The best mixtapes and EPs out right now by hip-hop/R&B's youngest and most exciting...
THANK YOU, MR. TOKYO
Atlanta rapper MadeinTYO scored a hit this year with his track Uber Everywhere and while that's still spreading to parts of the globe, last week he dropped a mixtape THANK YOU, MR. TOKYO. The whole thing is produced by K. Swisha who produced Uber Everywhere apart from two tracks handled by Richie Souf. It's a charismatic mixtape full of melodic flows that could transform at least a handful of these songs into radio hits. Big things happening for this dude this year.
NYC singer midnight released his aptly titled EP 0:00 EP last month and it's a pretty damn special set of songs. As you would imagine, it's a late night affair giving us silky vocals and haunting, sparse beats. From the detouring, experimental swells of opener Marauder to the laid-back soulful vibes of Native America, 0:00 throws us a number of dimensions but each slot together perfectly. The Internet feature on the last track too.
Prince Of July
We're always on the look out for rappers that have the chops to take it further than simply being an online cult figure and Philadelphian rapper Tunji Ige is exactly that. His latest mixtape Prince Of July released for his 21st birthday is a colourful, rhythmic set of songs each as impressive as the next. The tape is centred around Pounds (Naira, Dollar) the DJ Mustard cross dancehall cut that has the goods to be a worldwide hit. Stick around for his slick freestyle over JT's Summer Love too.
Unlike all the aforementioned CKtrl isn't a rapper or singer, he's a producer from South London making mellow, jazz-infused beats and picking vocalists that deliver strong, soulful vocals. He's released an EP and a handful of singles but INDI is his first mixtape. The beats are unmistakeably electronic but the vocalists like Roses Gabor and Elle pull it into the R&B world as if an innovative electronic producer got a hold of Janet Jackson.
Out of all the mixtapes on the list, this one by Chance The Rapper-affiliated artist Noname has grabbed the most critical acclaim. Telefone is a beautifully textured, organic opus that Noname leads with composure and intelligence. She's joined by an impressive guest list that includes Raury, Eryn Allen Kane and Saba. If there's a project to compare it to it's The Social Experiment's Surf but ultimately it stands along as an innovative, forward-thinking classic.
Lil Uzi Vert
The Perfect Luv
Lil Uzi Vert is part of XXL's 2016 Freshman Class and he's released two excellent projects this year so he's not exactly a well kept secret but we needed an excuse to gush about his latest The Perfect Luv. Lil Uzi Vert finds a comfortable middle ground between Future and Lil Yachty on this tape. He's ferocious and melodic over Zaytoven beats but he's more likely to appeal to both fans and foes of the aforementioned artists. It fires on all four cylinders from start to finish but it's the Metro Boomin-produced Ronda (Winners) that stands out with its tropical, triumphant aesthetic.
Summer Camp is the debut project by Chicago's themind but you wouldn't be able to tell because it's got the confidence of a Thundercat project with the innovative production of Kanye's more whack outputs. It's soulful and melodic but he doesn't rely on that to get him through choosing to surround his voice with textured, busy beats that range from the ferocious (Pale Rose) to the moveable (Purple Fox Fur). He's got plenty of mates around him on the project too with Donnie Trumpet, Noname and Towkio all making appearances.