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Fire Starters: DJ SWB
Imagine the holy trinity of rap — Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas — all in the same video: Could it be? If you ask DJ SWB, he'll probably suggest you watch his latest DVD, "The Godfathers: Starring Hovito, Frank White and Esco." SWB cleverly mashes up classics from the rap gods such as Big's "One More Chance" and Jay's verse from Mya's "Best of Me" over "What the Beat" by Royce Da 5'9", plus a remix video of Nas' "Made U Look" over GZA's "4th Chamber" that's so gutter it'd make God's Son put in a call to RZA. The young DJ from Coney Island brings us back to the days when mixtapes were all about blends, bringing to mind DJs like Ron G, Juice, Action Pac, Doo Wop, Da Bounce Squad and many, many more. Ah, the good ol' days ...


Mixtape Monday: Lil Wayne Plans His Own Leak; Cassidy's Live-From-Jail Rhymes

— by Shaheem Reid, Jayson Rodriguez and Rahman Dukes

Artist: Cassidy

Representing: Philadelphia

Mixtape: The Hustlas Home

411: After surviving both serious jail time and a near-fatal car crash, you can't blame Cassidy for keeping a mostly low profile of late. But the Philly MC has recovered and recuperated just fine and, with the help of DJs Big Mike and Thoro, is putting his pen game back to the test with his first mixtape offering since his trials and tribulations.

The street heater "My Drink My 2-Step" recently leaked to radio, but according to Cas, any track list for the mixtape including that song aren't quite accurate. "That's the single [for my next album], but it's not actually on the mixtape," he explained. "It says it because [the mixtape's producers] thought they were actually gonna get a chance to get the song, so they printed it up. [He laughs.] But that's the single, so, you know, we got to handle that song a little differently." Still, the demand for Cassidy has been higher than gas prices, so Mike and Thoro actually taped a capellas from him straight from his jail cell, then got the rest of the songs from him after his release. Can't blame them, either: Next up for Cas before his album drops in September is a reunion with his group, Larceny. But first things first ...

Joints To Check For:

  • "Jail House Boogie (Live Over the Phone)." "Mike and Thoro named a lot of these songs on their own," Cas said. "But for this one, I was spitting over the phone from jail and they made it fit together. This was around the time I was about to go to trial, so I wanted to let the streets know I was fine. When I was in jail I wasn't able to have CDs and stuff to get the beats I needed, but I was able to listen to the radio and hear certain beats, and I locked it into my head and wrote to that bounce. Then I might hear it on the radio again and be able to spit it to that beat later."

  • "Big Things Poppin" (featuring Fabolous and Swizz Beatz). "Actually, this was a joint Swizz and Fab were putting together and I was in the studio," Cas explained. "They came through one of my sessions to finish the song and they said it'd be dope if I got on it. I listened to it and we put it together like that. It was about putting something out in the streets. The anticipation has been so much that I knew once I put material out it'd be such a crazy buzz."

  • "Story of a Hustler." "When you doing freestyles, you don't want to waste too much time with beat selection like [when] you working on your album," Cas said. "So when I heard it, I laid a little chorus to it and just came with something to touch on some topics people were interested in knowing about. And I just got busy."

Mixtape OG Dirty Harry is back for more blend action

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • DJ Fade - Step Into the 90'2
  • Mark Xclusive - Xclusive RNB
  • DJ Chonz/ DJ Bedz - Concentrate
  • St. Laz - The Don of Potterfield
  • Dirty Harry - Warlordz

And the Potterfield boss drops his latest ...

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Fabolous (featuring Pusha T) - "Joke's on You"
  • Lil Wayne - "Prostitute"
  • Swizz Beatz (featuring Kanye West) - "Here Comes Big Money"

Celebrity Faves

  Carl Thomas
The consummate vocalist, former Bad Boy artist Carl Thomas, linked up with producer Mike City (who helmed Thomas' biggest hit, 2000's "I Wish") and originally was going to do a mixtape, but eventually their work turned into a full indie album, So Much Better, which is in stores now.

"It was the perfect chance for me to get those records off that Puff never let me get off," Thomas said of the project, which features contributions from E-40, Brandy, Lalah Hathaway, DJ Quik and Thomas' idols, hitmakers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. "This is like more of what you're used to: It's less experimental than my last album, Let's Talk About It."

Thomas is coming back at the right time: The Chicago native digs what's going in his genre.

"I love Amy Winehouse's album," he enthused. "I picked up Ne-Yo's album. I think it's really dope. I'm waiting on this Jill Scott project that's coming out soon, this next Usher album, I'm anticipating R. Kelly's record. There's a wonderful independent record by Anthony Hamilton that's out [Southern Comfort, a collection of unreleased tracks recorded several years ago]. Chris Brown, might I add, is a dope performer. He's really on it.

"I like what's going on in R&B and that R&B is really making money again," he added. "A few years ago you couldn't say that. Everything was predominantly hip-hop and the singers weren't getting as much money as these rappers. Now these R&B cats are getting just as much gwap, or being able to go out and secure marketing deals just like the rappers. I was just talking to Ne-Yo about this a little while ago."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Stack Bundles
This is certainly not the way you want to start off your Monday, but a tragedy has hit the Mixtape community: Dip Set Byrdgang member Stack Bundles was murdered early Monday morning (June 11) in his hometown of Far Rockaway in the New York City borough of Queens. We're following the story here (see "Jim Jones Associate Stack Bundles Murdered") and we send our condolences to Stack's family and friends. We'll continue to celebrate Stacks and his music in the coming weeks. ...

In other mixtape news, it's hard to figure out where to start with Lil Wayne because he has so much going on — from all types of albums to huge concerts. ...

  Lil Wayne, Hit Factory Studios, Miami, FL, 06.07.2007
"That was crazy! No — that was cray-zee," Wayne said last week in Miami about his multiple performances last week at Hot 97's Summer Jam in New Jersey. "50,000 people! I never did a show in front of that many people before."

Hip-hop's most prolific mic killer is still rapping literally every day, so new music is in abundance. That being said, Weezy is not exactly crying that music being considered for his Tha Carter, Vol. 3 album was recently bootlegged and has wound up on a mixtape called The Drought Is Over: Tha Carter 3 Sessions. The only tears running down Wayne's face are tattooed on.

"We have to find out exactly what's out there," Wayne said about his music. "I'll probably just [collect] all the songs that's floating around and make my own mixtape called The Leak since people want the music so bad.

"To tell you the truth, though, there's a song I did with Kanye West out there — of course you want to save that for your album, but the rest of them songs probably wouldn't have made the album. There's a song floating around that says 'produced by Timbaland'; Tim didn't produce that record, though."

Timbo has worked on Carter 3, however: There's a record that will more than likely appear on the album featuring him, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. Kanye worked on a couple of other records for the album, as did Wyclef Jean. Wayne said he's now getting as many calls from people who want to contribute to his album as he is from people who want verses for their own projects.

Wyclef, Enrique Iglesias and Fall Out Boy are just a few that he's blessed lately. The big collabo, though, is the upcoming mixtape Blood Brothers, a CD that will mostly feature duets between Weezy and Game, with Jim Jones possibly popping up at least once on the project.

"Game called and asked me to get down. I said, 'Hell yeah,' " Birdman Jr. said. "The beats are not sounding like no regular beats. [I don't know who produced them] but they're sounding like some Dr. Dre beats."

That other duet project, I Can't Feel My Face: The Album — by Wayne and Juelz Santana — finally has a solid distribution deal and the paperwork should be done soon. The album is already done, so a summertime release is not too farfetched.

All the side work is making it easy for Wayne to stick to his guns and maintain that he wants Carter 3 to come out in 2008.

"I'm trying to sell 5 million copies," he said, adding that he's taking the advice of his good friend Nelly and wants to build the anticipation even more.

Oh, and dig this: Wayne has taken up the guitar for real. He's playing it at some of his live shows and is trying his hand at producing. And don't be shocked if you see an announcement soon that Wayne is producing most if not all of his pa Baby's next solo album. ...

  Stat Quo
Three and half years. That's how long Atlanta's Stat Quo has been signed to Shady/Aftermath and waiting to put out his debut, Statlanta. Just to give some perspective on how long it's been, in that time his friend Young Jeezy stopped asking him for advice about which label to sign with, signed two record deals and has released two group albums as well as his platinum-plus solo LPs. Chamillionaire, who was a fellow upstart long ago, signed his deal, went platinum-plus and won a Grammy. Even Game, who's worked under the wing of Dre as well, has put out two albums and is working on a third.

But the sighs of frustration are morphing into sighs of relief: The wheels are turning for Statlanta to come out this summer.

"[Eminem] came out to L.A. and we all sat down and listened to the album, we just listened to it," Stat said. "Then we played the record for execs at Interscope and they said, 'This is what people need to hear.' "

The album does exist and it'll definitely be a sleeper hit when it drops. There's an insane collaboration on there called "The Way Sh-- Be," which is produced by Dr. Dre and features a Dre verse, as well as a guest spot from Scarface. Another Dre track called "Fire" (featuring Bilal) is just that.

  Stat Quo and Eminem
Eminem got in on things as well. He produced a few cuts, one of which is a double song — with no hooks, might I add — called "Testify/ The Next One," where at one point Slim Shady uses a Southern flow to vanquish rumors of his retirement.

Stat said that unlike some of his peers in the South, he wanted to stay away from more redundant themes like partying and women and go deeper. The single, "Here We Go" (produced by Dre), and another called "G.R.I.T.S." (i.e. "Girls Raised in the South") are probably the only records we heard that heavily get into those topics on the 16-song LP.

"I'm trying to change the game — [or at least] put some action into it," Stat said. "You always hear rappers talking about 'hip-hop is dead' or 'hip-hop is wack,' then their album comes out and they only have one good song on there. How are you contributing? If you gonna talk about it, then do something about it. That's what's cool with working with Em and Dre: They're about setting precedents and taking this rap sh-- to a whole 'nother level." ...

  Lloyd Banks
Where in the world is Lloyd Banks? His Rotten Apple LP came and went, and the most lyrical member of the G-Unit camp has kept virtually no profile in the press. In the new issue of Vibe, 50 Cent hinted that the album's lack of success was due to laziness on the part of Blue Hefner.

"He said that?" former G-Unit President Sha Money XL asked last week. "I didn't read the article yet."

Money is Banks and Young Buck's manager, and said Lloyd is working on his next album — and added that he's turned over a new leaf.

"His original rap name was Lazy Lloyd, so his demeanor is laid back," Sha said. "He's the most humble one out of all them. He does have to get with the 'time to do press' [artists' business responsibilities] and all that. You have to put your heart into it. His original [stance] was to just rap. It's more than that."

Money also blames the G-Unit's well-publicized extracurricular run-ins for Rotten Apple's lack of success.

"It went from G-Unit being the hottest sh-- to now n---as is nitpicking because of all the outside sh-- going on," Sha said. "The violence, the arguing, the hate, the divide-and-conquer. All that takes away from what we need to focus on: the music.

"The industry scorned him because he's a rapper's rapper," XL added. "He doesn't sit through marketing meetings and know the politics of radio — or even the little backlash coming. When Banks came out, he had to fight a lot of hate. It wasn't based on music no more; it was the politics."

Sha is predicting big things for the album Banks is currently cooking up. "The album he's working on is amazing and he's coming back like Jay-Z after 'Sunshine,'" he said. "[Sometimes] you get that one album that don't connect, but Banks' fans is still with him. He's still touring and doing shows like sh-- is all the way right. He's coming to beat their heads in — he on some lyrical exercise.

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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