XXL Presents… Top 10 Best Mixtapes By An XXL Freshman

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    <em>XXL</em> Presents... Top 10 Best Mixtapes By An <em>XXL</em> Freshman
    If major labels are the pros of the hip-hop world then mixtapes are the college ranks. But there’s nothing amateur about some of the mixtapes <em>XXL</em>’s finest freshmen have offered up throughout the years. Whether they use them to break into the game or to channel their most abstract creativity, it seems like today’s freshmen count on mixtapes more than albums. Considering both artistry and impact, <em>XXL</em> chose to acknowledge the best tapes in celebration of the fifth anniversary of our the <em>XXL</em> Freshmen class. Here are the Top 10 Best Mixtapes by an <em>XXL</em> Freshman.—<em>XXL Staff</em>
  • 10. Yelawolf, <em>Trunk Muzik</em> (2010)
    10. Yelawolf, <em>Trunk Muzik</em> (2010)
    The Shady Records signee took listeners on a trip through his nativeAlabama with Trunk Muzik. Drawing on influences that range from Beanie Sigel to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Yela pioneered his own sound and created his own lane to zoom threw bumping his system as loud as he wants. Appearances from Bun, Raekwon and Juelz Santana only went to solidify that young Yela is the truth.
  • 9. Danny Brown, <em>XXX</em> (2011)
    9. Danny Brown, <em>XXX</em> (2011)
    His hairstyle and look may be hard to digest at first, but justhearing XXX’s dizzying opener is enough to make doubters respectDanny’s eclectic tastes. Whether the Detroit MC is channeling FrankieLymon on “Die Like a Rock Star” or challenging the status quo on“Radio Song,” Danny is clearly in his element on his breakout mixtape,which earned him recognition leading up to his selection on<em>XXL</em>2012 Freshman list.
  • 7. Kid Cudi, <em>A Kid Named Cudi</em> (2008)
    7. Kid Cudi, <em>A Kid Named Cudi</em> (2008)
    The 2009 freshman teamed up with streetwear brand 10Deep and DJ Plain Pat for his breakout mixtape. Released in summer, 2008, A Kid Named Cudi was the first time the public heard “Day N Nite,” which went on to be a <em>Billboard</em> smash and the lead single for Cudi’s debut album Man on the Moon: The Legend of Mr. Rager.
  • 8. B.o.B, <em>B.o.B Vs. Bobby Ray</em> (2009)
    8. B.o.B, <em>B.o.B Vs. Bobby Ray</em> (2009)
    While some may consider B.o.B.’s commercial-friendly hits to be toomainstream, Bobby Ray kept it all the way real on this 2009 mixtape,<em>B.o.B. vs. Bobby Ray</em>. Whether he was trading bars with mentor Tip on “I’m That Nigga” or crooning on “My Sweet Baby,” this ATLien announced his arrival in grand fashion with this standout tape released on the heels of his appearance on the second annual Freshman Class.
  • 6. Meek Mill, <em>Dreamchasers</em> (2011)
    6. Meek Mill, <em>Dreamchasers</em> (2011)
    MMG's youngest gun proved to be one of Ricky Rozay's most lethalsecret weapons on this well received tape. Besides spawning acertified hit in “House Party,” Dreamchasers also showcased Meek’svivid storytelling skills on songs like “Tony Story.” Now the onlyquestion is if he has what it takes to make an equally impressivedebut album.
  • 5. Kendrick Lamar, <em>(O)verly (D)edicated</em> (2010)
    5. Kendrick Lamar, <em>(O)verly (D)edicated</em> (2010)
    After bubbling underground on the West Coast, Kendrick announced his arrival with this striking mixtape that established him as one of the game’s premier lyricists. Dropping heavy thoughts via liquid flows, Kendrick’s unique sound caught the attention of Dr. Dre when <em>OD</em> dropped in 2010.
  • 4. Wale, <em>The Mixtape About Nothing</em> (2008)
    4. Wale, <em>The Mixtape About Nothing</em> (2008)
    Borrowing the concept from his favorite sitcom, <em>Seinfeld</em>, Wale wove together one of the most creative mixtapes of all time. Touching on topics ranging from racism (“The Kramer”) to “Artistic Intergrity,” Mr. Folarin began branding himself as one of the most promising young lyricists in the game.
  • 3. J. Cole, <em>The Warm Up</em> (2009)
    3. J. Cole, <em>The Warm Up</em> (2009)
    Not much was known about Cole when <em>The Warm Up</em> dropped,except that he was Jay-Z’s first Roc Nation signee. From the moment hehad that cosign, the pressure was on for Jermaine to deliver. Thanks to the soulful vibes of standouts like “Lights Please” and lyricalshowcases like his “Dead Presidents” freestyle, Cole silenced criticsand warned skeptics that young Simba was ready for the world.
  • 2. Big K.R.I.T., <em>K.R.I.T. Wuz Here</em> (2010)
    2. Big K.R.I.T., <em>K.R.I.T. Wuz Here</em> (2010)
    Many MCs get their deals off of buzz but K.R.I.T. proved that goodmusic prevails over gimmicks on this stellar offering. The complex and soulful soundscape he painted on K.R.I.T. Wuz Here showed him worthy of his Def Jam deal and also made him a no-brainer for our 2011 Freshman class cover.
  • 1. Wiz Khalifa, <em>Kush & Orange Juice</em> (2010)
    1. Wiz Khalifa, <em>Kush & Orange Juice</em> (2010)
    When Twitter was still in its formative stages, young Wiz announcedhis arrival when his much anticipated tape became a treading topic.The resulting buzz around the Pittsburgh MC culminated in a deal with Atlantic Records and he’s since continued his rise, scoring multiple <em>Billboard</em> smashes (Including the No.1 “Black & Yellow”) on his major label debut, Rolling Papers.

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  • wat

    I don’t mind this list except Starchasers being over B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray.

  • http://twitter.com/limousine_lex Lex!

    Kush & OJ was a classic…i dont know what that guy is doing with his life now tho.

    • Trev DaSaint

      wiz is on his grind dat wat he doing my dude

    • bl21475

      kush and oj was the last good album mix tape whatever that wiz has done. he needs to get back to his old ways instead of just rapping one line laughing and then say something about smoking. no one cares about smoking 90 percent of the people who read this shit are potheads

  • Chadfella_UK

    Cool list, bar Wiz over K.R.I.T. Not to say i didnt enjoy K&OJ but i aint still bumping that today whereas all of K.R.I.T’s shit stays in rotation. To each his own i suppose..

  • AnteK

    And Once again Charles Hamilton is Overlooked… a bit dissapointed

  • Allie

    yeeeeeqaaaa go yelllllerrrrrrrrr

  • Dreamer

    Cole should have had two. But the warm up was the best mixtape i ever heard shoulda been #1

  • Hall of Fame

    No Lupe mixtape #ThankYou Krit Wuz Here was such a huge tape for him and his entire career. Dude is the next guy up to bat. Defjam get behind the project.

  • jay

    wheres charles hamiltons pink lava lamp that was better than most of the mixtapes that were named on this list

  • chase

    hold the hell up…where is friday night lights?

  • bzr

    its great to see macklemore overlooked again when “The VS EP” is a better project then almost everything on here

    and how is lupe not in this is beyond me, props to jcole and big krit though

  • igotacos

    sorry, r4>kwh

  • SomewhatSprung

    Day N’ Nite was on Man On The Moon: The End Of Day, not Mr. Rager.

  • 4ksta

    trunk muzik & kush& OJ was dope

  • jjr

    Kid Cudi’s debut album was “Man on the Moon: End of Day”. Legend of Mr. Rager was his second album

  • 1234567890

    This list was pretty good – better than the freshmen albums one. My list would be.

    1. Friday Night Lights
    2. Return of 4Eva
    3. The Warm Up
    4. 4Eva N A Day
    5. Overly Dedicated
    6. KRIT Wuz Here
    7. Kush & OJ
    8. B.o.B Vs Bobby Ray
    9. Enemy of the State
    10. Trunk Muzik

    • truth

      SPOT ON

  • Son_Dee

    The Marathon??? TMC???

  • truth

    where is Friday Night Lights!!!???

  • killemslow

    bullets ain’t got no name vol 3?

  • 8th Wonder

    How are you gonna forget Drake – So Far Gone?? That changed the way HipHop sounds. AND Big Sean’s Finally Famous 3?? That changed the game with the “Supa Dupa Flow” come on man.

    • Born-Anonymous-Sinner

      don’t think drake was ever a xxl freshman. but you’re rite on about ff3. whole tape was fire.

  • hol up its D-Block

    that yelawolf tape should of made the top 5 shits dope. But how come u dont have any lupe mixtapes on here he hasnt released a single bad one but he did get two spots on the freshman best albums so fuck it

  • VerCeddy

    In my opinion Wiz’s Kush & OJ was overrated and average. Did not touch on anything but how high he can get. Average music. KRIT wuz here is just above and beyond Kush and OJ. K.Dot’s EP should be number two. Friday Night Lights should be on here instead of The Warm Up. My opinion, just what I’m thinking at this time.

  • Rob

    No love for The high life, K.I.D.S, ???? come on now

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