in Verde Terrace and Covert Coup. Also, I think Luda could be in the conversation as well (even if he isn’t all that he once was) and the same goes for Danny Brown (who’s definitely on the rise)

  • ahmad

    Sorry For The Wait!! weezy f baby

  • P.B.

    Big K.R.I.T. had the best mixtape in R4 but Immortal Technique’s, the martyr, should be there as a close second. Elzhi came out with some sick shit in Elmatic but i wouldn’t put it above R4 just because Elzhi used a template that was already created. Don’t get me wrong, his lyrics were unprecedented but he didn’t produce incredible beats as K.R.I.T. did in R4.

  • cuaass

    if krit didn’t get # 1 i would officially stop visiting this website

  • MikeStreet

    no danny brown

  • Brandon

    The Big 10!!!!!!

  • roman

    where is the 58`s at!

  • Chuck Money MFW

    umm Big KRITis dope as fuck and dat mixtape was crazy. anotha thing, yal must havent listen 2 ASAP Rocky mixtape? THAT SHIT IS NICE.

  • Jetsoverbitchs


  • Jujumaine

    No Covert Coup!??? Damn!!! KRIT tha truth too tho.. Wheres Stalley? No Spitta?? WOW!!

  • TMC

    Cmon XXL where is TMC by Nipsey Hu$$le?, most def. my fav mixtape of the year 2011.. 2 Gaynz and Weak Mill really??

  • derek

    where is lloyd banks cold corner 2 he killed it on that mixtape was most anticapated mixtape and talked about mixtape on xxl when it dropped in october motherfucker is sick big up hunger for more 2 aswell

  • big c’s

    loso’s soul tape is wayyyy underrated

  • Meezy

    Where the fuck is the real is back sleepin o jeezy best 2011 mixtape

  • jace

    xxx and royal flush 2 are missing, and also house of balloons

  • mr controversial

    yo where the hell is cole wit friday night lights and kendrick lamar wit section 80????????????????????? who da fucc is elzhi??????????????? and why the hell is wale in the lead?? i didnt even know about that mixtape. this pole is whacc as fucc

  • ceasarelli

    Elzhi easily had the best mixtape, lyrically & will sessions kilt the live instruments. Big Krit??? it was ok, but its funny everytime some one from the south has a few punchlines or two everybody jump on it like its the best thing smoking. no one one that list can even be compared to Elzhi lyricism & thats just the honest truth. 2 chains is not an MC he is a rapper but i liked his album better than Krit’s

  • LS

    Krit is tha dude exactly for that reason alone, he a cool nigga you can relate to…THats the difference that people forget nowadays, back then you were that dude because of who you were not because of what you had or could get…Mcs back then used to shoot videos in normal spots, with normal clothes,with they peoples and you felt like that was you or close to your story…Niggas wasnt on yatchs or wearin $5000 clothes..Big and J made that famous but they kept it real, they wasnt some nigga who made songs in his moms house with nike on that got a million views on youtube and now wants to act like they on another level with $2000 jeans (cuz that still dont make you cool in my opinion)…You got respect off GP which 95% of people nowadays try to get through material shit instead of personality…..I put that on my sub my sub my sub …..And you can relate that to any niggas back then from 2pac with his striped shirt on rappn in a circle with his people, to nas in the projects, to blackstar rappin in the van, and that goes for neone..

  • blizz

    yall sum hatin ass niggas, meek mill is dat bull

  • poop mcpoop

    XV – Zero Heroes

  • TinyShirtMan

    Wale’s had to have been the best. Then after that he came out with a absolute BEAST of an album. Best rapper on the list. 2Chainz tape was good, so was Wiz’s, K.R.I.T was cold too even though i just now heard it. A$AP only had one good song (PESO) and that is it. The rest are trash. Where is Nipsey and Lil B. Lol

  • Ca_92867

    What’s up with this list?? WTF!! They forgot to add Nipsey Hussle – TMC (The Marathon Continues). Most of these artist have already made it big in the industry and already dropped. I expected more from XXL, its the Boo-Boo list of 2011.