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— Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes

Artist: E Ness

Representing: Philly

Mixtape: The Ness Best Thing

411: We know what you're thinking: Where has this dude been? He was supposed to come out with a new album a couple of years ago. To keep it all the way real, Ness said he had to take some time out of the spotlight after being followed by cameras with his "Making the Band 3" group Da Band for three years straight ("I had to get to being a regular n---a," he said). Now he's back. Ness restructured his deal with Bad Boy in May and is hoping to piggyback off of the success of Danity Kane, Yung Joc, Cassie and Diddy as they flood the airwaves with Bad Boy material. Ness has recorded more than 200 songs and will put out the single "Talkin Dirty" soon. "I recorded whole albums with 9th Wonder, recorded whole albums with Tony Dofat, recorded whole albums with D-Dot — I'm talking about 12, 14 joints when I say whole albums. I got joints from Will.I.Am, Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze." For the mixtape, the Philly native teamed up with DJ Cannon and former high school classmate DJ Drama. Here's the science on some of the tracks:

Joints To Check For:
  • "Talkin Dirty." "It's produced by Khrysis and recorded by 9th Wonder," Ness said. "We only have, like, two original tracks on the mixtape; the rest are freestyles. This is the first single off my debut album, Nessessary. Basically it's a hip-hop joint getting back at all the naysayers that had something to say about Ness. The actual verses were written in 2000 while I was incarcerated.

  • "Can I Live" freestyle. "I went in my bag on this one," Ness said. "This is the Lockness Monsta goin' hard on my favorite all-time Bad Boy track [Black Rob's 'Can I Live']."

  • "F--- N---as F--- Bitches." "I took the concept from Biggie when he freestyled over Dr. Dre's beats [on 'Road to the Riches.'] I was just showing n---as I could rap over anyone's track no matter the region. I used all West Coast beats like 'Bitches Ain't Sh--,' 'This Is How We Do It,' 'What's My Name,' 'Gin and Juice.' "

    Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
    • B.G. - Play It How It Go Volume 5
    • Clinton Sparks and Consequence - The Cons Volume 4: Finish What You Started
    • DJ Kay Slay - "Can't Stop the Reign" DVD
    • Ras Kass - Eat or Die
    • Selector Rondon - Vocal Singing 23
    • Tapemasters Inc. - The Future of R&B Part Eleven

    'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Akon (featuring Snoop Dogg) - "I Wanna Luv You"
  • Busta Rhymes (featuring Ludacris) - "In the Ghetto" remix
  • Diddy - "The Future"
  • G-Unit (featuring Freeway, M.O.P. and Hot Rod) - "Pass the Mic"
  • Raekwon - "Cuban Chronicles"

Celebrity Faves

  Hype Williams
Hype Williams was lauded at the MTV Video Music Awards for his pioneering videos on August 31. We got Hype to spill the beans about his favorite work. "My personal favorite is [Jay-Z's] 'Big Pimpin',' " he revealed. "It was really the first experience on film that we captured with no type of staging. It wasn't like we storyboarded it, then shot it in some studio in L.A. We did it all on the fly. There was no real structure to it. Everybody from Irv Gotti to Lyor Cohen came down to be part of the video. It was back in '99, but man, I gotta tell you, it was one of the monuments for me and really put a fine point on lifestyle in music video in general."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Juelz Santana
Juelz Santana and Lil Wayne are a little upset that songs from their mixtape I Can't Feel My Face leaked, but Santana said they are still going to put the official mixtape out in less than two weeks ("There's a couple of songs n--as on the streets don't even have, and those songs weren't mixed," Santana said).

And better yet, they have decided to definitely make an album together. "We already got two songs we just did the other day in Virginia," Santana said of the LP.

Weezy and Elz are on the Up Close and Personal Tour with Chris Brown and Ne-Yo, so Santana doesn't see any problem with the duo coming together to record. The only question: Who will put the album out?

"I don't know yet," Santana said. "It will definitely be a Diplomat/ Cash Money project. We don't know who the major [label] is going to be yet. That ain't been talked about yet. I have to talk to [Cam'ron] and I think Weezy has to talk to Baby, and we'll come to the table together with something.

"As far as rappers, we might feature a couple of people on there, ya dig?" Juelz continued. "As far as producers, we're trying to [work] with everybody. We're trying to make an album nobody is gonna forget. The expectations is gonna be high. We don't know [when it is coming out]."

Santana is working on his next solo mixtape, The Rehab (it's halfway done), as well as his next solo LP. The game plan on the official album is still the same: He wants to work with a few big-name producers like Eminem.

"I been working already," Santana said. "I'm always working. I just like to have a bunch of songs to pick from. I don't want to just have 14 songs. My last album, I had over 100 songs. My solo album, I'll definitely have a couple of named producers, maybe two or three — dudes that I wanted to work with and see how I sound over their beats like an Eminem. I still wanna [work] with my up-and-coming dudes, 'cause I still feel like them dudes is hungry, man." ...

  Big Block
Block Entertainment CEO Big Block has made the newest member of Boyz N Da Hood official. It's not Rick Ross, Lil Wayne or T.I., as had been rumored. He went a whole different route and brought on a newcomer: Zo.

"When I first did Boyz, it was built on me grabbing new artists, springboarding their career, and they branch off," Block explained. "The whole movement was Big Gee, Jodie Breeze, Duke and Young Jeezy. Jeezy is up now, he's gone. I was gonna sign Rick Ross; Rick Ross couldn't sign with me. To keep it all the way real, it was paperwork, politics. Same thing with Lil Wayne; Wayne couldn't sign with me.

"So Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, T.I. are all honorary members of Boyz N Da Hood," he continued. "But the official new member is Zo. Zo is in the group. He's gonna take it to another level then drop his solo album, Welcome to the Zoo. ... The new group album in February is called Back in the Chevy. [Yung] Joc is on there. Ice Cube is on the single." ...

Years ago, Coolio really got peeved when "Weird Al" Yankovic made a parody of his "Gangsta's Paradise" with "Amish Paradise." Chamillionaire apparently has a better sense of humor. He thinks it's quite funny that Al flipped "Ridin" into "White and Nerdy."

"He's actually rapping pretty good on it, it's crazy," Cham said last week. "I guess [Al's camp] reached out to my management and asked if they could do it. He's Grammy-nominated, man. He goes platinum. It's really an honor when he does that. I remember when he redid Michael Jackson's 'Bad' ['Fat']. Weird Al is not gonna do a parody of your song if you're not doing it big. You gotta be a big dog. He shot the video, and people will see it pretty soon. It's crazy.

"He's spittin' just like Krayzie Bone on the second verse," Cham added. "It's actually very funny if you listen to what he's saying. The way Krayzie is harmonizing, he does the same thing. It surprised me. I didn't know he could rap like that. Just when you think 'Ridin' was gonna stop, something happens to make it bigger. I hear sportscasters on EPSN referencing it. Go to Jamaica, they're playing it. It won't stop." ...

DJ/producer Clinton Sparks continues to run with the big dawgs. He recently put out a mixtape with Samuel L. Jackson and 50 Cent, and last week, he spun records for Diddy at the NFL kickoff game between the Miami Dolphins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Dude, this whole experience has been very surreal," he said about working with Sean Combs. "Going from breaking Puff Daddy's and Bad Boy's records on radio, mixtapes and in the clubs, to producing a record on the late Notorious B.I.G.'s final album, to now doing a show on primetime television with P. Diddy for the NFL 2006 kickoff season. It was an incredible experience. All my hard work over the years is definitely paying off. Hopefully this will lead to greater opportunities in the future."

Clint was gracious enough to hit us with some photos from his practice sessions with Diddy. (Click here to see Diddy and Clinton Sparks in action.)

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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