Mixtapes don’t get their due. At this point, we take the charming little clusterfucks for granted. But, in truth, they’re tenacious little beasts. Mixtapes have served as vital cat-posts for many genres of music–mainly rap– where fledgling artists can sharpen their claws; some of the best material to be yielded by the likes of Lil Wayne, Joe Budden and Wale* have emerged on mixtapes. Albums are a formality these days but mixtapes are what keep a rapper’s enigma nourished.
Mixtapes have also created a new compartment in the rap economy for visual artists. Some of the best rap cover-art has adorned the fronts of mixtapes; the solar system is the limit when it comes to ridiculous covers, from Wayne laughing at T.I. beyond hauled off in a police cruiser to Gucci Mane cackling in a movie theater.
Now, with the holidays nearby and everyone swimming in their couches to pay the water bill, mixtapes can be cheap, yet simultaneously (and perhaps erroneously) heartfelt gifts. And, if you want to not only be stingy with your money but also with your time, you can make one tape and send it to multiple people. Wired Magazine just listed some spots you can upload your tape for the masses.
*Though, for over two years mixtapes have essentially been the only carrots to come out of Wale’s garden