Ludacris Says He's The 'MVP' Of Rap; Shawty Lo Proves He's Still Da Man: Mixtape Monday

Plus: D.O.E. gets a new lease on life, thanks to Timbaland.

Artist: Shawty Lo

Representing: You have to ask? "Baaaayyynk-Headdddddd!"

Mixtape: I'm Da Man 2K9

411: Shawty Lo is preparing for his March LP, Carlos — that's his name by the way. As 2008 closes out, the Bankhead former D-boy just relinquished his new mixtape, I'm Da Man 2K9, over to the streets. DJ Scream helped him out.

"When I got out of jail in 2004, people said, 'D4L ain't nothin' without Fabo,' " he said of the tape's title. "I was like, 'What?' I went in the studio, and the first song I ever recorded was 'I'm Da Man.' People liked it. In the back of my mind, I thought it was luck. But I kept it going. They tried o blackball me, but I came up. It feels good to be here."

Joints To Check For

» "Man in My City." "I was basically talking, telling people I wasn't trying to be no rapper," Lo said. "I wanted to be like Baby is to Cash Money, Puff is to Bad Boy. I'm just trying to be the man behind the scenes. I started D4L in 2003, ended up coming home from jail in 2004. It came from the heart. Even before Barack Obama won, it felt like he was gonna win. I shouted him out in my song. I'm the man in my city."

» "Get Money Bi---ez" (featuring Lil' Kim). "On my last album, I didn't have nothin' for the women," Lo said. "I'll be doing shows, travelling everywhere. Women ask me, 'When you gonna make songs for us?' I went back and wrote. Then I reached out to Lil' Kim. She blessed me with a verse."

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

» DJ Kool Laid - Music Pack

» DJ Whiteowl - Whiteowl Drop That 40

» J Armz - Confederacy 2

» Lil Wayne and DJ Drama - Dedication 3

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

» Ace Hood (featuring Akon and Plies) - "Can't Stop"

» Chamillionaire (featuring Ludacris) - "Creepin' "

» Freeway (featuring Gillie Da Kid) - "Living My Life"

» Ludacris (featuring Jay-Z and Nas) - "I Do It for Hip-Hop"

» Swizz Beatz - "I Do" and "I'm Supposed to Ball"

» Tony Yayo (featuring Uncle Murda) - "Shooters for Hire"

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

Seven albums later (that's including the independent release Incognegro and his latest Theater of the Mind), and Ludacris can still disintegrate the mic. On his new album, 'Cris fulfilled two dreams: working with Jay-Z and Nas on one track ("I Do It for Hip-Hop") and getting a beat from DJ Premier.

"We just got in," Luda told us about the sessions with Primo. "I've been wanting to do it for so long. He's really quick to make a beat, man. We was vibing. We made about two or three tracks, and I told him which one I absolutely loved. When you hear this sh--, it's gonna remind you of Gang Starr. It's some Gang Starr-reminiscent sh--. I don't think Premier veers away from his sound, but this one could have been on a Gang Starr album. That's almost what I was looking for [sonically]. The name of the song is called 'MVP.'

"You've asked, and a lot of people have asked me, what I want to be known as or remembered as in this rap game," he continued. "I feel like I'm the summation of all. I'm the MVP of this rap game. When it comes to record sales, songs, subject matter, guest appearances, when it comes to rapping fast, slow, being funny, serious — [I'm ] all of these things intertwined into one. I feel like I am the MVP. I feel like you're gonna love this album." Theater of the Mind drops November 24. Luda's Gangsta Grillz smash, The Preview, is also out on the streets. ...

D.O.E. said he definitely came across some tough times recently, as he alluded to in his guest verse on Timbaland's "The Way I Are" last year ("I ain't got a big ol' house/ I rent a room in a house"). Out with the old, in with the new.

"I'm letting everybody know it's a new me," he said about the mixtape The Death of John Doe: The Rise of D.O.E. "It's not John Doe no more. I came in the game, '04, I signed to Timbaland as John Doe. A lot happened. Situation with Interscope didn't go right at first. I fell on my face, couldn't put music out. Went flat broke. It was crazy. Then big homie put me on 'The Way I Are.' We started touring around the world, getting money. I had to let everyone know what it was. People were like, 'Son, what happened to you?' Too many questions. I put it all in one CD for free."

There's Timbo beats on there, Danjahandz gives a track and Joell Ortiz appears on the track "Watchin' Me." The skit ahead of that record is hilarious, but it's no laughing matter on "Streets Been Watching," though.

"It basically explains how dudes was looking at me sideways," D.O.E. said. "I fell on my face. Dudes was looking at me crazy. I explained everything, how I went from [owning] a Hummer to [riding] the train. Sh-- was deep, D. On 'Bottom of the Barrel,' I talk about my hard times and how it wouldn't stop me. I was gonna get to the top." ...

Shout-out to DJ Skee for banging out a new deal to bring his show to 102.7 KIIS-FM's HD2 New Music Channel. The show airs on Sunday nights.

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