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Fire Starter: The Empire
Hey, doesn't this guy look like Big Mike? Empire, who is one-half of the now-defunct Evil Empire DJ duo, has MCs' and fans' antennae going off like crazy right about now. He's been getting real exclusive — meant-for-the album-how-the hell-did-you-get-that? — joints lately. Most notably, he snagged some Lil Wayne records that Weezy was thinking about putting on Tha Carter, Vol. 3. Look for this Southerner to cause more chaos in the coming weeks.


Mixtape Monday: Mobb Deep Tell Their Side Of Saigon Fight, Defend Kanye West Dis; Young Buck Goes After Lil Wayne ... Again

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

Artist: Styles P

Representing: D-Block

Mixtape: The Phantom Menace

411: Styles P describes the D-Block studios as "Jedi Knight School." "Their job should be no easier than ours was," SP the Ghost explained about his new crew of young boys that he introduces on his new mixtape, The Phantom Menace. Among the crop that you'll hear are Buckey, Bully and A.P.

"Our job," he continued, talking about the early days of the LOX's mixtape marauding in the mid '90s, "was to make a large amount of bars that were pinpoint accurate and hit home. So you hear me letting them go ape, go nuts."

One young Jedi who will not be swinging his light saber under the D-Block umbrella anymore is J. Hood. As you must know by now, he's left the camp because it was taking too long for his debut, Tales From the Hood, to drop. Styles was the first one J. told that he wanted out. Hood has since popped up onstage with onetime D-Block foes G-Unit, and there is YouTube footage showing J. dragging his D-Block chain on the sidewalk.

"I don't understand Hood though, because Hood came up to me before all the stuff on the Internet," Styles said. "He was unhappy. I got love for Hood. He came up under us, he was unhappy, his album wasn't out. So I was like, 'Cool, you want out, there's no fine. I'll go talk to the lawyers, no problem.' A week later, I see the Internet stuff, him dragging the D-Block chain. It's dumb."

Styles says that he can sympathize with artists wanting to leave their label, but he insists that he and the LOX would personally hand Hood's music to DJs and the songs didn't stick — thus, the delay on the album. The Ghost, however, says there won't be a delay for his next LP; he has December 4 as a target date. SP has determined the title of his third solo LP will be Super Gangster, Extraordinary Gentleman. And yes, the LOX are a little closer to finding a recording home.

Joints To Check For:

  • "We'll Eat You." "We're 'hood. When you in the 'hood you like R&B too," Styles explained of him and his crew rapping over Fantasia's "When I See You." "I love her song and what she did. But we always try to take it to another level and show we're mean all around the board. Some people could just go hard on hard-core beats. You gotta be able to take an R&B beat and body it and still be able to give off that 'hood vibe. Buckey did the hook on that. He's straight outta Philly. He's a tyrant."

  • "Where My Homies" freestyle. "I come from listening to rap. I'm an MC," SP said. "A lot of people don't pay homage to the old school, what was poppin'. Me, that was my era. I'm a hip-hop head, a hip-hop baby. Ill and Al Scratch's 'Where My Homies,' that was poppin' in every crib, every car, every 'hood. They was asking, 'Where my homies?' 'Creepin' through your neighborhood.' So it's me paying homage. Then me, I like to pick old beats so MCs — not so much the young boys because they think it's a new beat, but older MCs — would know we still feel them. We still feel their work."

  • "Please Listen to My Mixtape." "We flipped EPMD's 'Please Listen to My Demo,' " the Ghost said. "This is my art. For some people it's a job, for some people this is art. This is my job, my art, my everything. [My engineer] Poobs picks the beats sometimes. We build on everything. He was hitting me since last year like, 'You gotta do the "Please Listen to My Demo" joint.' I murdered it. That's what we do."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • DJ Blazita - The Playin' Catch Up 2
  • DJ Bobby Black - Down & Dirty 27 (Hosted by Attitude)
  • DJ Q - The Best of Curtis
  • DJ Scoob Doo - "Streets Talk DVD 4"
  • DJ Skee and Snoop Dogg - Terrace Martin: Signal Flow
  • K. Sparks - Eclectic

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Justin Timberlake (featuring Beyonce) - "End of Time" remix
  • Kanye West (featuring Beanie Sigel and Freeway) - "Can't Tell Me Nothing" (Roc-A-Fella remix)
  • Dem County Boyz - "Spiderman"
  • Bishop Lamont - "No Stoppin" and "American Dream"

Celebrity Faves

"Better call Babyface so he can bring out the cool in you." Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds just dropped his LP Playlist, and he said when it comes to his own personal playlist, there's a bevy of records to choose from. "It's a wide range of things," he said. "I'll listen to things today from Rihanna to Kanye to Fall Out Boy to Nickelback. Or I'll go back to the Rolling Stones or the Beatles. I have 4,000, 5,000 songs on my iPod. I have two iPods filled with music."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

OK, rappers: The VMAs have been over for weeks, but let's not forget to leave the physical altercations to the rockers like Kid Rock and Tommy Lee.

  Mobb Deep
A couple of weeks ago, the long-brewing (as in years-in-the-making) Mobb Deep and Saigon tension spilled off of Internet interviews and street DVDs onto the stage. They performed at the same show at New York club S.O.B.'s, and as quickly as it looked like things would remain calm, they got to scrappin'.

There's YouTube footage of the incident floating around and it looked like chaotic tomfoolery. The Mobb was first to respond to the incident by releasing footage of the fight, followed by Sai's blog postings on his MySpace page, like the entry "I Finally Got Prodigy... ." Sai went on to say, "I know you all are seeing this YouTube video of like 25 Mobb Deep n---as chasing me out the club. ... And hell f---ing yeah I dipped up out of there untouched. ... But that was after I snuffed little punk ass Prodigy."

Sai has since said he's not talking about the incident anymore, but Prodigy and Havoc spoke to us directly to get their side of the altercation out there.

"We went to Hav's show, you know how we do, we the Mobb," Prodigy said. "We was going to show love and celebrate. It was all love. Then we hear [DJ] Premier on the mic saying, 'We got a special guest performance tonight: Saigon.' We all looking at each other like, 'Saigon? What is he doing here? Special guest performance? OK, let's get up onstage.' Basically, Hav showed him love. Saigon was like, 'Oh, it's all love.' I was glad that happened. But certain people around us was like, He's poppin' sh--. We f---ing him up.' And that's what happened. He caught lumps."

The footage shows what happened to Sai, and you could clearly see him hitting Prodigy in the face.

"For people to say, 'He snuffed P,' first of all, that's what happens in a fight," Prodigy said. "People get hit. I been hit plenty of times in my face in a fight. I done got people's teeth lodged in my knuckles and all that. That's what happens. At the end of the day, he got chased out the building.

  Mobb Deep
"He saw an opportunity where he could hit me and he hit me," Prodigy added. "He was smart for doing that. But right after that, he got lumped some more. He's getting chased out the club [riding] on his man's back. N---as was telling him, 'Drop your jewelry and we'll stop chasing you.' [Sai says that never happened.] He dropped his watch then hopped in the car and left. We picked up his watch and threw it away 'cause it was fake. Me and Hav ain't even do none of this. When all of that was going on, we did a Mobb Deep performance. We did seven songs and bounced. [Saigon] got a little lucky punch, but dude hits like a girl. It's nothing. His man knocked me down 'cause he punched me in my shoulder. I jumped right back up from that."

"How do you jump on another man's back?" Havoc chimed in with a chuckle. "How do you do that? He jumped on another man's back [to flee the club]. He started with us from the beginning. He's a wack new rapper who will never be a legend. Mobb Deep are legends. If you think I'm wrong, say I'm wrong, but I got mad gold and platinum plaques."

Nobody applauds beef that spills off of wax. Luckily, the Mobb are saying they don't expect any serious violence to occur in the wake of this.

"That's what happens in rap music," Prodigy said. "Ain't nobody trying to kill nobody or nothing like that. Nobody is trying to do that. It's lumps. It's reasons behind everything. We ain't just reckless out here. Mobb Deep is way smarter than that. How you think we survived in the streets for so long? We ain't out here just recklessly wilding."

And in other beef, right before the show at S.O.B.'s, Havoc gave an interview disrespecting Kanye West, a man who has produced for the Mobb in the past.

"Hip-hop is in the state it's in," Hav tried to explain. "I'm just trying to make it a little more interesting. Of course I like Kanye. He knows I don't hate him. I met him, I like him, he's a good dude. It's just like being in the game with Michael Jordan. I love him to death, but I gotta foul him. Give him a quick elbow."

"It's the competition," Prodigy added. "From day one, we told everybody, 'We out to beat you.' We don't hate him. We did music with Kanye." ...

  Maino, Saigon, Tru Life, French and Gutta on the set of "Come on Baby" video
Why is Saigon not talking about the Mobb? He wants to put the focus back on his music. The Greatest Story Never Told might come out this year. He just finished the video for "Come on Baby." It was shot last week in New York.

"We end up in a rock club," he told us of the plot. "We go somewhere to perform — me, Just [Blaze] and Swizz Beatz. "We go thinking it's a hip-hop spot, but it's a rock-and-roll spot. We go and see some rockers on the stage, and we kick them off the stage and rock the house." ...

DJ Whoo Kid said the new mixtape Sabrina's Baby Boy will be the last in the G-Unit Radio series.

"We're coming with a new series," Whoo told us. "Chris Rock is hosting it. I did some marketing for his movie 'I Think I Love My Wife.' As a favor, I told him, 'There's gonna be one day I will need you.' He lives in Jersey too. He don't live far from me. I went to his crib. Mutha----a had on some slippers and tight-ass shorts. I was like, 'Yo, man, I know you at the crib. I'm not going to talk about this.' ... But I just did!"

  "Sabrina's Baby Boy" cover
Sabrina's Baby Boy (the title pays homage to 50 Cent's mother) was supposed to drop months ago, but it got lost while Fif was pushing his latest LP, Curtis.

"The balancing of the album dropping and the remix to 'I Get Money,' " Kid explained of the delay. "He wanted the remix on there. Then he's doing his movies. We usually knock out a mixtape in two or three days and put the mixtape out about a month or month and a half before the album comes out. We started working on this mixtape during the album promo, and it was so ridiculous. It finally got done. I had to force him a little, fly here and there. We finished it in Atlanta. He's got a nice little secret spot out there with a special someone. You know."

One of the first records leaked from the mixtape is called "Class Is in Session," on which Young Buck disses Lil Wayne, Fat Joe and DJ Khaled. Buck is still upset that Khaled will not play any G-Unit records on his radio show. And when it comes to Wayne, Buck is heated that Weezy did a song with Ja Rule.

"N---a, I know you," Buck fumed last week while promoting his forthcoming Cashville Records compilation Product of the South. "You have the nerve to call me and speak upon how you having problems and Baby is taking your money. And how right Mannie Fresh is about leaving. And if he responds in any type of way, I'mma end his career 'cause I got it on tape. I'mma let the world hear him complaining. But then you gonna run and stand beside Ja Rule talking about some 'Uh Oh.' That's the heart of [my problem with him]. You know that's some real beef, and you gonna run and stand with Ja. You're asking for it."

"There's more of that on there," Whoo Kid said of dis records on the new mixtape. "50 is still killing Cam'ron on there. Still killing all these other cats. There's one song where he talks about his family. There's a record called 'Coke Life' talking about people out there B.S.-ing. That song's with [Tony] Yayo and [Lloyd] Banks. This mixtape is the usual. They're killing all their enemies on there on mostly all the records. It proves we are still the creators of this mixtape format and phenomenon. With a Whoo Kid touch, you can't go wrong.

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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