Artist: Jay Rock
Mixtape: Coming Soon to a Hood Near You
411: Two cities in a week ... sure is sweet! First off, the Mixtape Monday fam has to send love out to Dallas. D-Town showed up and showed out for us as we got a chance to mingle with the city's artists, athletes and 'hood celebs. We'll have much more from our trip in the coming weeks.
Now, let's boogie further west — L.A., what up? Everybody out there already knows what it is with us: Cali love all day. Look for L.A. and surrounding cities to make more noise than a fleet of low-lows bouncing up and down. You have Bishop Lamont, Crooked I, Glasses Malone and Nipsey Hussle all on deck with strong followings underground. This week, we look to Watts' own Jay Rock.
Rock dropped "All My Life" with Lil Wayne several weeks ago, and we were all engulfed in the record's street soulfulness.
But that was just to get a buzz. His LP, Follow Me Home, is slated for this summer with production by DJ Quik, Cool & Dre, LES and J.R. Rotem. Coming Soon to a Hood Near You is the latest in a long line of street CDs, and it's a collabo with DJ Noodles.
Joints To Check For
» "Coming Soon to a Hood Near You." "It's talking about me coming!" Jay said. "I'm coming through every 'hood with my music. The 'hood is what I do this for. No matter what city or state you're in, the 'hood is the 'hood. And all the 'hood n---as and 'hood chicks relate to me, because I come from the same struggles."
» "All My Life" (featuring Lil Wayne and Will.I.Am). "This song is about moving from the bottom to the top," Rock said. "And that's not just for the 'hood. It's for everybody from every walk of life. It's about forward progress in anything you're doing. It's also about determination and not letting anything stop you."
» "I Cried." "It's basic raw emotions that street n---as feel when they lose one of their n---as to the streets. All type of feelings run through a n---a, and retaliation is right at the top of the list."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» Lil Wayne - Hottest N---a Under the Sun
» Stat Quo - Checks & Balances
» DJ Woogie - Streets on Beats 16
» Big Mike - There Can Only Be One
» DJ 31 Degreez - Home of the Giants 2
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» Asher Roth (featuring Jim Jones) - "I Love College" remix
» Big Chief (featuring Jim Jones) - "My Swagg"
» Big Tuck - "Not a Stain on Me"
» Gucci Mane (featuring 8Ball & MJG, Shawty Lo, Fabolous and OJ Da Juiceman) - "Bricks" remix
» Raekwon (featuring Ghostface Killah and Method Man) - "Wu-Oh"
» Young Chris (featuring Wale and Bun B) - "Searching"
» Young Jeezy and Fabolous - "Turn My Swag On" freestyles
Streets Is Talking: News And Notes From The Underground
On Sunday night, T.I. was part of a historic Grammy performance of "Swagga Like Us" (along with Kanye West, Lil Wayne, M.I.A. and Jay-Z), which was later followed by his emotional rendition of "Dead and Gone" with Justin Timberlake. Earlier, "Swagga" won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
But before all that, our very own Sway caught up with T.I. on the Grammy red carpet and asked him to confirm one news item that's been floating in the air: Is Tip, in fact, working with Dr. Dre on Detox?
"You don't have to deny it," Sway offered. "I know you were in the studio working with him."
"I can not confirm or deny any professional affiliation," T.I. said. Sway pressed on and asked if he's recently seen Dr. Dre. T.I. playfully stared off into space and whistled.
"Dr. Dre, he's an outstanding guy," Tip said vaguely. "A little birdie sat on my shoulder and told me that the Detox album is going to be phenomenal."
T.I. also remained tight-lipped about the prospect of him becoming president of Atlantic Records.
"I can not confirm or deny either," he smiled. ...
Kanye West's clothes have become a major topic lately. In a recent interview with MTV News, 50 Cent joked heavily about West's choice of wardrobe. (Check out our full interview with 50.) And Fif isn't the only one: On the Internet, fans and bloggers alike have questioned the Chicago native's garment picks.
In that interview, 50 denied that he was referring to West with the line "First they say, 'That f----t hot' " in the song "Play This on the Radio" — although in January, when 50 was a guest on DJ Whoo Kid's satellite radio show, he hinted that he might have been talking about 'Ye on the song. When asked about the comments by MTV News last week, 50 told us with a grin, "I never said Kanye's name."
During a sitdown interview with Sway on Friday, West talked very candidly about myriad issues, including certain people not understanding his sometimes-eccentric fashion statements.
" 'Dressing gay' ... people wanna label me and throw that on me all the time," Kanye told Sway. "But I'm so secure with my manhood." (Head here for the full Q&A with Kanye.) ...
Ryan Leslie might be more R&B smooth than hard-core hip-hop head, but the singer has a knack for making beats that the grimiest of rappers want to sink their teeth into. First, there was 50 Cent jacking the Harvard grad's "Diamond Girl" for "Bottom Girl." Then, Fabolous turned "Addiction" into his personal playground, flipping rhymes like Dominique Dawes. For R-Les' latest, "How It Was Suppose to Be," he has none other than the world-famous DJ Clue to thank for the Jadakiss cameo.
"I played [the record] for him, and he said, 'I know what to do with this,' " Leslie told us. "And, to be really fair to him, he actually had Snoop set up to do the remix to 'Diamond Girl.' And for whatever reason, we had a couple studio sessions where Snoop actually showed up. But it was after a party, so we actually didn't get the verses done. There's a 'Diamond Girl' remix with Estelle, another 'Diamond Girl' remix with a French rapper, which we were able to do later. But Clue took this record and said, 'Look, Ryan, I'm gonna get this done.' "
Then, Leslie didn't hear back from Clue. It wasn't until the singer — whose self-titled debut drops Tuesday — made a guest appearance on Green Lantern's radio show that he first heard the remix. He was more than impressed with Jada's gift to him.
"I was sitting in the studio listening to Jadakiss come off, and the way he actually came off on that record really showed me that he listened to the lyrical content," Leslie said of his reaction to the track. "I felt like I had actually been in the studio with him and told him the story behind the record. That's how fitting his verse was. So shout-out to Clue and shout out to 'Kiss for that."
Leslie is right back in the lab working on his new LP, and we may hear it later this year.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.