Occasionally, artists can use a mixtape as a springboard to major label stardom perfectly, establishing an aesthetic and persona that they're able to follow through and expand upon with proper albums. Think of the way Jeezy's Trap Or Die or Drake's So Far Gone became an instant calling card without overshadowing the albums that came later. But increasingly, it feels like the only artists whose albums aren't bested by their mixtapes are the small number of superstars who don't make mixtapes.

Maybach Music Group in particular has been afflicted with that pattern of late, with Meek Mill's debut album losing some of the luster of his DatPiff blockbuster Dreamchasers mixtapes, and Rick Ross's Rich Forever tape feeling like more of an event than its major label companion, God Forgives, I Don't. For artists who are already signed but still have to throw a mixtape out there before the album, it sometimes serves as an advertisement that's better than the product they're hoping to sell.