Man — 2009 is halfway over already? The years go by so quick. As always, though, we're here to document everything. All this week, in addition to our regular coverage, we're going to be highlighting all the impact players in the mixtape circuit so far this year. Who had the biggest mixtape? What MC was the most consistent? What albums have we kept in rotation? Rappers, DJs, producers, shows — we've got the best of the best of this year thus far. Stay with us all week.Mid-Season Salute: R. Kelly's The Demo Tape
R. Kelly did what he's never done before in 2009: dropped a mixtape. Along with DJs Skee and Drama, Kells dropped gems to the street like "Club 2 a Bedroom," "Bangin the Headboard" and "Disrespect My Shorty."
"I been in the stands watching the music scene for a minute, just chillin'," Kelly explained about the title of his mixtape. "I said, 'If I'm gonna do a mixtape, I feel like I'm starting over in a way.' I said, 'I'm gonna act like this is my first time as an artist. I'mma do a demo and hope the world sign me.' "
Kelly's Untitled LP is due later this year.
Joints To Check For
» "Birthday Sex" remix. "It felt like something Kells not only should do, but it felt like something Kells already done," R. Kelly said. "Not saying that my man stole [from] me or anything; he did his damn thing on it. I actually loved his version more than I did mine. But everybody is like, 'Yeah, man, I like your version, what you put down on that.' But I actually love his version more than mine. I just wanted to be a part of that song, because everybody was asking me, 'Did you do this song for him?' I hadn't heard it. Then when I heard it, I was like, 'Oh, man, no wonder they're asking. This sounds like something Kells should get on.' I had to go for mine."
» "Every Girl" remix. "First of all, I did Lil Wayne, Young Money 'Every Girl.' When I heard that track, I was like, 'Ah, man, this is what I'm up against when I come back out? I gotta conquer this first. I gotta conquer this before I put out my album.' This is like my homework before I can go out and play. So when I heard 'Every Girl,' I'mma keep it real just like them: When I heard the verses and the hooks, I was like, 'This is so crazy.' I wanted to put my two cents in."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
OJ Da Juiceman says his swag is on microwave — that means he's burning hot in the clubs. His Otis Williams Jr. Story was supposed to drop at the beginning of this month, but he delayed the project so it can be perfect.
"We gonna get it right, we gonna push it back a little bit," he told us recently in Atlanta.
Although the album has no official due date yet, OJ says it's already loaded. "I got seven or eight singles," he added. "Just straight-up singles. I know I can do videos for each of them. I just been working. I did one with R. Kelly. Big up to R. Kelly for the 'Superman High.' He returned the favor and gave me a hit single. Big up to Chi-Town."
Fat Boy and Zaytoven are going to be producing.
"Zay just got that chemistry — Funky Fingers Zay," OJ said about Mr. 'Toven. "Then when me and Gucci rap on it, it's like buying a hot dog out a convenient store — you're not gonna leave without getting that ketchup and mustard on it. It's just like that. You go to Zay, and you're gonna come out of there with a hit. Zay, Fat Boy, we go in. I'm working, enjoying the blessings, and we just networking." ...
Finally, we'll have a more expanded story on Trey Songz on Tuesday, but for today, we had to bring the origins on his now-signature "Yuuuggghhh!" ad lib. You've heard it on his songs and you've heard it on records he's not even on, like Drake's "Best I Ever Had." Where did it come from?
"It just came about," he said recently in his new hometown of Atlanta. "I'm a fool, really, in the studio. I said it on one record. I don't remember what record it was on first. Then I started going places and people would do it. That's when I knew it was something that was catching on. Now I gotta do it on every song."
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