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Fire Starter: Shawty Lo
He was the founding member of D4L, but Shawty Lo is a product of the trap more than the snap. The Bankhead rapper got his start as a producer and studio owner in Atlanta and came up with the idea of D4L as a way to showcase his talents. But just as the four-man collective started to bubble, Shawty Lo was busted on a drug rap before they blew — and "Laffy Taffy" wasn't exactly what he had in mind for the group. Fabo became the face of D4L and snap music, but Shawty Lo rebounded after his release and is poised to break out with his rumbling, brass-heavy, underground smash "Dey Know." His upcoming Asylum-backed album, Units in the City, features collabos with Gorilla Zoe on the "Dey Know" remix, Gucci Mane and his D4L fam. If you don't know, you soon will.


 

Mixtape Monday: Jay-Z Borrows The-Dream's 'Hook'; Young Buck Says His Album 'Is Better Than Kanye's And 50's'


— by Shaheem Reid and Jayson Rodriguez, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes and Liz Hernandez


Artist: Saigon

Representing: Abandoned Nation

Mixtape: Just Blaze Presents: The Moral of the Story


411: Well, no Greatest Story Never Told this year, but the ball is rolling nonetheless. Saigon tells us that his December 4 release date has been pushed back to early 2008.

"Everybody is fighting for that date," he revealed. "It's nothing to wait another month or month and a half. ... I'd rather wait for the new year than get caught up in that fourth-quarter congestion. It's good. It's definitely coming through. It won't be another six months or five months. It's coming real soon."

No tears for the patient, though. Sai Giddy just put out a full-fledged street album, with original beats and rhymes, called The Moral of the Story, to tide everyone over. There are a few joints on there that left the Mixtape Monday fam flabbergasted. They're that good. Saigon breaks down the tracks (and read what Jay-Z himself has to say about one of the records further down in "Streets Are Watching").

Joints To Check For:

  • "Come on Baby" remix (featuring Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz). "American Gangster, Jay is on fire once again," Sai said. "We thought the timing was good to put it out now. The video [with the original version] premiered. They took so long to shoot the video for the original, we just launched the remix to radio. We couldn't get Jay to do the video."


  • "What a Life." "That's my favorite song on the [mixtape]," the Yardfather exclaimed. "The first two verses is complaining, the third verses, I'm saying, 'What a life, everything is good.' When you say, 'What a life,' it could be good or bad. You could be in a f---ed-up situation or you could be in a great situation. It's a universal record. Nas' artist Trey Williams is on there singing. It won't be on the album. So when you think songs like that won't be on the album, imagine what we are holding. I wanted that on the album, but it's nothing I'm willing to take off to put that on. 'Pain in My Life' is hanging on by a string, and that's the record people love me for."


  • "Who Can Get Busy." "That's a classic off the Brand Nubian All for One album," Sai said. "That's one of my favorite songs, and [Grand] Puba is one of my favorite artists of all time. I reached out to him, he came to the studio same day and laid it down for me on some mutual respect. The reason I only put a snippet on the mixtape, that's another song I want to be on the album. I only put the second verse. That's Brooklyn; that's the real grimy Jamaican gutter sound. I want to shoot a street video for that. Just Blaze did that beat. It knocks real hard."



Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • Cam'ron - Public Enemy #1
  • DJ Blazita - New York, New York Vol. 7
  • DJ Omen - 80s Child Vol. 2
  • DJ Warrior, Bishop Lamont and Black Milk - Caltroit
  • Wu-Tang Clan - The 8 Diagrams



'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Fat Joe (featuring J. Holiday) - "I Won't Tell"
  • Erykah Badu - "Honey"
  • Beanie Sigel (featuring Scarface) - "Rain (Bridge)"
  • Hi-Tek (featuring Ghostface and Raekwon) - "My Piano"


Celebrity Faves

  Samgoma Edwards
There's Young Hov, but then there's really young Hov. Samgoma Edwards is the 15-year-old Bronx native who plays Jay-Z's corner-boy incarnation in the upcoming video for "Roc Boys (And the Winner Is ...)." Director Chris Robinson personally sought out Edwards for the role after Edwards, his brother Samtubia, and producer Chris Alvarez shot their own video project titled "The Young Hov Project," based on tracks from Jay-Z's The Black Album. Robinson saw Edwards star as Jay in the Gorilla Films videos posted on YouTube and reached out. The rest has been a star turn for the high school sophomore.

"It was crazy when I went to school [after the video came out]," Edwards told Mixtape Monday while taking a bathroom break from class to sneak in an interview. "I couldn't even breathe my own oxygen. It was wild. I only told, like, three of my friends and was like, 'Yo, keep your mouth shut about this.' I just wanted people to see it when it first came out. I didn't tell anybody."

Edwards is an admitted Jay fan, but he only began listening to the rapper with The Black Album. "The track that I liked was 'My First Song,' " he said. "It was the last track, and I thought that was gonna be his last album and everything, so I just thought, 'Yo, he's doing his thing.' "

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Jay-Z
Jay-Z told us the obvious: Just Blaze is to blame for him getting on the remix of Saigon's "Come on Baby."

"I met Saigon before," Jay said last week in L.A. "He's a cool guy as well. But Just Blaze ... that's his artist. So we had records and work like that. It's in-house.

"Big fan? Of Saigon? "Yeah, he's good," Jay added. "But I wouldn't have did it ... to be honest with you. I like Saigon. If I don't have a relationship with the artist, I'm not just doing it for the sake of doing it. If you look at my past record, I've done records because of relationship, not 'cause this guy's good or whatever."

One good guy Jay is feeling is an artist under his Def Jam label, The-Dream. Dream (a Fire Starter alumnus — told you so, haters) is smashing the game with his "Shawty Is a 10," in which he's feeling himself so much he proclaims he doesn't need a chorus on the song: "I don't need no hook for this sh--!" Jay took his non-chorus chorus for the American Gangster song "No Hook."

"I was working on this song and it just keeps going and I get down to how many bars the verse is, and I'm like, 'What's gonna be the hook for this?' " Jay remembered. "Then I was like, 'I don't need a hook for this.' That, of course, led me to the Dream song, and I was like, 'I'm just gonna take that.' "

"When he played all the records [off his album] and I heard that record and he's saying, 'I don't need no hook,' I was like, 'That's crazy,' " The-Dream gushed. "This is Jay saying this? It's a whole 'nother level of respect. It's crazy. I remember when Jay was playing it at the 40/40 club. Like, 'Y'all don't know nothing about this.' People was calling saying, 'Jay ran the song back six times.' " ...

  Young Buck
Young Buck is definitely all in with the G-Unit. He's been working on their December release, Shoot to Kill, but Mr. Ten-A-Key is also working on his own compilation — Young Buck Presents: Product of the South.

"I'm establishing me right now," he said of his Cashville Records. "I signed C-Bo from the West Coast, as well as my own group, 615 — that's me, a cat by the name Lil' Murder and High-C. I said, 'I'll drop a [compilation] album.' ... That'll be the bridge to their project. Everybody is going to get a single and a video."

Buck's label is independent. "I'm sure you know these labels ain't really giving a lot of money out to start a situation," he explained. "What I did was create my own buzz pretty much promoting G-Unit South. I wanted to name my label G-Unit South, but I knew [Interscope Records Chairman] Jimmy [Iovine] wasn't going to let any other label have the luxury of having the name G-Unit. ... [So] I wanted to start something fresh, brand new, create a whole new brand."

Buck released "Driving Down the Freeway" with the Outlawz and says he's actually picking up jewels from them.

"It's an even thing," he said. "It's more me being quiet and learning off of them sometimes. It's things in the game they been through and I haven't learned yet. It's a learning process. They bring a lot to the table on their own. I'm just pretty much bringing their career more to the forefront. I feel that the Outlawz as well as C-Bo never got their just due."

The unabashed Southerner feels the same way about himself. "I ain't get what I deserved at Interscope," he said. "I feel my album [Buck the World] is better than Kanye's album and 50's album, but it's one of the most slept-on albums due to whatever reason. I'm still trying to get what I deserve off of Interscope, so it's still a hustle to me."

Buck noted that he and 50 are on great terms, and when and if 50 leaves the 'Scope for free agency, Buck and the rest of G-Unit will be with him.

"All of us are signed to G-Unit," Buck said. "If 50 goes, we all go. I stand behind Interscope with all the power I can. I'm sure there's a lot of people that put in as much work as they could for Young Buck and the G-Unit crew, but it's a lot of people that won't too. At the end of the day, I can only speak specifically on mine. As far as the marketing, I don't think they knew how to market a project such as mine. When you have a song like 'Get Buck' and 'You Ain't Going Nowhere,' there's no lane. You can't just market me to the South. I'm worldwide. I come with the Southern background but worldwide flow. They have to understand how big I aim outside of 50 Cent to get the push from them. I'm still in the shadow of 50 to them, but to the streets, I'm Young Buck. I'm my own person. I just gotta get my label to understand that part."

Now to the scandalous: Everyone is quiet familiar with 50's line in "Fully Loaded Clip," in which he raps, "When Trina was telling [Lil] Wayne, 'I love you, boo'/ She was running games, she told Buck that too." Buck insists it's all gospel.

"It's the truth, it's the f---ing truth! 50 is not f---ing lying," Buck proclaimed. "You want me to tell you the truth? I'mma tell you the truth. I was messing with her while she was messing with [Wayne]. I would hear him on the phone [in the background] every now and then while she's laying right there. She knows it. 50 ain't doing nothing but speaking the truth."

So what about Lil' Kim? There is Internet footage of the Queen Bee grinding all over Young Buck onstage, then she has miraculously mended all beef with 50.

"She's cool," he downplayed, all of a sudden getting shy. "She came out onstage, hollered a couple of times. At the end of day, she's doing her, and I'm doing me. ... Ask Lil' Kim what she thinks of Young Buck. What do I think of Lil' Kim? She's cool."

He says the same about Byrd Gang leader Jim Jones. The two of them are cool in a way different way from him and Kim, of course, but cool nonetheless.

"I never had a problem with Jim Jones," Buck said. "Jim Jones visited my city a long time ago and saw what type of individual I was. That was the bridge for 50 Cent to even say, 'OK, I'mma see what's up with Jim.' Me and Jim was on the same page. Jim is about getting his paper, that's what it really is about. It's all about keeping it real too. That was my issue with Lil Wayne and all them: Keep it real with the real n---as. You come around stealing our swagger. What y'all see, the bling-bling and all that, they stole all that from Cashville. It's hard for me to explain all this sh-- because they know what the truth is. It'll get more interesting as it goes." ...

  Rick Ross
Rick Ross is going for the hip-hop checkered flag with "Speedin'," the first single from his December 18 album, Trilla.

"Speedboats, the cars, the dimes," Ross said, describing the "Speedin' " video shot last week in Miami. "We finnin' to make us a mini-movie. It's gonna be a big event. Me and [DJ] Khaled gonna get pulled over. The state trooper is gonna disrespectfully knock on my tinted windows. I let down the window, the smoke is gonna billow into his circumference, and I'm gonna make my move.

"We're speed-racing to the top," Ross added about the track. "It's a race to see who gets the most money, it's a race to see who puts their side on the map, it's a race to see who's the best. Living, to me, is a race. It ain't no time for sleeping and resting. It's that fast life."

R. Kelly guest-stars on the track, as you've heard if you've been out to the clubs lately.

"I been a fan of his for so long," Ross noted. "Once I got my money right, I had to go see him. With his schedule, with his tour and court, I didn't get a chance to go to the studio with him. I just sent him the track and we talked over the phone about the song. We chopped it up, he did it."

The Runners, Cool & Dre, DJ Toomp, Akon and J.R. Rotem also put in work on the LP.

"I got Lil Wayne and Trick Daddy on a record called 'Luxury Tax.' We're pushing the boundaries in every direction. We also got songs like 'Japanese Denim,' 'Street Money' — I'm coming in all directions."

Ross ain't never lyin'. Besides his official LP, he'll be featured on a slew of cameos (Freeway's "Lights Get Low," Baby's "100 Million Dollars" and Ludacris' "Dirty South") and is dropping even more mixtapes.

"We just put out Maybac Music, then we have The Boss Is Back with Papa Smurf," he said. "There's Trilla Is Coming with DJ Khaled. It's the mixtape before the album. All you gonna hear on it is 'December 18.' Then you get another hot record and another hot freestyle, and you we remind you 'December 18, the biggest street album of the year is coming: Trilla.' "

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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