Happy birthday to all the cancers out there — including MTV's own Shaheem Reid, Sway and Mixtape Daily go-to girl Whitney, not to mention Jim Jones and the G-Unit General himself, 50 Cent. Fif's born day was Monday, but he's still serving treats. He released his second mixtape in just a couple of weeks, , Forever King, and says in addition to the upcoming G-Unit mixtape, he might put out another free CD prior to Before I Self Destruct in September. Trey Songz is also locked in the studio, and he wants a bigger and better spot. Who's gonna stand in his way?
Finally and obviously, rest in peace to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Thank you for a lifetime of classic songs, videos, performances and moments. Your genius is eternal.
Don't Sleep: Necessary Notables
Mixtape: Forever King
Headliner: 50 Cent
Co-Starring: Michael Jackson, Gina Thompson, Christopher Williams, Jeff Redd and others
Records We Can't Stop Playing: "Michael Jackson Freestyle," "If U Leaving, Then Leave ... ," "Funny How Time Flies" and "Put That Work In"
Essential Info: We gave you the Forever King preview last week, and the mixtape definitely held us down over that Fourth of July weekend. 50 mixed his street linguistics with a gaggle of timeless music from the 1990s, plus some songs that keep to the here and now. Although Fif has his personal favorites, he gives it up to the man who discovered Notorious B.I.G. as the cat who slides some musical inspiration to him.
"It'll be some more records there playing," 50 said about the tunes already in the lab when he records mixtapes such as Forever King and its predecessor, Sincerely Southside. "Mister Cee plays a lot of that music still. I had Cee send me a CD that he thought would be hot to hear. Production-wise, I wanted them to still feel what the youthful audience feels is hot right now. Writing a remix is easy. It's just putting the words to the scenario. If you have no production plan, that's when it starts to get easy. Mixtape material is easy for me. Two days, three days, [I record it]. I know who I'm talking to."
Five More Throwback Jams We'd Like 50 Cent to Jump On: "I Like" by Guy; "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe; "Don't Stop Your Love" by Keith Sweat; "Angel in Disguise" by Brandy; and "My Life" by Mary J. Blige.
Headliner: Trey Songz
Co-Starring: Besides Drake on "Successful," Trey goes solo.
Show Stealers: "Famous" and "Scratchin' Me Up"
Essential Info: Your skills better be tight if you're calling out a legend like R. Kelly. Trey Songz raised eyebrows and left a few fans angry when he dropped a freestyle snapping at R. Kelly for using Auto-Tune on The Demo Tape a few weeks back. Trey maintains it wasn't a dis but a loud wake-up call to one of the cats who inspired him. We'll have more on Trey and the R. on Wednesday, but today, let's focus on Songz's new joint.
You can't deny that Trey might finally be having his long-awaited, much-deserved moment. The kid has been consistent for years but never really blew up to a mainstream superstar status. The past few months, however, he's been keeping his feet dirty, with freestyles, mixtapes (he's also apart of the Jermaine Dupri-led Ocean's 7) and that beloved street jam with his good friend Drake, "Successful." Songz actually came up with the concept and, of course, the hook. (That's Trey singing those eerie chords at the very beginning of "Successful," not a sample.) "I Need a Girl" becoming the biggest radio record of his career has Mr. Songz and a lot of his fans thinking that his upcoming album, Ready, could push him over the top.
As he explains, the singer's LP got pushed back from June 30 to August 4, so he wanted to have a body of work in the interim. The result is his mixtape of all new records.
"I was recording these songs, and my manager and my producer, they'll be listening," he said. "I got, like, four songs done, and ... they pulled me to the side and was like, 'You know you messing up. You're recording a whole new album?' So some things got swapped out. At this point, it's all about making sure that it's cohesive, that it's a move, that Ready says what I want it to say and Anticipation says what I want it to say all in the same. I think they're both gonna be great bodies of work. I'm feeling so good musically, man, it's showing. Whether it be the song selection or the passion that's into the song. Whether it be a hip-hop record or a soulful record or a ballad. You know, I'm putting my all into it.
"Anticipation," he added, "has more of a sexy feel to it. It's kinda dark, mysterious. I got a couple records on there that are fun as well. There's a record on there called 'Make It Rain' that Johnta [Austin], I and Eric Hudson did. It's not the typical 'make it rain' [song]. It has an organic feel."
Whether it be mixtapes or official releases, Trey said he wants to show off.
"I think it's important to show people that you are good at what you do," the singer continued. "And outside of being good at what you do, you should show appreciation for the people that appreciate you. So when I put out songs, it's because I love to do it and I would love for my fans to know that. I do this thing on my Twitter where every Monday, I put out new songs. Whether I go over somebody else's track or I put out original songs, just to let them know that I am so into what I am doing. And that's just to let them know I'm having fun. Musically, I'm in a space that I was in when I first started to record ... without the politics and without people telling me what I should be or what they think I am. I think I am in a space where I know what it is I need to be doing, and I'm getting better by the day. And it's fun for me."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.