Fabolous Molds New ' R. Kelly,' Credits Mixtape For Bringing Him, Lil' Mo Together

The rapper will tour various Boys And Girls Clubs with his protégé, Mike Shorey, beginning February 24.

Despite garnering heavy radio rotation for his platinum debut LP Ghetto Fabolous, Fabolous says he'll never leave the mixtape game alone. Not only did rhyming on DJ Clue's street offerings help him build a core following, the exposure made it possible for the Brooklyn-bred MC to make a lifelong pal.

"[Lil' Mo] [first] heard me through the mixtapes," said Fabolous, who is planning to drop his own street CD to coincide with the March 4 release of his sophomore effort, Street Dreams.

"When it was time for her to do 'Superwoman [Pt. 2]' she came to Clue and was like, 'Who's that kid on your mixtapes doing those freestyles? That kid is hot,' " Fab said. "She had worked with a lot of people at that point. Jay-Z, Ja Rule — she could have asked any one of those dudes [to be] on [the] first single for her first album, but she came to me, somebody who's just off the mixtape. It's just a good connection. We became friends. The cooler you get with somebody, it's easier to work with them."

Mo has continued to work with her labelmate on other projects as well. She sings on the rapper's new song "Can't Let You Go" and also appears in the video (see "Fabolous And Lil' Mo Buddy Up Again In Two New Videos").

"We actually shot a split video for ['Can't Let You Go'] and 'Damn,' he explained.  "I don't want to blow the whole 'Can't Let You Go' video concept, but the song is about a dude having a main girlfriend [and] then he has that significant other; [the other] girl [has] been around and there for him, but she knows he still has a girlfriend. The video for 'Damn' isn't much; it's just lights, me and some girls performing."

One lady who wasn't featured in the videos for "Can't Let You Go" or "Damn," but will probably still spend a significant amount of screen time with Fab in the near future is former Destiny's Child member Farrah Franklin (see "Mr. Cheeks Casts Ex-Destiny's Child Member As A Shorty With The Fatty"). She recently signed to Street Family, a new label started by Fab and his managers.

"We met in L.A.," the rapper said of his first encounter with Farrah, "and she just seemed like a cool girl. Even before we came with the whole music thing, we used to just chill and hang out with her. We'd go to Roscoe's [Chicken and Waffles] and just be BSing around and chillin'.  One thing led to another and we was like, we might as well take a crack at signing her. We heard her and she was dope. You really couldn't [hear her] potential in Destiny's Child. She was more of a background singer. I think she needs a chance to let her voice be heard. I'm definitely happy we got a chance to do that."

Fab is also providing a platform for singing newcomer Mike Shorey, who croons the hook on "Can't Let You Go" with Lil' Mo. "He's our first artist," Fab said. "He's dope, kind of like a young R. Kelly. He's a singer, but it's more of a melodic form or harmonizing, kind of like what R. Kelly does."

Shorey will undoubtedly be on the road with Fabolous when the MC embarks on a free, three-week tour of Boys & Girls clubs (see "Fabolous Lines Up Free Tour of Boys & Girls Clubs") starting on February 24. Fab's "Can't Let You Go" video hits the air this week. Meanwhile, the platinum metaphor king has yet another video on tap. He appears in Lil' Mo's clip for "4Ever," which is scheduled to begin its airwave rotation soon as well.