#Bestof2013 – Top 10 Free Albums [List]

Posted on December 30, 2013 by

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In order not to hurt anyone’s feelings by calling their “street album” a “mixtape” or anything like that, we rank our favorite projects that were given away for free and those that we were supposed to pay for.  Free music has become a staple of the hip hop game.  It is up to you HOW you give away your free music but save a select few, everyone is doing it somehow.  Whether it is good or bad for the game, is a little tougher to tell. Either way we are thankful that so many artists deliver such quality music at a cost to themselves.  This is the most common release and narrowing it down to 25, let alone 10, is pretty unrealistic so any free projects that you think we missed should be mentioned in the comments below.  Before we get to the top 10, we have to highlight Gee Watt’s Watt’s Up, Lloyd Bank’s FNO, Logic’s Young Sinatra and Flatbush ZOMBIES’ BetterOffDEAD.

 10. Vince Staples & Larry Fisherman – Stolen Youth

Mac Miller flexes his producer chops under the Larry Fisherman alias while Vince Staples (who murdered every verse this year and outshined Earl Sweatshirt, Mac, Boldy James, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul & ScHoolboy Q on a number of tracks) did his thing too.

 

9. Iamsu! – Kilt 2 Iamsu! – Gang Forever

Hard to choose which HBK project this year was my favorite so I threw Imasu!’s solo effort and a group compilation.  These guys are leading the way for the Bay Area and will play a role in a resurgence of California artists led along with TDE, Problem and more.

 

8. Dizzy Wright – The Golden Age

Funk Volume had a great year with new releases from all of the major artists.  Dizzy Wright’s honest, down to earth approach makes his music the most relatable and listenable.  Jarren Benton & Hopsin are both obviously talented but lose any listeners who can’t handle the intensity or graphic imagery.  Dizzy’s Golden Age can be played any time of day and strike a few chords.

 

7. Rapsody – She Got Game

Although a “Gangsta Grillz” tag doesn’t mean too much anymore, Rapsody’s She Got Game is an hour of smooth soul beats and bars bars bars.  Finding some chemistry with artists like Chance the Rapper, Wale & Common brings out the best in Rap and the project as a whole.

 

6. Curren$y – New Jet City

Curren$y releases so much good music on a consistent basis that is easy for any given project to get forgotten, even when it is really good.  I think that was the case with New Jet City that functioned as a complete album of 17 new tracks with production from King Thelonious, Lex Luger, DJ Toomp, Statik Selektah, Cardo & more providing the musical backdrop while  Styles P, Juicy J, Young Roddy, Wiz Khalifa & Rick Ross tag along for the ride.  There are some cuts on here that will 100% be getting play 5 years from now.

 

5. Harry Fraud – Adrift

If you saw the Top 10 EP list a couple days ago, then you know how good Harry Fraud’s music has been.  He is the only producer to have a compilation on our Top 10 free project list. “Mean” with Bronson & French is the mother#$%in cut!

 

4. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels

If there were any doubters that El-P and Killer Mike made great music together, after El-P produced Mike’s Rap Music, they are now either converts or deaf from listening to Run the Jewels.   This shit is chaos on wax.  Left field, rampant beats with a war-like energy and intensity.

 

3. Nipsey Hussle – Crenshaw

Years in the making but worth the wait, Nipsey absolutely killed this tape from front to back.  Nipsey delivered for his fans with a great project and a special opportunity to meet him, show your support and cut out some of the middlemen.  Some may think that Nipsey should have achieved more at this point in his career but 2013 was his best year in a while and things are looking up moving forward.

 

2. Action Bronson & Party Supplies – Blue Chips 2

I love the way Party Supplies pushes Action Bronson and challenges him with creative, borderline ridiculous, sample choices.  It brings out another side of Bronson who is less inhibited and more willing to take risks himself.  Not missing from this tape is Bronson’s standard wit, sense of humor nor the obscure sports/pop culture references.  To some, the Blue Chips series is Bronson at his best.  And it might be.

 

1. Chance the Rapper – Acid Raps

The most hyped project on the Internet in 2013 was also the best.  I understand if Chance’s voice is off putting, it took me forever to get over Wayne’s high-pitched flow as well, but Chance’s music is new, refreshing and has a great sound.  His diverse influences bring in fans from all over the music spectrum and his stories provide another interesting perspective to Chicago, one of the News’ most talked about cities.  There is so much hype surrounding Chance right now that some people will immediately write him off as overrated, while others will prematurely label him this generation of hip hop’s greatest artist.  Neither snap judgment is fair because Chance is still young and finding himself but he is off to a great start.