Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill dropped his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape on Dat Piff last Monday and it temporarily shut the whole fucking website down. It’s since been downloaded on Dat Piff 2.5 million times, which doesn't include the number of times it's been downloaded on LiveMixTapes, which was also temporarily shut the fuck down when Dreamchasers 2 dropped. In comparison, Meek's Dreamchasers I, which was posted on Dat Piff on August 11, 2011, has been downloaded 640,727 times. It was very difficult not to curse while writing that last sentence, because the difference between those two numbers is ginormous.
Maybe I shouldn't be cynical. Maybe I should just believe that the airplay he got from “I'm A Boss,” the track he made with Rick Ross (who runs Mill’s label, the Maybach Music Group), helped elevate Meek to such insane heights of popularity.
But I am cynical. And I think Ross had his Maybach Minions slouched behind their Maybach MacBooks downloading the mixtape over and over and over again while smoking blunts and eating shrimp cocktail at the Maybach Mansion. You know, rapper stuff.
Either way, Dreamchasers 2 has been downloaded 2.5 million times, and that’s crazy. It's definitely a solid rap tape, and Meek's an excellent rapper, so good for him. But there are at least five other mixtapes released this year that also deserve the attention of 2.5 million downloaders. Do yourself a huge favor and get these right now.
Alley Boy – "Nigganati"
Dat Piff Downloads: 15,144
Over thick, apocalyptic Lex Luger-style trap beats, the young Atlanta rapper Alley Boy celebrates the streets on Nigganati. Specifically the prostitutes, pushers, and conmen who hustle non-stop on the margins for fame, food, fortune, and power. But Nigganati's heroes don't just want a slice of the American Dream, they want the whole goddamn pizza pie. On “My City,” Alley Boy has a utopian moment—after eliminating all his enemies, which seems to be almost everyone in the city, he sits alone on his bloodied throne as “the new king of the South.”
Action Bronson – "Blue Chips"
Dat Piff Downloads: 23,130
Yup, this mixtape's named after that 1994 movie starring Nick Nolte and Shaq. And it's better than Dr. Lecter, the debut album by the ex-chef-and-prosciutto-snob-turned-rapper Action Bronson. Over sex-funked and soulful beats, the Queens rapper brags about how many chicken sandwiches he eats on “Steve Wynn,” and how many blunts he smokes before his pee-pee gets nibbled on “Tan Leather.” But the real banger's “9-24-11,” where the big man gets mad existential about Yugoslavian bitches and private cheese tastings over a haunted Dean Martin sample.
Boldy James - "Consignment: Favor For A Favor"
Dat Piff Downloads: 1,141
The slept-on Detroit rapper Boldy James follows his slept-on 28-song mixtape Trapper's Alley: Pros and Cons with the slept-on 26-song mixtape Consignment: Favor For A Favor. On the flute-loop beat, courtesy of producer AB from 46th Street, Boldy jumps quick from a Bachelors in Mary Jane to a Masters in cocaine. If we're to believe everything Boldy claims on “9 Yrs Old,” the dude was running the city's dope game before most of us had pubes, so it seems reasonable that he earned his masters at such a young age. He shines brightest on low-tempo beats like “Nautica Yacht Club,” where his raw street knowledge turns into poetry and his character's bones get fleshy.
Mondre M.A.N. - "MC ILLIN"
Dat Piff Downloads: N/A
The young Oakland rapper takes a break from his Main Attrakionz duo with rapper/producer Squadda B for a solo trip into the whole “cloud rap” thing that other copycat blog-rappers have been riding on for the past few months. And, of course, Mondre does it better than all of them. There's even a tune called “Cloud Rap,” which is corny, but Mondre raps so effortlessly and skillfully, it's hard to blame him for it. He's at his best when he lets his sense of humor take over, like on the abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous song “Laptop.” It's a love song for his laptop, where he recalls all the blunts he's rolled on it, the liquor he's spilled on it, the money he's made on it, and so on. And, in what is perhaps the best articulation yet of the cloud-rap lifestyle, the biggest problem Mondre faces is when his charger starts fucking up.
Young Moe – "Humble Hustle"
Dat Piff Downloads: 1,162
Virginia rapper Young Moe sounds like a homicidal pitbull when he raps about the crime game—you can feel death's breath against your ear on “Death Is A Guarantee” and “Tired Of Being Broke,” his collab with D.C. rapper Fat Trel (which is one of the year's best rap songs so far). But, unlike most street rappers, Moe's not afraid to let his guard down. On tracks like “Dear Mama,” where he praises his mother's resilience, and the dreamy “Take A Breath,” where he's just seconds away from dropping the L-Bomb on his girl, Moe gets emotional without ever sounding like Dashboard Confessional or Drake. Moe's hard, no doubt, but his heart's on fire, and the flames are far more dangerous than his chopper.