The Top 30 Mixtapes of the Decade

There are an infinite amount of ways to go about approaching a ranking-specific-things list. Whether you’re determining what’s the most valuable, influential, most meaningful, or just the best in general; it doesn’t really make too much of a difference.

We at Burbs recognize that, and decided that we would go about creating our Top 30 Mixtapes of the Decade list in a completely subjective manner by discussing it as a group (Carter Ferryman, Evan Linden, Howie Butler, Marty Gross, and Ralphy Compiano) in order to provide a variety of opinions from people who have had different experiences over the last 10 years.

Trigger Warning: Don't be upset if your favorite mixtape or artist didn't make our list. It's okay. You are more than welcome to make your own list, but this is ours, and it is the only one that matters. We hope that we can provide you with some music that is both enlightening and inspiring if you haven't heard it before, while also reminding you of how overwhelmingly amazing this decade of music was.

Last, but certainly not least: Thank you for reading, and enjoy.

30. Jeffery by Young Thug

Release Date: August 26, 2016

Just minutes in Jeffery, you quickly realize that not a whole lot has changed - and that's alright.

In fact, it's pretty amazing how Young Thug maintains a relatively consistent, successful sound across his entire discography, and yet, Jeffery feels as polished and carefree as anything Thugger has released. "Wycleaf Jean" and "Floyd Mayweather" are shining examples of Thug's unavoidably addictive cadence, among other tracks whose names pay homage to legends in their respective fields.

Thug sticks to his strongest producers here as well, enlisting Wheezy, TM88 and Supah Mario (among others) for a collection of fluid records. Don't think I forgot about "Pick Up the Phone" either - while it's a bonus track, it's undoubtedly one of Thug's greatest songs; a culmination of everything that makes him special on one track with his best partner in crime, Travis Scott.

- Written by Carter Ferryman

29. 56 Nights by Future

Release Date: March 21, 2015

56 Nights was a meaningful piece of Future’s tear through 2015/2016 that included tapes such as Monster, DS2, Beast Mode, and Purple Reign. The origin of the title follows the story of Future’s DJ, Esco, getting imprisoned in Dubai when going to see the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Production on this is handled almost entirely by Southside of 808 Mafia, aside from one track produced by Tarentino. He deserves a special shoutout for producing the song “March Madness” that is just as much one of the coolest Future moments as Esco is “the coolest DJ in the world.” Not much is really different here for Future; his trap beats are still banging, his lyrics are still drugged out, and his flexes are still priceless. 56 Nights discusses the problems that come with women, excessive drugs, and how to prioritize them with fame. Much like other DJ Esco and Future collaborations, this tape in particular is sensational!

- Written by Howie Butler

28. 28 Grams by Wiz Khalifa

Release Date: May 25, 2014

Dubbed as “Trap Wiz” and hosted by DJ Drama, 28 Grams marked Wiz’s first full-length deviation from his usual brand of stoner rap.

Of course the tape was still mostly about weed, but the approach was far different than usual. Linking up with producers such as Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, Zaytoven, Southside, and DJ Mustard, Wiz fully embraced the trap sonics that he had never fully indulged in. He showed glimpses of trap on hits like “On My Level”, but 28 Grams was the first time he fully dedicated himself to it. He also remixed a handful of hits from the time - “Man of the Year” by ScHoolboy Q, “Cut Her Off” by K Camp, and “OG Bobby Johnson” by Que.

- Written by Evan Linden

27. Wrath of Caine by Pusha T

Release Date: January 28, 2013

More excellent Coke Raps from the Robb Report of the snort, the Kim Jong of the crack song, the Hines Ward of the crime lords, the Gil Scott Heron of the Black Poem, and lastly the Jack Frost of selling that blast off.

Wrath of Caine was released in the promotion building up to Pusha T's debut album My Name Is My Name. It's raw and hard-hitting like most of King Push's discography. It's not necessarily comparable to Daytona or My Name Is My Name, it's a mixtape, but it's a damn good mixtape. “Blocka” featuring Travis Scott and Popcaan is the banger that will take you back to the good old Cruel Summer days when La Flame was still heavily affiliated with G.O.O.D Music. “Millions“ with Rick Ross is pure energy, as it talks about dope boys and stash spots and the production on it goes crazy too; with Kanye West, Southside, TM88, and Mike Dean all working on it. Troy Ave has an amazing hook on the track “Road Runner”. My personal favorite track, “Only You Can Tell It”, has Push trading verses with Wale, another rap veteran from the DMV.

"Best n**** to make hits and run base since A-Rod "

- Pusha T, “Only You Can Tell It”

- Written by Howie Butler

26. Lil Boat by Lil Yachty

Release Date: March 9, 2016

This is easily Lil Yachty’s best project and it's not all that close. It’s thematic, unique, and delightful. Boat’s duality of man is expressed in an astonishing way going back and forth between the alter ego’s of “Lil Boat” and “Lil Yachty”.  Lil Yachty is a hard, intense rapper who uses no autotune and just spits bar after bar. Lil Boat is a joyful rapper who uses heavy auto tuned but sings his heart out while having fun in the process. These themes are displayed heavily throughout the album. This album is poppy, synth heavy, and annoyingly happy (listen to the mixtape and you know exactly what I’m talking about). As “Minnesota” and “One Night” are the most popular, this album is filled with underrated classics like “Interlude”, “Fucked Over” and “Wanna Be Us”. This project is slapper after slapper and never fails to put you in a great mood.

- Written by Marty Gross

25. The Waters by Mick Jenkins

Release Date: August 12, 2014

As a wise man once said, “Drink more water.”

I’m sure many people have said that, but Mick Jenkins is the wise guy I’m referring to. In summer 2014, Mick Jenkins released his game-changing concept mixtape and hydrated the rap game, figuratively and literally.

As you probably could’ve guessed, Mick Jenkins loves water. The Water[s], at 15 tracks, is a poetic journey that explores the symbolism of “water” in our world. The mixtape is laden with inventive, spoken word-like bars and carried by otherworldly production from contributors such as Statik Selektah and Kirk Knight. Standout tracks “Jazz” and “Martyrs” became some of 2014’s biggest underground hits, while nearly every other track on the tape was embraced by his local cult following. Next to landmarks like Acid Rap and Innanetape, The Water[s] will go down as one of the most phenomenal Chicago hip-hop projects of the decade.

For a track-by-track walkthrough and review of The Water[s], check out the Hidden Gem piece I wrote for it.

- Written by Evan Linden

24. Owl Pharaoh by Travis Scott

Release Date: May 21, 2013

Before the music world was introduced to the earth-shattering Rodeo series, there was the cryptically named Owl Pharoah - Travis Scott's first commercial release.

Owl Pharoah is raw and bold, each and every track takes production risks that reflect many of the sharp, industrial sounds of Yeezus - an album that young Travis played a large part in, specifically the drums on many of the project's cuts. This assistance to Kanye West gave Travis a foot in the door, culminating the resources and skills he had at his fingertips to bring to life his debut project.

Is Owl Pharoah Travis Scott's best project? Most everyone would agree that, no, it isn't, but Scott's debut project did something far more valuable than the music: it introduced the world to a budding chart-topper, one of the game’s most brilliant artists.

- Written by Carter Ferryman

23. 10 Day by Chance the Rapper

Release Date: April 3, 2012


If it weren’t for that ten-day suspension Chancellor Bennett’s senior year of high school, we would’ve never received 10 Day.

If it weren’t for 10 Day, Chicago hip-hop would have never evolved to its next level. Chance’s first commercial mixtape was one of the pioneering projects behind the city’s rap renaissance that boomed throughout the 2010s.

10 Day is a display of natural talent and charisma in action, showcasing a young and poetic Chano at his hungriest. From the opening track “14,400 Minutes” (the equivalent of 10 days), Chance proves his knack for lyricism as well as his ability to flow uniquely yet cohesively. Nearly every track tells a story, reeling the listener into Chance’s personal life. Tracks such as “Prom Night” and “Nostalgia” are examples of near flawless storytelling, while tracks such as “22 Offs” and “Brain Cells” are examples of impeccable wordplay.

From start to finish, 10 Day is a true Chicago vanguard.

- Written by Evan Linden

22. Stolen Youth LP by Vince Staples & Larry Fisherman

Release Date: June 20, 2013

Stolen Youth LP is my personal favorite Vince project, and here’s why. Two words.

Larry. Fisherman.

If you are unaware of Mr. Fisherman, that's a shame. Larry is the producer alter-ego of Mac Miller and boy HE IS TALENTED! The chemistry that these two share is striking from the start. Mac is wonderful with dark, subdued production; and Vince Staples compliments it perfectly with his nightmare-ish rapping. He tells tales of hardships faced in the hoods.

Mac Miller also provides two verses alongside other features from Joey Fatts, Hardo, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Da$H. "Intro" captures attention perfectly and previews the eerie sounds of Stolen Youth. Vince talks about the difficulty of leaving the streets on tracks like "Stuck In My Ways" and the Groovy Q assisted gem "Back Sellin' Crack." Other standout songs are "Thought About You," "Guns & Roses," and "Heaven." The best song however is the Outro, which opens up with the bar:

"I'm here to tell the world I'm from Ramona park

Diving in the deep water like I know the sharks

Climbing in the king's daughter I deserved the crown

They weren't fucking with ya boy, but they heard me now."

It's confident, brief, and feels like a great switch up to a more upbeat sound.

Stolen Youth LP. Vince Staples and Mac Miller. Do you need more reason to listen? I didn't think so.

- Written by Howie Butler

21. EARL by Earl Sweatshirt

Release Date: March 31, 2010

Out of all the mixtapes, Earl was the youngest to have an entry on this list. Earl Sweatshirt was 16 years of age when he dropped this project and Tyler the Creator even gave this album so much praise claiming that it was better than Nas’s critically acclaimed project Illmatic. I can’t fully say that it is better than that, but it is raw. This is the first ever project that Earl Sweatshirt ever created and you can see the organic potential that Earl has. It is nasty and crude yet beautiful. The instrumentals are mixed quite perfectly but they don’t need to be. I think it makes it more grimy and accomplishes the goal that this album is going towards. Bastard and Earl are, in my opinion, easily the best Odd Future projects and express the upbringing of these crazy teenagers in sick fashion.

- Written by Marty Gross

20. Lil Uzi Vert vs. The World by Lil Uzi Vert

Release Date: April 15, 2016

9 songs. 9 classics.  This album is the epitome of summer '16 and was played all across America during that beautiful, youthful summer. At 22 years old, he dropped the mixtape that is associated with the most heat season. Literally every song is well produced, executed extremely well, and has banger after banger. As Luv is Rage is also a beautiful mixtape, this mixtape made Uzi who he is today. There are few mixtapes that can energize a fanbase more than this album did. Everyone who listened to this tape fell in luv (ha see what I did there) and wanted more. And if you don’t like the mixtape itself, look at the beauty of the cover art alone! At least you can find something in that.

- Written by Marty Gross

19. Macadelic by Mac Miller

Release Date: March 23, 2012

At the time of release, Macadelic wasn’t truly appreciated commercially or critically. Like many of Mac’s early mixtapes and albums, Macadelic is viewed as a stepping stone in the artistic evolution of Mac Miller. The tape provided its highs and lows, we got upbeat, party tracks like “Lucky Ass Bitch” with Juicy J, and “Loud,” the latter surpassing Donald Trump for his best one at the time. He also spins misadventurous tales of drug usage in “Vitamins” and “The Mourning After” giving off an unfortunate or uncomfortable mood.

Another polarizing aspect of Macadelic was Mac’s attempt to level up his lyrics. Though he’s nowhere near the lyricist we celebrate him as now, he shifted his sound attempting to give listeners more thought-provoking and introspective rhymes, especially on tracks like “1 Threw 8,” “Clarity” and “Thoughts From A Balcony.” With his great success on later projects, we have seen what he is truly capable and have come to appreciate Macadelic’s lyricism as a landmark in the maturation of one of the decade’s biggest rappers.

This project also had a pretty impressive list of features. Mac was able to flex co-signs from Lil Wayne (“The Question”), Joey Badass (“America”), and Kendrick Lamar (“Fight The Feeling”); proving that many of the rap game’s finest saw something special in him early. The track “Diablo” from Mac’s future mixtape, Faces (keep reading, it’s outstanding) came second to what I believe as the spiritual successor “Desperado.” Overall, Macadelic was the meeting of the party Mac, psychedelic Mac, and profound Mac. It might not be his overall best work, but it is an extremely valuable step in the progression of the most dope, Mac Miller.

- Written by Howie Butler

18. Kush & OJ by Wiz Khalifa

Release Date: April 14, 2010

God damn. It's 8 AM. I’m hungover. How can I end my suffering? Advil? Water? Sunglasses? Nah, I know the recipe. Kush and orange juice. Literally and musically. I can not think of a better musical expression that symbolizes a better wake and bake session than this project. There are a few skits sprinkled in that feel like you are just listening to the morning radio while blasted off your ass. This mixtape just makes you feel relaxed and really is the groundwork of Wiz Khalifa’s style. The utilization of the carribean cowbell, sharp bass boosts, and stoner samples are just the start of stoner culture and at the time, it really gave us a new outlook on rap music.

- Written by Marty Gross

17. Purple Reign by Future

Release Date: January 17, 2016

On one of his most slept-on projects, Future etched himself as a trap maestro who can make you tear up just as easily as he can make you turn up.