My favorite rap mixtape of the year is Step Brothers, a full-length collaboration between the Tennessee rappers Starlito and Don Trip. There’s nothing particularly flashy about that tape; it’s just an example of the sort of magic that can happen when furious rapping skill and well-curated production come together. Trip and Lito have a serious chemistry, and they’re just as good at emotive hard-times talk as they are at whipping slick jokes back at each other. I can’t recommend it enough.
On his own, the Tennessee rapper Trip isn’t quite as compelling, but he’s still a total rapping monster with a truly great voice, a barbed guttural thick-accented snarl. He’s also truly prolific. Yesterday, he released two free mixtapes, the hard-edged Human Torch III and the more sensitive iHEARTStrippers, on his Bandcamp page. Human Torch III, a solid collection of tough talk, is a good place to start with this guy’s solo stuff. iHEARTStrippers is so crammed with somewhat misguided R&B tracks that I can’t quite recommend it, but it does open with a freestyle over the Art Of Noise’s iconic “Moments In Love,” always a good idea. Get both tapes here.