5 Mixtapes From 2013 You Should Know, But Might Not Yet
by Carter Merenstein on December 22, 2013
Posted in: Hip Hop, Music, Uncategorized~Random disclaimer~ This isn’t a “Best Mixtapes 2013,” because there are plenty of those out there. It’s just 5 random tapes that I bang with, that didn’t necessarily get the same coverage as Acid Rap or Run The Jewels type projects.
I$0lyf3 2, by KR:
Since getting my show in September, I’ve spent a lot of time on mixtape websites looking for free music, and I’ve had to wade through a lot of B.S. trap-lord wannabies and Lil Wayne b-sides before I finding anything remotely useful. This tape by 18 year old rapper KR, from LA, was the first gem I came across, and it makes the work worth it. His eerie electronic instrumentals are pleasantly similar to the sounds of Larry Fisherman (a.k.a Mac Miller) or early Odd Future, but still are surprisingly unique for someone so young. His lyrics as well are refreshingly honest. He doesn’t try to censor himself too much and he raps about how he feels; I$0lyf# 2 isn’t just a string of carefully crafted brags or disses, it’s a genuine look into a talented young rapper’s mind. Keep an eye out for KR in 2014!
Stolen Youth, By Vince Staples (Prod. by Larry Fisherman):
Vince Staples is probably best known for being around the fringes of Odd Future, laying down verses on both of Earl’s albums, Wolf, some JAoT tracks, and, my favorite, Moracular World by Mike G. When Mac Miller (a.k.a Larry Fisherman) met him in late 2012 he became an instant fan and offered to produce his next mixtape. The tape has features by heavyweights like Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, but Vince holds his own and is easily still the star of the album. With Stolen Youth he shows that he is good for more than just a feature from the shadows of OF, and I think it’s safe to say that he’ll have a breakthrough year in 2014.
Come As You Are, by Audio Push:
When Odd Future was just getting started, the LA rapper Audio Push was making it somewhat big with his dance moves, especially with his single “Teach Me How to Jerk”. OF leader Tyler didn’t like how much coverage jerkin’ got, and dissed “jerkers” quite heavily in his first album, Bastard. So, being an OF fanatic, I almost skipped this tape entirely, thinking Audio Push was more of a backup dancer than a real rapper. And boy did I feel foolish when I got to the title track and was called out for nearly writing him off! Turns out, this mixtape is real rap through and through, with sick production from Hit-Boy, verses by Lil Wayne and Vic Mensa, and a series of skits running through the whole album. Audio Push has turned his game around, and it’s definitely worth checking out Come As You Are. (Especially hit up Brown Bag and Turn Down, personal favorites!)
Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out, by Tree:
This may well be the only trap mixtape that I have ever been into. And I’m into it in a BIG way. It combines the flow and the beats of trap with soulful organ chords and half-sung hooks that gives Tree’s music, in his own words, “that down-south feel, like I’m planting crops.” His lyrics aren’t necesarily anything special, but his gritty voice and slurred words make them pleasant to listen to in a way that I don’t find often in trap music. Tree does most of his own production, but the few guests who bring beats to the tape are flawlessly integrated and keep perfectly with his SoulTrap genre, giving the album a constant and individual feel. Supposedly the tracks are even ordered in to resemble a church service, but honestly I’m Jewish and can’t really verify that (still, cool concept if it’s true!!). All in all, we can expect Tree to play a big role in Chicago hip hop for years to come, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t a few dozen copycat rappers dusting off the old organs right now. (Oh, and it has a feature by Danny Brown, who goes hard on NO Faces)
Delusional Thomas, by Delusional Thomas:
This right here, is a screwed up album. It dropped without any promotion on Halloween, features a lot of fake radio interference and static, a dope verse by Earl Sweatshirt, and a lot of violent rhymes laid down in a strange high pitched voice. Its tone and lyrics are reminiscent of old odd future, or even Slim Shady, but without the pleasure and humor that those guys brought to the table. The entire album has a depressing Edgar Alan Poe sort of depravity rather than a sick sense of humor feel. But this screwed up voice can rap with the best of them, and the production is handled by none other than Larry Fisherman (a.k.a Mac Miller!) who brilliantly masters the tape with strange sound effects and pitch shifts that perfectly capture the screwed up Halloween feel. All in all, this is my favorite tape on my little list here, and it is certainly worth checking out in it’s entirety. I think Delusional Thomas is ready to make it big in the hip hop world, aided mostly by the fact that he is secretly just Mac Miller with some pitch editing.