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 Bands A-Z: DJ Clue
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Fire Starters: Jim Jonsin
You know producer Jim Jonsin from a few years back when he was making beats with his partner Big D as part of the Unusual Suspects (Trick Daddy's "Get Low," and Trina's "Here We Go"). He's had some smashes on his own as well: Danity Kane's "Show Stopper," Twista's "Girl Tonite," Pitbull's "Dammit Man" and Jamie Foxx's "Unpredictable," to name a few. Jonsin, whose latest track in the marketplace is Lil Wayne and Birdman's "Leather So Soft," just inked a deal with Atlantic for his own imprint, Rebel Rock Entertainment. He'll be putting out his own acts and hopes to continue working with a chunk of Atlantic's roster, especially T.I, in 2007.

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— Shaheem Reid, with additional reporting by Rahman Dukes

Artist: DJ Clue

Representing: Queens, New York

Mixtape: The Professional 3

411: Clue says this is it: He's still going to be making albums, but as far as the Professional titles go, the third time is a wrap. It took him years to get this out, but as always, he has a heavy lineup. The CD includes Scott Storch, the Game, Swizz Beatz, Jadakiss, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, to name a few.

Clue will be getting even more beats out there next year. He's planning to hit the studio with Mariah Carey; Brian McKnight wants a track; and Keyshia Cole might hook up with him as well. Fidel Cashflow's record company, Desert Storm, has Fabolous' From Nothing to Something on tap as well for early 2007. Lil Wayne and Akon are already down with that one.

"There are some surprises on there too, but I can't let that out yet," Clue added.

Joints To Check For:

  • "Liberty Bell" by Beanie Sigel featuring Freeway and Cassidy. No hook, just rhymes. The Philly symphony is on. We should definitely hear more of Cass working with the man he once had a crucial freestyle battle with, Freeway, and the Broadway Bully Sigel. Here, though, Cass the Problem is the standout.

  • "Come and Talk to Me" by Jagged Edge featuring Fabolous. Fab sounds a little bored on his verses. Clue says he wanted to remake this Jodeci classic because it was always one of his favorite songs, and let's face it, the Question Mark Man always has a remake on his albums. Who better to take from than Devante Swing and the boys?

  • "F--- Off" by Young Jeezy and Juelz Santana. The duo give a gripping commentary on the state of world affairs. Sike! The Trap Star and Human Crack in the Flesh stunt hard. "That money you were saving for a rainy day, I took it to the strip club, threw it up and watched it fade away," Juelz raps. Whatever happened to that Santana and Snowman mixtape we were supposed to get this year, anyway?

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

  • Meddafore - Let 'Em Know 8
  • Dirty Den - Legend in the Making
  • DJ Drama, Don Cannon & DJ Sense - Boo: The Drugstore
  • DJ E-V & Cassie - The Soundtrack of the Summer
  • Bishop Don Magic Juan - The History of Pimpin: Listen N Learn 5
  • DJ Smallz & Berg - Kill Ya Self
  • DJ Drama, Don Cannon, Styles P - Ghost That Sat by the Door

Click here for more of Mixtape Monday ...

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
  • Styles P featuring Jadakiss - "How We Live"
  • N.O.R.E. - "My Name Is N.O."
  • Omarion - "Do It"

Celebrity Faves

  Rich Boy
Alabama's Rich Boy — who has his debut, Product of the Hustle, coming in March — has secured a wealth of MCs wanting to get down on the remix of his "Throw Some D's." So far, Andre 3000, the Game and Jim Jones have laid verses, and Rich has vocals from Fat Joe and Busta Rhymes in the chamber as well. "Busta killed it," Rich said. "He's talking about a Cadillac I never even heard of before." Rich said he's especially excited to get a verse from Dre, who's usually hard to lock down. "I think right now Andre is trying to prove a point," Rich said. "He's trying to keep the hip-hop thing moving. He's just doing what he can and trying to make the best out of the game right now. If he hears something he really f---s with, he jumps on it.

"Andre showed major love and put his verse down," Rich added. "You know Andre — you have to read between the lines. He's rapping about people doing stupid sh- in the streets and trying to make sense of the situation. He's trying to make you open your eyes as far as selling dope and things like that. His verse is deep. He touches on how the police kicks down your door and you have to flush the dope down the toilet. But you definitely have to read between the lines."

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

  Ludacris wears a "Hip Hop Ain't Dead"
T-shirt (click here for the full photo)

Is hip-hop dead? Even if you don't feel that Nas has the album of the year, he has the most controversial LP title of the year in Hip Hop Is Dead ... The N. No debating that. Some people are agreeing with Nas' provocative statement while others say he is dead wrong. Especially MCs from the South.

Young Jeezy spazzed out on the radio a couple of weeks ago when asked about the album title. He claimed Nas to be disrespectful among other things — the two have publicly said they have no problems with each other in the wake of Jeezy's comments (see "Forget Nas/Jeezy Feud — MCs Have Def Jam Tour In The Works") — and others such as T.I. and Lil Wayne have spoken out against Nas' proclamation in other interviews. Ludacris wore a T-shirt that said, "Hip-Hop Ain't Dead, It Lives in the South," while performing at the BET Hip-Hop Awards in November.

"That's the statement I made. I don't feel that hip-hop is dead," 'Cris said in London last week. "I feel like the South is keeping it alive. What we do is hip-hop. Some people may not feel that way. You gotta respect some people's opinion, but hey. You gotta stay to your opinion in the game."

Luda says saying hip-hop is dead is basically "dissin' the South."

"Because the South is dominating it right now," Cris further explained. "Saying that hip-hop is dead is like saying the South is dead too. They may not like some of the music going on in the South. But everybody in the South is saying, 'We are keeping it alive.' ... At the end of the day, hip-hop is what you make it. What we do in the South isn't hip-hop — that's what some people think. We think it is. Some people say it's country-rap tunes. Hip-hop is what you make it."

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but if it's dead, why is the South boomin'?" Big Boi wondered, sounding as if he were siding with 'Cris before getting a little sidetracked. "We got the ball right now. ... But nobody better never come out their mouth wrong about me or my homeboy [Andre 3000] ever. Ever! Tell them. We don't even play. I'll slap the sh-- out of you. That's why you never hear about Outkast getting into nothing.

  Ludacris, Andre 3000, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, Jay-Z and Nas (click here for the full photo)

"But everybody is entitled to their own opinion," he repeated. "Some people take offense to certain things. If you know you that n---a on the mic and know what you do ... sh--, Dre 3000 said hip-hop was dead how many years ago? It's whatever it meant to him. It wasn't exciting him. Everybody got their own opinion. But we f--- with Nas. If he meant it in a disrespectful way, that'll get dealt with too."

For the record, Nas has never said that hip-hop was dead because the South was blowing up. Nas actually has a house in Georgia and says he has love for his cousins in the dirty.

"A lot of them should know I'm deeper than singling out one place," Nas said last week while on Hot 97 talking to Miss Jones and DJ Envy.

He explained that he called hip-hop deceased because it's lacking creativity and beef is too prevalent. "We're monkeying around, scrambling for attention," Nas said.

But elsewhere on the Hip Hop Is Dead LP, Nas actually takes the polar opposite stance. "Hope" includes the lyric "Hip-hop will never die."

"It ain't got nothing to do with old school, new school, Dirty South, West Coast, East Coast — it's about us," he said. "I say what I say and I mean it. Y'all take it how you wanna take it. If you asking why hip-hop dead, it's a pretty good chance your lame ass, corny ass is the reason it died." ...

  Andre 3000
Hello, new world. His name is Andre 3000, and he wants to conquer Hollywood just like he did hip-hop. But the rap icon, who's busy filming the drama "Battle in Seattle" and the comedy "Semi-Pro" with Will Ferrell, says MC'ing will never take a back seat to acting.

"Not taking a back seat because you're always thinking of something. You're always writing some type of lyric," he said two weeks ago in New York while promoting yet another film, "Charlotte's Web." "I'm just trying to find a mood. What's the next mood to be in? It's not just about recording songs and putting them out. I have to do them if I have something to say. In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of remixes."

Three to be exact. He's on the new version of Rich Boy's "Throw Some D's" with the Game and Jim Jones. Then there's the remix to Lloyd's "You," which also features Nas. And of course DJ Unk's "Walk It Out" remix with Jim Jones again and Outkast partner Big Boi.

"I've been getting in the studio with some of these new people that's out," continued Dre, who said he's been busy listening to recent radio hits. "I've just been showing up at the studio and people been asking, 'Yo, would you get on this remix?' Just asking — they never think it could happen. I've been like, 'Yeah, yeah. Cool.' New fans that only hear 'Hey Ya!' or 'The Way You Move' forget I started out rappin'."

"Our homeboys produced those songs and asked us to be on these songs," Big Boi chimed in of he and Dre's guest work. "If you got the urge to rap, you never lose it. Just when everybody thought it was safe ... I'm telling you, we're not to be f---ed with. We just doing what we doing. We just having fun living. My man is back out here rhyming. You know what that is." ...

  Dominic West and Wood Harris
If you haven't guessed it, we love "The Wire." No need to front — it's one of the most watched and talked-about shows by a circle of us here at MTV (R.I.P. Boadie!!!). In any event, we're all waiting for the next and final season of the Baltimore drama, and word is there may be a major return by one of the show's most notorious castmembers: Wood Harris! We had a chance to holla at our boy Avon Barksdale while he was on the set on his next film, "Jazz in the Diamond District."

"That's a possibility," he said in noncommittal fashion about his potential return to "The Wire." "I signed a five-year contract with them, so I have another year of obligation to the show."

Harris, who's getting ready to get his rap career off the ground with two independent albums, says he enjoyed this season of the show he helped start, even though he was not featured on it.

"I liked it," he said. "I didn't see the whole season. I saw a couple of episodes. What I saw I liked. Them kids man, those kids are dope. They're great actors."

If the incarcerated Barksdale were to come back to reclaim his corners, Harris says he would have to go head up with his previous foes.

"I like to see him have to go against Marlo and Omar," the actor said. "Omar is still out there. I don't like what they do with the Omar character. They're making him sort of a caricature. They're doing too many things. They used to have something else going on that's not really there anymore. He doesn't really have an opponent I guess. I guess that would be me. The same with Marlo. I would just take them cats out and possibly go out myself. It's the last season, so go out in a blaze."

  Idris Elba and Wood Harris
Barksdale has been in jail a couple of years now, ever since his former friend Stringer Bell (played by Idris Elba) gave him up to the police. Barksdale had Stringer set up to be murdered.

When asked if Avon might be remorseful over his best friend getting killed at his doing, Harris replied, "Yeah, I think he would. Maybe not remorse, more like the whole situation was so bad with my nephew. What he did with my nephew [in season 2] is unacceptable, so he went out. It's unacceptable."

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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