Mixtape Monday Midseason Report, Part 2: Lil Wayne, Kanye, Tru-Life Hold It Down On '07 Mixtapes
— by Shaheem Reid and Jayson Rodriguez, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes
OK, guys, one more week. One more week until the regular Mixtape Monday returns. This week, we're still looking back and giving props, starting with 10 essential mixtapes of the year so far.
Lil Wayne's Da Drought 3
Two CDs of unadulterated hip-hop boom! The best mixtape this year and possibly for some time to go. Weezy terrorized some of the most popular beats in rap and mopped up the competition. Drought is definitely better than a lot of albums to come out in 2007, and people have embraced many of the freestyles, like "Sky's the Limit," tighter than most MCs' singles.
Tru-Life's Tru York (hosted by J-Love)
A lot of people don't remember too much about this mixtape except that Tru apparently does not like the Dipset. But the artwork and Jay-Z's intro alone make it a collector's item.
KRS-One and Marley Marl's Hip Hop Lives
The Teacha can still spit. Marley can still make beats. They should have done this album about 15 years ago, but it was good to hear hip-hop from the perspective of these elder statesmen in a climate in which most of the music is directed toward kids.
Kanye West's Can't Tell Me Nothing
Hey, we had to give him points for artwork alone. Shame on 'Ye for teasing us with a snippet of "Stronger," but we love you for introducing us to "Can't Tell Me Nothing." That might be line-for-line the most lyrical record out right now. There's a bunch of gems all over this CD.
Various DJs' Biggie collections
Ten years since the Notorious B.I.G. left us, and an assortment of DJs paid tribute by serving records from his catalog, remixing his songs, blending his vocals with new beats and even leaking tracks that were on his demo. No matter what it was, you can't beat listening to Big.
DJ Khaled's We the Best
Khaled waved his juice card in the face of the industry like he had the joker in a game of spades. For his second album, he called on everyone from T.I. to Akon, and that was just for one song: the hit "We Takin' Over." R. Kelly and Lil' Kim joined in for the remix. Now that we are listening to Khaled, he's making the most of it.
Prodigy and Alchemist's Return of the Mac
Straight-to-YouTube videos, bone-grizzle-cutting lyrics and Alchemist's soul loops. P brought the "Blood Talk" back for anyone who thought he and Mobb Deep were getting spoiled by all that G-Unit money.
You Already Know Presents: Sign of the Times
Hmm, we really can't tell you much about all the songs on this tape, but the significance of this one is that a certain DJ didn't want to put his name or face on the cover because of the Feds. This came out not too long after DJ Drama's infamous arrest on charges filed by the RIAA.
Joell Ortiz's The Brick: Bodega Chronicles
Ortiz made noise by inking with the good doctor out West and Aftermath, but on this album, the BK hard rock is in a straight New York state of mind as he spits out more bars than a vending machine. Heavy on lyrics and light on hooks, this is what raw and uncut is about. Now he's got us hooked waiting for that debut LP.
DJ Soul's Assorted Donuts: A Tribute to J Dilla
Dilla definitely didn't get the full-on props he deserved as one of hip-hop's premier producers before he passed. But on this posthumous mixtape, DJ Soul paired instrumentals from Dilla's Donuts album with a range of artists the Detroit native never got a chance to work with, from M.O.P. to Jay-Z, proving he's still one of the best in the game, dead or alive.
The Mixtape Monday Midseason Report isn't over yet. Here's a look at some of the songs, in no particular order, that have had an impact on the streets, clubs and charts so far this year. If we made our own mixtapes, they would be on there. And oh yeah, next week we're coming with so much heat — the regular Mixtape Monday report returns. Get ready.
- 1. Swizz Beatz - "Money in the Bank"
- 2. Rich Boy - "Throw Some D's"
- 3. MIMS - "This Is Why I'm Hot"
- 4. DJ Khaled (featuring Akon, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, T.I., Lil Wayne and Baby) - "We Takin' Over"
- 5. Lil Boosie and Webbie (featuring Trill Fam) - "Wipe Me Down"
- 6. Hurricane Chris - "A Bay Bay"
- 7. UGK (featuring Outkast) - "Int'l Players Anthem" Anthem"
- 8. Yung Berg - "Sexy Lady"
- 9. Shop Boyz - "Party Like a Rockstar"
- 10. Common (featuring Dwele) - "The People"
- 11. T.I. - "Big Things Poppin' (Do It)"
- 12. Kanye West - "Stronger"
- 13. Young Jeezy (featuring R. Kelly) - "Go Getta"
- 14. Fabolous (featuring Ne-Yo) - "Make Me Better"
- 15. 50 Cent - "Amusement Park"
- 1. 50 Cent - "I Get Money"
- 2. Swizz Beatz (featuring Lil Wayne and R. Kelly) - ""It's Me B---hes" remix
- 3. Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothing"
- 4. Lil Wayne - "I Feel Like Dying"
- 5. Lil Wayne - "Boom"
- 6. USDA - "White Girl"
- 7. T.I. (featuring Young Jeezy, Young Dro, Big Kuntry and BG) - "Top Back" remix
- 8. USDA - "Corporate Thuggin' "
- 9. Fabolous (featuring Jay-Z and Uncle Murda) - "Brooklyn"
- 10. DJ Drama (featuring Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Young Buck, Jim Jones and Willie the Kid) - "Takin' Pictures"
- 11. DJ Khaled (featuring Fat Joe, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and Juelz Santana) - "Brown Paper Bag"
- 12. Cassidy - "It's On (I Got My Drink and My Two Step)"
- 13. Uncle Murda - "Bullet, Bullet"
- 14. Joell Ortiz (featuring Saigon and Jadakiss) - "Hip-Hop" remix
- 15. Saigon - "C'mon Baby"
- 1. Ne-Yo - "Do You"
- 2. Timbaland (featuring Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado) - "Give It to Me"
- 3. Timbaland (featuring Keri Hilson, D.O.E. and Sebastian) - "The Way I Are"
- 4. Rihanna (featuring Jay-Z) - "Umbrella"
- 5. Ne-Yo - "Because of You"
- 6. Chris Brown (featuring Jadakiss) - "Wall to Wall" remix
- 7. Omarion (featuring Usher) - "Ice Box"
- 8. R. Kelly (featuring Usher) - "Same Girl"
- 9. R. Kelly (featuring Usher and T-Pain) - "Same Girl" remix
- 10. Tank (featuring Ginuwine and Tyrese) - "Please Don't Go" remix
- 11. Beyoncé (featuring Jay-Z) - "Upgrade U"
- 12. Justin Timberlake - "Summer Love"
- 13. Robin Thicke - "Lost Without U"
- 14. T-Pain (featuring Akon) - "Bartender"
- 15. Fantasia - "When I See You"
- 16. Kelly Rowland (featuring Eve) - "Like This"
- 17. R. Kelly (featuring T-Pain and T.I.) - "I'm a Flirt" remix
- 18. Amy Winehouse (featuring Jay-Z) - "Rehab" remix
- 19. Lil Wayne - "Prostitute Flange"
- 20. T-Pain (featuring Yung Joc) - "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')"
- 21. Beyoncé - "Get Me Bodied"
- 22. Diddy (featuring Keyshia Cole) - "Last Night"
- 23. Lloyd (featuring Yung Joc) - "Get It Shawty"
- 24. Keyshia Cole (featuring Missy Elliott and Lil' Kim) - "Let It Go"
- 25. Fergie (featuring Ludacris) - "Glamorous"
For more on the year (so far) in mixtapes, check out the first installment of the Mixtape Monday Midseason Report, which chronicles all the big mixtape moments of '07 — from the war on hip-hop lyrics to DJ Drama's arrest and more.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.
For a full-length feature on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."
||Photo: MTV News