Favorite Rap Mixtapes of August 2019 From hip-hop’s “Sung Tongs” to a magical blend tape to something coughed up by the Matrix’s SoundCloud

Sometimes riding at night, Channel Tres punches off the headlights and rockets blind into the dark.

With a cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)

Bouncy castle introspection, a Memphis Matrix (Mem-trix?) miniature, Tik Tok auteurship, blend tape facials, outworld meditation, hip-house reimagined, an alternative Future, and an existential collector’s item. It’s all here in the August 2019 edition of Tiny Mix Tapes’s Favorite Rap Mixtapes column. Plus, you’re here too! I’m not here, though. I’m writing this in my underwear in a condominium on an undisclosed beachfront. Happy Labor Day weekend, y’all!


AM - self.

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In an era when “I just started rapping a year ago” is the buzzing artist’s humble brag, AM’s mic control not only stands apart, but also stands proudly as a shining example that taking the time to hone one’s craft pays off in earned confidence and an individual sound you just can’t get from YouTube #instrumentals. Day-one Akari inflates a bouncy castle of beats for AM to take off from, with more colors than a ball pit, keeping the seven-song self. sounding weightless and playful, even when the MC’s at his most introspective. Pardon the cliché, but really though, you have to wake up prett-ty early in the morning to come this correct.


Yvncc - PSEUDO

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PSEUDO is the latest in a near-monthly stream of miniature releases from SoundCloud enigma Yvncc (“yunk”), produced in its three-song entirety by DeliverTheCrush. Despite a compact, frantically-paced runtime of only five minutes, the tape is remarkably effective; Yvncc’s sound — adjacent but not overly faithful to the already-saturated Memphis revival, at times approaching something coughed up by the Matrix’s version of SoundCloud — is defined by short, sudden bursts, single-shot verses that might span a dozen flows and vocal effects before ending as suddenly as they start. Amidst the bottomless sea of rap’s quasi-anonymous online underground, Yvncc’s is a nearly singular style, one with enormous promise given the progress readily evident throughout the project’s past year and a half of uploads.


Tisakorean - Soapy Club

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Tisakorean is the first true auteur to emerge from Tik Tok’s dance rap scene, a wildly creative rapper/producer with a taste for cartoon sound effects, dadaist couplets, and a DIY ethos directly inspired by the early works of Soulja Boy and Lil B. Soapy Club comes quickly on the heels of March’s A Guide to Being A Partying Freshman — a manic throwback to jump rope rhymes and lunchroom freestyles that was sullied by its wafer-thin mixing, despite its abundance of energy. This time around, Tisa brings that creative drive to a studio setting and produces what I can only describe as hip-hop’s Sung Tongs. The Animal Collective comparison, which I don’t make lightly, is most evident on more melodic highlights like “Yoskau” and “Chilli Dogs.” The former track, which feints as a quirky cookout-themed crunk anthem, abruptly transitions into a glistening work of synth-pop psychedelia. “My heart just wants to know,” he daydreams. “You, me us…are we?” It’s an oasis of chillwave bliss amid primal chaos — for every foray into dream pop, there’s a visceral burst of catharsis like the growled “Beat Tub Up.” I’ll take both, please.


Mobile Kitchen Sound - Donut Shop Blend Tape 001 / Persian Pillows Blend Tape 002

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Done right, blend tapes’ stock-in-trade are those magic moments when two or more tracks line up so perfectly they seem made for one another. On a true mixmaster’s deck, the effect can be even more profound, such that the listener forgets about the source material altogether. The blend becomes the song, the remix the master recording. On Donut Shop and Persian Pillows, Mobile Kitchen Sound founder DJ Prince a.k.a. WiFiOG oscillates seamlessly between those states; eyebrow raising ah-ha’s give way to face-scrunching uhh’s and vice versa. The sets wrap quickly, so check out his new single with Napoleon Wright II while it’s in season.


Elucid - Every Egg I Cracked Today Was Double Yolked

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Nothing extraordinary ever really seems to happen. In some roundabout way, we wake up, go to work, fall asleep. We’d put the world to rights if we could just steal a little time back (of course, they’d rather kill us before ever allowing that to happen). Even deviating from the pattern can feel hopelessly mundane. I gave my brother a lift to the airport this evening. So what? It is here that Elucid and I differ. He folds slice-of-life observation into a heady admixture of musical fragments and non-diegetic sounds, eking out a worthiness in his own everyday. Hence, Every Egg I Cracked Today Was Double Yolked. It’s a meditative set — by the artist’s own admission — that plunges the depths of the ordinary and of those liminal spaces away from home (hotels, airports, etc.) without so much as a couple of verses in toto. This isn’t worldbuilding, per se, more a bricolage news dispatch, a cracked reflection of the way things already are. It’s easier to see things anew out on the other side.


Channel Tres - Black Moses

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It’s not your uncle’s hip-house! Imagine hip-hop was one thing, house was another thing, and acts like the Beatmasters and Jungle Brothers never existed to help “bridge the gap” between the genres; if that were the case, and Channel Tres’s Black Moses dropped today, someone out here would invent the term hip-house to describe it. Yet, those groups did exist, so today when we hear the phrase, we think of something that sounds completely different from this, despite the shared lineage. As Channel Tres’s Bandcamp aptly puts it of his previous effort, “It’s classic Detroit House, reimagined with the surly attitude of West Coast rap,” i.e., hip-house with deeper bass, a badder voice, and none of the baggage of that once-ubiquitous club genre. Also the ill JPEGMAFIA feature.


Casino - Different

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Move That Dope” feels like a lifetime ago, but still Casino remains. The intervening five years have been kind to the Freebandz CEO, due in no small part to the rise of his (actual) brother Future from underground stardom to mainstay ubiquity. Perhaps Casino has been taking notes; across Different, his voice and flow could easily be mistaken for Future himself, albeit retaining a sort of street-level edge that recalls the days of “Karate Chop” and DJ Drama drops. A frenetic percussion workout centered around a sped-up sample of the classic “White Tee” synth, “Hang With A Star” is the clear highlight, realizing Different’s full potential as the project an alt-universe, A&R-less Future might drop in 2019.


NAPPYNAPPA - Autonomous

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A popular comedian tells another popular comedian a joke of unknown origin wherein someone else tells a joke. The joke of unknown origin goes: a holocaust survivor grows old, dies, and goes to Heaven. There, he meets god and tells him a holocaust joke. God looks at the holocaust survivor and says, “That’s not funny.” The holocaust survivor says, “I guess you had to be there.” The popular comedians marvel at the “layers.” A loved one compares it to those chain emails old people pass along. What does any of this have to do with Autonomous? Not 100% sure, but something. Anyway, that shet can be yours for just $70. Get it.

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