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Fire Starter: Jennifer Hudson and "Dreamgirls"

We saw the flick "Dreamgirls," and it's definitely one of the best movies to come out this year. Beyoncé did her thing, but Jennifer Hudson, who plays Effie, is going to be a huge star after the film drops. She can sing for real, she's bossy like Kelis and when she belts out "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," look out — you're going to feel her pain. Eddie Murphy steals the show too as James "Thunder" Early. Oscar better do him right. And though you probably won't be hearing any songs off the soundtrack on mixtapes, the movie is going to be an instant 'hood classic. It's really on that "Five Heartbeats" feel-good level.

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

Artist: Raekwon

Representing: Wu-Tang/Aftermath

Mixtape: Heroin Only

411: Bless his soul, Raekwon is spitting like it's 1995 all over again. Last week we elaborated on his deal with Dr. Dre at Aftermath, and this week brings a whole mixtape. Of course it's too early to let any of them Dre joints out, but you can hear the Chef cookin' up rhymes over some of your favorite beats. He goes in the crates, though. You're not gonna find him rapping over "Walk It Out" or "One Blood." This is vintage — for the most part. DJ Thoro helped him put it together.

Joints To Check For:

  • "Range Rover Sport." You gotta love Rae's forwardness. "I'd rather be a live rap n---a in a Range Sport than a corny wack n---a in the Phantom," he says as the song starts. The flow on this one is pure fishscale, but you can't front — his singing is the highlight. "I got the cleanest Range Rover/ I don't wanna get pulled over/ So when you see us, say soldier."

  • "Heroin Only." He calls it heroin, but Rae's rhymes are straight crack. He says so much in such a short period of time as he plays project reporter: "Dust blunts with heroin/ Serving them Steakumms/ Shot him by the building and spit on his laces."

  • "Apple Jacks." It's not the "shark n---as" Rae has to look out for here, it's the snakes. He's going off on this track, serving everyone on the mic. Chef says "respect his mustache" and the hair on DJ Thoro's legs. Don't know exactly what that means, but it'll bring a smile to your face when you hear it.

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
  • DJ Jack Da Rippa - Go Gettaz Radio 4: These Turntables Are On
  • DJ Wreck - Gillie Da Kid vs. Beanie Sigel: Who Is the King of Philly 2
  • DJ Ritz and Nappy Roots - 90 in the Slow Lane
  • DJ 4Sho - An American Revolution: Jack Says Yes
  • Big Mike & Statik Selektah - The Sun Still Rises in the East: East Coast Slang Volume 1

Click here for more of Mixtape Monday ...

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Jay-Z - "Brooklyn High"
  • Jay-Z featuring Lil Wayne - "Show Me What You Got" (Mr. Cee Mix)
  • DJ Clue feat Fabolous and Kanye West - "Like That"
  • Papoose - "Double Crosses"
  • Crooked I - "Death Row Story"

Celebrity Faves

  Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes guest stars on Game's The Doctor's Advocate via the title track, and he loves the realism in the song.

"I think it's the truth," he said last week. "Game is a hardhead; he's like the younger brothers in the family that don't listen. I'm one of the older brothers in the family and I try to give Game a certain guidance. At the time when he wouldn't listen, I would let him know, 'I don't agree with your move or decision.' He was like 'Bust, let's bring that reality to record. This whole entertainment thing is turning to reality TV to the millionth power.' I said, 'Cool.' We went to the studio and banged it out. I can't even front, I love the finished product."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Rick Ross
Rick Ross' Port of Miami debut still has one more single left in it. Rawwwwse the bawwwwse is about do the video for "Get Away" with Mario Winans. Right now though, he's working on the group LP with his Carol City Cartel and his next solo effort. "Triller," he said of the solo disc. "It's gonna drop real soon."

The Miami heavyweight already has a dream team lined up in the studio. "Dr. Dre, you know what I'm talking about?" he smiled, listing a few collaborators. "Jay-Z, Pharrell, R. Kelly. It's gonna be legendary. I'm going back in." ...

Jay-Z responded to some of his naysayers via the freestyle "Brooklyn High" and the Kingdom Come track "Dig a Hole." Will Nas follow suit on Hip-Hop Is Dead ... The N? The Diplomats and 50 Cent have been getting at him.

"I'm trying to uplift the unity," Nas said last week in NYC. "You listen to [Cam'ron's dis], that was just pieces of 'Ether' put together. You have to make a certain amount of albums to be in the ring with me. You can't have one album or two albums or went platinum one time, or you may have performed in front of 6,000 people once in your life. You have to be somebody in my weight class. You can't fight like that. That's not really a battle.

"But there are spankings I can do," he added. "Lyrical, verbal assaults I can do on some of you clowns. But the take on this album is more of a unity thing. I don't really know if I'm gonna let some of those records fly where I do answer a thing or two. Maybe, maybe not." ...

  Melyssa Ford
Last week we told you about the Game's record "Wouldn't Get Far," during which he talks about video vixens sleeping with rappers to get ahead in life and drops the names Vida Guerra and Gloria Velez as well as the line "All these new video bitches trying to be Melyssa Ford, but they don't know Melyssa Ford drives a Honda Accord .../ Behind closed doors, she'll do whatever it takes to get to the Grammy Awards."

Melyssa Ford is definitely not feeling the lyric. "I'm treating it like a spoof; it has nothing to do with me," she said last week in Atlanta on the BET Hip-Hop Awards red carpet. "I don't drive a Honda Accord, I drive a [Mercedes-Benz] S550. Everybody else thinks it's a big deal. I have no idea what the fuss is about."

Ford is currently making guys drool as one of the five cover subjects of King magazine's fifth-anniversary issue. She's also starring in the upcoming physiological thriller "God's Prayer," playing a medical examiner. ...

  Jim Jones
Back to them ballas from Harlem. Jim Jones just shot the video for the "We Fly High" remix last week in Atlanta, a day after the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Baby, Diddy, T.I. and Young Dro were in the clip, which features an added verse from Juelz Santana, who is also in the video.

(Check out photos from the video set right here.) ...

Let's not get off the Dip Set just yet. Freekey Zekey is on New York soil now. He was released from a North Carolina prison on Monday (November 20), and the most energetic member of the Diplomats is happy to see his three-year jail bid done. His immediate plans are to get his Dipset chain from Cam'ron, hug his son and visit his moms, in that order.

"Then that's that, really," Zekey said between phone calls and directing his driver to Harlem. "I'mma give myself about a good 24 hours with my family, then it's back to work. I had enough time to be easy."

  Freekey Zekey, Jamaica, NY 11.20.2006
The rapper was arrested in 2003 following a botched robbery incident where he and an associate were shot in New York; Zekey survived but his friend was killed (see "Final Suspect Arrested In Connection With Freekey Zekey Shooting"). The incident also resulted in Zekey's incarceration: While he was in the hospital, an outstanding warrant for his arrest on drug charges came to light after his real name (Ezekiel Jiles) was revealed.

"During the cops' investigation, a warrant pops up outta nowhere," Zekey recalled. "I got extradited after being in the hospital for four days."

Although Zekey was bundled away for three years, he wasn't completely cut off from the outside world. For the past few months, he had the privilege of getting out of jail for six hours a week.

"I'm feeling real good," Zekey said last month while on one of those furloughs. "I was in maximum custody, then medium, then minimum custody. From there they observe you, make sure you don't cut nobody up, slap nobody, beat nobody up, then they give you this thing called C.D. passes. It means you get out for six hours."

Zekey made the most of his time out, recording his debut LP for Diplomat Records. "I ran around, speaking to my N.C. connects, seeing where I can get into the studio," he explained last month. "Some mixtape DJs understand the struggles; they allowed it to go down. A couple of my dudes built studios down here." Zekey said he has four songs finished, but no titles yet.

  Freekey Zekey and Cam'ron
"With my music, I really want to push off and let my frustrations be known on wax," Zekey said. "I'm not here to portray or proclaim to be a certain type of individual. What you getting is Freekey Zekey. I'm still the light guy, the glue of the group, so I'm just gonna do what I been doing.

"I'm really gonna leak out a couple of things [soon]. I got a song about a bottom chick," he continued. "Pimps have a whole stable of women, but it's that one chick they basically love. She loves him, but she understands all the things that go on. At the end of the day, she's the one he'll impregnate or die for. Then I have this party song; I'mma let people bounce with me. Then I have this rock and roll joint that's basically releasing some frustration. The four songs I have are totally different from each other."

Although he hasn't made any records with his Dip Set family yet — he said that'll happen soon — they did visit him down South. "I told them, 'You don't have to go out your way, because I got it sewn. I got extended family down here,' " he said. "[Jim Jones] pulls up in front of the jail. Juelz, he was on tour, he just so happened to stop in Raleigh. He met me in the mall. It's a bittersweet situation 'cause they happy to see you, then it's like, 'Damn, you gotta go back to jail.'

"It's an indescribable feeling," he added about seeing them. "We're really family. We all knew each other well over 15 years. We knew Juelz when he was 'Little Ju Ju.' It's a weird situation, almost shed-a-tear joint, but it's coming to an end."

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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