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— By Shaheem Reid

DJ: Jermaine Dupri and DJ Funky

Representing: A-Town

Mixtape: Unsigned Hype, Volume One

411: Jermaine Dupri is one of the few cats in hip-hop who produces #1 blockbusters like "Burn" and "My Boo" and still keeps his ears in tune to what the girls who swing on poles like to shake to.

"We got a lot of music from a lot of different people, but all that music is really the underground music of ATL," J.D. explained about Unsigned Hype. "It's what Atlanta sounds like, the sound that's not on the radio. If you go to the strip clubs in Atlanta, you gonna hear all them records that's on my mixtape."

Dupri, who has his own hour-long radio show, "So So Def Radio," on V103 in Atlanta (he only plays new music, much of it from aspiring artists), said he wanted to help the underdogs because not all DJs share his belief in giving everyone a shot.

"I get tired of listening to the radio and hearing the same old sh--," Dupri says on the intro to the mixtape. "I get tired of going to the clubs and hearing the DJ playing records we been hearing the last three f---ing years."

"I can't sign everybody, but I can at least help the dudes get a little bit more notoriety," Dupri said via phone from ATL. "When people come to Atlanta and they looking to sign somebody, they can use my tapes as a guide. A lot of these records are good. All of them ain't great, but they have potential to be big records. It all depends on the hands they get into."

Joints To Check For:
  • "Wisha Muthaf---a Would" by Backwood Slick. J.D. isn't the only Southern legend co-signing this act. Backwood Slick actually has a guest spot from 8Ball on this I-dare-ya anthem. And you know Ball is a bad, bad man because he even name-checks his government ID of Premro a couple of times on the track.
  • "King Bitch" by Bolow. King James was never this crass, but then again he couldn't carry a flow like this youngster. Bolow may not be a household name, but he obviously aspires to greatness as he raps about leaving hatas in the dust, the diamonds on his neck and ring, and riding clean in the dirty dirty.
  • "Call Grady" by Kenny Thomas. FYI, the Grady Kenny is talking about is not Fred Sanford's elderly best friend. In fact, Kenny refers to the old man as "shady." After listening to this dose of fight music, you want to call 911 (or as the song beckons, Grady Memorial Hospital). Heads are getting stomped, they're rumbling in the club and charges are being caught.
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

  • DJ Wreck's Still on My Grind
  • J. Armz's The Punisher, Pt. 2
  • Green Lantern's Shade 45: Sirius Bizness
  • DJ Jelly and MC Assault's Strapped, Make Em Jump, Slammin' R&B Part 4 and Traffic Jam 2004
  • Scram Jones' Loose Cannons

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • "We Got 'Em Goin' " - R. Kelly featuring Jay-Z and Memphis Bleek
  • "Fresh '83" - Game featuring 50 Cent
  • "Holla at Somebody Real" - Fabolous featuring Lil' Mo
  • "Knuck If You Buck" - Crime Mobb
  • "Still Tippin' " - Mike Jones featuring Paul Wall and Slim Thug
  • "Bring Em Out" - T.I.
  • "Lames" - Saigon

Celebrity Favs

You heard about how J.D. is showing love to unsigned artists — now hear who inspired him. "When I first started listening to mixtapes, that's what Clue's mixtapes were, a guide to music," Dupri said. "DMX was first heard on his mixtapes, the LOX was heard, Mase. Personally to me, Clue didn't get what he was supposed to. All them n---as' careers Clue was supposed to be a part of because he basically was the launching pad. We don't have that in Atlanta. We don't have anybody in Atlanta that can launch somebody's career."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

With a team captain like the ever-outspoken 50 Cent, being referred to as the most controversial member in the G-Unit is no easy task, but Game is staking his claim with almost every freestyle. The 24-year-old doesn't even have his album out yet and already he's earned his battle stripes. Now that his beef with Joe Budden has been squashed, Game explains the barbs he's been throwing at his latest foes, the Luniz's Yukmouth and Roc-A-Fella's Memphis Bleek.

"I really don't want to talk about [Yukmouth], but I will," he said. "I'm gonna help him sell about three more albums. He just took shots at G for no reason. He didn't have a just cause, and anytime you do that, I'mma do one freestyle to let you know I'm listening, and then after that we can take it wherever you want to take it. In this instance, Yukmouth, he wanted to take it to the streets. So he called somebody who knew somebody who knew me, [and said] he wanted to squash [the beef] and I told him the only way we could squash this is if he gets on a record and apologizes. He did. He did that, and I jumped on and I said what I had to say, and that's done. I ain't playin' out here, it's real.

"[The beef with Memphis Bleek has] since been deaded too," Game added. "Ty Ty from Roc-A-Fella, I sat down with him in Miami, and he told me that Bleek wasn't on that type of stuff, and that Bleek really never beefs with nobody. I thought about it and couldn't understand why I was airing him out, so I just did the Bleek thing and the whole Joe Buddens, little Bang 'Em Smurf thing going, Yukmouth thing going ... So I just added Bleek in there 'cause that stemmed from my old beef that I had with the 'Get Low' dudes. 'Cause [years ago], I was out in San Francisco, they had [a crew out there called] 'Get Low,' Bleek had 'Get Low,' some constant underground beef, so I just brought it back up and addressed it, 'cause I was beefing with other cats. That's when I made the '200 Bars.' I set the standards real high on that one. Ten minutes! Rock with me."

For more on the role of mixtapes in the music industry, check out the feature "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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