2011 was definitely a good year for mixtapes, we now have an insight of which hip-hop artist to look forward to in 2012. To keep things short and sweet, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 mixtapes of the year plus a little description about the artists behind them. Yes, there are 6 images up there but do not panic, I couldn’t choose between two of The Weeknd’s mixtapes! Read on:
5. Section 80 – Kendrick Lamar
The album that was made as a mixtape or the mixtape that was meant to be an album, Kendrick Lamar once dreamed of Tupac Shakur approaching him telling him “Keep doing what you’re doing, keep my music alive”, which was his main inspiration for creating Section 80, that later will be released as a digital album released exclusively on iTunes. Without any help from radio or television exposure, Lamar gathered around 5000 downloads and counting. With his prompt rhyming ability and socially concious lyrics, you need to look out for Kendrick Lamar next year.
4. Thursday/House of Ballons – The Weeknd
I couldn’t just pick one to be honest, but this year The Weeknd finally gathered some exposure in 2011. After both of his lustful lyrics and seductive beats from Thursday and House of Balloons mixtapes were released, a new sound in contemporary R&B has been found in the heart of Toronto, bringing him to the spotlight with the help of his friend Drake, collaborating on his album Take Care in the song “Crew Love” (writing 5 more songs on the album) and getting to be part of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Remixes, The Weeknd surely will be someone to look forward to in 2012. If you’re a fan of The Weeknd, remember his latest mixtape, Echoes of Silence, will drop on December 21st 2011, so you’re guaranteed a good start of the new year.
3. Return of 4eva – Big K.R.I.T
Not that many up and coming rappers have the ability to accomplish a mixtape that most critics consider it should have been released as an album, that’s where Big K.R.I.T comes around, this Missisippi artist managed to do one of the most complete mixtapes of the year in terms of production, and over all lyricality, I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us in 2012 with his debut album with Island Def Jam.
2. nostalgia, ULTRA – Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean the member of the hip-hop collaborative group, OFGWKTA, has risen to fame in 2011, and things are looking better than ever for the New Orleans native: scoring a deal with Def Jam Recordings as a solo artist, collaborating with Jay-Z and Kanye West in Watch The Throne as well as composing/working in songs for Beyonce, Brandy, John Legend and Nas, it seems like 2012 will be his year to take over the charts. nostalgia, ULTRA was his debut mixtape released in early 2011 and since then the songs “Novacane” and “Swim Good” have been climbing up in the charts, ultimately landing Ocean on BBC’s Sound of 2012 list. A mixtape made of R&B sounds meets subtle hip-hop beats surely deserves the #2 spot.
1. LiveLoveA$ap – A$AP Rocky
There are 3 million reasons why A$AP Rocky is one of the artists I look forward to the most in 2012, and the main reason is his $3 million record deal with Sony/RCA to work on his debut solo album as well as his collaborative group A$AP (Always Strive And Prosper). There hasn’t been an artist in recent history that has been signed for such amount of money, Drake back then in 2009 after many record labels were after him and he finally decided on signing with Young Money, his advance was $2 million. Some people are even calling him the future of New York hip-hop and after listening to LiveLoveA$ap I can tell there are big things in the future lined up for Rocky, for now he will be headlining Drake’s Club Paradise Tour so make sure you see him perform his hits “Pe$o” and “Purple Swag“. A$AP Rocky also made it to BBC’s Sound of 2012 list, and with all the hopes and expectations people have on the Harlem 24 year old dude, he definitely deserves the #1 spot.
Which one was YOUR favorite mixtape of 2011? Let me know in the comments!