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Fire Starter: Dale "Rage" Resteghini
He's a Beantown tough guy who's probably been in trouble more times than artists he directs have reached the top 10. But in the era of shoestring budgets, video-maker Dale "Rage" Resteghini can turn water into wine with his vision. He started off doing clips for bands like Fall Out Boy, but when a contact at Koch Records put him together with Cam'ron and the Diplomats, the rocker really got on a roll. He's helmed videos for Xzibit and Jim Jones, and currently has clips in rotation for Ja Rule's "Uh Oh," Yung Berg's "Sexy Lady" and Soulja Boy's "Crank That."


Mixtape Monday: Are Diddy And Jay-Z Dissing On 50's Remix?; Lupe Fiasco Continues 'Cool' Concept

— by Jayson Rodriguez, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes, Shaheem Reid and Brennan Williams

Artist: DJ Envy & Red Cafe

Representing: Queens and Brooklyn, New York

Independent Album: The Co-Op, Vol. 1

411: You can almost hear Red Cafe saying, "Brooklyn, we did it," once this project hits shelves October 9. The NYC rapper has been on his grind for a minute now, shuffling from his group Da Franchise to a failed solo deal with Mack 10's Hoo Bangin' label, along with miscues at Loud and Arista Records. Red kept it moving throughout, though, and started popping up on mixtapes by DJs Whoo Kid and Kay Slay, among others, to keep his movement going. But when he and Envy partnered to put out a couple of joints, they realized they had something more there, and that's how the Co-Op was born. "[We're] just business owners," Red said of the union, which is a group but also their joint company. The pair recently signed Buddafly, formerly the Russell Simmons Music Group duo known as Black Buddafly. "If you watch 'The Wire,' there's a lot of different crews, [but] when they all came together they're the Co-Op." With features from Remy Ma, Styles P and Nina Sky, these dudes definitely mean business.

Joints To Check For:

  • "Dolla Bill" (featuring Jermaine Dupri and Fabolous). "I sent this beat to [Red] at first, and he told me he didn't like it," Envy said. "He told me, 'Nah, I'll pass.' " "I wasn't there at the time, that's not where I was," Red countered. "It's like one day you listening to Kanye's album and you say you love it better than 50's. Then the next day, you say you like 50's better." "And then six months later, you gave me that record, done, and said it was one of your favorites," Envy shot back. "I was there," Red said, laughing. "I arrived."

  • "Invincible. "I like that record because, you know, I been pounding at the game for a minute now and it didn't break me down," explained Red, who earlier this summer announced he signed to Akon's Konvict Musik label. "And I feel like I can't be stopped. And now, the new venture, of course, with Red Cafe, DJ Envy, I feel like we're invincible and we're gonna keep on pushing."

  • "Buck, Buck" (featuring Sheek Louch and Kool G Rap). "How did we get Kool G Rap on that record?" Envy asked Red. "A lot of phone calls," the rapper shot back, laughing. "But once he heard that record, G Rap loved it. He loved it. He got right to it. [Then] he got right back in a timely fashion. And he did it for hip-hop. He didn't send an invoice."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • 50 Cent and Mike Jones - "Hood Promo TV 2" DVD
  • DJ Dub and Kanye West - Extra Classes
  • DJ Hitz - Life in the Fast Lane
  • Mick Boogie and Young Chris - Politically Incorrect

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Jay-Z - "Blue Magic"
  • Jay-Z "Flashing Lights" (Green Lantern remix)
  • Papoose - "Street Credibility"
  • Styles P (featuring Swizz Beatz) - "Blow My Mind"
  • Stat Quo - "That's My Dawg"
  • Three 6 Mafia - "Champions"

Celebrity Faves

  Ky-Mani Marley
Like his brothers and famous father, Ky-Mani Marley has forged his own way into the music scene and is now gearing up to release his latest album, Radio, through Vox Music Group, a label known for its software translates songs to any language while still retaining the artist's voice. It's no wonder then that this musical taste is just as worldly. "I listen to everybody," he said. "Of course, I got Kanye and 50's albums. I listen to Trick Daddy. I'm 305, I'm a Dade County [Florida] boy. I be bumping to Trick. Then Jay-Z. I'm a fan of music as a whole, I'm a student. So it don't stop in one place. You had a time when I had Kenny Rogers in the disc changer for like two weeks. Kenny got some bad songs — don't sleep."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Diddy
There's been a lot of hoopla surrounding the remix of 50 Cent's "I Get Money," featuring three of the biggest titans in the game: 50, Jay-Z and Diddy. Was Jay going at LL Cool J? Was Diddy going at Mase? Well, according to the Bad Boy CEO, there was no type of animosity between Forbes' hip-hop cash kings when they got together to record. And he should know: Jay and Fif actually helped him write his verse, he told us.

"Everybody put all the greasy, slick-talk to the side," Diddy explained. "And we all got in the studio and cooked up something real special for the people. That would've been impossible [for us to be dissing anyone] being that we all sat in the same room and everybody helped me out with my verse, to finish it up. ... It just wasn't that type of energy, you know what I'm saying? And the song ain't really taking shots at anybody to be honest. It's really just putting down your status in the game. Everything I said on there I did. I wasn't just ... on top of the Forbes list. I was on the cover of Forbes. You know, 10 years ago, before cats even knew what the magazine was."

Diddy also put to bed any rumors of a rift between him and Elephant Man. Whispers started getting louder that the dancehall artist ran up in the Bad Boy offices in New York and put his hands on Diddy. Apparently, the Energy God wasn't too happy with the progress of his project. But Diddy said don't believe just everything you hear.

"Elephant Man's been in Jamaica," he explained. "He was here and when I was here — you see, I don't have problems like that, to be honest. That sh-- right there, that be happening to other people. That sh-- don't be happening to me. My house is all good and everybody sees the way I handle my problems, you know what I'm saying? You just kind of let it go. Everything don't need to be addressed. You kinda take that approach." ...

  Lupe Fiasco
You can call Lupe Fiasco a lot of things, and nerd is probably one that comes to mind first. But the skateboarding Chicago MC has no problem wearing that tag. In fact, after rapping about more everyday topics on his debut album, Food & Liquor, he's going comic book geek on his next release, The Cool, due in November. The title track, he told us, is a nod to a track of the same name on his debut, which was produced by Kanye West and introduced a character in the song who was a hustler who gets killed and later comes back to life. He actually digs himself out of his own grave.

"[The song ends] with him making a statement to these two kids who put a gun to his head," Lupe explained. "And he said, 'Hustler for death, no heaven for a gangster.' And it kind of ends. No one really knows what happens.

"So what I decided to do was go back and expand on his story," Lupe continued. "And I actually went and created other characters around him. It left me the freedom to go outside the realm, I guess, of reality. So I went and got real creative with it. Another character is the Game [not the rapper by the same name], and it's the personification of the game. Whatever the game may be — the hustle game, the pimp game, the mack game. And there's another character by the name of the Streets [also not the British rapper], and she's the personification of the streets. Everything about street life that you fall in love with. So I built up this trio and put a story line to it. But I didn't do it too heavy, 'cause I didn't want to get caught up in chasing this story and sacrifice me doing real records, like a single. But the album is very dark. It kind of focuses on ... anyone who digs themselves out of their own grave."

So far, Lupe said only about five of the album's tracks will carry on with the concept. He said he wanted to avoid a concept album so he wouldn't feel pressured to chase the story. But, he explained, the story line traces back to his mixtapes and throughout his first album.

"The little boy from 'He Say She Say' [a song from his debut] is actually the Cool," Lupe said. "The lack of a father, he grows up being brought up by the Game, who acts as his father figure, so he grows up to become the Cool.

"But outside of that, I just made it so it's also good music. It can be your interpretation of what you want it to be, however you want to enjoy it."

He even said he might put out a guide so his fans can connect the dots. ...

Twista might rap fast, but his album rollout has been slower than the veteran rhyme spitter is used to. His album, Adrenaline Rush 2007, was released last week. But Twista's first single, "Give It Up," featuring Pharrell, hasn't caught on the way he wanted it to. So like Kanye, 50 and Chamillionaire before him, he's realizing he has to put out multiple records nowadays to catch the attention of his audience.

"The value of a song isn't the same as it was, say, 20 years ago," Twista said. "It's just dealing with the competition and what you have to do now. It wasn't this much competition in the beginning stages of rap. With everyone around, it's like, 'OK, lemme put two songs out.' Or, 'OK, lemme put three songs out.' Everyone is trying to top each other so much, you have to put so much more promotion into it now. You actually want to put it out. You want the label to do as much as they could possibly do. If I could have, I would have had videos for 'Whip Game Proper,' 'Creep Fast' and 'Give It Up' before the album dropped. You just have to get as much out of the label as you can."

Next up, Twista is getting ready to head to Birmingham, Alabama, for the "Jena Six" concert this weekend. He'll be joined by Nick Cannon and others. Though he agreed with Mos Def's complaint that more artists should have turned out to the Jena Six rally in Louisiana last week, for now, he's looking forward to what he and others can continue to do.

"I commend Mos for what he's doing. It's definitely time for more rappers to speak their minds, you know what I'm saying?" he said. "I'm going to be there to show my support. This is stuff that was always paid attention to in the early days of rap. ... You had artists like KRS-One speak up on a conscious level, and I always paid attention to him. 'Cause I was raised in that culture of hip-hop, and to see it come up again, you just want to be a part of it. Mos Def called out to people, and I felt him. I want to stand up, and I'm a proud, black brother. I'm going to represent. And it ticks me off to see anything come our way negative, especially today with what we went through. So I'm going to play my part, you know?"

Hungry for more hip-hop coverage? Sink your teeth into our "Hottest MCs in the Game" feature.

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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