Artist: Playaz Circle
Representing: College Park, Georgia
Mixtape: The Campaign
411: The title of Playaz CirclePlayaz Circle's new mixtape, The Campaign, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the entire country is talking about the upcoming presidential election.
Of course it does! Don't be ridiculous.
"We chose that title to keep it conceptual with the election year," Tity Boi told us, live from the group's adopted headquarters at Riverdale, Georgia's Frozen Palace club. "We felt like we were campaigning for the streets. This is just the first of many. It's going down major. We brought DJ Scream on the Southside. We decided to twurk with shawty because he's one of the hottest DJs in the street. I said, 'Let me and Dolla do our footwork. Wrap it up. It's about to be a Saran [wrap].' "
"This is the prelude to our album, Flight 360," Dolla Boy added. " 'The Campaign' itself is just a mixtape song that didn't make the album that still needed to be fed to the public. Me and Tit did our thing on a major stage. We done been across the country. We seen different fans; we know what they want. Flight 360 is just a collection of great music of any generation from the smallest to the biggest."
Joints To Check For
"D-Boys R Us" (featuring J-Hard). "The title is self-explanatory," Tity said. "I'm a D-Boy, duffle-bag boy." "You just gotta see the swag," Dolla added. "Swag? What is it? How do you get it? It has to be a natural thing. It has to be inherited through birthrights. Check me out from head to toe, custom-made."
"Boyz Iz Back." "You might be familiar with it because it uses the same beat from [T.I.T.I.'s 'What Up, What's Haapnin' ']," Dolla explained. "T.I. put it out, did his song to it. It's a Drumma Boy track. Real hot. I heard it. We had it for a long time, too, though. ... It shows the diversity — that each artist is able to come up with a hot song in your region."
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» Ryan LeslieRyan Leslie (featuring Fabolous and Keri Hilson) - "Addiction" remix
» T-PainT-Pain (featuring Chris BrownChris Brown) - "Freeze"
» Bobby ValentinoBobby Valentino (featuring Yung JocYung Joc) - "Beep Beep"
» ScarfaceScarface - "Emeritus"
» Rick RossRick Ross - "Swagga Like Us" freestyle
» David BannerDavid Banner - "When You Hear What I Got to Say"
U.K., big up. Ya mahhhhhh-sivvvvvvvve! We had a great time in London last week. Our current favorite British heroine, EstelleEstelle, has gotten kudos for singing the mainstream hit "American Boy," but she hasn't forgotten where her career blew up: the mixtape scene. She promises a CD for the streets soon.
"It's coming," she promised. "I've done mixtapes forever. I've been in the game almost 10 years. When I started, [mixtapes] were just picking up. I feel [making them] is a good way to get to the kids who are not sold on your album and might not like the single you put out. They get to figure out whether they like you or not."
Estelle — whose favorite DJs include Drama, Clinton Sparks and Neil Armstrong — is still not sure whose material she'll use to craft the mixtape.
"I don't know who I wanna put on there," she said. "I'm having this moment of Marvin Gaye, ColdplayColdplay, SantogoldSantogold and really old-school reggae. God knows what's gonna be on there. I mean, primarily on a mixtape, you take a bunch of songs and just rip them. But I'm having a real Coldplay moment right now. I'd love to sing on a [new] Coldplay song. And I use one of the Coldplay songs in my set, 'God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.' "
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
After all these years, CommonCommon still has a huge smile on his face when talking about his critically panned, fan-shunned Electric Circus. He says he wouldn't change anything about that album, because it showed he couldn't be contained to one musical format. Although he expects Kanye WestKanye West's 808s & Heartbreak to get a warm reception, Com nevertheless thinks that Kanye is having an Electric Circus moment: Yeezy is singing all over his new LP instead of rapping.
"I love it," Common said of West's upcoming project. "Let me tell you, as an artist, you wanna be free. You gotta do what you feel. You can't just cater to the audience. You gotta say, 'Hey, y'all, this is where I'm at.' For him to do an album called 808s and Heartbreak, you know that's where he is at this moment. I heard some songs, and I think it's fresh. I think the people are ready for it."
Common's own album Universal Mind Control drops in November.
"Last couple of albums, I felt a little more free," he said of the evolution in his songwriting. "I just wrote whatever comes to me. [In the past], I would overthink things. I'd be like, 'OK, I did a song for the ladies, so I shouldn't do that again.' I was at a point where I was like, 'Man, I want to make people move and enjoy the music.' "
Although Common's been busy working on the next "Terminator" film and had to push back the release of his album, he doesn't think fans will color him neglectful.
"I'm not concerned with it," he said. "I feel I've established who I am as a hip-hop artist. I think people respect that people are multitasking. If you're doing both passionately and do them well, people can respect them. I'mma do my best at that. I'mma create my music. Overall, I feel that both [my professions] sharpen each other." ...
It's one of the worst-kept secrets, at least to those of us who are really in the know in the industry (ahem!), but JadakissJadakiss was supposed to announce that he was joining the Roc-A-Fella family years ago, during Jay-ZJay-Z's "I Declare War" concert in New Jersey. Jada and the other two members of the LOX — Sheek LouchSheek Louch and Styles PStyles P — were poised to make the jump from Interscope to Roc-A-Fella/ Def Jam back then, but the paperwork wasn't finalized in time.
"That was something Louch had set up," Jada told us. "[Jay] was supposed to bring out the Roc chains. It didn't happen, but Steve Stoute and Hov reached back out to me [years later], and we made it happen. Def Jam and Interscope are in the same system. It's just a matter of passing the contract over there and them saying, 'Don't call this number; call this number.' Ruff Ryders let it go down, but they still involved in the equation."
The Black Babe Ruth's Kiss My Ass is being cooked right now. Lil Wayne, the LOX and a few others are on the set.
"I got Ghost and Rae on there," he said. "I'm trying to get some of that Purple Tape element on there. It's gonna be good. [But Def Jam] ain't even letting me mold my joint. I keep going to these dinners at Mr. Chow's. Once I get another good week in the studio by myself, we gonna wrap that thing up. Plus, I got a few mixtapes coming. The West Coast joint, and of course I'm gonna do one for New York. Maybe another R&B joint. I'm just doing joints, baby.
"I got that M.O.P.M.O.P./ Statik Selektah joint," continued the cameo king, who recently jumped on New Kids on the Block's "Summertime." "I did something with Juelz SantanaJuelz Santana. The new Ross album. I should be on that new Hov album, The Blueprint 3. It's like a trickle-down effect. If we come back and do this same interview in two or three weeks, I'mma have a whole bunch of stuff to tell you. My BlackBerry, my Sidekick is filled up. My Gmail is filled. Everybody is calling. Everything is falling in line. I know how to get it hot. Hop on everything! You see me on the Slim joint, the 'Hi Hater' remix. I gotta catch one or two more big R&B joints, and we should be where we need to be in the next couple of months or so."
The first official single off Kiss My Ass is "By My Side" with Ne-YoNe-Yo.
"It's for the ladies," Jadakiss said. "We trying to make big music. We're trying to do it big for the ladies. [The women] still gonna cop before they get their hair and nails done, so we gotta cater to them. We gonna always show love to the streets, but we gotta show the ladies we acknowledging them this year. Heavy!" ...
Lupe FiascoLupe Fiasco is determined not to be the "Superstar" on his record label, 1st & 15th. He has his third album on freeze for now while he helps to cultivate albums by his artists.
"Matthew Santos, Sarah Green — I'm actually working on putting their records together, so I won't start working on my album until next year," he explained recently in Los Angeles. "I gotta be CEO. It's my company, so I got to step back, because if I start doing my stuff and their stuff, I'd be like, 'Yo, why don't you come do this hook? Why don't you give me that song?' So I'm just trying not to be selfish."
Lu is giving all his acts hands-on training. "I actually take them out on tour with me, let them perform, let them open up for me," he said. "Everything I do, I bring all my artists to do it. So I don't even give them advice as much as put them in an arena where it works, where it's real time. It's them, and they get a chance to see it in real life, and they take from it what they need."
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.