Mixtapes aren't exactly what they used to be. Since the internet cracked the new-music bulwark and instigated flood-like access to new artists and their music, the chance for new artists to come up and make your way up against literally thousands upon thousands of trying rappers and producers has never been so possible nor competitive. The goal of a mixtape has always been to get your music heard-- it is first and foremost a promotional tool. Yet in the internet era's great race for music blogger attention, the mixtape bar has been risen (almost) to the point where it is no longer enough to catch a listener's attention by rapping over some well known beats alone. The most successful and interesting mixtapes of 2010 were made up of entirely original production, like Wiz Khalifa's Kush & OJ and Big K.R.I.T.'s K.R.I.T. Wuz Here for instance, which are both virtually albums. The only difference lies in the words we call them by. Mixtapes are also, of course, compilation "tapes". Although there were several outstanding compilation mixtapes this year (including Statik Selektah & Termanology (1982)'s The Diamond Collection), we have not included them in our list since there was so much great new music to choose from. Perhaps the better term for original material mixtapes is the "Free Album" or "Free Release", to define this promotional entity that has picked up considerably in the wake of the internet's competitive climate. We Present: THE COME UP SHOW'S FAVORITE MIXTAPES/FREE RELEASES OF 2010!