The ten best mixtape DJs of all time
Over the last decade or so, mixtapes have revolutionized the rap game and altered how marketing in general is approached. Not only have the rappers received substantial acclaim, the DJs have, too. Although there are numerous DJs -- guys like Statik Selektah, Trap-A-Holics, DJ Khaled, DJ Scream, Big Mike, Nu Jerzey Devil, DJ Envy and Sickamore, among others -- who are certainly worthy of consideration on any rundown of the best mixtape DJs, the cats below have made the biggest impact of anybody. Keep reading for the ten best mixtape DJs.
10. Michael "5000" Watts
Capitalizing on the success of Chopped and Screwed style pioneered by cross town rival DJ Screw, Watts and OG Ron C started Swisha House Records, featuring artists like Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Chamillionaire, Magno and Mike Jones. This resulted in many of the artists landing contracts with major labels and the smash hit "Still Tipping," in 2005. Many credit Watts with helping preserve the legacy of screw music while also pushing it on to greater commercial success.
9. DJ Don Cannon
This Philadelphia born DJ used his gazillion mixtapes with the likes of Young Jeezy, Busta Rhymes, Wiz Khalifa, Ludacris and more to propel himself to mainstream fame. Because of his popularity within the mixtape circuit, Cannon has become a Grammy-nominated producer, the Vice President of A&R of Def Jam and a virtual legend in the game.
8. DJ Kay Slay
Known as the "Drama King" and "Slap your favorite DJ" for often breaking beef records live on air, DJ Kay Slay courted controversy with his Streetsweeper mixtape series. The Streetsweeper series was so popular, it resulted in a record deal in with Columbia in 2003, resulting in two albums breaking in the Top 30 on Billboard. Kay Slay's show on Hot 97.1 in New York is one of the most popular, and his mixtapes often feature MCs like Maino, Gravy, Graph and Papoose, as well as many upcoming locals, along with exclusive collaborations from national artists.
7. DJ Screw
DJ Screw had such a big impact on the game in his hometown that many came to know Houston as "Screwston" because of him. The legendary icon's Chopped and Screwed style influence is still prevalent worldwide long after his death. "Screw tapes" were so popular in the 1990s that hundreds of people would line up in his driveway to buy one. These days, almost every Top 40 song has a screwed up drop or chorus in it. Establishing the Screwed Up Click with Lil Keke, Lil Flip, Big Pokey and ESG, Screw allegedly turned down many record deals because of his immense local popularity. Screw also pioneered "Purple Drank" a mixture of codeine and Sprite, which ultimately lead to his death.