8. Re-Up Gang, We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2 (2005)
After dropping a well-received debut album, the Clipse's career stalled when they became ensnared in label drama and their sophomore album, Hell Hath No Fury, was endlessly delayed. They picked up the slack by teaming up with Ab-Liva and Sandman, forming The Re-Up Gang, and releasing We Got It 4 Cheap. The first tape was pretty good, but the second was extraordinary.
Before having original production on your mixtapes became popular, We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 2 featured the Thornton brothers going ham over the absolute best beats of the day, including "Mic Check," "Hate It or Love It," and "The Corner," as well as classics like "Daytona 500" and "Drugs." You can hear many of the same thoughts and ideas in their lyrics that ended up on Clipse's eventual classic, Hell Hath No Fury.
The only reason this tape isn't higher on this list is because of the middling presence of Ab-Liva and Sandman. It's not that they were wack per se, they just never brought much excitement to the songs; their input was essentially filler before Pusha or Malice came on.
Clipse seemed acutely aware of this: Throughout the run of the series, Pusha and Malice never had back-to-back verses. Their 16s were always preceded and/or followed up by either Ab or Sandman. Sure, it inflated the songs but it was still a cheap price to pay. —Insanul Ahmed