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— by Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes, Bridget Bland and Curtis Waller

MC: Killer Mike (with a little help from DJ Sense)

CD: The Killer

Representing: The dirtiest part of hip-hop

411: You can feel the genuine love Killer Mike has for hip-hop as soon as he starts talking. He calls rap his "religion since 1983" and sites influences such as Ice Cube, KRS-One and, of course, the Dungeon Family. With his LP Ghetto Extraordinary due in late September, the Grammy Award winner is hoping to begin spray painting his name on the walls as one of the new standard bearers.

So what if his last album, 2003's Monster, was slept on? Mike is determined that's not going to happen again. He's the leadoff artist for Big Boi's Purple Ribbon label, and he's confident that he can properly set off the revamped company. Mike has a full deck to play with: He just shot the video for "My Chrome" with director Hype Williams, and he also has a 30-minute mini-movie in the can for the songs "N---as Down South" and "I'm the Sh--," chronicling the conflicts between two hustlers in the same crew. The film will be released on DVD and packaged with his upcoming album.

In the meantime, Mike's The Killer — a mixtape of original tracks, freestyles and skits he says is comparable to an underground album — just hit the streets. Here, the man with the newly refined flow (he raps just a bit slower and uses more of his natural voice) drops science on a few of the songs.

Joints to Check For:

  • "My Chrome." "It feels damn near like a skating-rink song," Mike says of the record produced by Mr. DJ. " 'You don't have to go home/ You can stay here/ Put one up in the air while we bend the corners of my chrome.' The whole song is based on the premise of what it's like to party down here, our lifestyle. 'Ease-eee, the cush it got me sleepy/ Rollin' down 85/ Leeeean-in' but I ain't weavin'/ Man you should stay a day in the A ...' I'm letting dudes know you come down here, kick it and have a good time."


  • "N---as Down South." "Right now they know us for the headbussin' and the crunk, but I don't want them to never forget that, first and foremost, ni--as down South is players," Mike explains. "At the end of the day, it's all about getting money down here and living better, making sure your family and children live better than what you was given an opportunity to. I wanted to bring the world up to speed and give the South an anthem. ... I'm blessed to be black, but I'm highly blessed and favored to be Southern. I honestly feel every day that it's a huge blessing to be from here."


  • "A Dope Story." "I'm just a fan of theirs," Mike says of 112, whose "Cupid" beat he used for the soundscape of this tale about a drug deal turned deadly. "[112] was actually trying to put together a mixtape and asked if I could do something for them. I didn't want to do your typical crunk stuff or typical hardcore street rap; I wanted to marry hardcore street rap over something real beautiful. 'Cupid' was it for me. ['A Dope Story'] is actually going on the album, and that was a freestyle. I'm just trying to keep it innovative, man."


Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week













  • DJ L and Freeway's Wanted for Murder
  • Cutmaster C's Uncut Radio Volume 2 hosted by Superhead
  • Jim Jones' City of God
  • DJ Kay Slay's Prinz: The Pistoleer
  • Flawless' For Heaven's Sake hosted by Big Mike
  • "We Still in the Streets" DVD
  • DJ Cool Breeze's What's Beef
  • DJ Chuck T and Young City's Overdue
  • DJ Pudgee P's Live at the Barbeque
  • All Access' Street Credibility Vol. 3
  • 730's 730 Presents: The Best of Pottersfield















'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

  • Juelz Santana - "There It Go (The Whistle Song)"
  • DMX feat Styles P. and Jadakiss - "It's Personal"
  • Tony Yayo featuring Joe - "Curious"
  • Lil' Flip - "Youz a Trick"
  • Busta Rhymes - "Up to No Good"
  • Teairra Mari - "No Daddy"
  • Papoose featuring Maino, WC and Bun B - "We Are the Streets"


Celebrity Favs

"The best thing about being in this game for me is listening to someone, liking them and calling them up to do a tape," DJ Sickamore explained. "I'm loving Tru Life, Juelz Santana and Young Jeezy right now. Tru is trying to bring New York back with his 9th Wonder anthem "The New New York," Juelz is killing them harder than he ever has, and Jeezy has one of the craziest albums I've heard in a while. So I did mixtapes with all three of them: I Can Make You Famous parts two, three and four!"

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

You knew it was going come, you just didn't know when. Nas played chess and kept everyone guessing for months as to when he would respond to getting called out on 50 Cent's "Piggy Bank." A new track labeled "MC Burial" just hit Internet, and on it God's Son unleashes his fury on the folks who've been mentioning him unfavorably.

"N---as don't want beef, they vegetarians," Nas insists on the opening verse. And while he doesn't mention 50 by name, several lines imply he's going at the G-Unit general.

"They say Jada defeated them, Joe's too street for him/ What's next? I guess it's for Nas to ether him.

"You's a sucker for death if I'm a sucker for love," he continues. "Scared of me so you talk about family members like I can't point out your grandma, n---a."

Nas has been telling everyone that his next LP is going to be called The NASDAQ Dow Jones, however his label said there's no official title yet. Nas is well into the recording process and his LP should be out this year.

To all the people wondering if mixtapes are going to be the only forum for Tony Yayo's songs, the "Energy God" of the G-Unit says no way. His album Thoughts of a Predicate Felon is coming out this summer — really. The LP has been pushed back a few times: from late June to mid-July, then to late July — and now, though Yayo's "So Seductive" is currently one of the biggest club anthems in rap, it's slated for late August.

Yayo explained that his album has been pushed back because of the travel constraints that are part of his federal probation and state parole restrictions. He couldn't get out and spread the word about his music the way he wanted to, so he put off putting out his LP. Fortunately, Yayo and the officials were able to find a happy medium, and they even let him go on the Anger Management 3 Tour — with one stipulation: He couldn't stay in the same hotel as Eminem or 50 Cent.

"That's cool though, 'cause it keeps me outta trouble," Yayo said. "The groupies running through the hallway ... you know how tours get. So I'm gonna keep myself focused and out of trouble. I can't afford to go back to jail right now. I got too much support behind me. I'll let down not only my fans, but a whole record label, as well as friends and family too."

Over the past few weeks, former G-Unit family member the Game has been relentless with disses aimed at the camp. Surprisingly, Yayo is very calm when addressing the situation and practically shrugs the Compton native off.

"People should view him for what he his," Yayo said of Game. "I think he got fame too fast. Some dudes don't know how to handle fame.

"This is the same dude who invites people to his private parts. In jail you get killed for that. He says, 'Jay-Z can suck ... ' overseas. When you come back, you say, 'Jay-Z's a legend. I didn't mean to talk to him like that.' He's also said G-Unit is like an East Coast N.W.A; now it's 'G-Unot.' 'Yayo is the rawest rapper out the camp, that's why I had to get him on my album'; now it's, 'Yayo's wack.' He contradicts himself. Joe Budden, he disses him; then when he sees Joe Budden, he's kissing and hugging on him in the club. I just don't understand him."

G-Unit's other main nemeses have been D-Block, and Styles, Jadakiss, J-Hood and Sheek Louch have been enjoying that lyrical melee on mixtapes, but what about official albums coming from the crew? Styles' Time Is Money has been on hold since the top of the year, and Sheek has pushed his Koch Records release After Taxes back from midsummer as well. Here is the latest: Reps for both Sheek and Styles say the two have new release dates. Styles' LP is slated to drop in October, and Sheek's album is due in September. And what's up with Jada? Well Kiss is in the lab working on his next LP, and according to the streets, he may be putting that record on a label run by Shawn Carter.

Rumors have been swirling that Jay-Z is trying get Kiss from Interscope to Def Jam. Jay was unable to be reached for comment and Kiss refused to confirm the rumor, but he did say he wouldn't turn his back on rolling with Young Hova: "Jay Z is one of the greatest ... entrepreneur/rapper/businessman/everything. It would be a pleasure to be on the same team with him. I don't know what the rumors are, but only time will tell, baby."

And while we're airing out rumors, is there any truth to the talk that P. Diddy is looking to re-form the LOX? "I don't know," Jada said. "Big shout out to Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Sean Combs — all of the above. I don't know about the LOX. The LOX is already back together, but ... as far as doing a whole album with Puff, that's just talk. Everything is just rumors."

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




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