Although there are no official hip-hop releases this week, a few artists kicked off the New Year by releasing free mixtapes. Below are the ones that demand a download.
Skrillex, Leaving EP
Skrillex released a three-song EP last week. Announced via YouTube, the project is for the most part surprisingly void of his signature bass drops, instead featuring his softer, more atmospheric side. The producer mixes several different genres to create Leaving, perhaps even showing his future hopes to help EDM encompass more than party jams for the casual listener. This probably isn't the best offering for a first-time listener; but for devoted fans, a download is recommended.
Hurricane Chris, Caniac
Remember "A Bay Bay"? What about "Halle Berry (She's Fine)"? Probably not. The songs that brought Louisiana rapper Hurricane Chris to the forefront were released in 2007 and 2009, respectively. And much like their composer, the hits have left the minds of the masses. But the hit-maker is hoping to change all that with the release of his forthcoming album, Return of the Hurricane. To help drum up some promotion, he released Caniac on Jan. 2. The 19-track offering has only one guest, Houston rapper Z-Ro, but it was put together with help from several DJs, including DJ Drama, DJ Bay Bay and DJ Iceberg.
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Ransom, The Last Don
Ransom released his DJ Big Mike-hosted mixtape, The Last Don, on Jan. 2. The free download served as a follow-up to his last mixtape, Winter Is Coming. The majority of the songs feature the New Jersey performer freestyling, but there are quite a few treats, including the track "I Ain't Sh*t," featuring late rapper Stack Bundles. Rappers Fat Trel, Smoke DZA and Jane Doe are also featured on the mixtape.
9th Wonder, Black American Gangster
9th Wonder served up his latest remix project earlier this year. The North Carolina-based producer has tackled Jay-Z's American Gangster concept album on this latest mixtape. But this is far from his first remix of a popular rap album; he did the same with Nas's God Son and Jay-Z's The Black Album. He essentially takes the vocals off the songs from official releases and re-works the production to feature his own special blend of beats. This collection features several impressive remixes, including "Party Life," which he flipped over a Kool & the Gang sample, and "Fallin'."
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Young Scooter, Street Lottery
Riding off the success of his latest single, "Columbia," which many incorrectly attributed to labelmate Gucci Mane, Young Scooter has released a mixtape titled Street Lottery. The freebie features several guest artists, including southern rappers Bun B, Ca$h Out, Future, Travis Porter and Gucci Mane, in addition to singer Verse Simmonds and Chicago representer Chief Keef. The DJ Swamp Izzo and DJ Scream-hosted mixtape is guaranteed to contain more than a few club-ready singles and street bangers to hype even the mellowest of listeners.
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