Mixtapes have long been the employ of hip-hop artists as an alternative to a “proper” album. Now, more acts from outside the genre are getting in on the act. The nominees for Best Mixtape supported by Bulldog Gin at the VO5 NME Awards 2018 come from either side of those dividing lines, with pop rubbing shoulders with grime, and hip-hop heavyweights.
The VO5 NME Awards 2018 will take place at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on February 14.
1Charli XCX – ‘Pop 2’
Who: Four-time nominee at the VO5 NME Awards 2018.
They said: “It’s different-sounding because there are so many collaborations on this mixtape. That’s the crux of it. It’s not necessarily all about me, it’s about everyone getting their moment to shine and do their thing.”
We said: “Charli’s second mixtape of the year isn’t just about proving she’s more than your average pop star, but about her settling into her role as innovator, celebrator, and curator supreme.”
Best track: ‘Out Of My Head’
2Drake – ‘More Life’
Who: Hip-hop’s most sensitive, and one-man advert for the Toronto tourism board.
They said: “Basically, I asked myself, ‘What if I just did OVO Sound Radio, but every song is a new Drake song.”
We said: “An 81-minute beast of a thing with a surprising British influence.”
Best track: ‘Fake Love’
3Krept & Konan – ‘7 Nights’ / ‘7 Days’
Who: South London’s Casyo ‘Krept’ Johnson and Karl ‘Konan’ Wilson, who’ve collabed with the likes of Skepta and Ed Sheeran, and got in trouble with Jay-Z’s legal team.
They said: “We have two different major vibes, so we wanted to represent them. Nighttime is for going out to pick up your partner; daytime is just gassed.”
We said: “They’ve honed their contrasting, distinctive sounds with this impressive double release. Krept & Konan have plenty of days and nights ahead of them.”
Best track: ‘Wo Wo Wo’
4Rex Orange County – ‘Apricot Princess’
Who: Surrey romantic and Tyler, The Creator collaborator.
They said: “It’s all about [my relationship] and all about my life now living [in London].”
We said: “‘Apricot Princess’ is the sound of falling in love.”
Best track: ‘Television/So Far So Good’
5Dave – ‘Game Over’
Who: 19-year-old south Londoner whose ‘Wanna Know’ track got an A-list remix from Drake.
We said: “Stuffed with a diverse palette of grime-flavoured bangers and deeply personal, political lyrics, it’s the kind of mature record most artists make at the end of their career, not the beginning.”
Best track: ‘How I Met My Ex’
6Avelino – ‘No Bullshit’
Who: Tottenham MC you need to keep your eye on.
They said: “‘No Bullshit’ is raw and real, it not ambiguous, there’s no extra layers to it. It’s the best title I could think of for what I was trying to do and the messages I was trying to put across.”
We said: “An invigorating, essential addition to the British rap catalogue.”
Best track: ‘Origami’