The 30 Greatest Hip-Hop Mixtapes Of All Time

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Since age 8 I have listened almost exclusively to rap music.  I never chose to be this way, it’s simply how I’ve always been.  I spend a great deal of my free time on hip-hop sites and blogs, searching for the latest songs and artists.

People often come to me for music recommendations because of this fact.  Friends are well-aware of my obsession with all types of rap.  I listen to both lyrical, meaningful stuff and outright street/trap music.  To be honest, I have unfailingly preferred the latter since a young age.  Obviously I don’t identify more with street music.  For no explainable reason it appeals to me more.  As you read this list you’ll probably gather I’m a big fan of what rap fans refer to as “street music.”

Recently I wrote a 50 scariest horror films of all time list in which I indexed movies but was unable to order them.  This is the case in this list as well.  I can’t tell you or even decide for myself which mixtape I think is better than another.  My preference completely depends on the mood I’m in.

Please take notice to the fact I’m listing MIXTAPES.  This list doesn’t cover albums.  Don’t comment, “What about Kanye’s blah blah blah.”  Definitely feel free to let me know what your favorite mixtapes are in the comments, however.  I’m always interested in hearing about a tape I haven’t listened to or have been sleeping on.

I need to keep track of how many I’m listing which is why they’re numbered.  They don’t denote a specific order.  I’m cataloging them in order of when I thought of them.  Let’s get it.

1.  Wiz Khalifa’s “Kush & Orange Juice”

Wiz in his prime.  I know many people who would consider this the best mixtape of all time.  It’s not my best-loved, although it’s certainly up there.  Undoubtedly Wiz’s smoothest work.

Standout tracks:

“The Statement”

“The Kid Frankie”

“Still Blazin”

“Glass House”

2.  Wiz Khalifa’s “Cabin Fever”

He got slightly more street with this one.  Personally it’s my favorite project from Wiz.

Standout tracks:

“Phone Numbers”

“Cabin Fever”

“Gangbang”

“Erryday”

3.  Lil Wayne’s “No Celings”

Weezy absolutely murdered everybody’s beat on this.  Any true rap fan was rockin’ with this and likely still is today.

Standout Tracks:

“Swag Surf”

“Wasted”

“Watch My Shoes”

“Banned from TV”

“Run This Town”

4.  Rick Ross’ “Rich Forever”

Rozay’s best effort, thanks in large part to features.

Standout Tracks:

“Ring Ring” (One of my favorite songs of all time)

“Stay Schemin’”

5.  J.Cole’s “Friday Night Lights”

This work of mastery was my first introduction to Cole.  It remains my choice compilation he has put out.

Standout Tracks:

The entire thing.  My personal favorite is “Home for the Holidays”

6.  Young Jeezy’s “Trap or Die 2”

I used to firmly believe this was the best tape ever, until years passed and more mixtapes released.  Certainly still a classic.

Standout Tracks:

“Stop Playin With Me”

“Camaro”

“Illin’”

“Go Hard”

“My Tool”

7.  Travis Porter’s “Music, Money, Magnums”

Travis Porter are predominantly known for their club music.  “Music, Money, Magnums” is to club/party music as The Bible is to Christianity.  It’s packed with timeless hits that still get rooms bumping and asses clapping.

Standout Tracks:

“Make That Ass Clap”

“Dem Girls”

“Down Low”

“Cake”

“College Girl”

“Bring it Back”

8.  Meek Mill’s “Dream Chasers 2”

Meek Milly’s “Dream Chasers 2” crashed Datpiff’s server several minutes after it released because so many people were attempting to download.  This fact alone should tell you something.

Standout Tracks:

“Amen”

“Burn”

“Flexing”

“Everyday”

“Racked up Shawty”

“Lean Wit It”

“Face Down”

“House Party (Remix)”

9.  Gucci’s “Mr. Zone 6”

If I didn’t want to receive major critique I would have listed at least 10 more GuWop tapes.  Since ‘07 I’ve been an enormous Gucci fan, and I won’t apologize for it.  “Mr. Zone 6” is his best effort.

Standout Tracks:

“It’s Goin’ Up”

“Normal”

“Rooftop”

“Koolin’”

“Makin Love to the Money”

10.  Fabolous’ “There Is No Competition 2”

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Fab.  When it comes to punchlines he’s one of the most extraordinary rappers ever.  “There Is No Competition 2” is his finest collection in my opinion.

Standout Tracks:

“I’m Raw”

“Body Ya”

“Roger That”

“Body Bag”

“Beamer, Benz or Bentley”

“For The Money”

“All The Way Turnt Up”

11.  Wale’s “More About Nothing”

If I was forced to order the mixtapes this would earn the number 2 spot.  The songs are outstanding as is, but the Seinfeld openings make them even better.

Standout Tracks:

“The Problem”

“The Breeze”

“Friends & Strangers”

“The Breakup Song”

“The Posse Cut”

12.  Lil Wayne’s “Da Drought 3”

Classic Weezy.

Standout Tracks:

“Black Republican”

“We Takin Over”

“I Can’t Feel My Face”

“King Kong”

“Back On My Grizzy”

“President”

13.  Drake’s “So Far Gone”

At this point, if you’re still hating on Drake it’s a personal problem.

Standout Tracks:

“Houstonatlantavegas”

“Successful”

“November 18th”

“Best I Ever Had”

“Unstoppable”

“Uptown”

“Brand New”

14.  A$AP Rocky’s “LiveLoveA$AP”

I’m going to garner some heat for my honesty, but I feel this is the only good thing Rocky has ever done.  In my eyes he has been falling off ever since.  However, a few of the tracks on here are ones I’ll never get tired of playing.

Standout Tracks:

“Palace”

“Bass”

“Peso”

“Wassup”

15.  Tyga’s “Well Done”

I’ll be right up front:  I’m NOT a fan of Tyga.  He’s often corny and at times nonsensical.  Two of his projects did manage to make their way onto my list.  “Well Done” will forever be the best creation he has ever launched.

Standout Tracks:

“Well Done”

“Maybe”

“Hard In The Paint”

“B.M.F”

“Wonder Woman”

16.  Big K.R.I.T’s “Return of 4eva”

You can’t like hip-hop without liking Big K.R.I.T.

Standout Tracks:

“R4 Theme Song”

“My Sub”

“Time Machine”

“Country Shit (Remix”

17.  Lil Wayne’s “Dedication 3”

Classic Weezy yet again; back when DJ Drama was nearly tolerable.

Standout Tracks:

“Dick Pleaser”

“Bang Bang”

“My Weezy”

“Magic”

“Stuntin”

18.  Tha Joker’s “Numbers Don’t Lie”

Tha Joker is in my top 10.  He’s still yet to receive the shine I believe he truly deserves.

Standout Tracks:

“Ain’t Enuff”

“Blow It All”

“On It”

“We Do It For Fun Part 8”

19.  Migo’s “Young Rich N*ggas”

You either hate them or you love them.  I, for one, love them.  “Young Rich N*ggas” was Migo’s trunk-knocking debut to the mainstream rap scene.

Standout Tracks:

“Rich Then Famous”

“Chinatown”

“Versace” (Yes, it existed before Drake was on it)

“Adios”

“Hanna Montana”

“Bando” (The best joint of their career)

“FEMA”

“Out The Gym” (Second best joint of their career)

“R.I.P”

20.  Future’s “Streetz Calling”

Future has accomplished becoming a household name.  This tape exemplifies him as an artist before he was all over the radio.  Frankly, he was better then.

Standout Tracks:

“Made Myself a Boss”

“Same Damn Time”

“Name Hold Weight”

“Running Through a Check”

“Ball Forever”

“The Way It Go”

“Never Be The Same”

“Gone To The Moon” (I still audibly rap the first verse to myself on a daily basis)

21.  Meek Mill’s “Dream Chasers”

Another merited appearance for Meek.  I greatly favor this one.

Standout Tracks:

“House Party”

“Imma Boss”

“Tony Montana Freestyle”

“Body Count”

“Tony’s Story”

“Work”

“Don’t Panic”

22.  Joey BADA$$’ “1999”

One hell of a tape.  Joey brought back real old-school hip-hop with this exemplar.

Standout Tracks:

“Summer Knights”

“Waves”

“Hardknock”

“Suspect”

23.  Childish Gambino’s “Culdesac”

Donald Glover ran a blog back when he was active in his sketch group “DerrickComedy,” which is where I discovered this on the day of its release.  Sorry to sound like a hipster, but I introduced many to “Culdesac” before the majority of folks knew the name “Childish Gambino.”  I sound like a dick now and I deeply apologize.

Standout Tracks:

The whole thing.  Bump it all the way through.  “So Fly” is my all-time favorite.

24.  Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa’s “How Fly”

Wiz blew up and Curren$y stayed true to his roots.  Spitta has a serious cult fanbase and will never follow the mainstream path Wiz chose to.  It’s important to recognize Wiz probably wouldn’t be where he is today without Curren$y.

Standout Tracks:

“Car Service” (Words cannot describe how good this song is)

“The Checkpoint”

“The Planes”

“How Fly”

“Over The Building”

25.  Tyga & Chris Brown’s “Fan of a Fan”

Earlier I mentioned I don’t like Tyga, but he did his thing here.  This collab with Breezy will forever be a quality listening experience.

Standout Tracks:

“What They Want”

“Dueces”

“48 Bar Rap”

“Ballin”

“On It”

“G Shit”

“Holla At Me”

26.  Big Sean’s “Finally Famous 3”

Hands-down the best work of Sean’s career.  Unfortunately I don’t have much confidence he’ll ever match this.

Standout Tracks:

“Final Hour”

“What U Doin”

“Five Bucks”

“High Rise”

“Crazy”

“Home Town”

“Fat Raps (Remix)”

“Fuck My Opponent”

27.  Fabolous’ “Soul Tape”

I had to include Loso’s next-best venture.

Standout Tracks:

“Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”

“Really Tho”

“Yall Don’t Hear Me Tho”

“Look At Her”

28.  Chief Keef’s “Back From The Dead”

Chief Keef at his finest; arguably his only tolerable state.  Sipping lean truly ruined Sosa.  I sincerely wish he would go back to making music like this but have little hope he will.  “Back From The Dead” has several bangers and unlimited replay value.

Standout Tracks:

“Sosa”

“I Don’t Like”

“Designer”

“I Don’t Know Dem”

“Everyday”

“Trust None”

“Save That Shit” (His best ever)

“3Hunna (Remix” (Sadly the version with Soulja Boy)

29.  Big K.R.I.T’s “K.R.I.T Wuz Here”

His superlative body of work.

Standout Tracks:

“Country Shit”

“Hometown Hero”

“Children Of The World”

“No Wheaties”

“Moon & Stars”

30.  Lil Wayne’s “Dedication 2”

If old Wayne wasn’t so good I wouldn’t have had to include him multiple times.

Standout Tracks:

“Get Em”

“Cannon”

“Welcome To The Concrete Jungle”

“Poppin’ Them Bottles”

“What U Know”

“Where Da Cash At”

“Gettin’ Some Head”

“No Other”

Honorable Mentions:

Future’s “Dirty Sprite”

Childish Gambino’s “Loyalty”

Big Sean’s “Detroit”

Gucci Mane’s “Jewelry Selection”

Rocko’s “Wordplay”

Migo’s “No Label 2”

Waka Flocka’s “Lebron Flocka James 2”

Gucci Mane & Future’s “Freebricks”

T.I.’s “Fuck A Mixtape”

Chris Brown’s “In My Zone 2”

Juicy J & Lex Luger’s “Rubba Band Business 2”

J.Cole’s “The Warm Up”

Mac Miller’s “Faces”

Tha Joker’s “We Do It For Fun Pt. TOO”

Ace Hood’s “Starvation”

Chip Tha Ripper’s “The Cleveland Show”

The other two “Soul Tapes” from Fabolous TC mark

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