There's the hip-hop that hits the charts and plays in the clubs and then there's that raw stuff that bangs beyond the radio — on blogs, on the block and at backyard barbecues. These MCs, the short list picked by the Mixtape Daily extended family, occupy that arena just outside the mainstream with their mixtapes, intended for the underground circuit.
Sure, Rick Ross' "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" earned a slot on MTV News' Top 10 Songs of 2010 and landed on the Miami rapper's proper album, but the industrial-strength drums and cast-iron rhymes were served up for the streets first. That the track ultimately broke through and resonated on a larger level demonstrated the power of appealing to your base.
The acts below are the best of that crop and sport the crown for the past 12 months as Mixtape Daily's Top Mixtape MCs of 2010:
Cam'ron and Vado
Bordering Block: Harlem, USA
Street Scripture: Boss of All Bosses 2.5
Fire Flames: "No Vado ain't rich, but damn near," the upstart spits on "Speakin' Tongues." "As long as it's me and Cam near/ They like Remo and Sam running the Tangiers."
Bordering Block: Brooklyn
Street Scripture: The Funeral Service: There Is No Competition 2
Fire Flames: "My shorty telling me, 'Kill the competition, boo,' " Loso spits on "The Wake." "And I be telling her, 'There is no competition to There Is No Competition 2'/ It's good to wake up, look in the mirror and the only competition is you/ And even that n---a ain't seeing me/ My reflection'll have a hard time being me."
Bordering Block: Carol City, Miami
Street Scripture: The Albert Anastasia EP
Fire Flames: "Self made, you just affiliated," Ross spits on "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)." "I built it ground up, you bought it renovated."
Bordering Block: The A, Georgia
Street Scripture: Proud to Be a Problem
Fire Flames: "When the song come on, I ain't gon' dance," Quez raps on "Secondary Girl." "And we ain't gon' buy no wedding ring, shorty, you my offside lady, you my second string."
Bordering Block: Pittsburgh
Street Scripture: Kush & Orange Juice
Fire Flames: "Polo socks match my Polo hat," Wiz kicks on "Mesmerized." "She leaves once, she ain't coming back/ That's a known fact/ Now, Taylor Gang that."
Did we miss anyone? Share your picks for the best mixtape MCs of 2010 in the comments!
For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines.