In this week's print edition we profile rapper Childish Gambino. Of course, if you don't recognize the name you might better know him as Troy Barnes on NBC's Thursday night comedy Community. Childish Gambino is just one of many up-and-coming talents who are breaking the hip-hop mold, and a big part of Childish Gambino's success is the mixtapes that he has been releasing since long before his acting days.
Mixtapes are a big part of launching many rappers careers. And no, we're not talking about the shitty mixtapes you used to make for your high school crushes (the ones with way too many R. Kelly songs). Mixtapes in hip-hop are nothing new and have been around since the early days of Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Flash. Of course, back then they were a little bit harder to get a hold of, but in the days of the Internet just about anyone can create them and release them to the masses.
Here are a few of the best mixtapes recently released that you can download entirely free and legal.
Childish Gambino is scheduled to perform Wednesday, April 11, at The Venue Scottsdale.
Action Bronson & Party Supplies - Blue Chips
Before becoming a rapper, Action Bronson was a well-respected chef in New York City. His love for food might explain his size. But he's left the kitchen and turned his attention fully to hip-hop, garnering comparisons to Ghostface Killah a long the way. His latest mixtape finds him working with producer Party Supplies and the title is in reference to Shaquille O'Neal's only good movie Blue Chips.
Big K.R.I.T. - 4eva N A Day
Rapper Big K.R.I.T. has built quite a reputation for himself based on several popular mixtapes including last year's Return of 4eva. His latest highly anticipated mixtape provides a glimpse in the day of the Mississippi native.
Mac Miller - Macadelic
Mac Miller certainly has his share of detractors on the Internet. A fact he makes mention of on a few tracks off his latest mixtape entitled Macadelic. Regardless of his critics he continues on and seems to get better with each effort.
Asher Roth - Pabst & Jazz
Most people will likely remember Asher Roth for his big hit single "I Love College." While he hasn't been able to recapture the commercial success of that song he has built up a loyal fan base and continues to release mixtapes.
A$AP Rocky - LiveLoveA$AP
Harlem-based rapper A$AP Rocky exploded onto the scene with his first mixtape LiveLoveA$AP. So much so he has already singed a deal with Sony/RCA based off the strength of his first two videos and managed to become a favorite of hipster music blogs like Gorilla vs. Bear and Pitchfork.
Clams Casino - Clams Casino
Producer Clams Casino has produced music for several of the artists so far on the list and most notably A$AP Rocky. For his Instrumentals mixtapes you'll find exactly what the title suggests -- Clams sans lyrics. Interestingly enough, without lyrics the music takes on an entirely and welcome new life of its own.
Danny Brown - XXX
Danny Brown has been in the rap game a long time and has been through some rough times. The title of his latest mixtape XXX is also the rappers age. His unique voice and even more unique hairstyle draws quite a bit of attention for the rapper. Danny Brown will also be opening up for Childish Gambino at their stop at Venue of Scottsdale.
Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire - Lost In Translation
If nothing else this mixtape from Brooklyn rapper Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire wins the award for most original album cover.
Freddie Gibbs - Cold Day In Hell
While A$AP Rocky may be the latest mixtape success story, Freddie Gibbs may be the original. Just a few years ago many were picking him to be the next big thing based upon his mixtape success but that was followed up with a disappointing run on Interscope without any actual album being released. He's still managed to gain critical acclaim though with the release of his mixtapes.
The Weeknd - Echoes of Silence
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Canada-based The Weeknd has been blowing up every since the release of the House of Balloons mixtape. In just a short amount of time the singer/producer has managed to release three mixtapes and don't seem to be showing any sign of slowing down anytime soon.