All music is created equal in this, the streaming epoch.
Without physical releases to separate the two, albums and mixtapes have become basically one and the same, synonyms for all intents and purposes. There are technical differences, but they often can’t be detected by the ear alone.
As such, the definitions of an album and a mixtape almost should change, less a description of the mode of recording/releasing and more a reflection of their respective sounds. Studio albums should be on one end of the aural spectrum, and amateur mixtapes should be on the other. Even if technologically-adept musicians can recreate the former from their humble abodes, there will always be a place for unabashedly bootleg, patched-together mixtapes; hearing the seams in a musical patchwork is all a part of the charm.
Oh, and if you want to know what a mixtape sounds like, listen to Dreezy’s Big Dreez.
I defy anyone to find an article this year that buries the lede farther than I just did.