April was a bountiful month for mixtapes and new music. On the album front, Kid Cudi put out his Indicud LP, Ghostface teamed up with Adrian Younge for Twelve Reasons to Die, and the legendary R.A. the Rugged Man put out his stellar Legends Never Die LP. The real musical highlights of the month, though, came in free mixtapes from a truly diverse group of artists leading the way for the new underground.

While J. Cole continued to show his gratitude for his diehard fans with the second installment of his Truly Yours mixtape series, emerging Southern icon Big K.R.I.T. finally released his King Remembered In Time tape, and young Chicago standout Chance The Rapper put out an instant classic with his highly-anticipated Acid Rap. The mixtape circuit also saw releases from MMG young'n Rockie Fresh, and a comeback project from sexy songstress Cassie, who reinvented herself and her sound on the new RockaByeBaby.

Check out our breakdown of April's best mixtapes.

The 10 Best Mixtapes of March

J. Cole, Truly Yours 2

J. Cole is making sure his next project Born Sinner is on our radars. His first EP reestablished the Roc Nation rhymer’s talents have gotten sharper. Truly Yours 2 continues to whet our appetites for the album— just press play on his tracks with guests 2 Chainz and Young Jeezy. Lyrically, Cole shines on the soulful song “Cole Summer” and the melodic “3 Wishes.” He even made a great reference to Tia and Tamara Mowry, which put a lot of smiles to fans who grew up in the '90s. To Cole, these may be his throwaways, but rest assured fans can't get enough. See you June 25.

Future & FreeBand Gang, Black Woodstock: The Soundtrack

For whatever reason, Future’s Super Future/ Fire Marshall has been shelved indefinitely. However, that didn’t stop DJ Esco from giving us a new set of Future tracks. Black Woodstock is a mix of Future and his cohorts delivering handful of turn up anthems. Any word of new music from Future is exciting, and this sets us up nicely for his forthcoming sophomore effort.

GrandeMarshall, Mugga Man

GrandeMarshall’s acclaimed debut 800 garnered much love from indie fans, now the Philly MC drops his 21-track followup, Mugga Man, stuffed with scent of greenery, Philly jargons, and high whispers shrouded in the shadows of the evening. Brought to you by the good folks of Fool’s Gold—which also curated Kid Cudi, Duck Sauce, and Danny Brown to the masses—this project ignites THC urges, heavily. It’s a perfect soundtrack for your smoke out sessions.

Scotty, F.A.I.T.H.

Scotty was one of our artists we highlighted in The New New: 15 Atlanta Rappers You Should Know. In the hotbed of emerging artists, Scotty has shown his maturity as an artist on F.A.I.T.H. (Foreva Atlanta in the Heart). DJ Burn One helms the project and serves as the one who helps excel Scotty’s artistic vision. The pair have an unmatched chemistry, aiming to keep the spirit of Atlanta alive throughout the mixtape. Take, for instance, the self-titled track that hits home or other standouts “GAME” and “Ol Skool 84.” Let this one spin in your old school droptop for a bit.

The New New: 15 Atlanta Rappers You Should Know

Chinx Drugz, Cocaine Riot 3

Though French Montana is currently in the spotlight, his Coke Boy partner isn’t too far behind. Chinx Drugz drops the third installment of the Cocaine Riot series hosted by DJ Drama. Sprinkled with features from French, the tape serves as a major push for Drugz the solo artist. With the success of “I’m a Coke Boy (Remix)" burning up the streets, he has a pretty good chance of breaking out of French’s shadow.

Cassie, RockaByeBaby

The Cassie of 2013 is much more different than the one we were introduced to in 2006. Judging from her lead singles “Numb” and “Paradise" for RockaByeBaby, Cassie sounded ready to plunge into an entire new musical direction. Her first release since her debut album blurs the lines between hip-hop and traditional R&B. Mixtape veterans such as Fabolous, French Montana and Pusha-T offer their work on respective tracks that add a certain roughness to Cass' airy vocals. Here, Cassie ventures into darker tones, while at the same time experimenting with her range—even rapping. It’s an impressively consistent tape that proves Cassie is still in the same league as her contemporaries.

Previously: Interview: Cassie Didn’t Like Her Biggest Hit “Me & U”

Los, Becoming King

This month was all about Bad Boy. The next artist up to release new material was Los. Coming off welcoming his first child with Lola Monroe, he went straight to work on Becoming King. With features from Cassie, Ludacris, Diddy and Twista, these big names encouraged the young rhymeslinger to go harder on the 17-track offering.

Los puts his own spin on Biggie’s classic “Sky Is The Limit,” laying down rhymes like this: “It was all a dream / I used to read XXL magazine / Puff Daddy and Biggie Smalls in the limousine / Hanging pictures on my wall / Do you get the picture I paint for all y’all.” Elsewhere, he nails cocaine raps on “Dope” alongside Pusha T and Yo Gotti. If Los wanted to convince the skeptics that Baltimore isn’t ripe with hip-hop talent, he’s certainly made a strong case with Becoming King.

Previously: 10 Baltimore Rappers That You Need to Know

Big K.R.I.T., King Remembered in Time

Big K.R.I.T. takes pride in sticking to his Southern roots. His new mixtape, King Remembered in Time, finds him back in his comfort zone, crafting warm and organic beats with ace lyricism. There are motivational songs such as “Purpose” and “King Without a Crown.” Other standouts are his trunk-rattlers such as “Just Last Week” and “Only One” featuring Wiz Khalifa and Smoke DZA. K.R.I.T.'s style has shown us throughout his excellent mixtapes that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Rockie Fresh, The Birthday Tape

Rockie Fresh is consistently showing us that his music grasps from various influences. On The Birthday Tape, Fresh rubs shoulders with the likes of Gunplay and raps over James Blake’s “Life Round Here.” The MMG spitter displays his willingness to push the boundaries of alternative rap here. With another strong effort under his belt, he’s poised to cross over to a major audience.

Chance The Rapper, Acid Rap

XXL posted a Come Up on Chance in February, and not to boast and say we we were early on the Chicago rapper…but we told you so! Nearly a year after putting out his debut mixtape, 10 Day - a concept album of sorts, inspired by a ten day suspension from high school - he's back with Acid Rap, a grown-up record by a grown-up rapper. It's emotional, uplifting, and fun; in one word, it's a spiritual record. Listening through the thirteen-track tape is an immersive experience, and there are definitely moments of introspective darkness, but even on those his charm and wit are so present that he comes across as more of a close friend asking for advice than an annoying stranger who needs to vent. The production blends influences of reggae, jazz, and funk with church choir choruses and the result is a beautiful mix of soulful tunes that anyone could get into. This is summer music, so expect it to be played at rooftop barbecues all the way through September.

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