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Fire Starter: Razah
Def Jam is stocking up on male R&B singers. Bobby Valentino, Ne-Yo, the-Dream and now their newest addition, Razah. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in Brooklyn, Razah has been toiling away in the mixtape circuit for the past three years, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Papoose, Memphis Bleek and Bun B along the way. But his biggest collaboration has been the "Where Do We Go From Here" remix, which co-starred Rihanna. Now that he's officially on the same powerhouse label as RiRi, the minimal radio-spin days should be in his rearview. His new joint, "Rain," is a first-listen winner. He has that Caribbean melody thing working for him, like Akon and Sean Kingston.


Mixtape Monday: Nas Sounds Off On Bill O'Reilly (Again!); Havoc Finally Drops The Kush

— by Shaheem Reidand Jayson Rodriguez, with additional reportingbyRahman Dukes and Tim Kash

Artist: Havoc

Representing: QB/ G-Unit

Independent Album: The Kush

411: Capital H finally did it. There's been talk about a Hav solo LP for years, but the chatter, according to the Queensbridge native, was driven more by fans than his own interest in doing it. While his Mobb Deep partner Capital P (a.k.a. Prodigy) had no problem going solo on 2000's H.N.I.C. and this year's Return of the Mac, Hav was cool keeping his Mobb side ventures to producing (Notorious B.I.G., Jadakiss, 50 Cent, the Game and the upcoming G-Unit family album). But with his group not slated to put out another album until next year ("Definitely 2008," Hav said), he decided to capitalize on a nice little independent offer from Nature Sounds and drop The Kush. (Yes, it's named after that potent narcotic.)

Joints To Check For:
  • "NY For Life." If there's one thing the Mobb will do, it's yell "NYC" till their lungs collapse ("Straight NY, every breath of me," Hav declares). This record sets the tone of the entire album. If you want to do your two-step or snap dance, The Kush is not the place. Hav is only serving Michael Myers-dark beats and street talk. "I got a icebox where my heart used to be/ We could get into some gangsta sh--, it's cool with me/ Been through it all ... I figure you just frontin' for publicity."

  • "Set Me Free." Man, I don't think we can wait till '08 for a full Mobb album. Prodigy adds to the fury on the record with his laid-back vehemence: "H keep making these beats for me to kill/ Our studio is like a morgue 'cause songs get bodied/ I shoot up the bass, stab up the drums."

  • "Ride Out." Look out for the Mobb's new Southside Queens protégé, Nyce. He's kinda nice. The beat Hav made — slow, thumping, dark, synthesizer-driven — reminds you of a drive-by scene from "Menace II Society" Or is it the blatant rhymes about clipping up in a Lexus coupe and exacting revenge: "The smell of gun powder and n---as is creeping," Nyce rhymes. "Bullet holes in the ceiling."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • DJ Dub - Native Sons
  • Jacki-O - Jack tha Rippa
  • Dipset - 40 Cal: Broken Safety 2
  • Mike Swift - Still Doing the Right Thing
  • DJ Whoo Kid - Change

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Wu-Tang Clan - "Watch Your Mouth"
  • Red Cafe and DJ Envy (featuring Sean Kingston, Busta Rhymes, Jermaine Dupri and Juelz Santana) - "Dolla Bill" remix
  • 50 Cent - "Smile"
  • Memphis Bleek - "Get Ya Money Up"

Celebrity Faves

  Little X
Little X is still creating some of the most visually appealing images in hip-hop with videos he's helmed for the likes of R. Kelly and Usher ("Same Girl") and Trey Songz ("Wonder Woman") this past year. But the Canadian-born director has recently taken his creativity to a different platform by designing a line of workout gear (he just got his gym membership, so it's real) for Ice Gear called the X Collection. According to X, he did the line to stoke his juices, kind of like he does when he listens to music. "Just from my job [I spend] so much of my time listening to rap music, rap music, R&B, R&B — I started going and getting into other things that normally don't get as much airplay," he said. "On the reggae level, the one that everyone is excited about is Movado. Then for soca, Alison Hinds is like a queen, and then [her] 'Roll It Gal' song. That's big, I was really into that."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  50 Cent
Last week we told you how Kanye West brought both DJ Toomp and Timbaland in to help him with some of the soundscapes for Graduation. Well, 50 Cent is equally impressed with Timbo the King.

"He did stuff I never seen a producer do," 50 said recently in Las Vegas about working with Timbaland. (Tim, as the whole world knows now, produced 50's "Ayo Technology.") "I seen him take pins in a can and shake it and make it sound like something else. Then he puts the drums in the machine. It just got crazy in there."

50 said his work with Timbo inspired Kanye before West even heard their song.

"He said, 'Yo, [when] they told me you made that record with Timbaland, I made three new records,' " 50 said, smiling. "Then when I heard [the song], I was like, 'Ah man, [Kanye] got a record with [Timbaland].' "

"He's smart," 50 added. "He ain't stupid. That's what I would do." ...

  Noonie G.
Chi-town's Harold "Noonie G." Ward had a tough rep coming up as a member of the city's notorious Gangster Disciple set. But the burgeoning philanthropist and entrepreneur is now showing his softer side — or at least, a more emotional aspect of his life — through his recently released DVD, "Gangster with a Heart of Gold: The Noonie G. Story." "I'm alive," Noonie said of the difference between his story and other gangster flicks. "I can tell [the story] myself since I'm still here. It's all good. Most of the guys [like me] are doing a lot of time or they're dead. I had a long run, so to come out of it like I did is real cool."

Fellow Windy City natives Kanye West and Common split the narrating duties on the project, but if Noonie had his wish, Twista and every one of the Chi's finest would have repped for him on the film.

Next up, Noonie's putting the final touches on his autobiography, which, according to him, will be a more detailed account of his life. He hopes to drop the book toward the end of this year. "I can't show everything on the DVD like I want to, but the book is gonna have everything," he said. "My lawyer keeps calling me about it, so you know I got something there.

"But I really want kids to learn from my story," Noonie continued. "But then, the [people] 25 to 50 and older, I want them to know, we failed these kids. We created a monster and now we got to deal with it. If they knew better, they'd do better. We got to teach them. Even the basics."

Mixtape Monday Extra

We're going overtime this week because you guys can't seem to get enough of Nas. All week people have been asking us if there is anything else going on with him. Yes — take a gander below.

Nas definitely scoffed at Bill O'Reilly claiming he was a poor choice to perform at Virginia Tech a couple of weeks ago because of some of his gun references in records such as "Made You Look" and "Shoot 'Em Up." Nas, who says he's about halfway done with his next album (which he plans to release later this year), spoke exclusively to MTV News last week before the show at Virginia Tech, labeling O'Reilly's comments "racist." Esco had a lot on his mind though, from the "n" word to even Amy Winehouse. So we decided to run more from the conversation with MTV News Hip-Hop Editor Shaheem Reid.

MTV News: Bill O'Reilly has leveled a lot of criticism at you over the Virginia Tech concert [which went off without major incident]. Would you ever go on his show to talk about your music?

Nas: Whenever he wants a debate, I'll go through it. I know Bill O'Reilly's test scores. I know what he did, what he's trying to be ... I'm a psycho. I'm an American psycho. [Addressing O'Reilly:] "Come to Queensbridge, [record your show] out there. Come to Jamaica, Queens [New York]. Do a show in Red Hook [Brooklyn, New York]." ... I ain't got no time to talk to a uncivilized savage. This man will go through all kinds of extremes for publicity. I will tell him I'm an American psycho, I'm his worst nightmare. "They Shootin' " is just the beginning.

I don't downplay nothing, that's who I am. When he wants to come holla at me, be ready for Hannibal Lecter. He don't deserve an intelligent explanation. I'll bite his nose off! He wants to talk to me like a animal? I will be — but only to him. With everybody else I'll be a gentleman, including his wife. That's right — I'm crazy. That's how we should be to him. He isn't here to help us, and we don't need his help.

If Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to VA Tech, he's gonna come dressed like the Terminator? [O'Reilly] would never say that about Arnold Schwarzenegger. But he'll say that to me because he's ignorant.

MTV News: What about this whole new controversy around the word "n---a"? They recently kicked Eddie Griffin off the stage at a Black Enterprise magazine event because they said he offended the onlookers with his use of profanity and the word "n---a."

Nas: I mean, it's a human problem. It's reality. There's so many prejudiced people in the world. What you gonna do, Sha? You know what it is. It's an ugliness. Racism is ugly. Our people are faced with a serious dilemma, what do we do? You got conservative, rich black folks that are above the word "n---a." Rightfully so. Then you got the word n---a, which has the genius of the black mind and has been changed into a billion-dollar word through Richard Pryor, who should own it. Paul Mooney should own the word. N.W.A, Dr. Dre, should own a piece of the word. "N---a" has changed into a billion-dollar franchise. It's just a smack in the face to all the races that we've changed that into a positive. You're gonna have brothers and sisters who are educated who don't need it. You also have a world who lives in it, who deals with it every day on levels that are unbearable.

NEXT: Nas Sounds Off On Bill O'Reilly (Again!) ...
Photo: MTV News

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