XXL Presents…The 15 Greatest Mixtape Series

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    XXL Presents...The 15 Greatest Mixtape Series
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    XXL Presents...The 15 Greatest Mixtape Series
    Last week, Lil Wayne dropped <i>Dedication 4</i>, adding another chapter to the famed catalog Weezy and DJ Drama have put together. How does it stack up against the all time best? Well, that’s what <em>XXL</em> set out to discover. In the interest of finding out which rapper had the greatest series of all time, we excluded DJ series and collectives as well (Don’t worry guys, we loved G-Unit Radio, Diplomats Vol. 1-5, Green Lantern’s <i>Invasion</i> series, and <i>We Got It 4 Cheap</i> just as much as y’all). With that disclaimer in place, <em>XXL</em> proudly presents <i>The 15 Greatest Mixtape Series. </i> — <i>XXL Staff</i> (<a href="https://twitter.com/XXL">@XXL</a>)
  • xxl-mixtapes-camron-vado
    15. Cam'ron & Vado - <i>Boss of all Bosses</i> series
    Post Dipset era Cam caught a second wind in the mixtape circuit through his <i>Boss of All Bosses</i> series. Marked by the rapid-fire MPC-abusing production of Araabmuzik, Cam sounded reinvigorated, bringing Harlem newcomer, Vado, along for the ride throughout. Sure, it wasn’t vintage Cam, but the Dipset founder proved that despite falling from the mainstream spotlight, his clever wordplay and sense of humor were still first class.
  • xxl-mixtapes-yo-gotti
    14. Yo Gotti – <i>Cocaine Muzik</i> series
    Yo Gotti’s been a model of consistency in the mixtape circuit, both in terms of quality and regularity. Over six mixtapes (seven if you include <i>Cocaine Muzik 4.5 Da Documentary</i>) Gotti mastered his approach to what was pretty limited subject matter: “Cocaine everything” as he so eloquently puts it on “Cocaine Crazy (skit)” off of <em>CM2</em>. With three of the tapes hosted by DJ Drama, the raspy Tennessee rapper aligned himself with the best in trap mixtapes.
  • xxl-mixtapes-meek-mill
    13. Meek Mill - <i>Dreamchasers</i> series
    The legendary Jay-Z once said, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t”. Will <em>Dreamchasers</em> stand the test of time? We can only hope. But a few things are not up for debate. <i>Dreamchasers</i> turned Meek from viable prospect into star, carrying his first breakout song sans a Rozay hook with “House Party.” <i>Dreamchasers</i> proved just how hungry Meek was, and its follow up was no different. Within 24 hours of its release <i>Dreamchasers 2</i> was downloaded over 2.5 million times, quickly becoming Datpiff.com’s most downloaded release of all time (crashing Datpiff’s servers in the process).
  • xxl-mixtapes-royce-da-5-9
    12. Royce Da 5'9" - <i>The Bar Exam</i> series
    Royce worked with a team of all time mixtape greats on his <i>Bar Exam</i> trilogy, including Statik Selektah, DJ Premier, DJ Green Lantern, and DJ Whoo Kid. Bullying his way through other artists’ beats, Royce bested many of the originals in the process with top notch lyricism and an effortless delivery. Flat out, the bar was raised.
  • xxl-mixtapes-big-sean
    11. Big Sean - <i>Finally Famous</i> series
    Big Sean was a bit premature with the titling of his inaugural mixtape and the series that it birthed, but, in the end, <em>FinallyFamous</em> did become an accurate descriptor for the G.O.O.D. Music rapper. The Detroit native dropped <em>Finally Famous: TheMixtape</em> in 2007, his first release after signing with KanyeWest’s imprint, and followed up in 2009 with <em>UKNOWBIGSEAN</em>, which made him a new school favorite and spawned early favorites like “Supa Dupa” (an origin of the hashtag flow) and “Getcha Some.” The series’ final installment, 2010’s <em>Finally Famous, Vol. 3: BIG</em>, a project that suggested Sean’s status as next up on G.O.O.D. and included collaborations with Drake, Tyga, Bun B and more. The former <em>XXL</em> Freshman not only adopted the series’ name for his debut album, but it became a calling card in his songs and something his fans attached themselves to.
  • xxl-mixtapes-lupe-fiasco
    10. Lupe Fiasco - <i>Fahrenheight 1/15</i> series
    As he prepped his debut album <i>Food & Liqour</i>, Lupe Fiasco began building a loyal fanbase nationwide through his trilogy of <i>Fahrenheight 1/15</i> mixtapes. With the technicality and precision of an East Coast rapper, the nerdy spectacled Fiasco delivered material that spoke on Chicago’s ills in a way that had never been heard before. The bar was set so high from the series, that many of Lupe’s longtime fans felt <i>Food & Liqour</i> was a letdown, despite the album receiving widespread acclaim from music critics.
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    9. Young Jeezy - <em>The Real Is Back</em> series
    Jeezy was in a tough spot following the release of <em>The Recession</em>. <em>TM:103</em> sat in release date limbo, and a beef was brewing with a certain Def Jam <em>Bawse</em>. Da Snowman was beginning to get counted out. His answer to the critics came in a series of uncut block-booming, woofer-busting products for the street—that was tolerably dubbed the resurrection of the real. Though only two installments, Snow’s offerings were as potent as the supply that once christened him Mr. 17.5. Containing a number of anthems like the brooding “Trump,” the blazing “Win” and two unforgettable Intros, Jizzle put forth a stellar two-part series. There was no denying it; the real was back.
  • xxl-mixtapes-fabolous
    8. Fabolous - <i>There Is No Competition</i> series
    Fab’s mixtape resume is second to none. So when he decided to take a break from crafting those female-friendly hits and make it a full time job to kill the competition, Funeral Fab offered a show-stopping series that obliterated the unworthy challengers. Abusing instrumentals as if they were the control buttons to the Madden video game, Fab bullied his way through records like Shyne’s “S.H.Y.N.E.,” Rick Ross’ “Boss,” YMCMB’s “Roger That” and more. As he should, after all <em>it’s the Brooklyn way</em>.
  • xxl-mixtapes-gucci-mane
    7. Gucci Mane - <i>The Movie</i> series.
    Gucci had a run in 2009 that mirrored that of 2 Chainz’ this year. He appeared on high profile remixes of The Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow,” and Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed.” And similarly to how Tity’s breakthrough was propelled by the success of his <i>Codeine Cowboy</i> and <i>T.R.U. Realigion</i>, Gucci’s spotlight came from the strength of his mixtape output, most impressively the <i>Movie</i> series. Gucci’s mixtape output was nothing short of extraordinary, especially considering he spent half of '09 year in prison. With over the top anecdotes of absurdity, masked in his signature deadpan mumble of sorts, <em>The Movie</em> series was a gem, with <i>The Burrprint: The Movie 3-D</i> taking the cake.
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    6. Jadakiss - <i>The Champ Is Here</i> series
    Jadakiss albums have often been met with lukewarm responses from fans over the years. The same can’t be said for Kiss’ mixtape resume, where he established himself as one of the greats with his <i>Champ Is Here</i> series. Like any great champ, Jada refused to pull any punches, giving his best in the three part series that culminated in 2010. Kiss says the next installment would come when Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao agree to fight one another, which doesn’t bode well for the continuation of this epic series.
  • xxl-mixtapes-juelz-santana
    5. Juelz Santana - <i>Back Like Cooked Crack</i> series
    Juelz had a tall order to fill when he embarked on his solo mixtape series <i>Back Like Cooked Crack</i>. After all, he had been an integral part of one of the strongest series to date on a string of DJ Kay Slay-helmed Diplomats 'tapes. Santana proved up to the task on <i>Back Like Cooked Crack</i>, most notably on the second installment which proceeded his debut album <i>From Me to U</i>. Fans of the Dips revere the series, as Santana’s career has been marked by empty promises and let downs ever since the conclusion of the trilogy.
  • xxl-mixtapes-young-jeezy
    4. Young Jeezy - <i>Trap or Die</i> series
    <em>Trap or Die 2</em> could’ve been a dud and the series still would have made the list based on the strength of the original. It’s the most important mixtape from one of the all time mixtape greats. <i>Trap or Die</i> introduced Jeezy’s signature style to the masses: Drug talk over some of the most thunderous production imaginable. It also served as a preview to Jeezy’s upcoming classic <i>Thug Motivation 101</i>, featuring album cuts “Get Ya Mind Right,” and “Trap or Die.” The sequel came years later, and despite a curious Malcolm X-inspired cover, was vintage Jeezy, carrying what would become his next single, “Lose My Mind”.
  • xxl-mixtapes-lil-wayne
    3. Lil Wayne - <i>Dedication</i> series
    The series that defined “The Mixtape Weezy.” <em>Dedication</em> 1 & 2 were mind-blowing precursors to Lil Wayne becoming the biggest star in hip-hop. The legendary series undoubtedly took a dip with the mediocre <em>D3</em> and despite solid content, <em>D4</em> hasn’t carried the same magnitude as its predecessors, arriving in a mixtape era where the bar has been raised so much that mixtapes are expected to be albums. Regardless, <i>Dedication</i> stands as one of Wayne’s greatest achievements, giving him a basis behind his claim as “The Best Rapper Alive.”
  • xxl-mixtapes-lloyd-banks
    2. Lloyd Banks - <i>Money in the Bank</i> series
    G-Unit changed the mixtape game. Banks got his first looks on DJ Whoo Kid’s groundbreaking G-Unit Radio series alongside the rest of the Unit. But he soon graduated to his own Whoo Kid-hosted series, <i>Money in the Bank</i>, seizing control of the mixtape circuit. While Fif remained the mainstream darling, Banks became a star in his own right through the series. He even got drops from Dan Akroyd and Donald Trump. Punchline after punchline, Banks epitomized the mixtape rapper of the early-mid 2000s and the <i>Money in the Bank</i> series has stood the test of time.
  • xxl-mixtapes-joe-budden
    1. Joe Budden - <em>Mood Muzik</em> series
    The average rap fan and Def Jam big wig alike probably thought thatJoe Budden was a one-hit wonder following 2003’s smash “Pump It Up.” Joey had different plans for himself, though. As he encountered issues with his label, the New Jersey rapper paved his own lane, starting with <em>Mood Muzik: The Worst of Joe Budden</em> in 2004. He followed up two years later with <em>Mood Muzik 2: Can It Get Any Worse?</em> which earned critical praise and helped build his legion of Internet Soldiers. He then delivered the similarly celebrated <em>Mood Muzik 3: For Better or Worse</em> in 2007, and <em>Mood Muzik 4: A Turn for the Worst</em> in 2010. <br /><br />It wasn’t that the series (particularly the first three—there was a lengthy hiatus and other projects released prior to the fourth) was the water to the seed that was “Pump It Up”; <em>Mood Muzik</em> was an entirely new seed that grew stronger and higher than anything Budden had previously done. The set displayed his lyrical ferocity and personal depth, as he put his life on wax in an unrestrained way. Between potent punchlines and heeding to his promise “to maintain being remain unique but relatable,” Budden built his career on the back of the <em>Mood Muzik</em> series. He regularly performs cuts from the projects in concert, and even treated fans to the entire collection over two sold-out nights in New York City this year.

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  • Bronxxx

    I thought that you gon put Dedication on a first place, but y’all surprised me positively. Mood Muzik is abso-fucking-lutely the best mixtape series! Agree 100%.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.jack Ronald Jack

    Yeah, I like these type of articles. Of course some of my favorites were not mention. Like Dead Prez Turn off the radio series or Cassidy but these were good pics

  • http://www.facebook.com/dannyc831 Danny Casillas

    I like this, but forgot about J.Cole’s mixtape series. They might be new but it’s a good series.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.durrant.5 Andrew Durrant

      But the j. cole mixtapes eventhough all good there were three separate mixtapes not a series.

  • West Coast

    XXL can you guys get off of NY’s dick ?

  • Technique

    Haha I thought y’all were really gonna leave Joey Jumpoff out, I was about to be mad! Lol good list.

  • Scotty

    Logic’s Young Sinatra series?

  • StupidLists

    Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne are way too high, I mean you can’t compare their content to Royce…

  • B.A.G.

    Dope List! Way to give Joey the props he deserves. Easily the best Mixtape series ever!!! Hope shit keeps going good for him so we dont get a Mood Muzik 5! Everyone go cop that Slaughterhouse album, its a classic.

  • Tomtom

    U IN DAT MOOD YET?!?!!

  • Brandon Love

    What no Chamillionaire Mixtape Messiahs?!? That’s a shame, those should be #1!

  • DoubleClutch95

    Where the hell the is The Clipse/Re-Up Gang We Got It For Cheap Series??!?!!!
    XXL just lost all sorts of credibility!

  • Pick-A-Name

    The Bar Exam Series reverently deserves to be placed ahead of the Dedication series. See, there’s this thing where Lil Wayne seemed to get this burst of popularity because his content played to the saturated masses(and he expertly carried it’s momentum for a long distance), but it doesn’t carry the essence of hip-hop as well or heavily as Royce’s Bar Exams did for its lyricism, charisma, and constant raise of bar. It always showed growth while Wayne has lowered his. Hip-Hop is about growth.



  • Tha Duke

    where da fuck is curren$y with Return to the winners circle series yo!!!!!

  • consciousb

    Hamiltonization Process…

  • Buddah

    Banks Is The Most Underrated M.C In The Game! He Jus Aint As Commercial As Most Of These Pop Rappers NowaDays… Every Mixtape He Drops Is Classic/Album Worthy!!! The Money In The Bank Series, The 5 and Better Series all the Way Up To His Latest Work V.6! Swag, Flow, Lyrics U Name It Banks Got It All!…. Best M.C In The Game Rite Now Hands Down!!!

  • http://twitter.com/iam_Ayo Pronounced I-YO

    Why wasn’t the ‘G-Unit Radio’ Mixtape series mentioned?

    How do you list Lloyd Banks’ Money in the Bank series but NOT ‘G-Unit Radio’?

    If it wasn’t for the G-Unit Radio series half of mixtapes mentioned wouldn’t exist, #FACT!

    Which other mixtape series has 25 (YES 25!!!!!!) installments?


    Ohh & before anyone tries it: I’m not a 50/G-Unit stan at all.

    Give credit where credit is due:

    ‘G-Unit Radio’ SHOULD BE ON THIS LIST!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ramon.sendejas Ramon Sendejas

    wait…ya’ll had gucci mane at #7 and fabs ‘there is no competition ” series at #8???….which one of ya’ll at xxl is on the pipe? who’s on the glass dick over there..

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OJ32T7SZEEUDUBXC5W5NDLR2UI soulkid

      Yeah they buggin bro..

  • http://twitter.com/LQtheGr8 d-__-b L.Q.

    Gucci is higher than Big Sean and Lupe? Not liking that at all

    • PhantomsTV

      yea because Gucci been doin this shit

  • Guest

    MrWatchOwtNow BENT08@expn.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.garrison2 Patrick Garrison

    Are you fucking kidding me…these mini albums y’all call mixtape’s suck!…I’m not gonna pretend shit’s all good, fuck that…Shit has been wack since Clue sold out to the record label. Whats up with this macho, gangsta, drug dealing, ignorant, playboy, swag bullshit?…A mxtape is supposed to be a mix…u know? A mix of different brands of rap….And I love when you give the excuse , ” it’s a youth movement..” really?…Look at all the top selling rappers…how old are they? the majority is over 30? That’s wierd….I used to respond to people dissing the rapping element of hip hop by saying does that rock song have a message? This shit does….well, what’s the message now? Dont love or trust anyone, Hate every form of law enforcement, no matter how good they motives are, or how fair they are. Or the fact that they will save you and your family. (meanwhile, the rappers have all kind of cops working for them) Respect only bully’s with guns, or dealers who are destroying where you are from. Get, love, and respect money however you can, it is more important than human lives.Fuck old people, dont respect your elders, cuz nothing existed before us kids were born.There is no God, have as many children as possible, murder people?…And you fuckin people promoting the shit are the worst, acting like no one is affected by having this crap all over, being pimped and extorted by record execs who think they gangsta’s and probabally some of the real…When you do mention the actual artistic acheivements, 5 lines in a little box? hahaha….Cowards!..Then when something new , original, and even slightly positive at all? Watch the fuck out! All of a sudden..your covering other mc’s dissin em…but it’s not player hating if the person your hating is positive original and different, that’d make it hard for the wack to survive, cuz they’d have to actually try, and not bite. Or you throw a label on them…Hippies, suburban, militant, political, suburban, rockrap, white boy? Sound familiar you suckers?… Idont remember labels back in the day when you’d get…Tribe, Kane, LL, Kwame, ice cube, scarface beasties, 3rd bass ,black sheep,Above the Law,Master ace…type shit all on the same tape….They just called it hip hop….Fuck u….Peace.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XHJKFMCGSMBEQGBRKJVLKUGSEQ john g

      you know nobody read any of that

      • diz

        too true…wtf, you writing a research paper…

    • Hanch

      I read all of it and I totally agree with everything you just got off your chest! What is there something wrong with Reading now, let me guess its to much work for u! pfffffft


      eat a dick old nigga

  • wed

    oookay yall dumb shits put big seans garbage on ther but not the We got it 4 cheap series up? are yall fucking high

  • PhantomsTV

    Banks at number 2 thats what the fuck im talkin bout PLK!! lets goo

  • oskamadison

    I know it’s been said but fuck it, I’ll say it again. Where the fuck is the Re-Up Gang’s “We Got It For Cheap” series??!!! Hell. vol. 2 for dolo would wipe out a lot of the shit on this list.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OJ32T7SZEEUDUBXC5W5NDLR2UI soulkid

    Fab Shoulda been higher..

  • Glenn Patrick

    No G-Unit radio? Big Sean and Meek Mill over Big K.R.I.T’s 4Eva Series? Some of these just aren’t justifiable to me. Hell, if you’re just literally throwing half of the list together, you’d even have to put Wale’s “Mixtape about Nothing” and “More about Nothing” up there too, especially over Sean.

  • xxl

    In the interest of finding out which rapper had the greatest series of all time, we excluded DJ series and collectives as well (Don’t worry guys, we loved G-Unit Radio, Diplomats Vol. 1-5, Green Lantern’s Invasion series, and We Got It 4 Cheap just as much as y’all). With that disclaimer in place,XXL proudly presents The 15 Greatest Mixtape Series.

  • Glenn Patrick

    The Drought series, and the Drought is Over series also deserves some consideration. Some of these picks are just baffling when we’re discussing All-Time rankings.

  • http://twitter.com/RAW_SPK Master ROshi ♌

    No Re-Up Gang “We Got It 4 Cheap”….smh

  • GetALife

    Cam’ron and vado? Yo gotti? I just threw up on my laptop…….drops mic

  • miles b

    so…. you’re just gonna gloss over lil wayne’s da drought series. waay better than dedication.

  • http://twitter.com/Cwassup C’sup

    big sean shouldnt b on the list