The line between mixtape and album is steadily blurring. Classifying the mixtape now as something "we got for free" seems rude, and it also undermines the increased effort these projects receive. Furthermore, it is not just in the music that improvement is evident.

Mixtapes are becoming total packages.

2011, we're inclined to boldly proclaim, was the year mixtape cover art reached new creative heights. The themes were varied, and the artistic mediums utilized were impressive too. From illustration to photography, with a keen mix of typography thrown in, mixtapes in 2011 got slicker as the stakes grew higher. After all, 2 Chainz says he turned a mixtape to a mansion. Tough to do with MS Paint cover art.

We've ranked the 25 best mixtapes, now check The 10 Best Mixtape Covers of 2011.

Tags: best-of-2011, best-mixtapes, art, best-mixtape-covers
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