While there has been some actual resurgence in the art of the mixtape (though who has a tape player anymore?) we use that term loosely to mean a lot of things in the digital age. One thing is for sure - a mixtape is pretty much always free. 2011 saw a lot of artists simply giving away entire album's worth of music to listeners for the cost of a click. Here are 11 of our favorites.
Chicago duo The Hood Internet bring you Trillwave. These guys refuse to box themselves into playing or even liking one genre - they like rap, indie, r+b, hip-hop, and rock and they like it all at the same time. So, when they smush it all together, what comes out is very clever mashups: Birdman and Washed Out, Jamie Foxx and Röyksopp, Drake and Beach House, you get the idea.
Waaaaay back in 1995 Fiend was on Master P's No Limit label with the likes of Mystikal. Back then hip hop had very different sound, especially on that label: simplistic, synth-based and aggressive. Reappearing now as International Jones, you'd hardly even know Fiend is the same guy. All the tracks are laid back, with meticulous production (yes, that IS Marvin Gaye) and a very mellow roll. The blog Space Age Hustle refers to this sound as "cloud rap" saying "the more we thought about it, the more we felt that there was enough steam behind this growing movement towards blunted, ethereal, otherworldly beats and lyrics."
In honor of the Tribe documentary which came out earlier this year, Toronto DJ M-Rock put out this expertly mixed 60-track hour of good times, with all your favorite Tribe songs. You want this.