Favorite Mixtapes of March 2016 From Lil Yachty and Young Thug to Kamaiyah and Denzel Curry

Where's Lil Yachty?

Azealia Banks - Slay-Z

Who is this Azealia Banks? Never heard of her and have no idea what sort of social media personality she has. From this incredible new mixtape she’s released, though, I have to imagine she is a super fun, loving human being that is willing to put in hard work in order to produce expert-level art. Few could cop such a clear early-90s club-rap feel and not have it just come across as a genre exercise. There is just enough edge and comfort with profanity that this is obviously new, yet somehow without undermining the necessary naivety of the source material. Uplifting doesn’t work if it’s insincere. And this works. So Banks must be a truly uplifting individual IRL.

Oddisee - Alwasta

If Public Enemy claimed to be the Black CNN, then I suppose that makes Oddisee rap’s Mother Jones, meaning that his thoughtful and humanist music is sometimes almost too earnest to swallow. Recorded in one week, Alwasta — Oddisee’s follow-up to 2015’s The Good Fight — has a bracing nowness to it that’s been lacking in his music for some time, though he still lapses into conscious rap tropes from time to time. Even if he has too much sense to namedrop Donald Trump on this EP, it’s hard not to think of the know-nothing candidate’s rhetoric whenever Oddisee’s rapping against xenophobia at a righteous pitch. And while the PG county rapper might be too PC for many, what Oddisee lacks in offense, he more than compensates with much-needed sincerity and non-partisan moral certitude.

Steff Marvin - Somewhere Further Than Here

Steff Marvin is the master of his own rebirth. The artist behind last year’s jazzy throwback to boom-bap Legends Never Die would have once (not so long ago, even) fit in on the set of Dope, stylistically and lyrically catering to the kids, kidults, and veterans alike while still maintaining a personal freshness. These days, Marvin seems less interested in chilling with his college friends and more into getting guap and laying down stupid-catchy hooks about some of that P.M.W. Somewhere Further Than Here will have a song to fit every regional rap radio station’s taste, and in this sense, Marvin is sacrificing a naïver person to the gods of the mainstream. Will it work? Almost certainly — tracks like “Juice,” “Pray,” and “Change Up” beg to fill in the dead space at parties, on late-night drives, and in between moans when your roommate is back in 45 minutes and you’re tryna catch a body, so to speak. More than anything, Marvin is a deft producer and deserves recognition for engineering this project all on his own. One to watch for sure.

Elucid - Osage

Rick got a job. Sam ain’t fired. Ritch blew out the bass. Daniel threw up wearhouse smoke. Ken’s spot in Harlem is poppin’ off. Miles the most generous ked on Earth rn. L.A. Miles flies with me in my dreams. Maude a hot tub in heaven. Savannah the only thought. Marvin beckons second consciousness. Moms be melon farmin’ hard. BK Russ on that tease-game. …….E L U C I D’s 16-minute mixtape Osage gives me hope. Sam on the mixtape proper, so I not tryna bowl another 300 on fam. But Osage to me is rolling up to Taco Bell and telling ‘em to provide infiniti fuego packets. No order. Just love. This ain’t a stickup. Only a pal with pals being pals in a world where pals level up b/c. An’ I wants mine. BLUETOOTH ON: REPEAT. Ridin’round is all. Sauce.

Sasha Go Hard - The Realest I Know

Chicago’s Sasha Go Hard has stayed drilling since the scene blew up back in 2012, her flow as piercing as a clarion call. The Realest I Know is a focused, formal collection of drill bangers, tonally consistent compared to the genre-play of contemporary (and one-time collaborator) Katie Got Bandz. Save for a few turns (including a late show-stopping verse from Dreezy on “Set It Off”), the mixtape hinges on the practiced balance of Sasha’s voice. Amidst the din, Sasha makes room for a bop-infused companion to “Dear Nicki,” the heartening “Dear Yaniahl.” Later she sings, “I got family that need me/ Family I gotta feed/ Family that wanna see me win.” From its banging opener to the weaving hook of standout “Call The Cops,” The Realest I Know is a win.

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