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DAR Hip Hop: 7 Classic Mixtapes From 2004 & 2005

By @TrueGodImmortal


2005 might be the best year ever for mixtapes. In some ways, it is my favorite year of hip hop, at least in terms of the 2000s. It was the best overall year for quality hip hop music and everything in between during the decade, at least from my view. While Kanye released what I think is his best album, Game made a huge debut, and 50 dropped what I think is his most underrated album, on the mixtape circuit, things were buzzing and artists were delivering on a higher level. 2004 was almost equally impressive in a way mixtape wise and should also be touted for some of the releases they gave us. Let's take a look at 7 of the best mixtapes to be released in 2004 and 2005. 

*Lil Wayne and DJ Drama- Dedication


-Of course, this is how you start it off. Wayne was on the rise. The first album in the Carter series was platinum and Wayne was refreshed as an artist. How do you follow up some small momentum? By releasing a mixtape that would garner all the attention in the world from the right people. Standing next to DJ Drama and doing a Gangsta Grillz solidified the run Wayne was starting and he would be at the top of his game with this one. While the second Dedication was my favorite and the best, this first one was some of his best work up until that point. Wayne was more comfortable as a MC and dominated every beat he rapped on here. Dedication was like the arrival of the next era of Wayne and he didn't look back once he took off.

*Chamillionaire- The Mixtape Messiah


-So, Texas was having quite the year in 2005 right? Well, the year prior, Chamillionaire put his stamp on the hip hop game with this amazing mixtape and in a way, he helped to jumpstart the success the state was about to experience. Chamillionaire was a solid lyricist, perhaps the most talented of the bunch for the Texas rappers and his three disc mixtape is regarded as one of the best mixtapes from the south and rightfully so. With 61 tracks, this mixtape disses Mike Jones and company, showcases the Color Changin' Click, and allows Cham to put the game on notice that his time had arrived.

*Jadakiss- The Champ Is Here


-When Jada was in his prime, he was unstoppable on the mixtape circuit. There was no better example than this tape, which was better than the album that Jada released in 2004 as well. Jada shines here on this tape that was a big moment as a solo artist with some great tracks like the title track, which was a moderate hit, as well "Get Money" and "Games People Play". Simply put, Jada earned more goodwill with fans by appeasing the streets with this tape while going for the mainstream love on the Kiss Of Death album. It was a strategy that paid off somewhat well for him.

*Joe Budden- Mood Muzik 2: Can It Get Any Worse


-So, Budden is not a rapper anymore. However, rapping is what he was best at. Sure, his podcast and hosting shit is fun to an extent, but when it came to music and personal music at that, there were few that could be as good as Budden. The first Mood Muzik debuted in 2004 and was solid, showcasing a depressed Budden dealing with label nonsense as he tried to prepare his second album The Growth that never released. By the time 2005 was here, things looked bleak musically for Joe and perhaps personally they weren't much better, which led to this excellent mixtape that was one of the best pieces of music on the year. The lyrics, the beat selection, the pain and aggression in his voice all lined up to make Mood Muzik 2 the best edition of the series by far.

*Young Jeezy and DJ Drama- Trap Or Die


-So, we have to discuss how Jeezy came about briefly. At one point, he had an entirely different name and his image wasn't exactly the same. He had braids as well. When the Jeezy persona came along, it really took on a life of its own, and the Snowman would be born instantly. On this tape, we would see him claim rap stardom, earning his way to a succesful career. He has a ton of highlights on this tape such as "Street Niggaz", "Do Da Damn Thang", and many more. Trap or Die is the breakthrough in his career and he hasn't looked back since.

*T.I. and P$C- Down With The King


-So, pretty much, when there was an issue between T.I. and Lil Flip, the beef would translate over into a huge dispute that pretty much ended on this project. Simply put, T.I. took the beef convincingly via this tape and though I feel like he overdid it considering there is no proof of anything he was mad at Flip about, he does a great job of dismantling Flip's character and his image. This mixtape is a pivotal moment in the career of T.I. and it could have been the moment to break P$C through, but it wasn't. They still showed up and did what they do on this tape regardless. The highlights vary, but having Scarface involved was like a death blow in the beef for Flip and he makes an appearance on the tape in a conversation. Flawless victory for Tip.

*Clipse- We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2


-Of all the tapes, this one might be the most exciting. Clipse were on the rise again and while the first edition is a classic itself, the second was top shelf material. The Re-Up Gang was a moment in hip hop and they always delivered amazing bars and while their success should have shown on a mainstream level, they did managed to entice the growing internet crowd and the streets alike with this epic mixtape series that reached the peak with the second volume. All of the artists here shined lyrically but Pusha was the standout to me as his lyrical output here is some of the best he's ever had. All in all, 2004 and 2005 were epic years for hip hop mixtapes, with 2005 being quite possibly the best and most consistent year of them all.

-True

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