Mixtapes of the Month: October 2013
There was a time when mixtapes were loose collections of songs not good enough to make an album. Those days are over. In 2013, an age where artists recognize that the road to stardom is paved with free music, mixtapes have become full, original bodies of music in their own right.
But all that free music also means discovering something truly worth your time can be harder than finding a needle in a digital haystack. That’s where our friends at DJBooth.net come in. Their new “Mixtapes of the Month” series will narrow down the previous 30 days (give or take) to three projects guaranteed to ensure the month’s best work doesn’t pass you by.
So without further ado, here are three new ones for your tape deck, desktop or iPhone.
1. CharlieRed, Muse
Milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, Rocky and Bullwinkle; great things come in pairs. After listening to Muse, the latest mixtape from CharlieRed, we're adding them to that list. The NYC-based duo consists of Rocki Evans on the mic and Cobaine Ivory crafting the beats.
Their sound is intricate and diverse, it’s almost hard to believe there are only two of them. Rocki Evan’s silky, soulful vocals give the song a vintage feel. His most powerful performances, on cuts like “Southern Man” and “On My Mind” sound like he stepped out of a time machine from the ‘50s. Pinpointing an era for Cobaine Ivory’s production style is tough, the skilled beatsmith blends a little R&B, some hip-hop drums, and adds a gritty guitar riff to nearly every cut. While the elements are similar, he changes the dosage. Some songs like “Travel Light” have a softer, bluesy vibe whereas cuts like “Champion” sound heavily rooted in rock. While the mixtape switches back-and-forth between genres, one thing’s for sure: it’s outstanding.
Stream the audio for "Southern Man" above and click here to listen in full on DJBooth.Net.
2. Hoodie Allen, Americoustic EP
Hoodie Allen gave away his Americoustic EP for free, but the rapper/singer also gives you the opportunity to buy it. After a quick listen, we wouldn’t be surprised if you choose the later option. While you might know Hoodie as a pioneer of the ever-growing hip-pop subgenre, he’s no one trick pony. On his latest six-song project, Allen puts a spin on some of his classics, but does it in a way that make them sound brand new.
Sure, he can rap and create fun, energetic cuts in his sleep, but like many artists before him, Hoodie takes pride in challenging himself. On Americoustic, he takes some of his old favorites and gives them a pop rock-n-roll makeover. Instead of changing the beat, he grabs an acoustic guitar and belts out a few a few tunes like “Two Lips” and “Cake Boy.” Most rappers would stumble in the midst of a complete style transformation, but for Hoodie the switch feels totally natural. It might just leave you wanting more of Hoodie unplugged.Watch Hoodie perform "Two Lips" above and click here to stream Americoustic in full on DJBooth.Net.
3. Rapsody “She Got Game”
Hip-hop is a male-dominated industry. While there are plenty of talented women holding a mic, they often don’t get the same respect as their male counterparts. All that will change when the world get wind of North Carolina’s Rapsody. Sure, with a title like She Got Game she even acknowledges it, but don’t put her in a box based on her gender; dope lyricism and an educated, quality-oriented style is universal. With the help of her mentor and hip-hop production legend, 9th Wonder, she is out prove her game is as good as anyone’s with this tape.
To show any doubters how wide ranging her peers are, Rapsody compiles an impressive guest list made up of some legends, some up-and-comers and some household names. On “Lonely Thoughts” her impressive, crisp delivery might be different than her guests stream of consciousness style, but rest assured Chance The Rapper and Rapsody is a natural one-two punch. Most emcees would be scared to hop on a song with a veteran Common, but Rapsody does so without hesitation, flexing a similarly elevated, conscious style as the legendary emcee. Rapsody doesn’t need any help though, the strongest cuts are those like “Special Way” where, over a soulful, but simple beat, Rap stands alone, spitting bars that really make you listen. After this mixtape, saying She Got Game might be the understatement of the year.
Listen to "Special Way" above and head to DJBooth.Net to stream She Got Game in its entirety.
October 14, 2013 via Pepsi