It's the half-year mark of 2015 already, the time for XXL to take a look back at the wild and crazy year it's been so far already. Yesterday, we brought you our roundup of the 30 best albums of the year so far, and it's been a hell of a ride. Today, we turn our attention to the best mixtapes of 2015 to this point, running through the 25 best of 2015 at the halfway period.

Mixtapes are traditionally the proving ground for many an MC, where up-and-comers turn to spread their material and introduce themselves to new fans and vets unleash unreleased material or freestyles over some of the best beats in hip-hop. This year we've seen vets come back to re-assert their dominance, young guns stake their claim for the throne and older heads go in and remind hip-hop heads that there's plenty more to come from their pens. As always, it's been tough to choose, but this year, with mixtapes being re-released on iTunes and EPs and albums released for free or counted up different ways, it's more confusing than ever to parse through all the details. But that's why we're here. Check out our list of the 25 best mixtapes of 2015 so far, ordered by release date, and don't miss our best albums list right here as well. —XXL Staff  

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Future, Beast Mode
Release Date: January 15

Maintaining the same momentum he did on his 2014 mixtape Monster, Future kicked off 2015 with a bang by releasing Beast Mode, a mixtape entirely produced by trap beatsmith Zaytoven. Pouring his heart out on the tape, Zaytoven manages to bring out the best of Future Hendrix over aggressive piano keys and synthesizers. Beast Mode only highlights the good space Future is currently in as he continues to pump out the hits and readies his third album, DS2, out later this week. —Roger Krastz

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K Camp, One Way
Release Date: January 19

The Atlanta upstart and current XXL Freshman made his mark on 2015 early with January’s One Way tape. Filled with melodic turn up bangers—K Camp’s strong suit—the tape spawned one of the Slumlord’s strongest single, “Lil Bit,” and has enjoyed ample rotation in the strip clubs and the streets ever since. As his sixth solo tape, Camp got huge looks from Boosie BadAzz and Ty Dolla $ign on “Stack of Ones” and “Shout Out to My Bitches” respectively and hit it out the park on solo tracks. —Sidney Madden

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Lil Wayne, Sorry 4 The Wait 2
Release Date: January 20

The circumstances were tough, but Wayne needed a platform to air out his mounting frustrations with Cash Money and Birdman. And boy did he ever find one. It's not overly-consistent all the way through, but the central theme is there, and Wayne doesn't hold back as he eviscerates his estranged label bosses repeatedly, but particularly on his remix of OT Genasis' "CoCo." His versions of DeJ Loaf's "Try Me," Makonnen's "Tuesday" and Young Dolph's "Preach" legitimize the young guns, while Weezy also steps up over Meek Mill's "Dreams & Nightmares" and Future's "Shit." —Dan Rys

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2 Chainz, T.R.U. The Real University (#TruJackCity)
Release Date: January 27

This mixtape helped introduce Chainz' new label and artists and served as the first release for his The Real University imprint this past January. With Cap 1, Skooly and Fresh aka Short Dawg as his first three signing, Chainz is setting up a legacy for himself as more than just a formidable punchline rapper. Features including Young Dolph, Travis Porter, Kaleb, Greazzy, C. White and Peewee Longway help spread the love around. —Miranda J.

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OG Maco, 15
Release Date: February 15

Maco's surprise EP was one of many that the rapper unleashed over the past year, only continuing to highlight his growth following the release of his huge single, “U Guessed It.” The 15-track project features production from various ATL producers like TM 88 of 808 Mafia, Metro Boomin’ and Brandon Thomas, but more importantly it stressed that there is much more to Maco than the one-note fury of his aggressive breakout hit. —Miranda J. 

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Joey Fatts, Ill Street Blues
Release Date: February 17

Long known as one-third of Long Beach’s Cutthroat Boyz (alongside Aston Mathews and 2015 XXL Freshman Vince Staples), Joey Fatts proved once again he can stand alone as an MC and producer on his February tape, Ill Street Blues. Fatts kept things short and sweet on the seven-track offering, a teaser for fans who’ve been waiting for a longer project from the sometime A$AP affiliate. Nonetheless, the West Coast MC spits with emotional authenticity about his toughest times, his grapplings with religion and of course, the hometown that raised him as he brings fans through a week in the life of a young kid trying to make it out of the streets. —Sidney Madden

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EarthGang, Torba
Release Date: February 26

EarthGang, the rising duo hailing from Atlanta, released their best work yet earlier this year with Torba. The name of the mixtape stands for the number "seven" in Oromo, which is a dialect spoken by the Oromo and other neighboring peoples in Ethiopia and parts of northern Kenya. The seven-track project—each track is named after a day of the week—showcases the musical range and the duo’s overall potential. Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot’s energy and harmony stand out throughout the project, providing a sound that will be appreciated by hip-hop fans in Atlanta and beyond. —Emmanuel C.M.

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Father, Who's Gonna Get Fucked First
Release Date: March 17

Back in March, Atlanta MC Father surprised fans with the release of his ridiculously-titled mixtape Who's Gonna Get Fucked First? Laced with 12 tracks and entirely produced by Father, WGGFF is backed up by the standout hits "Spoil You Rotten," "Back In The A (Freestyle)" and "Morena." A fun and raunchy listen from start to finish, WGGFF placed Father among the next acts in hip-hop with something to say coming from the A. —Roger Krastz

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Future, 56 Nights
Release Date: March 21

This tape was one of the many free releases that Future unloaded in the past few months, as the ATL rapper continues to gear up for the release of his new album Dirty Sprite 2. Including the street anthem, “Trap Niggas,” the project was a nod to the eight weeks his DJ, DJ Esco, spent in a Dubai jail on a weed charge earlier this year after being apprehended while on tour with Future. It may have been a quick 10 tracks, but it produced "March Madness," one of the toughest Future cuts in recent memory. A true return to form. —Miranda J.

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T-Pain, The Iron Way
Release Date: March 27

With this effort, T-Pain really flexes the versatility of his talents and continues to warn off all thoughts of his music being a relic of a prior era. The tape includes contributions from Lil Wayne, Migos, The-Dream, K Camp, OG Maco and more, while T-Pain took the majority of the production duties himself. His varied approach made for a fresh and fiery new release. —Miranda J. 

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Young Buck, 10 Bullets
Release Date: April 7

The G-Unit wild child promised to unfurl 10 mixtapes in 10 months and if the first in his Ten-A-Key series, 10 Bulllets, is any indication, Young Buck is fully loaded and ready to blow. The mixtape decries features and outside producers, focusing solely on Buck as he tries out flows and lyrical patterns that he's never fully explored in the past. The result is a refreshing, energetic mixtape full of cocaine bars and shoot-em-up narratives but combined with an inward-facing aesthetic. Buck is taking the buzz from the G-Unit reunion and running with it at full speed. —Dan Rys

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Young Thug, Barter 6
Release Date: April 16

Steeped in controversy and consumed by drama, Young Thug's Barter 6 mixtape had a lot to prove. Simply put, it's one of the best projects of the year, with a darker, more intense Thugger going in over some high-quality production from London On Da Track and Wheezy. Guest spots from T.I., Boosie BadAzz, Birdman, Young Dolph and Jacquees help augment Thug's flourishes, while his patented wildness is kept slightly more in check in favor of a more articulate and pointed lyricism. Your move, Wayne. —Dan Rys

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Audio Push, The Good Vibe Tribe
Release Date: April 20

As a preview to warmer weather ahead, Audio Push dropped The Good Vibe Tribe back in April, showcasing impressive wordplay, catchy hooks and a mind state elevated beyond the dance craze that first got them notice. Narrating their millennial mindtrack, PriceTag and Oktane rap about everything from police brutality to their love affair with Mary Jane and make sure to play off a bonfire beach party theme to keep things laid back. Pair that vibe with strong guest verses from OG Maco, Vince Staples and Isaiah Rashad and Good Vibe makes for a safe bet when looking for something to soundtrack the summer. —Sidney Madden

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Kehlani, You Should Be Here
Release Date: April 27

Kehlani followed up her successful 2014 release Cloud 19 with the well-received You Should Be Here mixtape. Featuring 15 brand new tracks and guest appearances by the likes of Chance The Rapper and BJ The Chicago Kid, Kehlani delivers a great conceptual project in which she speaks about her love life and her tainted relationships. You Should Be Here is a pure and artistic R&B/hip-hop project that solidifies Kehlani's growing influence within the music industry. —Roger Krastz

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Rich Homie Quan, If You Ever Think I Will Stop Going In, Ask RR
Release Date: April 28

It's been an up and down year for Rich Homie Quan with the huge success of Rich Gang's Tha Tour Pt. 1 followed up by Rich Homie's break from Young Thug and Birdman. But when he stepped out completely on his own with the fifth installment of his Going In series, Quan was back to what he does best, with catchy and relatable rhymes marching in step with intriguing verses and a multi-syllabic flow. His latest single, "Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)" is his highest-charting solo single to date, and if the momentum holds it'll represent Quan's third Top 20 single already in his young career. But it's really songs like "Daddy," a heartfelt ode to his father, that set this project apart and make it worth its placement here. —Dan Rys 

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Towkio, .Wav Theory
Release Date: April 28

Chicago’s Preston Oshita, better known as Towkio, is one of those new school artists you can’t quite put your finger on yet. Serving up dancey and metaphorical tracks, the SaveMoney member called upon better-known affiliates like Chance The Rapper, Donnie Trumpet and Vic Mensa to contribute to the visceral haze of his excellent first tape, .Wav Theory. Stringing together his tracks with the idea of reciprocated wavelengths of energy, Towkio switches between rapid-fire rap (“God In Me”) and glassy-eyed crooning (“Reflection” and “RN”) and challenges his listeners to feel rather than think. With 12 tracks of varied hit potential, .Wav Theory accomplishes two great feats of any initial offering: giving the people a sense of who you are and still leaving them with enough questions to keep an ear out for more. —Sidney Madden

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French Montana, Casino Life 2: Brown Bag Legend
Release Date: May 8

As the anticipation for Mac & Cheese 4 builds, French Montana delivered a star-studded mixtape in 2015 with the release of Casino Life 2: Brown Bag Legend. With production from TM88, DJ Spinz, Young Chop and more, French is joined by a long list of guest features on the 14-track project. Containing the hits "Off The Rip," "Moses" and "I Ain't Gonna Lie," French delivers his best project to date since his memorable Mac & Cheese 3 mixtape in 2012. —Roger Krastz

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Snootie Wild, Ain't No Stoppin' Me
Release Date: May 14

Snootie Wild’s Ain't No Stoppin' Me gives fans a better understanding of who the Memphis rapper is. Unlike his debut EP, Go Mode, the features on Ain't No Stoppin' Me are greatly reduced. This lets Snootie flash, exhibiting his rapping and crooning abilities. The mixtape provides plenty of street records but, more importantly, listeners can pick up on Snootie’s improving songwriting, with both catchiness and depth. With Go Mode and his newest mixtape under Snootie Wild’s belt, it’s easy to see what he can offer up moving forward. —Emmanuel C.M.

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Remy Banks, higher.
Release Date: May 18

Stepping out from his crew World's Fair to release his debut solo project, Queens MC Remy Banks delivers his most poignant statement to date, announcing himself as a force to be reckoned with on his own in New York City's bubbling underground. Using hazy beats and a confident flow, Banks pushes himself lyrically and conceptually to produce one of the finer projects from start to finish that we've seen from a young MC this year. —Dan Rys

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King Louie, Drilluminati 3: God Of Drill
Release Date: May 20

It seems like King Louie provides his best work whenever he’s working on an installment of his Drilluminati series. That’s exactly the case with Drilluminati 3: God Of Drill. The tape illustrates Louie expanding his soundscape, which can been heard on songs like “My World.” The drill pioneer gives his fanbase the head-pounding aggression they love from the genre but also the range the Chicago-based MC can flash. With great features from PartyNextDoor, Jessie Reyez, Dreezy and 2015 XXL Freshman Fetty Wap, there is plenty of variety, too. There’s still no word on whether Louie is signing to OVO Sound, but Drilluminati 3: God Of Drill is a project that would make Drizzy proud. —Emmanuel C.M. 

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Fabolous, Friday Night Freestyles
Release Date: May 23

From the top of the year, Brooklyn rapper Fabolous blessed fans with epic freestyles every Friday night over classic 1990s instrumentals, which eventually turned into a mixtape that was hosted Loso's good pal DJ Clue. Delivering punchline after punchline with a few witty rhymes in between, Friday Night Freestyles highlights Fab's ability to compete with the best in the rap game at any given time. —Roger Krastz

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Denzel Curry, 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms
Release Date: June 9

Denzel Curry takes fans on an explosive, distorted 14-track odyssey on his double EP 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms. The newest project displays the potential that was seen when the former Raider Klan member dropped his 2013 solo debut Nostalgic 64. 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms splits the two sides of Curry apart, with the first half providing a concentrated dose of his anger and the latter highlighting his drug-influenced habits. Even though putting together the two projects seems counterintuitive, since both of Curry’s sides are on opposite sides of the spectrum, the EP demonstrations his wide array of talent. —Emmanuel C.M.

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Fat Trel, Georgetown
Release Date: June 9

After Fat Trel's impressive Gleesh mixtape in 2014—which featured the infamous Glee-inspired cover art—he follows it up with an ode to his city with Georgetown. The underrated strength of Trel is his rapping technique; his delivery is flexible for a street rapper, something he probably picked up from his Maybach Music Group Bawse Rick Ross. Overall, Georgetown is a solid, 16-track helping of street records that can be played in any turn-up function required. —Emmanuel C.M.

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Boogie, The Reach
Release Date: June 24

Talk about an introduction. The Reach may be Boogie's second project, but it's the one that's very quickly putting him on the radar of hip-hop's tastemakers. Boogie's introspective, intensely-personal narratives and his Kendrick-esque flow may find comparisons among hip-hop's elite lyricists, but he's also got a knack for fielding big, banging production. Just check out his exploding single "Oh My" for any proof. The Reach is a project that's as cohesive as it is compelling, marking a new star on the rise. —Dan Rys

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Problem, Mollywood 3
Release Date: June 30

In early July, within a three day period, Problem unleashed both sides of his latest project, with Mollywood 3 the overall umbrella for sides A and B. Over the course of his career, the rapper has fought to sit atop Compton’s hierarchy of rappers and this release, the third in his series that began in 2012, underlined his work ethic. Though the project is still fresh, it's been bumping in the XXL offices consistently since it dropped. —Miranda J.

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