The mixtape genre has seen a crazy rate of evolution over the past few years; the fact that we still call them â€œmixtapesâ€ when we canâ€™t find a tape to save our lives is pretty ironic. In 2006, artists were able to get money, stay relevant, and keep up more beef than a slaughterhouse. The concepts that led this yearâ€™s movement were artist showcases and successful sequels to some of the greatest mixtapes not only of 2005, but possibly of all time. Here are the Top 10 Hip-Hop Mixtapes of 2006.
10. Ghostface – Broiled Salmon Mixtape – Mick Boogie
This CD served as a prequel to the critically-acclaimed â€œFishscaleâ€ album from Ghostface. Mick Boogie gives us a taste of the album and gives us plenty of reference points from old albums to remind us why we really fuck with Tony Starks.
9. Little Brother – Separate But Equal – DJ Drama
Drama really topped himself with this one. Mr. â€œGangsta Grillzâ€ reached out on a limb to do something from his heart and allowed a truly underground group exposure to a whole new audience. The concept was great and the material stayed true to LBâ€™s roots. It also allowed for a potential beef between them and the great Bun-B to be squashed on the song â€œCandy.â€
8. G-Unit Radio #21 – Hate it or Love it – DJ Whoo Kid
After all the peace treaty talks and press conferences, the Game vs. G-Unit beef ended with one of the funniest CD covers in recent history. You knew the gloves were off when you saw Game in a thong as a stripper! The freestyles and skits werenâ€™t too forgiving either. 50 found some of his old swagger for this edition of G-Unit Radio with Whoo Kid playing the ultimate instigator, weaving in excerpts from Gameâ€™s appearance on â€œChange of Heart.â€
7. Papoose – Menace II Society Part 2 – Kay Slay
It was hard deciding which one of the Papoose-Kay Slay collabos to choose this year. Menace II Society Part 2 made it on the list because it was released right before the announcement that Pap was signing with Jive for 1.5 million. The fact that he was still hungry enough to put out a hot ass mixtape was amazing in itself. This was a sequel that actually outdid its predecessor.
6. Game – U Know What It Is Vol.2 – DJ Skee
This is what happens when you can combine a relatively unknown DJ, a well-known mixtape artist, and a very well known beef into a great mixtape. Game unleashes on G-Unit with what will be forever known as one of the longest freestyles in history (â€œ300 Barsâ€) in addition to throwing many other jabs at 50 and company.
5. Fabolous – Loso’s Way-Rise to Power
With all the talk of Nas going to Def Jam and Game leaving Dr. Dre, Fabolous quietly defected from Atlantic to reside in the house that S.Carter built. Losoâ€™s Way was his reminder to everyone why he was still hot. Song after song showed why he had been dominant on the mixtape scene for so long. The great thing about this one is that there is no over-powering presence of a DJ. Fabo has help from his old partner DJ Clue, but clearly this is his show.
4. Young Jeezy – Can’t Ban The Snowman – DJ Drama
The hype and frenzy behind â€œTrap or Dieâ€ could never be equaled, but part 2 served a great purpose. This one kept Jeezyâ€™s name ringing bells while we were waiting on new material. With more freestyles over used beats, it showed more versatility and was a change from his previous efforts that were heavy with original songs. It also showcased other members of CTE such as Slick Pulla and Blood Raw.
3. Alive on Arrival – Green Lantern
This CD by far was the best mixed and blended release of the year. The fact that it was mostly original material with Green Lantern on the beats made it even more amazing. The Pharrell song â€œIce Creamâ€ blended with the old Raekwon â€œIce Creamâ€ beat and the classic Eddie Murphy skit from â€œDeliriousâ€ was pure genius. It also marked Green Lanternâ€™s return after the whole 50/Jada controversy.
2. Clipse – We Got It 4 Cheap Vol.2 – Clinton Sparks
Itâ€™s almost impossible for a group to stay hot over a four year period with no album. With the help of Mr. Sparks, the Clipse not only managed to do it, but also got their album pushed to a priority and signed their own label deal with two other artists, Philly natives Ab-Liva & Sandman. The whole Re-Up gang blazes this 2nd installment.
1. Lil Wayne -Dedication 2 – DJ Drama
A follow up to a classic disc that solidified both Wayneâ€™s and Dramaâ€™s place in history. This was more of the same â€“ hot freestyles and addressing the issues that the streets want to hear about. An example of both was â€œGeorgia Bush,â€ an ode to the N.O. and how Weezy feels about the U.S. President.