Despite album sales continuing to head the way of the dodo, 2010 is quietly shaping up to be a banner year for hip-hop. And though rap isn't something you often hear emanating from Mister Saturday Night's speaker stacks, we're still paying attention.
Thanks to the ever-growing community of internet rap nerds, unconventional MCs have been empowered like never before to bypass the major labels and direct their latest head-nodders straight to the people. We've rounded up a handful of our favorite Web-only mixtapes from the year so far, for your downloading pleasure.
Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa No Filla [Download via XXL]
Red-hot Indiana rapper is the poster boy for idiotic label drama. After being dropped from Interscope, Gibbs has released a steady stream of music to the Web and promptly blown up.
Wale – More About Nothing [Download via 2dopeboyz]
This is the goofy DC rapper’s second Seinfeld homage in mixtape form.
Dead Prez – Revolutionary But Gangsta Grillz [Download]
An unlikely comeback for the politically minded duo, courtesy of DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz series. It’s slightly disconcerting to hear Drama’s adlibs on this mixtape, which forego the usual boasts for shouts of “Free Mumia!”
Pac Div – Don’t Mention It [Download]
Futuristic G-funk breathes new life into the West Coast rap scene. Clever party music made expressly for driving in convertibles.
K-OS – The Anchorman Mixtape [Download]
It’s unclear what Ron Burgundy has to do with this collection of intelligent indie rap, R&B and dance hall, although the overall effect is like half an hour in Pleasure Town.