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Fire Starter: Rashad

Rashad Morgan used to be down with Michael Bivins' Biv 10 Pee-Wee All-Stars almost a decade ago. Now he's apart of T.I.'s Grand Hustle roster and is set to drop an LP later this year. His record "Tell Them What They Want to Hear" is a major radio and club banger in his Detroit hometown, and it's only a matter of time before it spreads like a rumor.

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— By Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes

Artist: Alchemist

Representing: ALC Records

Mixtape: The Chemistry Files

411: Alchemist says he's stopped using his beloved AR-10 beat machine and has learned to love the MPC instead. He says the switch is making his tracks sound crisper.

Al is also stepping it up on the mic. He's recording his second LP and says it will sound more like an Alchemist and friends album than an Alchemist-produced compilation of other artists. It won't drop until around October, but in the meantime he's made room for his third official mixtape.

"There's a bunch of tracks I produced that leaked and never made it to an album," Al said of The Chemistry Files. "So I just wanted to put some of them together and give them a home. I try to make my mixtapes like mini-albums."

Joints To Check For:

  • "G-Type" by Scarface and the Product. "That session was crazy," Alchemist remembered. " 'Face came to New York and [asked if] I had any beats for him. I brought him a fire beat. I went home to track it, came back in half an hour with the beat tracked and he had already laid his verse."

  • "Gunz Is Razors" by Tony Yayo. "That was originally for Yayo's [Thoughts of a Predicate Felon] and the sample didn't clear," Al said. "He took the verses and used them for the 'Drama Setter' joint with Eminem. You could hear it in his verse. He was fresh from jail when he recorded it. He was so excited. A while later, I asked him if I could take his verses off and put [Mobb Deep's] Hav and P on it but keep his words for the hook. He was like, 'Yeah.' I really wanted him to do a new verse, too.

  • "Reppin' ALC." "That's a new joint I did with just me on it," Al said. "I got so many joints for my new album. I don't know if this one will make it. I record myself now and I actually like it. You should see me running from the booth, back into the room, back to the booth. ... I can experiment more when I'm dolo, with the vocal tones, changing flows, adding a sound to the beat."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

  • DJ Warrior & Scipio's Cali Untouchable Radio Pt. 10: Angel Dust
  • Jon Moskowitz Presents Purple Reign
  • Tapemasters Inc.'s A Prince in Harlem
  • IGT's The 4 Fathers
  • DJ Bedz & DJ Chonz's The Anthem and I've Been Waiting on You

Click here for more of Mixtape Monday ...

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Fat Joe - "Damn"
  • Shawnna featuring Ludacris, Too Short, Pharrell Williams and Lil Wayne - "Getting Some" remix
  • Lloyd Banks featuring 50 Cent - "Cake"

Celebrity Faves

  Big Mike
"The Kid" Big Mike says radio will never be the same: He just landed a slot on New York radio station Power 105.1 and starts within the next month. As far as what he's been listening to lately, he names some straight throwbacks.

"Fat Joe's Jealous One's Envy and the Trends of Culture album [Trendz] — 'Off & On' was my sh--," he said about what he's been pumping. "I been buyin' a lot of older CDs lately 'cause a lot of the new sh-- is trash."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Nas and Rakim on Overdrive
The MTV hip-hop brain trust really did it, didnít they? The debate about who really is the greatest MC of all time rages on, even today. MTV interviewed numbers four and five, Rakim and Nas, together for the first time recently. In a special "MTV News Raw" on MTV Overdrive, the two greats talk about what it means for them to be universally lauded, their similarities, and exactly what Ra thought about Nas making a song about him. Later this week, you can read the interview even more in-depth in the Q&A "Meeting of the Kings."

  Mobb Deep
For all intents and purposes, the long feud between Mobb Deep and Jay-Z is dead. Prodigy and Hov recently sat down to discuss doing business together.

"We got friends in common," P explained about how the meeting came about.

It looks like the Mobb are going to be executive producing the debut by Sam Scarfo, one of Jay's first signings upon becoming Def Jam prez.

"We're going to help him with a little bit as far as the beats and all that," Prodigy said, clarifying his team's role in the project.

"Me and Jay-Z had a sit-down over it," he continued. "We ironed out our little differences. We reached out to each other like, 'Let's have a sit-down, have a meeting.' It's all business, it's all good. Basically [the meeting] was [put together] through our manager Storm. Storm also manages Scarfo."

Besides sharing the manager, P says he and Havoc were attracted to the Scarfo project because the Jersey MC has such a unique style and "brings something new to the table."

When you pick up Mobb Deep's latest, Blood Money (in stores Tuesday), you'll notice that one of the most anticipated records on the album has been omitted: the Dr. Dre-produced "Nightmares."

"Yeah, some things happened, I can't really explain that one right there," Havoc said in New York last week.

"Basically it didn't get cleared," Prodigy added.

Havoc assured that the song will definitely pop up on a future Mobb Deep mixtape.

"You will hear it on the streets," he said. "It will be leaked. But we ain't gonna profit on it. It'll get out there some way."

  Lil' Cease
Another long-running hip-hop beef may have come to an end as well. Lil' Kim's close friend Maino recently had a round of fisticuffs with one of Kim's former best friends, Lil' Cease. The altercation was what they call in hip-hop terms "shooting a fair one." It was one-on-one, a fair fight.

"It wasn't nothing, dawg," Cease — fresh from a 17-day stretch on New York's Rikers Island for possession of marijuana, resisting arrest and probation violation — explained last week. "N---as seen each other, we had problems, it was real personal. I saw him on his strip. ... I was going to the liquor store, the n---a approached me, took off his chain, we start scrappin'. We fought, nobody jumped in, nobody got jumped."

Cease says after the fight, both men agreed to end their beef.

"He said he was good, I said I was good, I jumped in my car and left," the Junior M.A.F.I.A. frontman added. "To be honest, I dug that. It's nothing for the rap police to be involved in. Wasn't no guns. It was some real old-school Brooklyn sh-- and that was it. Dude says he don't got no problems with me, I don't have no more problems with him."

Cease does say he still has problems with the Diplomats' Jim Jones and Cam'ron, however. He says he doesn't appreciate them calling him a snitch in various media outlets.

"Keep my name out of your mouth," Cease insisted. "I was really bugging off Cam because I saw him a couple of times ... and everything was all gravy. I'm like, 'OK, n---as is taking shots.' But [Cam] sat there and did something I didn't do. You get on a record and say the n---a threw up the Roc sign before he shot you [last year]. That's dry snitching. I got no love for them."

Cease says he's been catching it pretty hard since Lil' Kim and others labeled him a snitch after he testified against her in the highly publicized perjury trial.

"It took its toll," he said. "It [messed] up my street cred for a minute. I never got disrespected as far as n---as in your grill saying it, but that's everybody's word: 'The n---a is a snitch.' That had me feeling [bad]. A lot of people didn't want to do business with me. They didn't want to play our records. They thought I fouled out."

Cease says he wrote Kim a long, heartfelt letter since she's been incarcerated but has yet to hear back. Biggie's best friend says he plans to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he and his J.M. cohorts aren't snitches on the DVD "Lil' Cease's Reality Check," due in June.

  Lil' Kim and Lil' Cease
"It's not like I'm talking about [Kim]," he explained. "I'm talking about the mistakes she made. It's just straight politics and talking to people about the law and how not to make mistakes. I got Jadakiss on there, Snoop, Bleu Da Vinci, Eve, Russell Simmons. ... We just explaining the whole situation, telling n---as that I didn't tell. I don't get down like that."

Cease says he's going to show the full transcript of his testimony in Kim's trial as added proof. The Junior M.A.F.I.A. are also planning to release a soundtrack mixtape for the DVD with guest appearances from Method Man and Peedi Crakk. Cease is also working on his solo LP.

"A real power unit is trying to holla at me," he said.

  Katt Williams
Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, Hell Rell, JR Writer andÖ Money Mike? Cam's latest signing to Diplomat Records is none other than comedian Katt Williams, who's best known for recent cameos in hip-hop videos as well as his turn as Money Mike in "Friday After Next."

"Universal [Records] gave me a deal, and it was really a good deal financially, but it didn't put me at a home," Williams said. "I had two places to meet with before I signed off on [the Universal deal], and the last person I met was Cam.

"Dip Set is already a movement," he added about why he wanted to sign with the label. "The main thing is if you don't grow up with dudes, and you're not in a camp from its inception, you have to be with a camp whose ideals and goals mix with yours. Dip Set is my perfect element. The whole flashy, fly and still street-credible thing. That's what I represent on the daily, son. It's almost a no-brainer."

Williams — who's currently filming the Eddie and Charlie Murphy comedy "Norbit" with Cuba Gooding Jr., Thandie Newton, Eddie Griffin and Clifton Powell — says his debut, It's Pimpin', Pimpin, was already 85 percent done before his signing. The LP already features Lil' Jon, E-40, Lyfe Jennings and Snoop Dogg, and Williams said he fully expects Cam and the Dips to jump on board as well.

Two Saturdays ago in Atlanta, Williams taped his first HBO special in Atlanta with guests Lil' Jon, Da Brat and Outkast. Toward the end, Cam came out onstage and announced that Williams is joining the Dips.

For more on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out the feature "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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