2. Cousin Stizz - MONDA
Today saw the release of MONDA, Boston rapper Cousin Stizz's sophomore mixtape and yet another strong chapter in an already compelling story. Distractions and dangers linger at every corner, but ambition outranks madness, hope overpowers loss. Stizz once again proves himself to be a charismatic vocalist, one who captures his reality and shares it with the world.
Listen to MONDA below.
4. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie - Artist
It's becoming increasingly clear that Bronx rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie is up next from NY. He's already getting played on Hot 97, and the New York audiences showing up to his performances know every word. One listen to his mixtape Artist makes it easy to hear why. While far from the traditional sound of New York rap, he's got irresistible hooks and melodic, catchy flows. "My Shit" is already our shit, and it's a safe bet that he'll have some major hits in the near future.
6. Kamaiyah - A Good Night In The Ghetto
Kamaiyah's A Good Night in the Ghetto isn't just a good mixtape, it's one of the best projects of the year so far. It dropped back in March, but this is summer music. Kamaiyah is from Oakland, and the West Coast vibes are strong here, with upbeat production that feels a little retro and a celebratory tone perfect for days in the sun.
10. Adamn Killa – Back 2 Ballin
Chicago rapper Adamn Killa caught his big break this year, opening for Yung Lean during his Warlord world tour. Following the release of his Back 2 Ballin mixtape, it was easy to see why Leandoer brought him along. Accompanied by a number of talented producers, including the incredible Blank Body, Back 2 Ballin is the best showcase so far of his captivating, hypnotic flow. Few rappers can get away with saying their name so much, but Adamn really, really knows how to make sure people remember his name.
12. Kodak Black - Little B.I.G. Pac
Kodak Black's distinctive Southern drawl is becoming one of the most recognizable voices in hip-hop. His takeover is being stifled due to jail time, but this 19-year-old has all the makings of a future star—a great voice, a young perspective, and so much charisma. On Little B.I.G. Pac, he also shows a more reflective, introspective side, hinting that there's more to Kodak Black than his early hits revealed.
14. Tunji Ige - Prince of July
Tunji Ige has been on a serious hot streak. Part of that has to do with the kind of music he makes—it's not obnoxiously in-your-face catchy, but his hooks and verses are growers, so months after you hear a song for the first time, you'll find yourself completely addicted to it. Before we could even get over songs like "Bring Yo Friends" and "On My Grind," Tunji went ahead and dropped the Prince of July tape. He's got summer on lock.
16. DJ Esco & Future - Project E.T. Esco Terrestrial
Future appears on all but four of this tape's tracks, and he's often joined by some of rap's heavy hitters: Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, Drake, and 2 Chainz turn in solid verses, while DJ Mustard, Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, and Southside supplement DJ Esco's production with beats of their own.
High notes abound, but our favorites include "Who" and the star-studded "Check On Me." For this feature, however, the wild card favorite has to be Casey Veggies and Nef the Pharaoh's "Stupidly Crazy." DJ Mustard's elastic beat is made for the summer sun.
18. Bricc Baby - Nasty Dealer 2
Los Angeles-based rapper Bricc Baby returned with the second installment of his Nasty Dealer series this July, and he brought some heavy hitters with him. Bricc Baby spits about street life in his own slurred, effected vocals, while Gucci Mane, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign, Chris Brown, and more come along for the ride. The production choices are also interesting, ranging from known rap producers like DJ Mustard and Dun Deal to more experimental choices like The Code and Brodinski.
The whole tape is cohesive, but "Remix'n a Bricc" is definitely a standout.
20. Fetty Wap & PnB Rock - "Money, Hoes, and Flows
22. Post Malone - August 26
If there were any lingering concerns about Post Malone's musical abilities after "White Iverson," August 26 put them to rest. The tape is strong from start to finish, and Post brought out the best in his collaborators—2 Chainz is a menace on "Money Made Me Do It," Jeremih elevates on "Fuck," and we haven't even talked about Lil Yachty or Jaden Smith yet. Or that Fleetwood Mac cover!
Who knows what Post will do next—on August 26, he demonstrates an artistic flexibility that few others can claim, and makes it clear that no matter what his musical future holds, the quality will stay up.
24. Khary - Intern Aquarium
Last year, Rhode Island rapper Khary started exploring the topic of growing up and facing reality in your early 20 years on his Swim Team EP. This year, in May, he continued the journey on his new mixtape intern aquarium. The collection spans 11 tracks that capture the reality—in both a humorous and introspective way—of Khary’s life. The result is a project that’s equal parts relatable, enjoyable, and impressive.
Khary is performing at No Ceilings New York on July 22. More info and tickets here.