The emergence of significant DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music may have effectively ended the mixtape era. Before these streaming giants existed, music fans would head to sites like My Mixtapez, LiveMixtapes, DatPiff, local convenience stores and barbershops to get music from their favorite underground acts. Whether it be early 2000s greats like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Jadakiss or blog-era champions like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and J. Cole, mixtapes will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Hip Hop fans.

The East Coast had its time at the top of the game, but the South, especially Atlanta’s prominence in Hip Hop, may have started with the mixtape era. DJ Drama’s now Grammy Award-winning mixtape series Gangsta Grillz has delivered classic tapes from legends like Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Tyler, the Creator, Pharrell, T.I. and many more. Texas became known for its DJ Screw-inspired tapes, with Houston stars like Chamillionaire, Paul Wall and more putting on for the Lone Star State.

Some of the genre’s top-selling artists have spawned from the blog era. Rappers like Drake, Wale, Big Sean, Joey Badass, Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar and more utilized the internet as the genesis of their stardom. Although most mixtapes were a collection of songs created on other people’s beats, the niche community started to include original music that gifted fans elite bodies of work free of charge. While hundreds of fire emcees got their start with mixtapes, REVOLT decided to highlight some of the best mixtape rappers in no particular order.

Check out 13 mixtape legends below.

1. Chance The Rapper

Although Chance The Rapper is not the only artist on this list with a Grammy Award, he is the only one to receive one for a mixtape. The game-changing release of his project Coloring Book shifted how the Recording Academy looked at Hip Hop. After building steam with his critically acclaimed tapes 10 Day and Acid Rap, the Kanye West-inspired Chicago native teamed up with Young Thug, Lil Yachty, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Future, Justin Bieber and more to score nine Grammy nominations overall and three wins at the 2017 award ceremony.

His anti-establishment approach and undeniable charisma helped him become a household name. After Coloring Book, he dropped two SoundCloud-exclusive tapes with Lil B and fellow Windy City great Jeremih.

2. CurrenSy

CurrenSy may be the most consistent rapper of his generation. The New Orleans underground legend is the only emcee who can say he was signed to No Limit and Cash Money in one lifetime. While his home roots run deep, the stoner rap aficionado built his brand off chill flows about weed, fast cars and women.

He is known for his dynamic Pilot Talk series and producer-led tapes with legends like The Alchemist, Lex Luger, Trauma Tone and many more.

3. Fabolous

Since the DJ Clue tape days, Fabolous has found a way to remain relevant in the Hip Hop mixtape scene. After the Desert Storm rap veteran set the tone with his Street Dreams tapes, he delivered upbeat raps with his Gangsta Grillz-stamped There Is No Competition series and smooth tracks on The S.O.U.L. Tapes. The poignant emcee has found a way to stay youthful in the public eye by embracing new talent, but he still keeps the essence of the ‘90s and early 2000s style that made him great. He has collaborated with Jadakiss, Lil Wayne, Juelz Santana, J. Cole, Lil Uzi Vert and many more.

4. French Montana

Smack DVDs were a staple in their day, and French Montana was a huge reason for that. Though he is now known for his blockbuster hits, his day-one fans know him for his acclaimed Mac & Cheese mixtape series. The Moroccan bar spitter has paired with DJ Self, DJ Drama, DJ Green Lantern and many more to unleash 20-plus mixtapes.

His Coke Boys offerings have been the springboard for many careers. When it looked bleak for Lil Durk post-Def Jam, Montana took him in and used his projects to help reprise the Chicago drill star’s career. Montana has worked with Drake, Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Diddy, Swae Lee and countless other Hip Hop mainstays.

5. Future

Future’s nickname is not the Wizard for no reason. In what can seem like sorcery, the Atlanta-based recording artist has managed to rise to the top of the game by simultaneously ramping up his quantity and quality. Whether it be his famed Dirty Sprite series, Monster, Beast Mode or 56 Nights with DJ Esco, the multiplatinum rap star has become one of the highest-selling musicians Hip Hop has ever seen.

Future’s highly successful run has helped him secure collaborations with Gucci Mane, Drake, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and fellow Dungeon Family alum André 3000. His sound helped aid in the rise of producers like Metro Boomin, Zaytoven, DJ Esco and 808 Mafia.

6. Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane is a legend for more reasons than one, but his mixtape run is impeccable. From the hilarious project names to the signature cover art style, the Zone 6 representative is known for always coming with the heat.

With over 50 mixtapes, the “Lemonade” rapper has made his impact felt in two eras. After a standout verse on “So Icy,” the Atlanta-based emcee never took his foot off the gas. Classic tapes like The Burrprint series and Trap House III solidified him as a great within the space. He’s built a dynamic repertoire with trap producers like Lex Luger, Honorable C.N.O.T.E., Zaytoven, TM88, Southside and many more.

7. Lil Wayne

Mixtape Weezy is a name that will forever go down in history. There was a time when rappers feared the New Orleans superstar would hop on their beat and outdo their original track. He started with his Squad Up tapes but broke through after releasing his first DJ Drama-backed Dedication mixtapes following his popular Da Drought series.

No Ceilings put the “Lollipop” rapper in a league of his own. His punch-in rap style became the status quo in Hip Hop and has helped birth a new generation of legends like Nicki Minaj and Drake while producing younger superstars like Lil Uzi Vert, Chief Keef, Juice WRLD, Playboi Carti and more.

8. Mac Miller

Before Mac Miller’s untimely passing, he was a blog-era bright spot who matured into a prolific song creator. Known for his unrivaled charisma and next-level coolness, Miller burst onto the scene with his backpacker-friendly flows and raps relatable to all young adults.

His prolific 2010 release K.I.D.S. and Best Day Ever separated him from the pack; not to mention, his stage-ready record “Donald Trump.” The popular mixtape cut eventually charted and peaked at No. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100. A few years later, he continued his run with famous tapes like FACES and Macadelic that featured Juicy J, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and many more. Rest in peace, Mac Miller.

9. Meek Mill

On Meek Mill’s “Lean Wit It” track, he famously rapped, “I made a million off a mixtape, n**ga, get your s**t straight.” His Flamers series was popular, but nothing compared to the impact he made with his Dreamchasers tapes. At his peak, Meek Mill was the hottest rapper in the game and even earned a Tupac comparison from MMG’s Rick Ross.

Mill used his popular mixtapes to speak from a perspective that had not been heard in a long time. His fiery raps motivated the trenches and helped him become one of the top acts in the game. His track “Dreams and Nightmares” felt like a victory lap that culminated everything he had been able to accomplish ahead of his debut album. The Philadelphia street superstar has gone from freestyling on corners to working with A-list acts like JAY-Z, Mariah Carey and Drake.

10. Nipsey Hussle

Nipsey Hussle was unique because he embraced the Proud 2 Pay philosophy. Instead of opting for a major label to distribute his work, Hussle pushed his own art and placed a $100 price tag on his 2013 release, Crenshaw. This method caught the attention of JAY-Z, and he supported the West Coast rapper. After his inaugural mixtape in 2005, Slauson Boy, Hussle produced several, including The Marathon, Mailbox Money, Slauson Boy 2, and more. His work received co-signs and features from acts like Big Sean, Drake, Dom Kennedy, Kendrick Lamar, YG – the list goes on.

11. Wale

Wale is an innovator within the blog era landscape. The Nigerian-American rap star built his foundation in the DMV by releasing lyrical tapes that embraced his go-go music roots and New York rap influences.

The talented poet partnered with 10.Deep Clothing to release Jerry Seinfeld-inspired tapes, The Mixtape About Nothing and More About Nothing. He used the steam from these projects to connect with Seinfeld, who narrated his LP The Album About Nothing, which featured Usher, SZA and J. Cole. Fans of the fashion-forward emcee also hold his mixtapes -- such as Folarin, Back To The Feature and 100 Miles & Running -- in high regard.

12. Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa‘s goal was always to put Pittsburgh on the map. From his early stages, the stoner rap legend included the signature Philadelphia Pirates hat on the cover of his mixtapes and even burst onto the mainstream with his classic Steelers-inspired track, “Black and Yellow.”

After tapes like Prince of the City 1 & 2 started gaining traction, Khalifa broke through spending time with CurrenSy and collaborating on projects like How Fly. Shortly after, the more mature song creator solidified himself as a blog-era star by releasing his critically acclaimed Kush & OJ. The marijuana-inspired anthems bled into his tapes Taylor Allderdice and Cabin Fever. Khalifa worked with stars like Big Sean, Juicy J, Ty Dolla Sign, The Weeknd and more during his superior mixtape run.

13. Young Jeezy

Young Jeezy’s run in the South was unlike anything people had seen. The BMF-backed emcee used his stories from his days as a hustler to speak to a demographic that had not been served quite like this before. Classic mixtapes like Tha Streetz Iz Watchin’, Trap Or Die and Trappin’ Ain’t Dead were like hymns to Southern Hip Hop fans that translated across the country.

Jeezy’s ultra-real raps earned a co-sign from JAY-Z, and he ended up signing with Def Jam Records while Hov was at the helm. Jeezy’s promise as a solo act was evident after he made waves as the star of the Diddy-stamped group Boyz n da Hood. The Snowman was so impactful that shirts with his logo were banned in schools nationwide. Not many artists had the impact that Jeezy did on the rap game.