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Fire Starters: Gabe Urist
Instead of a million shoe boxes, all sneaker junkies need is a jewelry box. Jeweler Gabe Urist is best known for making custom pendants that are perfect replicas of Nike sneakers. He's done everything from any kind of Jordans to exclusive Air Force 1s. The jeweler, who recently opened his own store on New York's Elizabeth Street, does more than kicks, though. You have to see how he crafts New Era fitted caps and mini skateboards.

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— Shaheem Reid and Jayson Rodriguez

DJs: Sense; G-Spot

Representing: A-Town, Philly and the Midwest

Mixtape: DJ Sense's Rhythm & Streets 9; DJ G-Spot's Cross Colors and Justo Would Be Proud: The 10th Annual Mixtape Awards' Mixtape

411: Whole world, we're baaaaaack! It's been too long, but we have a fresh Mixtape Monday for you all — and why not tell you about three that have been getting burn this week. First, Philly-born A-Town resident DJ Sense called his homie Willie the Kid who's spitting heavy on "Stick Up" and none other than Usher to host the latest installment of his Rhythm & Streets series. On the flipside, the Midwest's own G-Spot has two joints out right about now. The first is Cross Colors, a musical picnic basket of R&B and pop (sorry, no rap, but vibe with this throwback music). Then he has Justo Would Be Proud: The 10th Annual Mixtape Awards' Mixtape, which has nothing but rap. Look out for the dude Twisted Minds and his song "Apple Jacks" on there.

Joints To Check For:

  • "Summer Love" remix by Justin Timberlake featuring Young Jeezy (from Rhythm & Streets 9). Nobody is saying whether this is an officially sanctioned remix, but if Timberlake can work with Three 6 Mafia, the Snowman shouldn't be that much of a stretch, right? Jeezy would say that's riiiiight! On the track, the rapper serves up more of his dope-boy flashbacks: "On the corner like Common Sense, soft white makes green and that's common sense/ I'm a fool in the booth, a beast in the kitchen/ Depending on the order, I spend weeks in the kitchen."

  • "Bad Mama Jama" by Carl Carlton (from Cross Colors). Too young to remember this? Just think of the sentiment of Bow Wow and Chris Brown's "Shorty Like Mine" with a funky beat and no rapping. We never found out exactly who Carlton was talking about, but he laid it all on the table when he sang her praises: She was fine as can be, had all the curves a man likes and was poetry in motion. Come to think of it, we didn't hear from Carlton after this song, so maybe he was too caught up with the object of his affection. Foxy Brown sampled this record for her "Big Bad Mamma" off the "How to Be a Player" soundtrack.

  • "Imagine" freestyle by Phoenix Jones (from Justo Would Be Proud). Jones pays homage to the late Justo Faison over Dre and Snoop's beat for "Imagine." "DJs spin a record for the homie," Jones rhymes on the hook. "Let it be written in stone, as long as we living, you'll never be gone." Says it all right there.

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • OG Ron C - F-Action 47
  • Peedi Crakk and DJ Whoo Kid - Torture
  • Stackhouse Recordings - Just Blaze: The Collection (instrumentals)
  • Talib Kweli and Madlib - Liberation

Click here for more of Mixtape Monday ...

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • The Game - "History"
  • Lord Finesse (featuring Grand Puba) - "Real Talk"
  • Musiq (featuring Fat Joe, Jadakiss and Ja Rule) - "Buddy" remix
  • Quan - "Q.U.A.N."
  • Royce Da 5'9" - "Return of Malcolm" and "The Dream"

Celebrity Faves

  Dr. Dre
One of the godfathers of gangsta rap says he really felt the loss of the Godfather of Soul. "James Brown was the soundtrack of black America in the '60s and '70s," Dr. Dre said. "Growing up, his music was everywhere. That's why it found its way into so many hip-hop tracks. That, plus the fact that nobody laid down a beat like him. ... Nobody was even close. He invented the rule that every producer in rap lives and dies by: Make it funky."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  DJ Whoo Kid
After pushing out more than 30 mixtapes in 2006, logging 10-hour days on his weekly Sirius satellite radio show and launching his Pow radio and magazine ventures, DJ Whoo Kid still has more tricks up his G-Unit sleeve for the New Year.

The globetrotting DJ is set to delve into TV with a hip-hop-meets-marketing program poised to hit the small screen later this year. "That was my goal for 2007: to be on TV," Whoo Kid said. "We'll be filming all January and February." Although he was hushed about most of the details, Whoo Kid did say a major network was already interested in the project.

Another project he was tightlipped about was information on 50 Cent's next album. Aside from predicting a double LP, half "crazy club-bangin' ridiculous" and half "hard-core killer sh--," the DJ was reluctant to give up much else. "I've heard some ridiculous sh-- already," he said. "And me talking about it means me getting killed. Right now it's hot — that's all you got to know!"

  50 Cent
We managed to squeeze in a few minutes with Fif last week while he promoted his new series of G-Unit street-lit books. The rapper didn't confirm he'd be recording a double album like Whoo Kid mentioned, but he did squash rumors that his next album would be more soul-influenced. "I been listening to more soulful stuff," 50 explained. But he went on to say the album won't veer too far off from what he's already done. "People bought into me and who I am," he said. "I'm gonna keep doing aggressive music. And you know who told me to do that? My grandmother."

While everyone seems to be concerned with G-Unit's decline in sales lately, and their supposed demise, 50 shrugged the lower numbers off as just a temporary pitfall. He confirmed that Young Buck and Young Hot Rod's projects will be the next two G-Unit albums to hit shelves, but Tony Yayo, M.O.P. and the rest will be out when they're ready, he said.

Right now, Fif is focused on his new team — of street-lit writers, that is. He called each of the three already popular authors personally and asked them to pen tales to launch his new book imprint. The rapper said he got into reading more as his touring schedule picked up, particularly his longer flights, and magazines didn't last long enough during the trips. And he was tired of lugging his laptop around. So he decided to set up a deal for G-Unit Books.

Even with his G-Unit businesses booming, 50 is still looking forward to getting back in the booth. He said he's more than ready to come back to even higher expectations. "2007 is gonna be my year," he said. Watch out. ...

This week, the Game is set to shoot a video for his next single "Wouldn't Get Far," in which he mentions (and criticizes) many video vixens. The rapper said the video will even feature some of the ladies he addresses in the song. "I think a couple of them are coming to the video [set], so we'll see what's up," he said last week.

"They had a choice," said Game's manager, Jimmy "Henchman" Rosemond, who helped smooth things over with the displeased women. "They had two choices: You could either be clowned or we can make this fun where people won't take it as serious. If you fight against it, it becomes serious, 'cause we could get the look-alikes and clown in fun. But if you participate, it can be more impactful. For instance, [model] Melyssa Ford, we'll have her in a Honda Accord [in the video], but then Game will kinda wake up out of that spell and we'll have her in a 500 Benz. We'll clean it up for her. It's all in fun, though."

Jimmy says the video will be fun, but he plans to have Game working hard this year to keep promoting his album, The Doctor's Advocate. "There's some work to do with this album," Rosemond said. "There's been a few missteps, some out of our control.

"We're about to shoot a mini-movie for him and re-release the album sometime in April or May," he continued. "We'll probably do a mini-movie for [the song] 'Doctor's Advocate.' It's time to work hard, really grind this album out, see where it takes us. We know we made the best album we could make without the elements that helped us the first time. Like I tell him all the time, it ain't really about the sales. I know the sales will do well, but it's going to be a record that sticks around all year. We already know people have classified this album as a classic. He has another album ready ... that people will wanna hear. But we just have to work this one out, make some smart decisions. That's where my managerial hat has to come into play."

Game says he has his own ideas as to where he wants to go visually with his album. "I was on my way back from my snowboarding trip in Northern Cali," he said. "I'm driving five hours and thinking about [the Roc-A-Fella Records film] 'Streets Is Watching' and how Jay-Z did that. ... I was saying, 'I got enough songs that mean something to do that.' I mean, 'Old English,' 'One Night,' the real gutter joints where there's a lot of feelings where I could really get at n---as. It'll be ill, though. We gonna keep it in mind and try to work it all out."

The Compton, California, MC is getting ready to go on tour in Canada and to put out some new mixtapes at the end of January. He'll showcase some beats he produced himself, introduce a new group from his Black Wall Street label while spotlighting solo MC Juice.

"This new group I'm working on called N---as for Life, they are nuts," Game said. "It's no knock-off of N.W.A. It's a new feel, a new vibe. I got five of the hottest n---as from the West Coast you never heard of, and we gonna roll." ...

Besides helping Game with his career, Jimmy Rosemond has been on the move with his philanthropic endeavors. He and Wyclef Jean are heavily involved with the Yele Haiti organization, which concentrates on improving poverty, education and health care in Haiti. And in the beginning of December, Jimmy turned his attention to Jamaica. He traveled down and visited different areas of Jamaica with boxing great Bernard Hopkins and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons as part of the program Upliftment Jamaica.

"When you donate money, people call you and send you packages and solicit you," he said about his involvement in the program. He had been donating money for the past three years. "A lot of these things, you don't even know where your money is going. ... I like to donate where I know it's reaching the people. For me to see the money you donate is really going to a good use was wonderful.

"You get to see technology being built off the money you donate, you get to see what they're getting to survive," he added. "I got to see the infirmaries where we donate food to, the schools where they give clothes and donate laptops. When you see it, you believe more in the act of giving. People usually get to see the resort side and well-protected side, but there's a side where people don't have lights. Kids have no shoes. It's real poverty down there."

For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.

For a full-length feature on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."

For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines

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Photo: MTV News

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