Mixtapes have come a long way. Over the past three decades or so, they’ve evolved from literal DJ mixes to rappers’ throwaway promotional material. But in 2012, with record sales revenue still suffering from its post-Napster implosion, the game has changed.
Today, and for the past several years, mixtapes can have just as much impact on an artist’s career as a “real” release. And away from record execs’ prying eyes and commercial pressures, they can be a place for experimentation, creativity, and even a little fun. You have a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to sampling, your cousin can Photoshop an amazingly amateurish cover, and you can name it whatever the fuck you want. That’s what make mixtapes so great.
Take Fredo Kruger, the forthcoming mixtape from Fredo Santana. We’ve only just warmed up to the latest GBE upstart’s beautifully ignorant Chi-Town anthems, but the title—and the sick Nightmare on Elm Street–inspired artwork—has us hyped. Fredo is just the latest example of more and more artists taking their time to craft a mixtape that matters, even down to the title.
With Fredo’s high standard in mind, we sifted through countless mixtapes, pulling up websites, CDs, and even one cassette (peace, Kid Capri), to bring you the 25 best mixtape titles of all time. They may not be as iconic as our 50 Best Rap Album Titles Ever, but they’re a hell of a lot more entertaining.