Headliner: 50 Cent and DJ Drama
Representing: Queens, New York
Mixtape: The Lost Tape
Real Spit: When it comes to hip-hop’s increasingly artist-centered mixtape culture, there are no bigger figures than 50 Cent and DJ Drama. On the artist side, Fif changed the way rappers approached the tape game with releases like 50 Cent Is the Future and No Mercy, No Fear, hijacking other rapper’s instrumentals and making them his own. On the DJ side, Drama created the pivotal Gangsta Grillz series, crafting unforgettable tapes for the likes of T.I., Young Jeezy and Fabolous.
“50 is mixtapes. When you think about the mixtape game, you have to credit this man right here,” DJ Drama told Mixtape Daily. “He makes what I consider quality street music. I almost feel like the tape didn’t happen in ’07 because it was meant to happen now.”
50 joked that he was bullied to do the tape by Drama, who represents Atlanta. “It was pressure, it was pressure; I was forced. The boys from the south got big on us. So they came down here to the north and said, ’Look, man, you gotta roll with Rush,’ ” he said with a smirk. “I fully cooperated and now we got Gangsta Grillz.”
Drama and Fif aren’t the only big names on The Lost Tape, though: Eminem makes a brief cameo on “Murder One.” “Ayo Fif, I was thinking, you should go back to doin’ the sh– you used to do,” Em says on an intro to the menacing track where the G-Unit general promises death to his enemies.
“Silence, it’s the return of the tyrant/ See him through my third eye with both closed eyelids/ Stand closer to the homey you gonna die with/ Flames come up out the muzzle on the sh– that I spit,” 50 rhymes.
In the early aughts, 50 built his reputation by remixing rap songs and adding his own high-powered verses to the familiar hits. He revisits the trend with “Riot” remix, a new take on 2 Chainz’s street banger. On “OJ,” 50 teams with Kidd Kidd, his new signee from New Orleans. The piano-laced track finds Fif and his protégé drawing an analogy between their murderous ways and embattled football legend O.J. Simpson.
50 Cent and DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz collaboration may have taken five years to materialize, but you can’t argue quality. The Lost Tape was well worth the wait. “We actually centered this concept with an idea we created in 2007, and we’re finally getting around to it, so it’s well overdue,” 50 said.
Joints to Check For:
» “Get Busy”: “It’s featuring Kidd Kidd. You know, he off that Rider Gang roster, so they gonna get a chance to see some of this new talent that I’m associating myself with. Learn to love it.”
» “Murder One”: “The first video is ’Murder One.’ It was actually shot in Brooklyn, New York. It was put together. I got a specific quota I’m utilizing to shoot videos now so I can pick up production value.”
For other artists featured in Mixtape Daily, check out Mixtape Daily Headlines.