Name: Big Mike
Mixtape: Cruel Summer 2K3
Hometown: Danbury, Connecticut
Joints to check for: "Pop Sh--" by O.D.B.; "We Make Hits" by Kanye West, featuring O.D.B.; Ja Rule freestyle; "The One Remix" by Jennifer Lopez, featuring Joe Budden.
Previous mixtapes: Cruel Summer and Dead to Rights, among others.
The 411: The machine-gun-toting Gary Coleman look-alike on the cover alone makes the CD worth copping. But if you're not exactly the type who's into graphics, Mike is back on his grizzly with exclusives and remixes.
Kanye West gets Dirt McGirt to assist in his heckling of inferior rappers on "We Make Hits." An exasperated Dirty asks, "Do anybody else make hits anymore?" over Kanye's slow drums and guitar wails before answering his own question: "Guess not, muthafu--a!"
There is no guessing about who Ja Rule and Fatal Hussein are talking about in their latest freestyle, which comes on the heels of "The Wrap." Rule, who acknowledges that he's "hated like Jesus Christ," continues to levy threats and ill will toward 50 Cent, rapping that 50 can burn in hell.
Hussein is less harsh, but not much. Tupac's former protégé takes exception with 50's decision to make a record with the thug immortal. "You ain't a gangsta Em/ This is gangsta sh--, and 50, you ain't sh-- but a gangsta bitch/ Pac would have never done a song with no wanksta snitch."
Eminem does get his chance to speak. Big Mike includes a freestyle Slim Shady did with European DJ Tim Westwood. Em raps over 50 Cent's "Wanksta" beat in the same flow of his signee. "Damn, 50/ Your sh--'s about to hit the fan, 50/ What the fu-- happened to Ja?/ ... You 'bout to play with his paper/ You finnin' to fu-- up his chedda'."
DJ Envy is definitely hustling and making cheddar. Envy, who's working on his second LP while holding down a gig at New York radio station Hot 97, has another banger on the streets, Cut the Check Pt. 2. That CD features the O.D.B. and Pharrell Williams collaboration "Pop Sh--" as well as audio of the ridiculously dope Jay-Z and 50 Cent Reebok commercial.
Name: Kay Slay
Mixtape: Checkmate: It's Your Move Queen
Hometown: Harlem, New York
Joints to check for: Cam'ron freestyle; "I'm Getting Money N---a" by Cam'ron; "Where the Hood At?" by DMX; "House of Pain" by Notorious B.I.G., Tupac and Busta Rhymes; "Summertime" remix by Beyoncé featuring Ghostface Killa; "The Bullsh--" by Mary J. Blige, featuring Eve and Dr. Dre.
Previous mixtapes: Too many to name.
The 411: DJs go at it, too, just like MCs. Kay Slay's first mixtape since releasing his official album in May shows that the brief time off hasn't lessened his battle spirit. Slay doesn't name any names, but there's no confusing who he's addressing with his mixtape's title (especially when you look at all the question marks on the cover).
Slay has enough ammunition on Checkmate to back his cockiness. The CD starts with a skit in which Cam'ron is told by a show promoter that he cannot perform at a concert because Nas is on the bill and doesn't want to be at the same show as the Diplomats. Cam goes on to complain that this same thing has been happening all over the country and that he's had enough.
Later, Kay highlights DMX's "Where the Hood At?," on which the dog threatens to sick the wolves on rappers who he thinks are feminine.
Slay doesn't just slay them with the thugs, though; he gives the ladies a little burn too. Mary J. Blige and Eve unite to vent about their men's shenanigans on "The Bullsh--' ("I'm tired of all this child's play," Mary says), but Beyoncé is lucky in love on "Summertime."
Over a beat as smooth as freshly waxed rims, B sings about a love she met a year ago during the warm weather season. "You are my prize, wanna grow old wit'cha," she sings. "Build a house with your picture/ Have a son for you, little girl for me/ Together we're a family." Guest star Ghostface Killa comes with more of his vivid relationship love stories, seconding her emotions. "It's like I wanna be your daddy, your lover, your everything," says the Ironman.
You don't have to stray away from Slay's borough for more flava. Up-and-comer Statik Selektah of the Smashsquad brings Manhattan Mix Volume 1, and DJ J Period takes us on a trip down memory lane with The Best of Big Daddy Kane.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.