Mixtape Mondays: Mike Love, Kanye West, Common, Slum Village

Welcome Home John Monopoly honors former Violator A&R rep.

Artist: Mike Love

Mixtape: The Mike Love Show: Welcome Home John Monopoly

Representing: Chicago

The 411: You may wonder who in the world John Monopoly is and where he's returning from, but John actually hasn't been gone from the scene at all — Love is just welcoming him back home to his native Windy City. Monopoly has served as an A&R rep at Violator and as an executive at Jive, he played a key role in signing rap blue-chip prospect Dirtbag, and even more notably, Monopoly manages Kanye West.

Joints To Check For:

  • "Mike Love's Workout Plan" by Kanye West. This is actually a remix of Kanye West's "The New Workout Plan." Not to be confused with the upcoming Lil Jon remix of "The New Workout Plan," this Mike Love exclusive has more of a club-tailored house music beat.
  • "The Food" by Common featuring Kanye West. Com premiered this joint a few months ago via a performance on "Chappelle's Show." Common is in straight throwback mode, rapping with the pinpointed b-boy poignancy that blessed such albums as Resurrection (1994) and One Day It'll All Make Sense (1997). He and Kanye rhyme about hustling — not for the riches and the Bentleys, but to feed families. "Paper can't change a man's aura, it can feed a man's daughter," Common raps. "I stand for the blue collar on the side, making a few dollars/ Like Sam Jack, they maneuver through drama."
  • "I'm Rick James Bitch" by Ill/Wolf. You've heard plenty of MCs reference one of the most famous skits from "Chappelle's Show," where Dave Chappelle imitated Rick James (see "Dave Chappelle: The Reason Grandmas Know Who Lil Jon Is"), but this underground cat from the Chi has taken it upon himself to make a whole song from the perspective of the legendary Super Freak. The excessive use of the "b" word is probably going to be a little too much for some, but you can't be too upset at somebody who has the audacity to actually rap over a sample of Rick James' "Ebony Eyes."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

  • DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz XII: Boyz in Da Hood
  • Big Mike's Cruel Summer 2K4
  • DJ Whoo Kid's Riddick Mixtape and Welcome 2 Da Hood

  • DJ Keyz's Inventing the Remix Parts 1-4

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

  • Shyne featuring Foxy Brown - "More or Less"
  • Game featuring Jay-Z and Dr. Dre - "Get Your Money Right"
  • Mobb Deep featuring Twista - "Got It Twisted" remix
  • Olivia featuring 50 Cent - "Cloud 9"
  • Ness featuring P. Diddy - "My Hood"
  • Lloyd Banks featuring 50 Cent and Eminem - "Warrior Part II"

Celebrity Favs

Slum Village's Elzhi says, "I just heard the Jada mixtape [The Champ Is Here]. We might be working with him too. He called up us and said, 'We might have to do a remix or something from scratch.' " "He has so many joints on there," T3 adds. "I love The Champ Is Here." Slum Village shout out the lovely ladies across the States on their latest single, "Selfish," and they'll be going on tour with D12 this summer and dropping Detroit Village on June 29.

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

Diplomats capo Jimmy Jones has temporarily vacated Harlem, a.k.a. Dip Set City, for sun-drenched Miami. But Jim, whose "Certified Gangstas" is gaining momentum by the minute, isn't out chasing girls in thongs or spending time in Wet Willie's. He's working on his solo LP, The Ghetto's Advocate: On My Way to Church. "I'm from the big city of dreams, but unfortunately me stepping out and being an artist, it's hard to concentrate with all the sh-- I'm doing up top," said Jim, whose duties outside rapping include helping to run Diplomat Records, his and Cam'ron's Sizzurp liquor company, and launching a Diplomats clothing line. "New York, I ain't leave y'all. I just had to come do some work. I wanted to sit down and focus [on music]. It wasn't really there for me in New York."

For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.

For more on the role of mixtapes in hip-hop, check out the feature "Mixtapes: The Other Music Industry."