Thumbs Up - Best Mixtapes:
DJ Mathematics presents – Return of the Wu-Tang
Wu-Tang's behind-the-scenes producer/DJ extraordinaire released this tape as a prelude to 8 Diagrams. Featuring album tracks, remixes and unreleased jams, Allah Mathematics' compilation held heads over until the official LP.
The "W" Remix (Unreleased)
State of Grace (Raekwon Exclusive)
DJ Skee & Jay-Z – American Godfather
American Godfather stands out from the hundreds of American Gangster remixes not just because of the concept but also its delivery. The Left Coast's DJ Skee gathered a group of producers to reinterpret The Godfather's score, effectively remixing AG for a truly gangster sound.
American Dreamin' produced by THX
No Hook produced by Rome
Ignorant Shit produced by Ervin "EP" Pope & THX
Guilty Simpson – Stray Bullets Mixed by DJ Rhettmatic
Indie imprint Stones Throw Records' hardest MC Guilty Simpson built up massive hype for his debut with this mixtape. Teaming up with DJ Rhettmatic, the Detroit-raised Simpson shows off a raw flow and in-your-face lyrics on Stray Bullets.Essential Listening:
For The D produced by Eric Lau
Sound The Alarm Remix ft. Black Milk & Royce Da 5'9
Man's World produced by J Dilla
Joe Budden & DJ On Point – Mood Muzik 3 (For Better Or For Worse)
The much-anticipated MM3 from Jersey City's Joe Budden almost lived up to the hype, which is a feat in itself. Budden's heartfelt content shines throughout, especially on inspirational songs like "Thou Shalt Not Fall" and "5th Gear," but his meandering 30-plus bar verses might cause unfamiliar listeners to skip tracks quickly and the production is so-so. All in all, Jumpoff Joey's passionate and uplifting intent is reason enough to check out MM3.
Long Way To Go ft. Mr. Probz produced by SoulSearchin'
5th Gear produced by WMS Sultan
Thou Shalt Not Fall produced by The Klasix
Lil’ Wayne – Da Drought 3Yup, here it is - the tape everyone was talking about and some critics even labeled as the best "album" of the year. My opinion is that the critics are only part right. While Da Drought 3 is undoubtedly Wayne's best mixtape of last year, the beats are not originals and the songs need to be tightened up a bit to warrant the number one spot. Still, the verses on "Seat Down Low" and "We Takin' Over (Remix)" are examples of why Wayne seems justified claiming the "best alive." Major props for addressing the haters and admitting he puckered up with his Daddy, now who's game to place a bet that Carter 3 will drop this year?
Seat Down Low
Black Republicans ft. Juelz Santana
We Takin' Over Remix
Mick Boogie & Little Brother - …And Justus For All
Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte, the duo known as Little Brother, put it down for underground collective Justus League on this early '07 tape with Mick Boogie. This disc's intelligent rhymes, humorous wit and industry commentary make it enjoyable from play to stop.Essential Listening:
Can't Stop Us ft. Chaundon
A Word From Our Sponsors ft. Von Pea
Let It Go ft. Mos Def & Talib Kweli
Mick Boogie & Busta Rhymes – DillagenceBoogie and Busta gave fans a treat last year, as this tape contains unreleased beats from the late great J Dilla that Busta had stored away for the perfect opportunity - and the time is now. Props to both for this collection with guest appearances from Talib Kweli, Raekwon, and Q-Tip among others.
Psycho ft. Cassidy & Papoose
Lightworks ft. Q-Tip & Talib Kweli
Nicky Catchdubs & Wale – 100 Miles and RunningWashington D.C. newcomer Wale showcased his lyrical dexterity and clever wordplay on this tape mixed by Nicky Catchdubs. Whether he's paying respect to hip-hop's forefathers or spittin' lines about fresh gear, Wale proves he's on a serious mission here.
Daytona Squared produced by Judah
Tapemasters Inc. Presents Kanye West & Andre 3000 – You’re All WelcomeThe good people over at Tapemasters Inc. released this prior to Graduation and after Idlewild so a lot of tracks overlap, meaning the real treats here are the blends and unreleased tracks. It also brings to light an idea that would make for a very interesting collaboration LP.
You're All Welcome
Skew It On The Bar-B 2007 produced by DJ Mills & Hasan Insane
Kanye West ft. John Mayer - Bittersweet
Andre 3000 ft. Lloyd - You Remix
Just Blaze's Brooklyn protege MC Saigon continues his push to hype his debut LP Greatest Story Never Told with this tape and an appearance on the next season of Entourage. Here, Saigiddy keeps it gritty kickin' street knowledge, gets insightful on real-life 'hood tales, and even stands toe-to-toe with Jay-Z on their collab (gasp!).
Essential Listening:Come On Baby (Remix) ft. Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz
South, The West, The East Coast
Other Notable Mixtapes:
Big Mike & The Empire ft. Lil’ Wayne & Jadakiss – The Drought is Over Pt. 3 (Who Is The Predator)
DJ Green Lantern – Sirius Invasion
DJ Premier – Outside Lookin’ In
DJ Trigga – Fantastic Four ft. Fabolous, Cassidy, Lil’ Wayne & Juelz Santana
DJ Whiteowl - The Come Up Lil’
Mick Boogie presents - Jay-Z & Marvin Gaye Produced by Shuko & The Gunna
Sean Price – Master P
Thumbs Done - Most Disappointing Mixtapes:
DJ Clue – The Storm Ultimatum
Cam’ron – Public Enemy #1
DJ Enyce And Dipset - Byrds Of A Feather 2007
DJ White Owl – Can’t Knock The Hustle Vol. 5
Whew, now that's why I call a blog post. Now that I've recapped last year's albums and mixtapes, I'll move on to the individual songs that everyone should have on their playlists for '07... Until then, peace!
[paid in full]