Writers Block: The Best Mixtapes and EPs of 2017 so far

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2017 has seen a plentiful supply of memorable albums. From Stormzy’s #GSAP debuting at number one to Nines charting at number four with One Foot Out to J Hus releasing the highly-anticipated Common Sense, this year has been kind to us with great album music, and we’re not even at the halfway point.

Despite the UK scene pumping out more quality albums than ever before, there have still been many strong non-album releases that each hold weight for different reason. In no particular order, here are five of the best mixtapes and EPs to be released so far in 2017.

 

Suspect – Loading

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Suspect’s Loading mixtape can only be described as a compilation of bangers from start to finish. Granted, there are only seven tracks, but all seven are non-skippable, and in the context of a 15+ track project, having seven big-hitters is a strong return. Suspect brings a unique sense of flamboyancy and extravagance throughout this tape, both on his own and in features, which includes link-ups with Giggs and Harlem Spartans. That authentic, stunt-on-everyone, lyrical flow doesn’t once falter, so if you do nothing else this year, don’t sleep on Suspect.

 

Bonkaz – Quality Control 2.0

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Bonkaz seems to get better with every project, offering a blend of layered and meaningful raps with slick punchlines on Quality Control 2.0. Following the release of three projects last year, the second Quality Control instalment sees Bonkaz take to a higher ground once again with a concise 11-track offering. That over-your-head flow is ever-present but the advanced wordplay we’ve come to know Bonkaz for manifests in newer, wiser spaces on Quality Control 2.0, all of which was produced by Soul.

 

Carns Hill – Family First

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The man that provides many of your favourite trap-rappers and drill music artists in the UK with consistently fire beats has once again delivered the goods with ‘Family First’. Carns Hill’s weighty 23-track mixtape contains contributions from 20 different artists including Blade Brown, Youngs Teflon and 67, extracting the best sound from each artist involved. From anthems to chilled-out tracks, Family First delivers as a memorable project containing many of the UK’s best trap rap and drill artists, guided by a wise set of beats from Carns Hill, one of the scene’s most iconic producers.

 

Lethal Bizzle – You’ll Never Make a Million from Grime

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Bizzle returned from his project-hiatus to drop his latest project poking fun at the riches he’s found from a genre which people said didn’t have much commercial potential. As one of the grime pioneers to build a popular brand and find commercial success outside of music, the title is wholly fitting and the music itself embodies that feel to throughout. ‘I Win (w/ Skepta)’ and ‘Celebrate (w/ Donaeo and Diztortion)’ offer those club bangers Bizzle is known for, with tracks like ‘London’ and ‘Wigback Ting’ bringing that grimey flow Bizzle made seven-figures from.

 

Section Boyz – Soundcheck

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Soundcheck is a free 21-track mixtape that serves as a reminder that Section Boyz aren’t to be slept on, not even for five minutes. Section’s infectiously catchy hooks are evident in parts, but what sticks out is the way all six members take to rap, grime, hip-hop and trap beats with ease, spraying up whatever comes their way. With production from the likes of Heavytrackerz, Rudekid and Pinerobeats, Section’s straight rap flow, teased in their ‘Section Session’ freestyle, doesn’t in any way disappoint on Soundcheck.

 

Words by @Ajay_Rose