A Zip & A Double-Click: Top Mixtapes Of February 2013

Top 3 Mixtapes

Truly Yours

1. J. Cole – Truly Yours
This five-song EP is meant to serve as a warm-up for Cole’s upcoming second studio album, and all five tracks are outstanding. It’s amazing that Truly Yours is a collection of songs that didn’t quite make the cut for his album because these songs would be highlights on almost any other rapper’s project. These tracks aren’t fully-mastered, but the rough organic-sounding production actually helps the tape’s vibe. Nice touches like the classical guitar on “Can I Holla At Ya”, the rolling snare on “Rise Above”, and the piano melody on “Tears For ODB” almost make it sound like Cole is rapping over a live performance. Lyrically, each track tells at least one story, sometimes three. It would be great to hear Cole maintain this level of lyricism on his upcoming album. (Download)

Soundtrack II Armageddon

2. Kembe X – Soundtrack II Armageddon
I have never heard of this dude before, but when I stumbled on his project while looking through rap blogs for good mixtapes it quickly stood out from everything else. Soundtrack II Armageddon finds a middle ground between the druggy menacing sound of Flatbush Zombies and the rapid lyricism of Kendrick Lamar mixtapes. Kembe shows a wide lyrical range; on “I’m Boosed” he spits an insane verse over a wailing guitar solo and on “Loose” he puts his storytelling talents on display. (Download)

New Jet City-1

3. Curren$y – New Jet City
Curren$y rarely ventures away from his arsenal of go-to topics on this mixtape (Cars, weed, women, money, how much better than you he is), but his lack of profound subject matter is hardly a problem. Spitta can flow nicer than almost anyone in rap. Hearing Curren$y rap is like watching Carmello Anthony shoot. Neither of them ever seem like they have to try that hard and they make everything look (or sound) easy. New Jet City features a few great guest verses from guys like Jadakiss, Rick Ross and Young Roddy. Some of the beats on this mixtape are very different from the hazed-out production Curren$y usually raps over (Lex Luger produces a couple of tracks including the Wiz and Ross collaboration “Choosin”). Overall, this is one of Curren$y’s best projects. I would rank it just below Covert Coup and the Pilot Talk albums. (Download)