Artist: Kardinal Offishall
Representing: T. Dot (Toronto)
Mixtape: Limited Time Only
"The key is not to smother the artist," Akon said about why he's been so successful as a label CEO. "My brand is Akon the brand. T-Pain has T-Pain the brand. Colby is Colby the brand. Even though Konvict is pretty much the umbrella, it adds more muscle to what we do. We use that as an example to open up doors and build our own brands. The whole key of even creating this unit is for everybody to be entrepreneurs. Everybody be label owners, everybody be their own person.
"That way," he added, "I may have an artist one day — my roster's full; I couldn't release him — I may call Pain: 'You got room on Nappy Boy [Records]?' Or call Kardi: 'What's up with Black Jays? You got room?' The whole vision was for all of us to always have an outlet."
Kardi's mixtape is called Limited Time Only, and the official LP, including the hit "Dangerous," comes in the fall.
"Not for Sale, that's why you got the bar code over the mouth," Kardi explained about the album's weird artwork. "What that represents is all my words, all my music, my feelings, energy and passion I put in the music. That's something that couldn't be swayed by the amount of money that a label would pay me at the end of the day. Any music you hear associated with Kardinal Offishall is because it means something to me. This album is dope because 'Kon allowed me to put it out there, and he didn't want me just to stay in a certain lane."
Joints To Check For
"The Rudebwoy." "That's my dub plate," Kardi said. "We took Rick Ross' 'The Boss' record and just turned it to 'Rudebwoy.' 'It's just another day in the life a of real ruuuuude bwoyyyy!' Put some Auto-Tune on there. The beat was killer from the first time I heard it. The way the horns come in and the beat just drops like a new-school 'Paul Revere.' You already know anything T-Pain touches turns to platinum. I take my favorite joints, even if the rappers are my peoples, and I try to do it better."
"Set It Off" (featuring the Clipse). "This was the first official reunion we had since we did the 'Grindin' ' remix," Offishall said of getting back up with the Clipse. "It's produced by my first producer I signed with — he goes by the name of the Boy Wonder. Soon as me, Pusha and Malice heard the joint, we were like, 'We must destroy this.' I had a joint before that's called 'Swag' with myself, Pusha and Lil Wayne. But out of respect and honor to the Clipse, I wanted to have a joint where it was just me and the brothers. It's just us three going in hard."
"Intro." "This mixtape in particular, it's produced by myself and Clinton Sparks," explained the Toronto native, who's worked with the Pussycat Dolls and Estelle in the past. "Clinton is also down with the Konvict family. It's all a family movement. I have a lot of new fans since 'Dangerous,' but they need to know my history. I didn't just come out of nowhere. And on the intro, Clinton ... produced a timeline of what happened in my life to where I am now."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» Angelous - Reloaded X Series
» Big Mike and DJ Thoro - Grand Theft Audio 6
» Cory Gunz - The Best Kept Secret
» DJ Woogie - Sippin Southern 8.5
» Re-Up Gang - The Clipse Presents: Re-Up Gang
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» The Game - "Superman"
» Hell Rell (featuring Young Buck) - "Untitled"
» Jazmine Sullivan (featuring T.I.) - "Need You Bad" remix
» Lil' Fame - "Security"
» Ludacris (featuring T.I.) - "Wish You Would"
» Lupe Fiasco - "Gangsta Up In Here"
» Nina Sky (featuring Rick Ross) - "Curtain Call"
Fire Starter: Termanology
Two years ago, Lawrence, Massachusetts, native Termanology sprouted on the underground circuit off the strength of appearances on mixtapes by Statik Selektah. His debut, Politics as Usual, is finally coming out September 30. The first single is "This Is How We Rock," with Bun B and produced by DJ Premier. Term, who's worked with Cassidy and Saigon in the past, also features beats on his LP helmed by Buckwild, the Alchemist, Havoc, Nottz, Large Professor, Peter Rock and Hi-Tek. His recent freestyle, "Talking to God," is definitely a dope lyrical lament on hip-hop and community current events.
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Keep sleeping, Teddy P laughs. Although the duo haven't been able to lock in the studio together due to conflicting schedules, they have been able to send records back and forth through e-mail. The process has been so successful, Pain told our European cousins over at MTV Base that there might be two T-Wayne records: one for the stores and one for the streets.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely we can discuss it, man," Pain said. "I've been doing an album with Lil Wayne. It's called T-Wayne: The Project. It's basically just going to be an array of things, just a visual love. The two artists you've seen collaborate with everyone except each other. When you see us together, it's crazy right now. We already have what we've done. We're gonna keep going till they tell us to stop. We might even put out a mixtape. We've got so many songs that we just might do a T-Wayne mixtape too."
The Clipse don't want to leave the streets, but they have recognized that it's time to get into that next realm of their career. So we won't be getting a mixtape from the brothers for a while — it's time to do it officially.
"I think it's about time for us to really focus on the music-business side of the game," Pusha T said when we asked if the just-released Re-Up Gang LP and the upcoming Clipse album Till the Casket Drops would be their last output for a while. "I think we been doing a lot of street-oriented, underground catering. I think now the people wanna see the Clipse in a different light. Not even in a different light ... but people who champion and scream for the Clipse, they always scream, 'I think the Clipse is better than such and such.' But then they would be comparing mixtapes to people's commercial albums. It's like, 'Yo, it's time to put both on the same plane.' "
"It's time to be exposed to a wider audience," Malice delved further. "We do what we do and always stay true. That's just the chemistry of the Clipse: stay true to what we are."
The quest for a wider audience meant using a wider array of producers for both the Re-Up LP and Till the Casket Drops. Timbaland, Danjahandz, Kanye West, Just Blaze and Swizz Beatz are all expected to contribute, while the Neptunes, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Sean C. and LV, DJ Khalil, the Runners, Dame Grease and Reefa have already turned in beats.
"It's gonna show our versatility as well," Malice said. "I think we're gonna open up to a wider audience, but keep our same fans too."
With so many signature sounds on one record, the Clipse say they're going to count on the producers to keep a cohesive mood rather than trying to figure out similar beats. "If you set up the album in the sense of moods," Pusha said, "I can get some of that soul and some of them drums from Sean C. and LV. I can get some of those stories from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League. I don't know what I'm going to get from DJ Khalil. He has something crazy. You can tell they are bringing their A-game to it."
"You can always rely on the Neptunes to come with that old school [sound]," Malice weighed in.
And if you haven't heard the Re-Up record yet, don't be fooled by the lead cut "Fast Life," on which just the brothers from VA rap. The Clipse definitely give shine to Sandman and Ab-Liva.
"You're gonna see a whole bunch of family records," Pusha added. "Everybody is damn near on everything. It's a platform to showcase everybody and their own individual movements. I want this to be a diving board, the Clipse jump-off. Sandman, Liva, everybody springboard off the situation and keep going."
"We got a song called 'Money,' that's a great club banger," Ab-Liva said. "I think it shows us in a different light — partying and having fun, but the way we do it. It's one of the greatest things when you get around cats whose talent level is so high, you gotta bring your A-game. I know they're gonna bring their A-game. It's great chemistry."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.