Artist: Young Chris
Representing: State Property Chain Gang
Mixtape: Never Die
411: Jay-Z is still betting on Young Chris being next up. The Philly MC's solo debut, Now or Never, is still due next year, but it won't be on Def Jam, the only label he's known.
"Me and Jay, that's personal," Chris told us. "We're personal friends since I been in the game at 15 years old. When I say, 'Leaving Def Jam,' it means leaving Def Jam, not Roc-A-Fella too. Roc-A-Fella is a family."
Chris said that as he heard it, Roc's official roster is himself, Memphis Bleek, Kanye West and Young Hov. "Everybody is still doing their thing. Shout-out to the whole S.P.," he said. "[The Roc roster] got short in a short matter of time. I know everybody was shocked by that."
State Property are definitely back together and, as a unit, they are free agents. That hasn't stopped the Beanie Sigel-captained collective from working on albums separately and as a group. Chris is trying to keep his heat up with his Web site, YoungCBlog.com, and by releasing a string of mixtapes. Never Die is his latest, and he put it together with DJ Omega and DJ Drama.
"I got a song titled 'Never Die,' " he said. "Justice League did the beat. It was recorded two years ago. It's the same beat as Rick Ross' 'Maybach Music.' Due to my album being pushed back, they sold the beat to Ross. The song meant so much to me, 'cause I was talking about a lot of people in my 'hood that got hit up real bad and made it through it. I just figured the mixtape [should be called] Never Die. Hip-hop never dies."
Joints To Check For» "Cypher" (featuring Wale, Freeway and Beanie Sigel). "It was a big record for us. Wale was in Philly working at the same studio I work at with Dre & Vidal. ... I came in the room, he said he wanted to hear some material. Instead of playing records, I had a beat I played. He started bobbing his head. Freeway came in, started bobbing his head. I said, 'We gonna do this like a real cypher. Let's go four [bars], four [bars], four [bars].' Beans came in the room. By the time he came in, [there] wasn't no more room for him to jump in on the fours, so we said, 'Yo, go ahead and anchor it.' The record has 3 million plays on my [MySpace] page. I speak to [Wale] almost every day."
» "Don't Dance" freestyle. "I love that Swizz knock," Chris said of the track where he rhymes over T.I.'s "Swing Ya Rag." "Swizz [Beatz] is one of my favorite producers. Shout-out to him. I say it was one of them records that was underrated or overlooked. Some people when they hear my freestyle, they be like, 'Who's beat was that?' They still ask to this day when they hear it on the mixtape. I just went in."
» "Murda Freestyle" (featuring Sparks). "The joint I did with Sparks, that was another beat that was underrated," Chris said. "That beat was from Uncle Murda's record. I called Sparks to the studio one day. I already had my verse laid. As you can see, he got on and threw it right back to me. I had to go back in some more. Passed it right to him. Me and him was just venting in the studio one day. Sparks definitely has the most charisma out of the whole [State Property] clique."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» Willie the Kid - Absolute Greatness
» DJ Haze and the Game - BWS Radio Part 5
» DJ Purfiya - Welcome 2 Flawda Volume 6 (Hosted By Brisco)
» Lil Wayne - Young Moula Baby (Chopd n Slowd by DJ Rico)
» DJ Spinatik - Miami Heat
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» T.I. - "Ready for Whatever"
» Jennifer Hudson (featuring Fantasia) - "I'm His Only Woman"
» E-40 (featuring Bun B and Gucci Mane) - "The Recipe"
» Bow Wow - "Father's Day"
» Avery Storm (featuring Jadakiss) - "Terrified"
Celebrity Faves"Anything is possssssible!" Kevin Garnett said that Kanye West stayed in heavy rotation when he was going through the NBA Playoffs in June. Right now, he's pumping The Recession, Tha Carter III and T.I.'s new music. He's deep into mixtapes.
"WhiteOwl. I listen to WhiteOwl," he said at an event for the video game "NBA 2K9" last week. "Green Lantern, Drama down South. I try to keep them guys in rotation. Mixtapes are huge. At least for me. They the ones that leak everything. Without the mixtapes you can't really get that raw material. I look forward to that. WhiteOwl, keep dropping that."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
New York is sort of like the New York Yankees. There's been a focus on superstars and veterans, and cultivating the careers of younger talent has been mishandled or outright ignored. For one reason or another, no label has been able to pull the trigger on some of the new-school cats who have been waiting in the wings for years, like Grafh, Papoose, Uncle Murda and Saigon. But with "Hi Hater," it looks like the city is finally going to have a much-awaited debut from a new MC hailing from the five boroughs: Maino.
"People should look at me and feel we all need to get on the same page," he said recently. "We need blood, new faces. I'm the new face of NY, the new face of Brooklyn. I'm waiting for more. I'm waiting for the rest of my n---as to come up. We need that."
"Hi Hater" just happened to be what the rapper — and New York — needed: a record by a Big Apple artist that's getting played in heavy rotation outside the city. People from all regions are learning to respect the record. Just look at Young Jeezy and Game, who recently invited Maino to make guest appearances during their respective NYC concerts. NYC concerts that took place on the same night.
"I got the call from Jeezy a couple of days prior to that," Maino said of the August 26 shows. "The Game thing — I don't really know Game. That was on the strength of somebody else. The Game thing was spur-of-the-moment. Somebody that he f---s with that has a lot of love for me asked me to do him a favor. So I came through, got it done. This is during the Jeezy show that [Game's camp] was hitting me, asking me to come through and do my song. I didn't get a chance to kick it with [Game] like that. We don't have a real relationship like that. But it's respect.
"Yeah, man. New York City," Maino added. "You can't come to New York City and not know what I'm doing. You can't say you don't feel what's going on with Maino. Nobody can deny me. It's just the grind. I'll do 15 shows in one night if I could."
His record is three. Maino actually performed for a college crowd after gracing the stages with Jeezy and Game.
"I'm out there, it feels good," he said. "I'm trying to build momentum. I got the remix to 'Hi Hater.' The video is a new version of the 'Flava in Ya Ear' remix. Then I got the 'Hood Love' song with Trey Songz. It's a strong radio record. I'm looking to keep building steam."
Maino has pushed back the release of his debut, If Tomorrow Comes, from its October launch date to several weeks later. He wants to continue building his out-of-state following. In the interim, he's putting music out in the street.
"I'mma drop a couple of mixtapes: Maino Is the Future and Black Flag City: The New Religion," he said. "I can never leave my roots just because I'm getting a national look.
"Sometimes you look at great work. You don't necessarily copy it, but you remind people of what's going," he added about Maino Is the Future being similar in title to the G-Unit classic 50 Cent Is the Future. "That title fits right now. Me being the only new New York rapper that's being noticed nationally — it's only right. People are starting to pay attention to me and wanting to know what's going on up top." ...
Scarface says he's taking a final bow. He wants the upcoming Emeritus to be his last solo LP."I don't retire, I quit," he laughed, standing on a golf course in Houston. "It feels real good. The Emeritus record, the reason I'm so proud of it is because it's my last. I'm done, man. If you leave it up to me, I quit. Only thing that's gonna bring me back [is] if I do an album with somebody. Me, Cube and Nas do something, or me and Jigga and Beans do something. It's gotta be a trio or duo. Me and Bun B do a duo. That's why I took that name Emeritus, dude. Because I'm gone. I'm retiring with honors and still holding the position."
The usually humble Uncle Face actually bragged a bit when talking about himself, his career and his newest album.
"I'm not just one of the best in Houston, I'm one of the best in the world," he said with a grin. "My mama had to bring that to my attention. I think she's been on the Internet. She's been reading how good I am. I didn't realize how good I am until my mama told me."
We heard Emeritus last week, and Face can definitely say he's going out on a high note. That intro from J. Prince is very interesting, and wait until you hear what Face has to say about Lil' Troy. Brutal.
"I really discussed. I talked about sh-- that was relevant, that meant something," he said. "It's bigger than what I ride in. Bigger than where I live. Bigger than what I drink. Bigger than the jewels I rock. I got some good records."
Face locked into his zone while recording, but did mange to take a break every day to swing on the greens.
"When I was doing the Emeritus album, I was playing my ass off," he said about his love of golfing. "That's all we had to do. Come out here and play and go to the studio. I wanna play [Luther Campbell]. Me and Luke are gonna get together and do a hip-hop golf tournament. We should. It makes for a great tournament."
Face said that besides Luke, he'd think about squaring off against the King of Crunk, Lil Jon.
"I don't think Lil gonna wanna wrassle with me," Face said. "You better call Will Smith for me. ... Call the Fresh Prince for me. We was on tour with Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff. Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes when he was with Leaders of the New School. We had A Tribe Called Quest on the tour. How long I been in the game? Look at Q-Tip. Q-Tip is still relevant. I love that dude."
Emeritus is slated for December 2.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.