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Page 1


 "If you're a real rapper, you don't have to make a record for the radio or something for MTV." ...



Page 2


 While the "real" music business is crumbling, the mixtape industry is thriving ...



Page 3


 P. Diddy says labels don't have the heart to put out new artists anymore ...



Page 4


 50 Cent's mixtape success leads to record-breaking chart debut ...



Page 5


 "Distributing mixtapes is illegal, man!" ...



Mixtape History


 Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa get the party started.



Classic Mixtapes


 Five mixtapes that changed the game.



Before We Had A Clue


 DJ Clue tells how he first became cool with some of hip-hop's most acclaimed line rippers.


 DJ Clue's Photo Album



Mixtape Mondays Archive


 For complete coverage of mixtape culture.







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"The mixtapes are like me speaking directly to my neighborhood," 50 Cent said.

  "I can put out a mixtape and just say what I really feel." - Fabolous
"When you make an album, it's kind of different from making a mixtape," added Fabolous, who started building his following by flowing on DJ Clue's tapes. "Some stuff I can't say on the album. I tend to be a favorite with the children, so I try to watch what I say. I don't sugarcoat, but I try and make sure I'm not too harsh, too vulgar. But I can put out a mixtape and just say what I really feel."

Artists say the purity of the the music on mixtapes can be matched by packaging that is unflinching as well. "There are certain things that major [labels] won't allow us to do 'cause they don't feel like it's acceptable for marketing a project," 50 Cent explained. "Like they haven't [allowed] a gun on the cover of a CD since [Boogie Down Productions'] Criminal Minded [and By All Means Necessary], but those guns are still in the 'hood. So when I did the marketing for some of my street projects, I used things that were a little edgier than what they would use at the majors right now. I got a chance to express myself in a different way."

Great music, guerilla marketing — so where are the labels?

When record company bigwigs first started taking notice of mixtapes — particularly those mixtapes that had unreleased material by their own artists — eyebrows were raised, as there was concern about losing power over the music they felt should be label-controlled. But these days, you'll be hard-pressed to find the labels showing much resistance to their artists being on mixtapes, as record companies are recognizing the streets as an indispensable cog in the marketing and promotion machine.

"I can't say it's a trend for everybody, but I do say it's going to be a trend for new artists trying to break through," P. Diddy said. "Labels don't even have the heart to put out a new artist right now. There hasn't been a new artist released in I don't know how long. In the case of 50 Cent, it helped him that he put out so much product [on mixtapes]."

  "They [labels] bother us all the time to break their new artists." - DJ Whoo Kid
"It's a cheaper and better way to put out a new artist," DJ Whoo Kid explained. "If Jay-Z's or Nas' song is playing and a new artist is on [the tape] right after, you will check it out. The labels know that. That's why they call me, Kay Slay, Clue — they bother us all the time to break their new artists. And they're so cheap, they don't wanna pay. I charge five Gs just to get on my CD for a regular slot. But labels want favors, they'll give me a Nas freestyle and I'll play their new artists."


NEXT: The LOX, Cam'ron and Fabolous work the tapes, and 50 Cent's status as a mixtape superstar leads to his record-breaking chart debut ...
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 DJ Kay Slay hosted by Eminem, Say What You Say
Eminem and Xzibit freestyle dissing Jermaine Dupri
(Interscope)



 DJ Kay Slay, The Accused
Jay-Z, Roc-A-Fella, dissing Jaz-O
(Roc-A-Fella)



 DJ Kay Slay, Accused
Jaz-O dissing Jay-Z
(Rancore)




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