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DAR Hip Hop: 8 Classic Mixtape Series


By @TrueGodImmortal


We have discussed mixtapes throughout the duration of this site before, but one aspect we seemed to miss was discussing the mixtape series that helped change the game. Artists over the years amassed followings through high powered mixtapes that brought them notoriety and acclaim. Today, I wanted to look back at a few of the classic mixtape series. We won't discuss every series in history, just 8 of the most legendary. Which mixtape series do we feature on this list? Let's take a look.

*Joe Budden- Mood Muzik Series 





-For all intents and purposes, many people have felt like Joe Budden is underrated and they are correct. For me, the most lyrically skilled and the most personal mixtape series ever is easily the hard hitting Mood Muzik series. There are very few people that do the type of music that Budden does on the same level, and if anything, Mood Muzik showcases why there is such a big gap between them all. The first edition was pretty good, but the second one really raised the bar and is one of the greatest mixtapes of all time. The third edition was solid all around, while the 4th edition was almost as good as the second one, spawning a true classic track "No Idea", which might be the greatest song on the entire project and maybe of Budden's career. Regardless, I always enjoyed the Mood Muzik series and there is no denying that this is a legendary mixtape series without a doubt.

*G-Unit- G-Unit Radio Series






-If we could look at every mixtape series that has ever existed, I think most people would agree that the G-Unit Radio series is probably the longest running series of them all. With 25 editions in the G-Unit Radio legacy, this series experienced a number of ups and downs despite being home to so many great rappers such as Mobb Deep, Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and 50 Cent. I have several favorite editions of this series, with Vol. 4 and 5 being some of the best, along with Vol. 6, Vol. 9, and Vol. 22 being at the top of my list as well. Whether it was a 50 Cent led tape, or a Young Buck led tape, or even a Ma$e led tape, most of the time G-Unit never disappointed and when the series came to an end with the 25th edition, it was effectively the end of an era. G-Unit was on top of the world ruling with an iron fist and simply put, there was no better example of their dominance than the G-Unit Radio series from a music standpoint, because a lot of their best music came through this series. A legendary G-Unit run would not have been complete with a mixtape series that changed the game somewhat and sure enough, G-Unit Radio was that series without a doubt.

*Meek Mill- Dreamchasers Series





-I am far from a Meek Mill fan, but it must be discussed that he has one of the most impactful mixtape series of this era. Meek rose to prominence through the mixtape circuit, signing to MMG and never looking back. While the first edition was popular and took him to prominence, it would be the second one that truly took him the next level. DC2 was a hit all through the neighborhood and people were huge fans of him, giving himself more star power for future concerts and releases. DC3 was decent, nothing special  but it had a lot of good music. DC4 was another solid round of music, as Meek would watch his popularity rise during the release of his first project. Whenever you think of Meek, you think Dreamchashers and that is what makes the mixtape series special. It was the breakthrough mixtape series that introduced the world to Meek on multiple levels and put his legacy on the right path.

*Young Jeezy- Trap Or Die Series




-Of course, the third part in this series was actually an album, but I count it as a mixtape for sale. Still, the first two projects from this series are both classic for two different reasons. The first Trap Or Die was excellent and featured nothing but street anthems with more of a down home Georgia trap feel to it, while Trap Or Die 2 was a mix of everything. Jeezy became even more of a MC on that tape, and he would craft some of his best work here. A lot of people slept on Trap Or Die 2, but I actually think overall it is a better project than the first one, but it just lacks the same classic aura about it. With all of the classic songs and anthems from this series, there was no way that I could leave it off the list.

*Gucci Mane- The Movie Series




-As a fan of Gucci, I will admit, his mixtape run is amazing. He has some of the best mixtapes from a certain era and this series was the one that really made me a regular fan. I actually had his first album Trap House, but I never took him seriously as an artist. As the years went by, I slowly began to appreciate his music and this series was the one that cemented him as an all time trap rap MC in my head. The first edition was solid all around, and then the sequel was also full of anthems for the car and the trap, but to me, it would be the third and final edition of the series that drove home how classic it was. Named The Burrprint (The Movie 3D), this mixtape was the tape that truly solidified Gucci in my mind as that dude in the streets on the music front. I'll be honest, the third edition has some of my favorite songs and my all time favorite Gucci track with the Zaytoven produced classic "Think I Want Her". Simply put, The Movie series is the most important mixtape series in the career of Gucci and I still go back and listen to some of those songs even now, almost 10 years later.

*Dipset- The Diplomats Series 






-So, Dipset has always been legendary in the game, but their legacy would begin with their excellent 5 part series of mixtapes that showcased why they are so revered. The first mixtape was the breakthrough for the movement, while the second solidified the Dips as unflinching and aggressive in beef, as Nas was the target on that tape. The third and fourth editions were solid as well, but for me, the 5th edition was my favorite. Through all of these mixtapes, you got to hear the best of Cam, Juelz, Jim, and even the other members of The Set like 40 Cal, J.R. Writer, and Hell Rell. All in all, this series paved the way for the street dominance that the Set would enjoy for the better part of 3 or 4 years. Without these mixtapes, there is no way to tell where the Dipset movement would have been. That's how important this series is to the Dipset legacy.

*Fabolous- The S.O.U.L. Tape Series 




-I have always believed that Fabolous had a lot of potential that he never reached on his albums. As an artist, he could deliver witty punchlines and some hits, but never a solid full length project. Even when he went to the mixtape circuit with There Is No Competition, it felt as if those tapes were still missing something. Enter The Soul Tape series. Armed with a ton of soulful instrumentals and original soul sample beats, Fab would deliver the best music of his career with three editions of his new series, where he seemed able to bring a side of himself as an artist that he hadn't truly shown on his mixtapes. For me, I am forever partial to the first edition, but I also like the second and third equally as well. If I had to pick the best edition, the original is still close to flawless, but the fact that all three are so close in quality speaks to how well put together this series was. Will we ever see consistency like this from Fab again? I doubt it, but regardless, The S.O.U.L. Tape series was one for the mixtape ages.

*Lil Wayne- Dedication Series





-I needed to find the perfect series to end this article on and of course, why not end it with this one. Wayne in his prime was something to be witnessed and perhaps there is no better example than this series. You could reference his Sorry For The Wait series but that lacks a classic tape, you could even argue that Da Drought series was a classic, but even with that, only one edition is revered by most as a classic. While Dedication hasn't been as consistent the last few editions, the first two are put classics and just the mention of Dedication next to Wayne's name inspires the excellent memories of how important and monstrous those first two editions are. While many look to Dedication 2 as the breakthrough Wayne moment, Dedication 1 is the moment right before it, when he is almost at the ceiling. Both editions are classics, but I'm partial to Dedication 2 slightly, but regardless, the first two Dedications are quite possibly the best back to back run of mixtapes ever, with the later editions struggling to find their footing. Dedication 3 was decent enough, Dedication 4 and 5 had a few moments, and Dedication 6 actually having some solid work on it as well between two separate parts. The Reloaded version of D6 was much better than the regular D6, but it does feature some of the most inspired work of Wayne's career in years.
 
-True

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