What’s up, world?! As you all know, I love music, especially Hip Hop. So, I decided to do a post about the top 5 mixtapes that were the soundtrack for me making it through the trying times of being a teenager.
These mixtapes are from a couple of rappers that I’ve grown to love back then, and still do now, but for some I no longer keep up with their current sound.
Here’s my top 5 mixtapes, and here’s why:
1. Control System by Ab-Soul is definitely a favorite for me, it came out May 11, 2012. A lot of the mixtape talks about different ways people are trying to manipulate you, and Ab-Soul is giving his in-depth opinions on double standards, politics, and amongst other things. I think what also made this album so memorable for me, is because I was such a major TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) / Black Hippy (Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock) fan in high school, I always followed Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, and Jay Rock’s career and anyone else who was involved. Ab-Soul’s girlfriend at the time, Alori Joh, was apart of Ab-Soul creating the album, she did vocals for the Ab-Soul and his label mates, and I remember seeing stories on social media that she committed suicide; and that’s when I later found out that they were dating. There was never confirmation on how she passed. Ab-Soul wrote a song dedicated to her, and he dedicated the album to her. It was beautiful to hear the work they created together, and unfortunate to hear of her passing. Despite that touching moment, I think the album is conscious but, still has the appeal that it needs to touch everyone. That’s why I loved this album in high school. Listen to my favorite song Empathy featuring Alori Joh, and JaVonte’.
2. (O)verly (D)edicated by Kendrick Lamar was a special mixtape for me as well, and it was released September 14, 2010. Around this time was when I really started getting into Hip Hop. 2009-2010 was when I found out about my favorite rapper, J. Cole. I used to follow J. Cole a lot, and whenever he would release video clips for the fans to see, he’d always be talking about Kendrick Lamar. I started to become more curious about Kendrick, since my favorite rapper was co-signing. The (O)verly (D)edicated has Michael Jackson, Pimp C, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Sacer, Eric Snow, Dashiell “Dash” Snow, Robert Johnson and Bruce Lee on the cover. There wasn’t a story to tell throughout the mixtape, like much of his other work, but this mixtape was to show how dedicated Kendrick Lamar is to music. I think a lot of the material he was discussing on the tape was relatable and his flow was refreshing to me at the time. Kendrick Lamar turned out to be as dope as J. Cole said he is. My favorite song from this has to be Opposites Attract (Tomorrow W/O Her) featuring JaVonte’, or Cut You Off (To Grow Closer).
3. 1999 by Joey Bada$$ was a summer classic. 1999 came out June 12, 2012. This mixtape was a classic because of the sound. Most people would consider the mixtape to sound like old school 90′s rap; and I also agree. Joey Bada$$ brought that 90′s sound back and he did it in a cool way, a way that didn’t sound cliche, and that’s what made him so unique. What also made the project so nice, was that he can also REALLY rap! Everything about Joey Bada$$ and the tape felt organic and he also has his own crew that he has featured throughout the tape, the wonderful, Pro Era. My favorite song from this tape has to be Killuminati featuring the late Capital STEEZ.
4. The Warm Up by J. Cole is forever a classic! This mixtape was released June 15, 2009, BUT I didn’t catch on to it, until late 2010. This mixtape got me through college before I even got a little taste of what college even is! The thing that I’ve always loved about J. Cole is how relatable he is, and how open he is to telling his stories. You see a lot of people try to pretend and be something they’re not. J. Cole ALWAYS is and has always been himself. The Warm Up shows how much he loves his craft and how well he can flow. He raps over some of the dopest Rap/R&B beats that people probably wouldn’t try. The Warm Up shows a young man who’s warming up to become one of the greatest in Hip Hop! My favorite songs from this tape are Welcome, Get Away, and Losing My Balance.
5. Habits & Contradictions by ScHoolboy Q was an interesting time in high school. This mixtape was released January 14, 2012, and it opened my eyes. ScHoolboy Q is also a member of TDE, and that’s how I caught wind of ScHoolboy Q. He is a crip from the streets of California, and he lets you know that every chance he gets. He knows where he’s from, and isn’t ashamed. With Habits and Contradictions, ScHoolboy Q reflects on him being addicted to drugs and his gang life. I’ve always loved his sound, and I also appreciate his honesty. I also enjoyed breaking down the mixtape and songs over time. My favorite song from the mixtape is My Hatin’ Joint.