By Hillary Crosley, with additional reporting by Jayson Rodriguez, Rahman Dukes, Steven Roberts and Richard Sancho
This year, RapFix screamed “Big Meech” while going “Hard In Da Paint” and grooving to “Kid Frankie” as we drove a “Beamer, Benz or Bentley” — OK, maybe not that last part but — frankly, we couldn’t have been happier.
Now, after careful consideration, a bit of arguing and a lot of shrewd choices, the MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust presents our Mixtape Daily Year-End Award for the top mixtapes of the year and the standout cuts from each project. Enjoy!
Lloyd Banks’ V5
» “Rather Be Me.” “My record is gonna sound like that. How it’s put together from top to bottom and ends like a movie,” the Punch Line King said. “That’s the route I wanna take my album. ‘Rather Be Me,’ is a deep record. It’s one of the joints. I didn’t let nobody hear it when I was recording it. I was in the zone. It felt like a movie to me. It’s crazy, because a lot of people think I’m talking to somebody in particular, but it’s not. It’s talking to anybody that’s a coward. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. When you hear the little funny things like, ‘Banks doesn’t want to be G-Unit.’ N—a, I am G-Unit. This [tattoo] been right here on my hand. Before anybody was signed, it was me, Tony Yayo and 50 Cent. To take that away from me is like taking away my legacy, to a certain extent. We worked too hard for somebody to tell me to drop my G-Unit.”
Big K.R.I.T.’s K.R.I.T. Wuz Here
» “Glass House” featuring Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y. “I’m UGK-influenced, ” K.R.I.T. said. “They had their own vibe, how they did their music. They did whatever they felt like they wanted to on record. They the next-door neighbor where I’m from, in Texas. So we were greatly influenced by their music. By Outkast. By 8Ball & MJG. That was the golden era to us.”
Cam’ron and Vado’s Boss of All Bosses 2.5
» “Speaking Tongues.” “I don’t know what nobody thought,” Cam laughed last weekend in Atlanta when asked about the song. “It’s me. This is what I do for a living. But shout to Vado. It’s his record. He got the beat and all that. I was like, ‘Nah, we gotta put that out immediately.’ ” “The song is about partying, living the Harlem life. Ballin’. You already know,” Vado added.
Fabolous’ The Funeral Service: There Is No Competition 2
» “I’m Raw.” “This one is just me going ba-noodles for 48 bars,” Loso explained. “Metaphor overload but in different ranges and different topics. It’s definitely gonna be a hot pullback joint. It’s one of those that’s gonna slow you down for a second and make you say ‘what did he just say?’ I don’t mean to toot my horn, but beep, beep, beep.”
J. Cole’s Friday Night Lights
» “In The Morning.” “I got a text from Drake,” Cole told Mixtape Daily. “Now, I kind of just let people say what they say on the Internet or when they have discussions, but the real truth is me and Drake are cool, and have been cool and have been building a relationship. But he hit me when I was in Paris [on a tour], like, ‘Yo, I just heard this “In the Morning.” ‘ He had just heard it for the first time. He said it was so good that he told me some wild story, you know those exaggerated stories, like ‘I need better beats,’ just one of those type of things, giving me props.”
Jadakiss’ The Champ Is Here 3
» “Who Shot Ya?” “Rest in peace B.I.G. Big shout to Nasheem,” Kiss — who rapped over Biggie’s classic track, said. “You can’t really play with that. I took shots at y’all [the MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust] on there … Not really, just getting y’all back. Big up to them ["Hottest MCs in the Game"] lists. I don’t let them lists discourage me because the people who make the list, the people who’s on the lists, [watch out for my] new album, Top Five, Dead or Alive.”
L.E.P. Bogus Boys’ Don’t Feed Da Killaz, Vol. 3
» ” Slip Into the Darkness.” “Shouts to the homie Mistro, you know, we go way back,” L.E.P.’s G Count said. “And you know, it’s one of those records, man, that’s very soulful; very melodic. You know, Bogus Boys at they finest and it’s the type of sound I appreciate and I hope you appreciate as well.”
Rick Ross’ The Albert Anastasia EP
» “Blowin’ Money Fast (B.M.F.)” featuring Styles P. “This new mixtape we’re releasing right before Memorial weekend, it’s gonna be completely new music, new beats,” Ross told MTV News. “Dope street ideas. It’s strictly for the Teflon Don lovers. It’s strictly for everyone that’s excited for [the album's release date] July 6.”
Waka Flocka Flame’s LeBron Flocka James 2
» “Hard In The Paint” “Whatever they grab, I’m running with it,” Waka told MTV News. “They grabbed ‘O Let’s Do It,’ so I feel like they can grab the next one. I don’t go to the studio like, ‘Oh, this is a hit. This is a hit!’ Nobody in this world know what a hit is. When I dropped ‘O Let’s Do It,’ nobody knew it was a hit. The only person that knew it was a hit was my mama. All the music I ever did, she was like, ‘I like that one.’ I was like, ‘That commercial song? Heck no. I hate that song.’ ”
Wale’s More About Nothing
» “The Friends ‘n’ Strangers.” “Friends are like seasons a little bit,” Wale explained. “It’s kinda talking about a personal relationship I had with one of my friends in the industry. And a relationship I had about two or three years ago with a lady I was kinda real close to. I was feeling pressure to be in a serious relationship when I just needed that moral support.”
Wiz Khalifa’s Kush & Orange Juice
» “The Kid Frankie.” “I rapped over this Loose Ends beat. It’s a track from the ’80s, ‘Hanging on a String,’ ” Wiz told MTV News. ” ‘The Kid Frankie’ was inspired by a movie that me and my man Spitta be watchin’. Shout-out to Spitta. Jets/ Taylor Gang. But the movie ‘The Business,’ there was this guy named Frankie, and his old head homie called him ‘The Kid Frankie.’ They was riding around Spain listening to Loose Ends. Frankie said, ‘It’s better to be somebody for one day than to be a nobody for your whole life.’ ”
Did we miss anything? Share your picks for the best mixtapes of 2010 by tweeting us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below!
For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines.