Now that we’re at the halfway mark of the year, it’s time to look back at some of the best mixtapes and free EPs that have come out in 2014. As we pointed out in our 25 Best Albums of 2014 (So Far) yesterday, at this time last year the heavy-hitters were rolling out their major albums, while we’d already gotten great tapes from Waka Flocka (DuFlocka Rant 2), Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time), Kevin Gates (The Luca Brasi Story) and, of course, Chance The Rapper (Acid Rap).
This year already we’ve seen a slew of solid efforts from some of the game’s vets—Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, Curren$y, Mac Miller—and a series of strong projects from some of hip-hop’s most anticipated up-and-comers. As June turns into July and the summer marches on, XXL selects the 25 best hip-hop mixtapes of the year… so far, at least. House rules. —Eric Diep, Miranda Johnson, Cris Jones, Emmanuel C.M., Dan Rys and Eli Schwadron