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Bad Boy has yet another sexy female singer on the rise, with New London, Connecticut's Cassie. She's been popping up all over with modeling gigs for Target, Clean & Clear, Missy Elliott's "Respect M.E." Adidas line and as the leading lady in Mario's "Here I Go Again" video. But it's her club smash, "Me and U," that will drive her right to mainstream stardom.




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— Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes

Artist: The Wu-Tang Clan

Representing: The 36 Chambers

Mixtape: The Demo

411: OK, how many times do you get the chance to hear a legendary group's demo tape? How hot were the Wu before getting with a record label and cultivating their craft? Well, the Wu-Tang Clan have not only leaked a bunch of obscure freestyles and unreleased songs via their Web site, but the Shaolin rap icons let out the very demo tape that got them signed to Loud Records more than a decade ago. The group's leader, the RZA, navigates us through the early days. Warning: the demo tracks are of the poorest sound quality.

Joints To Check For:


  • "Bring the Ruckus" demo. If you can imagine, the version of "Bring the Ruckus" as we know it sounds stripped-down compared to RZA's early production on the record. There is no Ghostface to start the record and no GZA to end it. Raekwon's verse is totally different as well, as he raps, "That's my word, I'm used to beef/ I can eat it mad raw and pick it out my gold teeth." The RZA ends the song shouting out the "35" chambers.

  • "Cuttin' Headz" demo. Cousins RZA and ODB kick an in-and-out flow à la Jadakiss and Styles P. on "We Gon' Make It." The piano-driven beat sounds like an early idea RZA had for the beat of "Clan in Da Front."

  • Ghostface's "Heard It All Before" freestyle. Iron Man rhymes over Sunshine Anderson's hit track for "Heard It All Before." Ghost brags about his six divorces in two years and claims to be the "Mighty Joe Young," but the laugh-out-loud moment (laughing with him, that is, brother Stark) is when Ghost actually sings over Anderson's vocals. "Your rhymes are working now," he belts out off-key. "Look who's hurting now/ See I had to shut you down/ I had to shut you down!"


Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

  • Ice Cube Presents N---az With Guns: Listen N Learn
  • Bars & Hooks' The Most Notorious
  • DJ Fade's Welcome to Deathrow
  • Illa Ghee's Myrtle & Throop
  • DJ JayCeeOh & DJ On & On's Masters: Ace in the Hole Vol. 1
  • Maino's King of the City
  • Wu-Tang Latino's The New Chamber
  • Matisyahu's Youth Mixtape




Click here for more of Mixtape Monday ...


'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Lloyd Banks - "My House"
  • Joe Budden - "Outcast"
  • Cam'ron featuring Juelz Santana - "We Make Change"
  • Method Man featuring Styles P. and Fat Joe - "Yah Mean"
  • Busta Rhymes featuring Swizz Beatz and KRS-One - "New York Sh--" remix


Celebrity Faves

  Maven
Former WWE superstar and current "Surreal Life" star Maven, who listens to Tupac's "Temptations" every week before he hits the club, said he was the most amped to meet George Jefferson himself, Sherman Helmsley, on his TV show, but when it comes to music, he loves the Dirty Dirty. "Right now, I've got some T.I. in my joint," Maven said. "I listen to Dem Franchize Boyz's new CD. I love hip-hop, and I love down-South rap. Lil' Flip is my favorite down-South rapper. Him and Lil' Troy have been chopping and screwing in the game for years. I like the YoungBloodz and Young Jeezy."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Ali Shaheed Muhammad has taken up residency, DJing in Brooklyn every Thursday night at Bi-Polar. But toward the end of the year, he hopes to plant his turntables onstage behind Phife Dawg and Q-Tip during A Tribe Called Quest's reunion tour.

"We're looking at October, November," he said of the tour. "As far as doing any albums, there's still a question mark on that. We're not that far along yet. We're going to take these shows and see how it goes. Q-Tip is working on his next solo record; Phife is doing the same thing. I'm working on my second solo album. I know people are like, 'Enough with the solos. Can we get a Tribe joint?' For us, that kind of love makes us feel really good. We never knew that [after] all these years, people would be interested. When we disbanded, we never had any intentions of coming back."

Although people have been screaming for a Tribe reunion LP, Ali said he and his partners don't want to do anything to tarnish their track record, so they've been taking their time in deciding whether or not to make a comeback. They're excited about the reunion tour because a lot of their younger fans never saw them perform live.

In addition to his own album, Ali worked on Re-Bop: The Savoy Remixes (released May 9), an album with DJs and producers like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Large Professor remixing jazz classics like "Lover Man" by Dizzy Gillespie and "Five Spot After Dark" by Curtis Fuller. ...

  Jonathan "J.R." Rotem
With all the tracks Jonathan "J.R." Rotem has been producing lately, he's making dough like J.R. Ewing. Pop fans will be pleased to know he's been in Malibu just about on a daily basis making sure big momma herself, Britney Spears, has a pristine comeback. He's been churning out a bunch of club beats for her and hubby Kevin Federline.

" 'America's Most Hated,' to me, it feels like an accurate thing," J.R. said of a track that appeared on Federline's MySpace page. "He feels like he's been hated on, and he's addressing it."

On the hip-hop side, Rotem — who's produced several tracks for the G-Unit (he has a multitrack deal with them) as well as Lil' Kim, Maino, Fabolous and Snoop Dogg — is a producer whose name will become very familiar this year.

Last week Rotem celebrated his first #1 single, Rihanna's "S.O.S." And with new G-Unit records, plus work for Paris Hilton, Trick Daddy, JoJo, Mya and Obie Trice all coming this year, it might not be his last.

The San Francisco-by-way-of-Toronto producer got his start by selling beats to E-40's camp a few years ago (he developed his chops at the Berklee College of Music in Boston). His Bay Area connections led him to Tony! Toni! Toné!'s Dwayne Wiggins, who slid a beat to Beyoncé that would become "Fancy" on Destiny's Child's Survivor.

His buzz in the industry caught the ear of Dr. Dre, who actually purchased a track of Rotem's for his upcoming Detox LP.

"I heard him spit the vocals, and it was incredible," Rotem said of the untitled song. J.R. doesn't know if the beat will make the final cut for Dre's highly anticipated album. (Click here for photos of Dr. Dre)

"It's unbelievable," Rotem added about working with the Doc. "When I heard [the song], it was such an incredible feeling. The beat he took, I don't know what I was doing that day [when I made it], but it's crazy. Just his presence and the way he's riding the track is incredible to me."

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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