At the beginning of the decade, the release of mixtapes were at an all-time high and we were further introduced (or reintroduced) to artists who now reign as legends: Fabolous (“There Is No Competition 2”), Lil Wayne (“No Ceilings,” “Sorry 4 The Wait”), Nipsey Hussle (“Crenshaw,” “The Marathon,” “Mailbox Money”), Kendrick Lamar (“Overly Dedicated”), Meek Mill (“Dreamchasers”), Jeezy (“Trap or Die 2”) and J.Cole (“Friday Night Lights”), just to name a few. However, as the years went by, the meaning of mixtapes began to change.
After the Atlanta raid and arrest of DJ Drama and Don Cannon in an investigation by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the organization responsible for certifications of albums, on allegations of bootlegging records onto mixtapes, these projects slowly began being capitalized off record labels, as artists were no longer rapping on a Hot 100 single, but instead rapping over original beats, as a method of getting out of their label’s contract.
In 2015, Fabolous restored the feeling with his Summetime Shootout mixtape with Tory Lanez to follow after with Chixtape 3. Shifting the culture into a much better place where bars began to matter again, Hot 97’s Funkmaster Flex started a freestyle series, that can be seen exclusively on Youtube, further reminding us that lyrics matter.
Though the lines of what a mixtape is and what an album is have become blurred, we’ll never forget what it used to be.
In partnership with Dinnerland, Boston’s own miixtapechiick asked the opinions of artists, editors and journalists what their favorite mixtape of the decade was and why.
See what they had to say below.