Mixtapes aren't just throwaway items used for publicity anymore. They can be cohesive artistic statements by an artist, and either match or exceed the length of an "album". it's not rare for a mixtape to be better received than an official album. the way it is now, there is an increasingly blurred line between mixtape and album. disregarding something solely because it's a mixtape is dangerous for anyone who's serious about the genre today. they've become an essential component of knowing where it's at and what's going on.